My idea of trying to change Monica from a twisted into a titan was put on hold when Heather ran up to us on the way back to our house a thin man grabbed by the wrist and dragged along forcefully. The man seemed a bit younger than me, young, and not to be mean, but really nerdy. He had a pale complexion of those who didn't get enough sunlight and thick glasses. It was obvious that he was one of the unfortunate ones who had not awakened.
"Found one!" Heather announced happily as she reached us and finally released the poor guy who was obviously having a lot of trouble keeping up with her.
Grace, Monica, and Hope, Grace's little sister followed behind Heather at a more normal pace.
"Found what?" Annitte asked curiously.
"Someone willing to bond and marry Melody?" Karen asked sounding hopeful.
"Who?" I asked.
"My sister!" Heather declared a bit tartly. "I did tell you her name!"
I flinched, she might have, but given everything that had been happening… "So you are willing to, despite knowing it might not work?" I asked looking at the guy Heather had dragged along.
He nodded. "Heather said I would be able to awaken?" he asked.
I considered that for a moment. "I will see if I can initiate it. It would probably be safer for you to be awakened before we try and bond you to her." I said thoughtfully. I hadn't considered it before, but then again of the humans in haven, the number that weren't awakened was pretty small.
"If I can we should consider awakening all those who haven't." I said looking to Megan who nodded.
Hearing me the guy Heather brough seemed rather uncomfortable. I sighed then stepped closer to him and grabbed him by the shoulder gently. I closed my eyes to peer into his inner space. It was empty except for a thin mist of mana like all those who hadn't awakened. Thankfully I had gained a bit of extra mana from killing the wolfen. I pushed that into him hoping it was enough to trigger an awakening like I had in Jamie before.
The mana flowed into the man he absorbed all of it causing a stir in his mana but nothing else.
"Nala." I called.
Nala gave me a reproving look but walked over to me. I grabbed her hand an siphoned the mana she had gained from the rhinotile out and into the man. The combination of both was enough. The mana started to react as I had seen it many times now. I withdrew the mana I had taken from Nala and it settled down enough to start forming his core.
I released the man then returned Nala's energy to her with a kiss which made her purr. Though I wasn't sure if it was the energy or the kiss that caused the purr.
After a few minutes to let the man's core form I reached out to check on him. To my surprise he had developed a blue core. "Still willing to volunteer?" I asked him seriously. "I hadn't thought about it yet but I will try and awaken everyone, that being the case you can back out now." I told him.
I could see indecision warring on his face for a few moment then he seemed to make a decision. "I will do it. I made a deal and I will stick to it." he told me.
I smiled and nodded. "Good, lets go." I told him.
"What was that about?" Heather asked me irritated as we walked. "It took me forever to find someone to agree and you were going to let him go?"
I nodded. "Do you really want to let your sister be permanently bonded to someone who resents her?" I asked.
"I want my sister to be able to think at a human level rather than a beast!" she declared angrily.
I shrugged then stopped and looked at Monica my eyes glowing with an idea. If we could turn Monica into a titan, couldn't we do the same for Melody? If that was the case did we even need to force a marital bond?
"Hey why don't we try this a bit later. I need to eat something now that I am back from the hunt." I suggested.
Heather frowned at me but I gave her a wink.
The guy seemed incredibly relieved and quickly took off. An excuse was all he needed.
"Why?" Heather whined unhappily.
"I realized we might not need to bond your sister to get her mind back." I replied.
"Huh?" she asked confused.
"I really am hungry so let's talk while we eat." I told them.
As we ate a couple grilled rhinotile steaks which was even better than cow steaks, in my opinion at least, though that might have been the hunger. I told the others about our interest in trying to make Monica into a titan. Then finally connected the dots and realized we had a large pool of test subject we could try and change without risking my wives or their family.
"You want to use them as guinea pigs?" Megan asked disapprovingly.
I nodded. "Yes, don't give me that look. We are keeping and feeding a large group of twisted that can't help support the haven. We can pick one that no one is related too so there isn't any opposition." I explained.
"Then what?" Kayda asked.
"Isn't that obvious?" I replied.
Kayda frowned. "Bad idea. We are strong Daryl. Very strong, I think only Nala, Trill, and Dena might even be a match for us. If we turn all the twisted into titans, we could end up in trouble if enough of them turn against us." she told me.
I stopped and considered that for a few moments. She was right. I had my other abilities along with my titan form, so I wouldn't get overwhelmed easily, but if there was enough of them I would fall.
"The servant bond isn't as intrusive as the slave bond, but would still give you some ability to stop them if they turned against you, if they never turn against you they will never have to know. You can release the bond whenever you feel capable of trusting them." Annitte spoke up.
I frowned then nodded. If I was going to play mad scientist I might as well be smart about it. I could even consider if a part of the cost of restoring their mind and giving them the powerful titan form.
Megan frowned then sighed. She didn't object.
Karen stared from me to Megan obviously expecting something. "You aren't going to object?" Karen asked Megan.
Megan shook her head. "This is probably a better deal than kicking them out back to Earth or the Great Realm. You do remember what Jorrimus said, that group alone eats as much as the rest of the humans in haven. We can't afford to continue housing them as they are. If it works there won't be a single person who objects to getting their family back." Megan replied. "Not with all we have already lost. In fact if it works we might even want to try finding more. They would make incredible hunters for the great realm. With the bond we would even be able to trust them. I would even consider it for myself too."
Karen nodded reluctantly then sighed. "Alright if no one objects I won't." she said looking around.
No one objected. Heather even seemed excited. I couldn't blame her. After some experimentation we had discovered that as titan not only did Kayda and I have the titan form that we could use indefinitely, as it was our true form. We were also a lot stronger in our other forms, human for Kayda, but my beast forms also benefited, rapid regeneration, and a strengthening of our magical abilities. I could wield a lot more energy than I used too. Then there was the senses. I could sense mana in a new way I hadn't been able to when I was human. I could track it like a scent and even see it in the air, which was how I knew Nala had received some mana from killing the rhinotile. Which was why Titan felt like an apt name for the race.
I was curious to test out the limits of our natural regeneration, but I couldn't bring myself to cutting off any fingers or toes.
With those of us present in agreement we headed for the twisted complex that housed them all. When we arrived Heather looked through the group and picked out a green skinned male. "That one." she told me.
I was curious as to why but decided not to ask. I was sure she knew which of the twisted had family and those that didn't.
Monica ordered the selected twisted to approach us. Emy seemed to have been paying attention because the cage she had made for the twisted opened so the male could walk through before closing back up.
I looked at the male. His skin was pale green while his hair was a dark brown nearly black. He was a bit shorter than I was but wider in the shoulders. He had tattered shorts on but any shirt or shoes he might have been wearing were long gone.
I took a deep breath then grabbed the twisted by the shoulder. I closed my eyes to see into his innerspace. It was something I had yet to do. Inside I saw the gree twisted core and around it a couple of abilities. A body ability, and a rage ability that seemed to empower him channeling mana to make him more powerful in battle. When Annitte had said they had fewer abilities to improve she had meant it.
I was starting to get nervous but pushed it down. I gathered some energy from my titan core and pushed it into his innerspace just like I did to awaken the other guy. The energy spread out through the innerspace but did nothing. I pushed more energy into his inner space but it did nothing. Frowning I withdrew the energy then pushed it back in aiming directly for his twisted core. That got a reaction. The twisted core slurped up my titan energy like a man dying of thirst sucked down a glass of water. Colors bloomed in the twisted core. A familiar vortex of white, red, silver, and gold.
The twisted started to writhe in my grip and roar in pain. This continued for several minutes before the twisted passed out.
"Let's just hope his transformation doesn't last as long as yours Daryl." Megan commented.
I nodded. Waiting a week to see if it worked would be agonizing.
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