As had been agreed in a series of conference calls made between Nya and Mli on astrophone, Queen Shandra and Queen Mer Elicsi would fly into Mecnita from Vavlu on Photon X, one of our spaceships that plies the skies between the planet and its satellite. Vavlu, of course, is the capital of the Kingdom of Ufzu, where Shandra reigns. Mer Elicsi reigns over the Kingdom of Vrandz, in its capital at Emshcro. Lunar transport is not on a par with Nyatic transport, and Mer Elicsi had had to travel from Emshcro to Vavlu in a rapid yacht down the
Years earlier, when King Enk ruled Vrandz, Vrandz invaded Ufzu, taking advantage of Shandra's inexperience as Queen of Ufzu. She had been on the throne a year or so. Mer Elicsi was a popular figure in Vrandz at that time and sought to depose the evil Enk. Shandra, who, as a Vrikshaya, was Ajinblambia's kinswoman, appealed to Ajinblambia for support in the conflict with Vrandz. Lending assistance provided by Ajinblambia to Mer Elicsi's faction, she was able to help her topple Enk, and peace was concluded between Ufzu and Vrandz, the two lovely queens forming a dear friendship that was still ardent when they arrived in Mecnita.
Queen Mer had never set foot on the Nyatic planet or in its glorious kingdom, the
Mer knew I was the High Maid of the Girls' Volleyball Association of Greater Mecnita--acronymously known as Gvagma--and I provided plenty of detail about our leagues and our plans to expand into Ub. I told her about Cissi's Intimates, the lingerie chain merged with Gvagma, and also about
Originally, Shandra and Mer had planned to come to Mecnita in the early dates of '402, but the Old Chiliad's season began on Day 0 of the year. When Mer expressed a desire to play some volleyball herself, I got the idea to sideline myself for the duration of Mer's stay in Mecnita, letting her substitute for me on the Eldor Geese. But since she didn't know even the basic rules of the game, I proposed that they come on day 410 of '401, which would give Mer about a week to ready herself as the beautiful new lady in the anserine ranks.
Shandra and Mer were my guests, but I had acted under the auspices of Ajinblambia in inviting them to Mecnita. So I had Clixbong chauffeur me in Udi's white V30 limousine, the finest automobile manufactured by Atdo-on-the-Etdo Auto Works, to
Shandra told Ajinblambia that one of the first things she wanted to do was ride with Mer and me down some of the bridle paths on the palace grounds. The Vrikshaya looked at me and said, "Sissy, you have not been practicing your riding enthusiastically enough. I'm going to have to ask you to ride with Shandra."
"Ride with Shandra? What do you mean?"
"You know very well what I mean, Sissy. You are to ride with Shandra on her horse, in front of her, seated between her thighs, so she can put her left arm about your waist and hold the reins in her right hand, just as you did a few times before. Don't you recall? Don't you also remember the days when Ivandra rode with you? I recall them perfectly well. Why can't you?"
Mer had a quizzical look on her face, as if she thought that this was a private joke she didn't quite understand. Ajinblambia, noticing this, said to Mer, "Our Sissy's a little unsure on a horse, so sometimes, for her own safety, I have her ride with Shandra."
"I am not unsure on a horse, dear Sita," I said, using Ajinblambia's nickname in mock insubordination.
"Whatever you say, Sissy, but you are not getting on that horse without Shandra to hold and protect you."
"This isn't fair, Ajinblambia. I shouldn't humor you in this."
"You shouldn't humor me? How would you like to be spanked right now, right before Shandra and Mer?"
By now Mer was beaming with mirth. I put on a look of annoyance and embarrassment, as if I had been acquiescing in following Ajinblambia's wishes only because she was king, and not because there was any real reason for me to have to be babysat by Shandra, but in my heart of hearts I was thrilled, just dying to get into the lap and arms of that gorgeous, shining, fragrant goddess. I think Mer saw this aspect of the exchange, and that that was the reason for her merriment.
However that may be, Shandra, Mer and I did ride that afternoon, and there were only two horses.
The very next morning, I led Mer to Inni Villa, introducing her to Barti, Vinja, Usha, Dhabbi and Mlechi, the other five Eldor Geese. I was stunned by her height. When we had spoken on astrophone, I was laboring under the illusion that she was sweet and petite. But she was quite as tall as the five young ladies from Gangawar, that is, about seven feet. At 5'-10", I was a doll among amazons. I wondered whether the Geese had any new volleyball uniforms that would fit Mer. Of course they did. I asked Mer to go into the dressing room and change. Ten minutes later she emerged in her bright red leotard and cheerleader's skirt with self panties, her white knee socks and sneakers. What a magnificent figure she had. I was dazzled and astonished.
She and the Geese went right out for practice. It was immediately obvious that Mer was a fine athlete and would make a championship volleyball player. I was envious. I was jealous. I was full of admiration and wonder. What an amazing development!
After practice and instruction, Mer and the Geese came back with me to Inni Villa, where Mer showered and put back on the clothes she had been wearing. She wore a royal blue silk taffeta blouse buttoned in the back. The vee neckline resembled a scarf with the right side laid over the left at an angle, to form the bosom, which was sewn to a fitted riff. Her turban, fastened with a sapphire and diamond brooch, matched her blouse. Her pants were made of a glossy black nylon spandex, not unlike ski pants, and she wore off-black stockings or pantyhose with black sandals. She carried a black duffel purse of soft leather with drawstrings long enough so that she could sling it over her left shoulder. In a word, she looked great.
While Mer had been playing volleyball, Shandra had been in Ajinblambia's office chatting. I called her on my finger-ring phone and told her we'd be at the north entrance of the palace in ten minutes. She met us there and Glafcroc drove us to
Shandra had on a canary yellow leotard with a deep scoop neckline and long sleeves pushed up to the elbow. With this, she wore slacks of white pongee, canary yellow stockings or tights, and cork espadrilles with white straps and slingbacks. On her wrists, gold snake bracelets coiled sinuously. "It's not right of you to dress so beautifully," said Mer by way of compliment, "You make it quite impossible for anyone else to stand a comparison."
"Comparison! I don't want a comparison. I want a kiss." I blushed and looked the other way, as the two dear friends exchanged a few passionate kisses.
Glafcroc had dropped us off right in front of 7 Ramdonia Circle, so it was about a mile's walk to the newly-opened Gvagma Spiral, a half-mile straight ahead and another half-mile right. We passed Rose Verandah III but saved lunch till later. I could see that a train was about ready to start the half-hour ascent of the helical monorail, so I rushed Shandra and Mer to the gate and we boarded. The plain steel framing that supported the monorails and the trains was mostly hidden behind curved stainless steel fascia girders, and only slightly visible here and there. Our train consisted of four freshly painted cars, as red and as fine as expensive nail polish. The three of us took bucket seats upholstered in black vinyl. Since we would be rising at 10.5 degrees, the seats swung on pivots and rose a little, so that we would sit erect and not have our feet cramped. On the return, the seats would pivot in the opposite direction and sink a little.
The diameter of the spiral was about 955 feet, the circumference was 3000. We'd ascend the 12,000 feet to the level of Ramdonia Circle Guideway making 24 loops, for a total of 13.6 miles measured horizontally or 13.8 miles measured along the incline, which we'd cover in 30 minutes, advancing at a speed of 27.6 miles an hour. As we rose, we surveyed ever-expanding panoramas of the Nyatic metropolis. Mecnita proper is a square 100 miles on an edge, but the spiral was off-center about 6 or 7 miles. Nonetheless we could see the whole city by the time we were nearing the top, I mean everything except what was blocked from view by
Towers, domes, ovals, arches, spires and a million other shapes stood before us in magnificent array, interspersed with parks, hills, woods and rivers. There were theaters, stadiums, institutes, museums, colleges and libraries. The perfect geometry of the streets, polar here, bipolar there, rectilinear yonder, was a study in design. And of course
We turned and turned for what seemed an age, and finally we detrained at the guideway platform at
The ladies were awed. I was awed. Everyone on the spiral and the guideway was awed. Surely there is no other place anywhere that is more magnificent than the great capital of Ung. Eventually we got back around to
By now, we were hungry, so we stopped for a late lunch at Rose Verandah III--salad with onions, tomatoes, walnuts, white cheese and cold chicken. We fairly gobbled our food, because we wanted to visit around
That evening, Ajinblambia and Udi held a dinner party in Udi's intimate little dining room. Shandra and Mer Elicsi were the gursts of honor, but the six Eldor Geese, myself included, and Zevanardia were present also. Udi had her girls bring roast pork with baked yams--yams of the dioscoreaceous kind--and broccoli thick with cheese sauce. We also had a relish tray, with pâté, pickled kidney beans, chicken livers roasted in bacon, caviar on lightly toasted white bread and other titbits. The conversation was mostly about the affairs and way of life in the two lunar kingdoms, Ufzu and Vrandz.
It turned out that Barti had had Hozibbi, the housekeeper at Inni Villa, film that morning's volleyball practice. Queen Udi drew back a burgundy velvet drape that covered most of one wall in the dining room, revealing a screen where Hozibbi's movie could be shown, so we could all watch and comment on the game generally, and more particularly on Mer's performance, in case there were rules we should explain or pointers on her style that we might make.
We were all dazzled by the grace and beauty of Queen Mer Elicsi as she pranced and danced about the volleyball court as smoothly as if she had been playing for years. I was particularly enamored of the magnificently sculptured buttocks and abdomen of that natural-born ballerina, visible as her skirt flew up when she leapt. I was literally beside myself with that spectacular piece of divine workmanship and artistry. All the other ladies were amazed too. It seemed absolutely impossible that a complete volleyball novice like Mer should play such a brilliant game. When Hozibbi's little movie ended, we all fell to discussing Mer's showing.
There were a few technicalities about the rules of the game that we felt needed explanation. Zevanardia and Barti, the two captainesses present, took that matter in hand, very minutely expatiating on some of the fine points. At this juncture, I felt my place was to be quiet, lest all the Geese start teasing me about my game, calling me a duck among the geese, and so forth, as was their wont.
My mind was a million miles away. I was already daydreaming about the conquest of Mli. Couldn't Gvagma and Cissi's go interplanetary? Wouldn't it be possible to organize girls' volleyball teams on the moon? What about elegant intimates? Wouldn't there be a market for ultra-stylish apparel in kingdoms ruled by queens like Shandra and Mer Elicsi? At this point, I said nothing. I felt it was premature to talk about the revolutionary idea turning in the back of my mind. I felt that I should wait till near the conclusion of Mer's visit, and, then, if her athletic ability was still as marvelous as it now seemed, I would take the matter up with Ajinblambia. With Ajinblambia's approval, of course, I'd be able to consider the venture practically a fait accompli.
The party ended around 9 Ungi. Zevanardia and I went down in Udi's elevator to the metro station in the basement of the palace, boarding a golden comet on Line 133 that traverses 95 miles between Trentshna and Oyvdreli in about half an earth-hour. It would make it in 20 minutes but for the stops along the way. We got off at
I had invited Shandra and Mer to spend another day at
I proposed that we go riding once again without telling the Vrikshaya. Shandra wagged her index finger at me, as if I had been doing something naughty, but she agreed to be an accomplice. The four of us sneaked back to the stables on the palace grounds, and took out four horses. I was a bit scared I have to admit, but the ride took place without any unfortunate events, and I smiled to myself about that. Somehow Ajinblambia, the all-knowing and all-seeing, found out about the ride, so there was a little sermon later, more of a charade than a real scolding, and she hugged me, so I concluded all was well.
I tugged at Mer's sleeve as we were parting, asking her to stop by alone at Bo House the following day. I confided to her that Zevanardia would be busy in
Mer came early without eating breakfast, as I wanted to have her try eggs Paradise and potatoes Mecnita, our favorite breakfast at Bo House and one of the specialties of Rose Verandah I, the nearest of the three Rose Verandahs. She loved the situation of Bo House, the way it was half-hidden in a thicket of bo trees in a quiet corner of
"What is this?"
"Oh, that's just some embroidery that I've been working on when I get a chance."
"You made this?"
"Why, yes! Yes, of course."
"Remarkable! I'd like to see how you do it. Will you demonstrate?"
"Sure, if you'd like."
So I sat before the frame, with my needles and floss in hand, adding careful little white stitches to some of the dainty sprays of baby's breath. Mer Elicsi watched it seemed almost incredulously. At one point I raised the frame from the tripod. It was merely inserted in the top of the frame in a loose mortise-and-tenon joint and could be removed easily.
"Oh, the frame comes off?"
"Yes," I said, "that's very convenient when you want to bring the work up close."
"Why don't you come with your frame and your materials and sit in my lap, so I can see better?"
I felt a rush of estrogen within me, taking no time whatsoever to get into Mer's lap with my frame, my needles and my floss. Her fragrance, the breadth and shape of her hips and abdomen, and the bright red angora of her skirt combined to make her as irresistible as a siren. I don't know how long I kept embroidering. I was in some kind of ecstasy or trance and lost all respect of time.
Eventually, Ezmeraudia came in, pushing Nunu in a stroller. "What are you doing, Bibi?" asked Nunu. Bibi was what Nunu called me. Here in Ung, with our pathenogenesis, female genome pairings, sexual transformations and the like, children's pet names for their parents are not what they are on planet Earth. I was Bibi to my little baby.
"Oh, I'm showing Queen Mer how to do embroidery."
"Why don't you show me too?"
"Well, don't leave me out, please," Ezmeraudia chimed in, merrily, playfully.
In a few minutes, we had an embroidery bee going. It was an unlikely foursome: a nanny, a prodigy, a queen and a volleyball commissioner. But we were having a great time. I served peanut butter cookies and hot chocolate, honoring Nunu's request. As afternoon began to close, I left with Mer, seeing her back to her apartment at
Queen Mer practised every day and looked better and better. Finally the year turned and it was Day 0 of year '402. The Eldor Geese were slated to play the Shraling Ibises, one of the teams in the same mini-association, the Near Southwestern Mini-Association of Gvagma, embracing 25 districts in a five by five array that had Eldor as its northeast corner. The mini-association included the following districts: Pycyby, Uydd, Azza, Onjmo, Eldor; Jidrid, Prumkha, Indivar, Simpandj, Ramdonia; Egshirvazi, Shraling, Rlic, Khocola, Shushing; Ghlala, Khailinjailo, Tuviduvi, Nofu, Rystyrpazi; Thlypnes, Vwesta, Shaungjia, Ngligmes and Gapan. These districts are listed west to east in each row of five, the next row being the one on the south. Thus, together, the mini-association of 25 districts covered a square 25 miles on an edge, with an area of 625 square miles, one of 16 such mini-associations in the city of
The Geese had been in a slump. They had lost 10 games in a row. This was due largely to my preoccupation with other affairs. Still Ajinblambia had ordained that I continue on the team, as one of the charter members, even if they never won another game. She did allow this temporary substitution, with Queen Mer Elicsi taking my place, however.
Actually, the bird that I am calling an ibis is our Nyatic shtheithu, which resembles an earthly ibis perfectly. Whether there is any intergalactic organic link is unknown, but I would certainly doubt any such suggestion. In shtheithu, sh is pronounced as in shred or shrill and th as in thread or thrill, e is as a in gaze, i is as in machine, but e and i may be pronounced as a diphthong or as two monophthongs, both vowels being toneless. The u is as in put, quite unrounded, pronounced in the level tone, and bearing the accent of the word. Anciently, our shtheithu was thought to be sacred, so the Shraling Ibises called their clubhouse the
Incidentally, in my transcriptions of the names of the 25 districts of the Near Southwestern Mini-Association of Gvagma and other places, persons and things that I've cited in this chronicle, I have had to rely on a variety of makeshifts to respell Ung's vocables in English letters. After all, Nuu's alphabet has 328 letters, as opposed to English's 26. However, it would be a tremendous chore to discuss the pronunciation of each of the place-names and other nouns. What I recommend is that anyone who reads this work pronounce the words as she sees fit. Where a pronunciation becomes important or interesting, as in the case of shtheithu, I may add an explanatory note. This tale is about girls' volleyball not intergalactic transliterations.
Suddenly, in the first game of the new season, the Eldor Geese were in tip-top shape. The Shraling Ibises were considered one of the best teams in the Girls' Volleyball Association of Greater Mecnita. They had starred in the playoffs in '401, coming in fifth among 1000 teams in the Old Chiliad. But the Geese scored a smashing victory over the Ibises, winning 25-8. I don't know if the Geese had ever won a game by a score like 25-8 before. The star of the match was Queen Mer Elicsi. Everyone was amazed. We had a supernova in our midst.
Both Obscont and Cissi's Newsletter carried front-page articles with beautiful photographs of the Vrandzian queen. She was invited to appear on a television program the very next day. Within a few days, all Mecnita knew about Mer Elicsi. I invited her to model volleyball uniforms, dancewear and intimate apparel at the
She played again on Day 5 of '402. At that time, the Eldor Geese triumphed dramatically over the Eghirvazi Comets in their own stadium in Egshirvazi. This may have been another first, with a final score of 25-11. This was a real upset. In the previous game between the Geese and the Comets, the Comets had won 25-11. On Day 10, the Geese beat the Khailinjailo Kites 25-9. On Day 15, they beat the Azza Honeybees 25-10. In each and every one of these games, Mer Elicsi had starred, outdoing even Barti, Vinja, Usha, Dhabbi and Mlechi, the great athletic fivesome from Gangawar, who were also the Royal Council of Ung.
It was agreed that Queen Mer would play on Days 20 and 25, and then conclude her visit to Mecnita, returning with Shandra to Vavlu, where again she'd embark on her yacht for the navigation of the Narni River back to Emshcro.
Now was the time to broach the subject of a lunar division of Gvagma. Ajinblambia and I had resumed the daily three-hour sessions during which I bathed and dressed the great Vrikshaya. I decided to prime her for my request by making the next session very enjoyable. As usual, I mixed a bowl of lotion, liquid soap, oil and perfume into a smooth, fragrant balm. Lapping up mouthfuls, I kissed her and massaged her with my tongue and fingers, covering the entirety of her body and lingering in her erotic zones so long I could hear her sigh with pleasure. Then I rinsed her with warm water scented with rose cologne and patted her dry with a fluffy towel, tickling her here and there with delicate fingertips. I selected immaculate white silk intimates, taking my sweet time to draw them onto her form, holding her breasts in my hands and lifting them lovingly into the cups, and fondling her buttocks playfully as I snugged her panties to her waist. Then I helped her into her peignoir, so she could sit in her boudoir chair and let me comb her hair, apply her makeup and lacquer her nails.
After those procedures, I brought her her favorite breakfast, which was grilled cutlets topped with fried eggs, sunny side up, and toasted bread with soft, fresh, warm, sweet butter. Along with these, I served a few balls of honeydew, watermelon and cantaloupe.
As a novelty, I lit a few sticks of sandalwood incense and put on some light music--a string quartet with the haunting strains of an oasis in the desert. When I had helped her into her stockings and secured them with knittles through tiny grommets, I brought her a shirtdress of mulberry silk crepe with a thin pleated skirt and a self belt. The blouse of the dress had long pointed collars, which I tacked with rhinestone pins that matched her cuff links. Then I put her feet into black patent letter pumps.
Ajinblambia sensed that I was taking special pains and surmised correctly that I had an ulterior motive, for she said, "You're really giving me the royal treatment this morning, and I love it. But I think that you must have something on your mind. You seem to be trying to prepare me to listen kindly to a request you have, is that not so?"
"No one could ever fool you, dear Sita. Yes, I have something on my mind. I've been thinking, now that we've made the acquaitance of Queen Mer Elicsi, it would be an opportune moment to consider extending Gvagma to the moon."
"Extending Gvagma to the moon! You certainly are ambitious, dear Sissy. You want to be in charge of interplanetary volleyball? What next? The whole galaxy?"
"So you don't like the idea?"
"You think all you have to do is give me a special bath and massage, and I'll give you the moon?"
It was beginning to look as if my strategy had failed, and I was on the point of despairing of fulfilling my new dream, but Ajinblambia said, "Don't fret. I'm just teasing. Of course, you can take Gvagma to the moon. I was going to suggest it to you."