Monstrous Compendium Ch7 bit – Preen

It was like someone flicking tiny bits of sandpaper away from her skin. Feather by feather, it didn’t feel like much, but as Kirito worked her wing relaxed, like a hand that’d gripped a sword too long.

The oil did feel a little like shampoo, as Kirito kept wetting the tips of metal claws and working it into tough feathers. Its scent was limes, with a faint not-quite-there hint of morning glory.

He moved a little closer. She didn’t say no.

“Go ahead and use some of the oil,” Kirito offered, still working. “Get in around the base of each shaft, and get out anything that’s been caught in there. Then pull the feather between your thumb and finger, so you oil the outside and zip up the leading edges. Slow and easy.”

Hesitantly, Asuna drew a feather between her claws, just as she remembered doing as a younger girl with fallen crow feathers. Only back then the marvel of barbed filaments catching on each other to form one thin, air-catching surface had just been a wonder she could see. It hadn’t brought this quiet, steady sense of relief, like brushing out tangles she hadn’t realized were there. “You learned to do this on cockatrices?”

Kirito ducked his head, the system painting his cheeks flaming red. “The tame ones can be friendly. If they know you won’t hurt them.” His voice dropped. “They’re warm.”

Something warm, that didn’t want to attack you. That didn’t want to manipulate you, the way she had to push and cajole and almost threaten people, every day. Asuna swallowed a sudden lump in her throat. “Could I see them?”

Kirito’s hands went still on her wings. He glanced at her, eyebrows up; are you serious?

Whatever he saw in her face must have been yes. “I can ask.” He opened a message menu, typed up something brief, and sent it. “I don’t know how long she’ll take to reply.”

“She?” Asuna raised a startled brow. “Argo?”

“No.” Kirito shrugged. “She likes her privacy. If she says yes, I’ll tell you.”


28 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch7 bit – Preen

  1. Huh, didn’t realize it, but Asuna hasn’t meth Stheno yet has she? I wonder how wide-spread knowledge of Kirito’s association with Stheno actually is? I mean we’ve had a number of chapters focused on Kirito and Furinkazan with Argo shoehorning her way in (as she does), but now that I think about it there’s no real indication how far that information has spread beyond that group.

    Assuming it has spread at all. There’s a reason that whenever I try to imagine the cast of SAO as part of the SWtOR era that I imagine Klein and Furinkazan as a Special Forces unit beyond the fact that I main a Commando.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. And we have the meeting between Asuna and Stheno coming soon

    I wonder how long it will take Stheno to get on the Kirito/Asuna ship? because they are just too cute together to not want in on IMO =P

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  3. Somehow I feel more like Kirito inviting a possible girlfriend to meet with his family. And in a sense, Stheno has become his mother in game.
    Also, nice grooming scene.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Item: While checking to see how good a fit blue dragons were for Asuna, (pretty good, the only thing that competes as well seems to be Opal), I came across Lethus and Cerulean which seem interesting possibilities for Kirito.

    Item: Caerulus seems to be (I’ve forgotten much, and haven’t dug into references) Latin. Specifically a diminutive of Caerus, -a, -um, whatever that means. Like how Caligula is diminutive of Caligae (a soldier’s boots or sandals: this is a specific type of laced hobnailed sandal that goes up the ankle.) or Dracula is of Dracus, -a, -um (I haven’t checked to see which gender the word for dragon has.) So, in Erfworld terms the signamancy is a bit scary. Drake, who has much better Latin than I, had a character in his Lords of the Isles named Carus. (If I’ve ever looked the meaning of Carus up, I’ve forgotten what it is.) Carus is basically similar to Drake’s other characters Aide, Center, and in later books Raj Whitehall. Carus was the warrior king who had failed to save the kingdom during the prior cycle of disasters, because he would have needed more than a sword and a strong arm to do so. (Okay his personality is different, but he cannot act directly, and instead serves as a wise adviser to a young man. (Okay, Belisarius was not a teenager.)) Also Carolus, I’m thinking of the one from Sabaton’s Carolus Rex. Anyway, scary signamancy.

    At one point I had misremembered how Caelus is spelled. Caelus means sky, but some historical Christians used it for God.

    Thanks. This has helped me during a challenging time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anyway, “caeruleus” is indeed the Latin word for cerulean blue or green. (It is basically a sky color, but it can mean a sea color too.) It is an adjective; “caerulus” would be its noun form (although it apparently did not exist, it could).

      There is some thought that it comes from “caelulum,” an unattested diminutive of “caelum.” But it could also come from some Greek or Italic word that we do not have. Shrug.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have java off when I look at wiki, and that seems to keep things under control. (In some browsers, about:config in the address bar, search for java, and turn off javascript.enabled )

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with Asuna and Kirito. A warm snuggle buddy that at most tries for extra food is great.

    I feel like when the players end up in Eberron, Stheno might be able to at least temporarily calm people down with them.


  6. Personally I’m still looking forwards to seeing Asuna’s reaction to Argo becoming a Medusa too. If she also meets a few more Medusas… well, Yui needs to meet her ‘Mother’ sometime, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wait, is Kirito grooming Asuna’s feathers? Asuna has feathers? I didn’t get the impression she was half-dead re-registered, weren’t only scales mentioned last snippet?
    Well, it’s extremely cute, anyway. The mental image brings me a lot of joy.

    Liked by 1 person

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