Blu could only half peel his eyes open when he had finally regained his consciousness. His brain felt two sizes too big, and his skull felt four sizes too small; the throbbing in his head was an injury more unbearable than the handful of times he had been shot, and slowly he began regain his senses. After the pain's initial shock subsided, his first thought was to ensure he still had his baby blue scarf. He managed to sit partway up before slumping back down onto the straw mat upon which he was placed.
"Ah, you're awake."
The Earthian's ears were greeted by the welcoming sound of a fair and gentle Felisian voice. Iren was close by and standing over an old and dilapidated wood burning stove. She was stirring a mixture of food inside a black pot, which filled the air with a delightful and appetizing aroma. Although she was not a professional chef, she had a culinary skill that rivaled some of the greatest cooking experts of the New Age. She had little, and the stocks and stores of vegetables in her possession had to be manually gathered from the wilderness of Arneid. Still, the meals she prepared were nutritiously healthy and quiet filling.
"My scarf," Blu strained his voice as his body yielded to the suffering he had endured, and he struggled to stretch the stiffness that plagued his nerves, "where is..."
"Your things are over there." Iren politely motioned to one corner of her meager living quarters, and the Earthian noticed his gear leaning against a dirty and stained wall. He eyed his equipment from a distance, but still he saw no trace of the garment.
"And your scarf is around your leg. I had to dress one of your wounds with it - seems like you are lacking a sufficient amount of bandages, as well as other basic medicinal supplies."
"I get shot a lot," Blu remarked unexcitedly, and though he said it with a hint of jest added, his body was a testament to the accuracy of his statement. There was a multitude of past bullet wounds, scarred traces of knife fights or close-calls, and even markings from strange and sharp alien teeth that riddled his epidermis. His body was a tapestry that portrayed the toil and anguish it had suffered, yet not all of the hardships he endured were displayed by his past physical injuries. His physique was well toned, and his bones were shielded by a fortress of raw and lean muscles, but he resembled a worn down whipping post.
"It's a miracle you are still alive with as many times as you have been hurt." Iren blew lightly upon a small wooden spoon she had been using to stir her miniature caldron of Felisian soup, then she stuck out her tongue and lapped up a minuscule sampling into her mouth. She smacked her lips satisfyingly. "It's a little hot yet, but this should do the trick." She grabbed a mahogany dish that had been carved from the sturdy bark of trees that grow rampant upon the planet Arneid, then she poured a full portion of her entrée onto a dish and crossed the room toward the Earthian.
Iren knelt down beside Blu, looking just like a housewife, and handed him the steaming plate of soup; he accepted the kind gesture with upmost gratitude. "Thank you, it smells delicious." He eyed the food for a second before glancing back at the Felisian. "Where's the meat?" he inquired all too seriously. Blu was accustomed to a high protein diet; this was due to the fact that his line of work was quite demanding, and his stomach always had room for a little more sustenance.
"I can't afford luxuries like that. Besides, it's too dangerous for someone like me to go hunting in the wild and untamed lands of Anreid. You haven't even tasted it yet, and already you're complaining? I guess some Earthian stereotypes hold true after all, although I heard they can be immensely selfish aliens. You had a chance to leave me behind, but you didn't. Tell me, why did you rescue me?"
"Wouldn't anyone?" Blu questioned with an unwavering confidence, as if he infallibly believed in the illusion of his own words. He was not like most other aliens, in fact many qualities he possessed were of a breed that easily measured up to gentlemanly chivalry or courageous heroics; he was well acquainted with thwarting dastardly villains or monsters, and he was the personal savior of many lowly and oppressed victims of heinous crime.
"That's just it, there were none - until you came along." Iren remained resting upon her legs that were delicately folded under her frame, and she awaited the human's critique of her well prepared dish of soup with great anticipation.
"Truthfully, I was tracking down Big Lizard initially, but I didn't like how he was abusing you; him or your former employer. That's no way to treat a lady," he nodded with simple affirmation.
Now that the food had slightly cooled down, Blu sampled the meal and a half smile appeared from one corner of his lips. "Say, this isn't too bad. Next time you should try serving aliens food instead of drinks; perhaps they would be more obliged to be friendly to you, I reckon."
Iren softly laughed, and she was more than excited to see that her rescuer was enjoying the meal she had labored to prepare. "Thank you for the advice. I'll keep that in mind, but speaking of next time-"
"How long was I out?" Blu unintentionally interrupted the Felisian, but he was concerned with how long it had been since his last communication with Gully, and already his mind was focused on the sport of hunting another wanted galactic criminal, itching to further his end goal.
"Two days, this day being the third since that adventurous evening." Iren was hoping the topic of future endeavors would arise again, and she aspired to make mention of the measure of her vagrancy, in case the Earthian's kindness reached further than the seven Great Nebulas; a distance that spans an unfathomable length of light-years, and even with advanced galactic technology cannot be traversed in any one lifetime.
"How did I get here?" Blu motioned with his eyes at the dilapidated surroundings.
"I had to carry you, which was no easy task. You are heavier than you look." It was true the Earthian was heavy, but his weight combined with Iren's petite physique only added to the labor; in fact it took several hours for to her to carry Blu back to her residence, and for a great while her strength was limited to dragging him over the rough, concrete surface of Myris' roads.
"And you are stronger than you look, if that is the truth."
Iren's resolve was a fortitude of unbreakable stone, and it was as durable as a diamond. She had endured some of the worst kinds of suffering while she was employed at Grigg's, and more than once she had pondered giving into her dark desire of ending her misery with her own hands, though she resisted all for the sake of the love she bore for her deceased mother.
Blu finished the last of his soup, and as he slurped up the final gulp he had noticed that Iren was not partaking in the consumption of her own meal. "Aren't you going to eat?"
"There isn't any more to have. You ate it all that was there," she said kindly.
"If you are hungry you could have given me a lesser portion and saved a little for your own plate." The Earthian felt a pang of guilt enter into his gut. He observed that Iren's physique was abnormally dainty from malnourishment and lack of a proper diet; it was easy to guess that her living conditions of squalid and unfortunate poverty were to blame.
"It's quite all right, I assure you. I'm used to going without, and the feeling of hunger is a familiar friend by now. I can gather more vegetables and plants later, but first I still have to change your dressings." Iren grabbed the empty dish and rose from his side. She crossed over to the stove, placing the used dish upon its top, then she bent over and began to collect Blu's medical pouch from within the bulky duffle bag.
"While you're over there, do mind opening that top left pocket of my bag? Yes, that one. I could use some of its contents." The incredible concoction of delicious soup began to take effect, and Blu finally mustered the strength to sit partway up, but he had to recline his back against a wall of the hut.
Iren heeded the Earthian's request, and from within the compartment she withdrew a smaller sack tinted green with a pattern of disorganized black spots and stripes, then the Felisian positioned herself beside Blu once again, kneeling passively just as before.
He began to rummaged through the bag, then he pulled out a ration of food wrapped in a plastic covering; the outside of the container was covered in fine printed lettering, and the contents of this food ration was displayed in a variety of different alien languages. He handed it over to Iren with a smug look upon his face. "Here - you fed me, now let me feed you."
Inside the ration was an entrée teeming with nutrition, including an assortment of equally delectable portions of food that could be instantly consumed without laboring preparation. The Felisian woman tried to conceal the tears from her eyes as she accepted his kind gesture with a depth of gratitude that expands beyond the entirety of the cosmos. Many days and nights were spent in starvation in this hut, and the meals that Iren did eat were sparse and light.
She consumed every last bit and scrap; not a crumb of the ration had gone to waste. Already her body felt the rapidly rejuvenating qualities that a healthy meal can provide, and her spirits were lifted to such lofty heights that she could not resist her tears from falling down her lightly blushed cheeks.
"Thank you for everything, Blu. I was living in a never ending nightmare, and whatever strength I have in me was fading. How can I ever repay you?" She inquired with absolute sincerity, her eyes burning with the passion of retribution. She felt eternally indebted to the vigilante because of his acts of selfless bravery.
"No need, I have been repaid tenfold by your hospitality. Strange though, I don't remember giving you my name." Blu's curiosity grew into suspicion when the young Felisian woman pronounced his acclaimed alias; though it was only a title and not his birth given identity.
"You never did, but if you aren't aware of this...you talk in your sleep." Iren's face beamed with a playful smile now, and he could only wonder what intimate knowledge she may have acquired in the span of two whole days while he remained unconscious; it was obvious by his lack of clothing that she already knew far more about him than proper introductions impart upon new acquaintances.
"If you know my name, it seems only fair to know the name of my caretaker." Blu's suspicion began to subside, and he perceived her to be a kind spirited alien who was handed a cursed lot in life. He connected with the emotional anguish that radiated from her large, brilliant eyes; naturally russet in color, but with flecks of yellow and black scattered throughout those lovely and gleaming orbs.
"I am Iren, and I was born and raised on the planet Felisi, before it had been destroyed by natural causes. I have only been on this planet for a short while, but already it has felt like a lifetime," then her mind traced itself back to her previous hope and she continued, "I do not wish to remain here, if it can be helped. There are too many sorrowful memories, and it aches my heart greatly. Please, I beg of you Blu, rescue me once more, from this place. I have nothing here, and I cannot bare to live on in such squalor and uncertainty."
"Don't worry yourself any longer, Iren. I know of a place I can take you. There is a convent not far from this galaxy that houses and shelters aliens who share similar circumstances. I was planning to bring you there, regardless if you wanted to stay or leave. I reckon these living conditions don't suit a lady; not in the least." Blu had a sharp and decisive look painted on his face when he announced his intentions to the young Felisian woman.
Iren's eyes shed a river of streaming tears, and she had a joyous glow that illuminated her entire being. "Blu...I don't know what to say. I cannot express my gratitude, and I'm unsure of how to properly thank you. I have no money to repay you for this, but I will give you all I have." Suddenly, without any warning, she leaned in and pressed her petite frame against her rescuer, and a redness blushed upon his cheeks. She recited the words of hospitality that the Earthian had uttered to her, only she rephrased the statement to announce her intentions.
"You freed me, now let me free you."
The words she spoke pierced his heart, and all at once Blu was brought back to hidden and dark memories. There was an immeasurable burden of sorrow that haunted him from his past, and he did not know if he had revealed its source to his caretaker while he remained unconscious. Iren's eyes fixated themselves upon the Earthian's face, yet his rough exterior was unmoved.
Blu perceived her obvious intentions, and when their gazes locked, he could see the pain and anguish Iren had survived; though he was not fully aware of her past grievances, he could feel the voluptuous body of the Felisian trembling against his own. Whatever she endured, whatever torment was inflicted upon her; he understood that its wretched scar could only healed if he complied and received her offer of physical satisfaction, and so he acquiesced, though after which he was more than grateful he had accepted the offer.
Blu no longer resisted her advance, and he grabbed onto both of her arms firmly as he gently pulled her body even closer to his own. Iren's lips were soft and moistened from anticipation, and their initial embrace caused them to quiver even more so. The kiss they shared opened a vault of delight that had been concealed within the very depths of Iren's being; ever since her horrifying ordeal, she had never endeavored to expose herself to the rapture and elation of stunning romance or physical intercourse, yet presently she lay beside a selfless Earthian who had risked his own life for her safety.
As swift as Blu could draw a weapon, faster than an eye can blink, he dismantled her clothing with steady quickness and distinct precision, then her tattered dress that was no more than a ragged garment loosened upon her slender body. Iren's heart was racing at speeds that rival the quickest means of intergalactic travel, and her skin was flaring up with a blush of nervous warmth. Their lips were locked together, and Blu was pleasantly amazed at how soft her mouth caressed his own. Their tongues touched and danced, and they became affixed to one another, which steadily heightened their shared arousal.
Blu brushed a hand upon Iren's cheek and wiped away her tears, then he slowly slid it down past her neck until it finally stopped at her beating chest. He worked his appendage into an opening of her dress, and gently he fondled her exquisite breasts. The Felisian sighed with approving pleasure, then she busied her hands by delicately rubbing them along his virile body. Blu adjusted the position of the young Felisian woman, rolling himself over until he was on top of her while propping himself up with his free arm, then he pressed his hips in between her legs; already there was an evident warmth and wetness caused by the rush of thrilling excitement.
Iren removed the remnants of her clothing, and for the first time she willfully undressed herself in front of another alien with pure and sincere desire. The Earthian's touches were tender; his motions were calculated and gradual. He smoothly navigated her body with a supernatural expertise. Every time he groped and massaged her, every moment he would thrust himself between her, every inch of ecstasy that swelled within her, caused Iren to scream aloud, but they were not the cries of agony she bellowed during her tormenting and cruel nightmare; these were moans of unbridled ravishment and pure elation. Time and again she reached the pinnacle of paradise and the climax of satisfaction. Each orgasm was succeeded by another, like foaming waves breasting the sands of paradise's beach. The sorrows of her yesterdays were slowly washing away as the hope of the future sparked inside her spirit once more. Blu had rescued the woman from uncertain peril, and now he was healing the negative sexual stigma that had bound itself like a parasite to Iren.
Her body tasted sweet, and her skin was like Earthian honey mixed with fine milk. Blu dutifully delivered the upmost indulgence of pleasure to Iren, and in those moments he strived to gratify the her entirely, in hopes to recompense and comfort her. Movement after movement was dedicated to her ecstasy, and truly that day the Felisian was compensated for every ounce of harm or emotional injury that had ever fallen upon her.
He became intoxicated by her touch, and every second he spent between her hips, Blu enticed wild screams of erotic bliss, which added to his own pleasure. At times he was upon Iren and she held firmly to his shoulders, and at others she was straddling Blu while he grasped her hips and thrust with concentrated power, then he would turn her over and shift her body into new positions that yielded unique sensations of their own. In the end, the two shared the embrace of natural love and trusting acceptance; the emotional turmoil that resided within their souls was temporarily ceased by the raw passion of sexual delight.
The rest of the day Iren took solace in the comfort of Blu's arms, and she nuzzled herself against his body as she closed her eyes, then she slipped into sleep with a long forgotten ease and comfort. She was awoken from her cat-nap later on, lazily rising from her slumber to witness the Earthian exercising his muscles and improving his physique, though his body was still wrecked with injury. A thin cloud of smoke lingered around him, and the scent of astro turf filled the atmosphere of the hut. He still had his mind upon his next hunt, though he had yet to contact Gully and receive word or information of any wanted villains.
He finished his last repetition of exercise, then he stood upon the dingy and sweat covered surface of the ground beneath him. "I may talk in my sleep, but I've never met an alien who purrs during her own." Blu had shared physical relations with various females during the reckless days of his wild and sophomoric youth, but never once had he been graced with the undeniable pleasure that a Felisian woman can offer; now he truly understood what he had been missing.
"Get dressed, Iren. We are leaving Myris, and departing from Anreid for that matter," he said decidedly.
She quickly clothed her voluptuous figure once again with a worn dress, though she elected to wear the least tattered garment in her possession, which was still in patchwork rags. Blu hurried and gathered his equipment, tightly packing every last article of his gear into the duffle bag. With the custom-made weapons at his hip, the baby blue scarf around his neck, and a beautiful Felisian woman at his side, the Earthian traversed back to his cruiser, taking a route that led away far from the burnt down pile of ashes and cinder that was once known as Grigg's.
When the pair were safely aboard and harnessed to their seats, Blu began to initiate his spacecraft for flight. The cruiser slowly levitated from the ground, then its thrusters were engaged, and the spaceship blasted upward toward the glowing illumination of Myris.
Iren peered out the rear cockpit's window in amazement, enamored by just how beautiful the city radiated during the hours of surrounding darkness. She breathed a deep sigh of relief as the bright green atmosphere that colors the planet Anreid began to diminish and fade in the distance, like a green ball swallowed up by a dark well. Soon the galactic vehicle was speeding through space, and they were enveloped by the shadowy void and twinkling gleams of the universe.
Blu effortlessly piloted the spacecraft, and once he was satisfied with reaching his proper course, he began to dial Gully's frequency. The call went through.
"This is Lieutenant Gultheszra speaking," the alien answered in a low and serious tone, as if he were accepting an unknown business call, or anticipating orders from higher ranked commander.
"Gully, it's me."
"Well damn it, if it ain't Blu! And here I thought you were dead. I received the details about that bastard Grigg and his tavern yesterday, sounded like one hell of a blood bath." The accuracy of his words were all too familiar in the memories of Iren.
"But it probably would have been better if you really were dead. I can't keep covering your Earthian ass here pal, no matter how hairy it is. When those wanted holograms are issued, the emphasis is on capturing the criminal - not killing them and every other damn alien they get chummy with! I hear some rangers are investigating the incident, and that they think some maniac is going on a homicidal killing spree. They're starting to connect all of those damned dots you're leaving behind-"
"Gully, I didn't buzz you for the lecture," he said sharply. Blu was quick to remain on point with his conversation.
"Yeah, yeah. I suppose if you wanted to be lectured by an alien in uniform you wouldn't have quit the force, but that's old news. Tell me, how was Myris by the way? Did you have a chance to dine on some fine alien cuisine - you know, sample some strange and exotic lady-types?" Gully was jokingly razzing his long time friend, though he was unaware of Blu's female company.
"You did, didn't you? Damn, what a scoundrel! I'm slaving away here, training the next rotation of incoming rangers, all males too, and you're gallivanting shamelessly through the universe fucking all of the good looking tail you can find." The lieutenant laughed loudly, and Blu's faced reddened from the embarrassment being brought upon him by the sudden antics.
"How was it? Did she cry for mercy? Did she beg for more? I bet you nabbed some filthy, dirty, sex kitten-"
"What?!" The voice of the alien on the other end of the frequency shrieked in irritation; he was serious in his attempt to live vicariously through his Earthian comrade, no matter how much it annoyed Blu.
"I managed to rescue a Felisian woman from Myris while tracking down Big Lizard and Grigg. She's with me at the moment, but I'm taking her to the abbey on Seir. She doesn't have anywhere else to go, and I reckon they won't refuse her once they taste her cooking." Blu glanced back toward Iren with a grin, and she looked away from his eyes with a blushing smile upon her face.
"Oh? Ahem - sorry about that buddy. Maybe you should tell me about Myris another time." There was a moment of shameful silence, then he continued, "what's the buzz for? Make it quick, I have another frequency trying to contact me." In the background of the lieutenant's whereabouts, a faint and repetitious beeping could be heard.
"I need you to wire the reward money to the Office of Rangers stationed on Seir's moon. Change the charter it is filed under from 'bounty' to 'lost claims,' and arrange to have an assigned Mr. Rook claim the file," then Blu paused for a moment while the noise of clattering keys filled the transmitter of Deninn's audio receiver, after which he inquired, "Any more holograms come through? I'm still on the prowl, you know."
"Take your pick; pyrotechnic psycho or crazed cannibalistic. Still no word on your man, though."
"I've always had a thing for fireworks," he said buoyantly.
Blu decided that tracking a devious villain who was terrorizing property and innocent lives sounded more interesting than hunting a glutinous fiend that may be ridding the universe of unnecessary vagabonds; a deeply cruel but highly logical thought process.
"I'll send you the details once you get to Seir. Safe journeys, pal." The frequency ended, and the remainder of the flight through outer space was spent in a relatively uneasy quietness.
The planet of Seir is comprised mainly of fresh water and beautiful islands, and it is a well guarded fortress of security and sanction. The air is cool and refreshing, and the ambience of the atmosphere brings a sensational feeling of serenity and mental peace. Some aliens would compare the planet to whatever paradise they believe might await them in the afterlife; it is pure, placid, and perfectly divine.
Blu piloted his cruiser toward an immense cathedral that towered high toward the heavens from one of the lonely isles, and without accident or incident he steered his spacecraft to one of the authorized landing zones. He deactivated his thrusters and engines, then the cockpit doors lifted upward and hissed open.
A galactic priestess wearing colorful and decorated robes came to greet the cruiser, and crowded around her was a group of adolescent aliens. The Earthian and the Felisian woman were quitting the spaceship when they heard youthful voices calling out.
"Look! It's Blu, it's Blu!"
"I see you have brought us another soul to shelter, Blu. Oh, and how lovely she is!" When the priestess had approached them, she bowed herself low to the ground in reverence and respect, and the pair returned the humble gesture. The children were quick to waylay the vigilante, elated to be in his presence once again.
"Tell us about your latest adventure!"
"Yeah, let's hear a story!"
"Come on, Blu. Just one story!"
"Tell us, tell us!"
They pawed and tugged away at him with overly pleading expressions, and the Earthian knelt down to greet his assemblage of adoring fans. "Okay, okay. Let me tell you about the tale of how I bravely wandered the universe, and recently found myself on the planet Arneid..."
He went on and on, and the children listened to his harrowing tale with undivided attention. There were times when he gestured his hand like a firing sidearm, and others when he would dance about with rather comedic motions, waving his arms about. At one point, he poked his fingers downward from the corners of his mouth to mimic having tusks, though he wiggled his extremities to excite the children's cheerfulness, which succeeded without any chance of failure. Even the priestess had raised a hand to her mouth, hoping to conceal the sight of her laughter being coerced by the Earthian's thrillingly humorous tale.
Iren smiled on as the she witnessed the faces of the children display complete enthrallment for Blu and his playful demeanor. She was both bewildered and amazed, yet she could not believe this was the same alien who, during that dreadful night in which they became acquainted, bore the look of sternness and devilish intent which permeated upon his face; that expression mirroring a lone wolf bearing its fangs, like a wild beast that was cornered and prepared to fight and survive by any means necessary.
The Felisian had witnessed the unmerciful and unforgiving violence that Blu exacted upon his equally ruthless foes; now she saw him exciting young children as if it had never happened, or the story he told was all part of some magical dream. She wondered how complex the Earthian was, suspecting there were many sides of her savior that had yet to be revealed.
Finally the time had come to say goodbye, and the priestess was readying to escort Iren and the children to the mighty fortress of shelter and security; a place that offered her the exact opposite Myris had given the Felisian. A renewed beginning was about to unfold for her, and the fate that had abandoned her long ago returned once more, though her misery could never be truly lifted. Iren's burden of sorrow lessened greatly after her startling rescue; the wounds upon her soul had begun to heal.
Blu was finalizing his cruiser for take off, and he inspected the exterior of his spacecraft before turning his attention to the Felisian woman, who awaited him patiently. He handed her a small leather pouch, the contents of which was a miniature fortune of planetary currency. "This will help you get by, I reckon. With Gully's help, I'm going to claim the bounties of the cretins you nabbed, so don't think this is more of my Earthian charity. Take care in your new home, Iren."
"Wait. Before you leave-"
Her eyes pouted with the sadness of unwanted departure, and she leaned toward Blu as if to give him one last embracing kiss before they were separated, but he refrained from accepting her gesture by gently pushing her away, though his body yearned for one more taste of the her sweetly tempting passion.
"No, it's better this way. I'm not much for goodbyes," he said casually as he mounted himself into the front cockpit.
"Will I ever see you again?" The sparkle of hope flickered in Iren's eyes, and she clasped her hands upon her bosom as she swayed back and forth with spirited curiosity; her voluptuousness and womanly feline traits naturally surfaced during the gesture, though it was unintentional.
"Our paths will cross when the planets align."
This is another familiar cosmic farewell, and the expression is given when one believes in the hope of seeing that day arrive within their lifetime, and the Earthian spoke these words with absolute sincerity.
"Until then Blu, take to the stars with courage. Safe journeys, cowboy." She blew a flighty kiss upon the wind, then she stared on as immense gratitude for the vigilante showed itself upon her face, and gleamed from her gorgeous auburn eyes.
Once again the spacecraft roared its engines and charged its thrusters as the door latched shut, then it hovered up and rocketed toward the sky. Blu looked down toward the landing zone as he ascended into the atmosphere; he noticed that all of the children, the priestess, and Iren were waving at him while they parted ways. Their bodies became faint and indecipherable, then in a moment they were mere specks until he finally entered the unfathomable expanse of the universe with his cruiser. His next destination was Seir's moon, and he anticipated the arrival of the upcoming bounty hologram. The concentrated look within his eyes returned, and a stern seriousness swept over him just as before; the time for niceties had come to an end, and violence was yet again upon Blu's horizon.
The journey of Blu continues on in the next installment, and an unexpected danger occurs on Seir's Moon.