The sun was shining overhead as Shirohoshi Headquarters dealt with its usual rush of customers wanting to check out the demonstration booths, get training, or in some cases looking for work. However, one individual stuck out among the crowd as he walked up toward the front reception desk, looking at the mechanical bluejay that sat behind it.
“Um… Is TeraDyne Hitokage-Ezeri in?” He asked, sounding a bit young for the love doll state his body took.
The cyborg was silent for a moment. “Mistress Ezeri is currently away handling an incident. Would you like to leave a message?”
The pink-and-red wolf’s molded smile remained stationary, but his eyes showed disappointment. “Let her know Kyle Olstein needs to talk to her.”
That name hit the ears of a nearby snow leopard, who immediately turned to intercept the kid. Her body was much like his, made to be a sex toy from top to bottom. A tauroid, with painted spots on her white textured rubber body, with mitten hands and boot-like paw feet. And much like him, she bore a static smile surrounding an onahole, though her eyes and ears let her emote well enough.
“Kyle?” She called out, causing him to stop as the feline approached. “I’m Aika. Tera was telling me about you a while back. There something I might be able to help you with?”
The canine’s ears went back flat. “Not unless you can deal with my school.”
Aika didn’t like the sound of that. Thinking, she put a hand on his shoulder and led him toward the back. But as she approached reception, her gaze went to the bird. “Servina, let Mistress Vega know I’m on my way up. Tell her it’s about the Olstein case.”
“Acknowledged, Mistress Aika.”
The elevator ride was a silent one as they waited for the carriage to stop, and climbing fifty-seven floors was no quick feat. However, when they stopped, Aika led Kyle out into a short hallway, before opening a massive black door with a gold nameplate. A nameplate that had Lenne Hitokage-Ezeri pressed in black lettering on its surface.
Inside, the room was slightly dim. Despite the massive bank of windows on one side, they were tinted so heavily that it felt like it was almost nighttime. However, several large crystal lamps provided enough light to work in, and they could still see clearly enough.
And behind the desk just across from him, a rather intimidating figure sat in a throne-like chair, leaning back as if taking a break from hir work. A dragoness, somewhat muscular, with a skull over hir face and multiple horns forming almost a backswept crown on hir head. Brown with a tan chest, barely visible under the collar of her purple rubber business suit, and a large spike sticking up from each of her shoulders. However, Kyle could also see what looked like a dolphin’s head wrapped around one wrist, the other having one of a wolf like himself. He couldn’t tell what they were supposed to actually be, though.
The pair approached the desk, and the dragoness smiled at the young wolf doll, speaking in a naturally sultry voice. “Well, you must be Kyle Olstein! I’m Lenne Hitokage-Ezeri, CEO of Shirohoshi. Please, have a seat.”
Nervous, Kyle climbed up into one of the chairs in front of him and sad down, while Aika wandered off to the side, her lower body sitting up to get comfortable. The leopard had told him that Lenne might look scary, but not to be afraid of her. “Thank you, ma’am.”
“Please, just call me Lenne.” Shi leaned forward, moving a folder to one side. “How can I help you?”
Once again, the wolf’s ears drooped. “Well… I just got expelled from school… For hugging my boyfriend…”
Aika and Lenne looked at each other, the latter being the one to speak up. “Alright. Tell me what happened.”
Kyle went silent for a few moments, trying to get his nerves in order as he fidgited with his tail. “I… I went to Shalren Falls Secondary School. Before I changed, some kids used to go to the professors and say I growled or snapped at them. There’s this rule called victim’s first, so if you do something like that, they put a muzzle on you for an hour. Trying to tell them you didn’t do it adds another hour. But after I got my suit and changed, they couldn’t use that on me. I don’t have teeth or anything, so there’s no reason to muzzle me.”
He stopped for a moment, clearly trying to calm himself. Again, the two adults gave each other a look, not quite sure what to think.
“Tyrel… My boyfriend… We got caught kissing a few times, and they’d give us detention for it, even after school if it happened before we left. Now that I’ve changed, they made it worse. Saying a kiss is bordering on sex with me. But when we were at the sidewalk and heading to his house for a while, we hugged. That’s all, just hugged. And Professor LeCharis dragged us back inside to the headmaster’s office. Headmaster Greyscales said we were being thrown out for inappropriate behavior.”
It took everything in their power for the two ladies to keep their calm. Aika felt offended from hearing about the obvious discrimination against a fellow toy, but Lenne’s motherly side was flaring up. However, unlike hir daughter, Lenne knew how to keep focused on the task at hand, without letting hir rage get the better of hir.
Shi reached out to pick up hir phone, tapping out something on the screen. Then, shi put it up to her head, clearly making a call.
“Chalren, I need you to do a bit of undercover work for me. I’ll be down there in a bit to give a full briefing, but you’ll want to pull up information on Shalren Falls Secondary School in Shalren’s Cove. … Yeah, here on Shiromori. … Thanks.”
The slab of glass went down again, and Lenne looked Kyle in the eyes. “Don’t worry. I’m going to get to the bottom of this. For now, I want you to stay here at Shirohoshi Headquarters for your own safety, okay?”
“O-o-okay.” The wolf replied, sounding more depressed than afraid at that point. “Can I call my dad? I kinda…took a shuttle here from school. It’s what Tera said I should do if something happened.”
“Come on, Kyle.” Aika grabbed hold of him by his shoulder handles and lifted him up, placing the canine on her own lower back. “You can call him down in my quarters. I’ve got some fruit juices and lubes to take your mind off of things.”
As Aika began leaving, Kyle looked back at Lenne. “Th-thank you, Lenne.”
Lenne gave the kid a silent nod, smiling to keep hir anger in check, at least until he was through the door and out of sight. Once they were gone, hir glare showed itself, and shi got to hir feet. No child deserved such treatment, and shi knew what would happen if even some of what Kyle had said was true. However, that would take time. And time was of the essence if they were to gather evidence.
The dragoness made her way to the elevators, sighing as she pressed the call button. Work never ended for a real leader.
Over the next few weeks, Kyle continued his schooling while staying at Shirohoshi Headquarters. Tyrel had also been brought in, with Aika being slightly surprised to see a bluejay gryphon love doll showing up at the company. The wolf had to explain that Tyrel changed himself with one of his brother’s suits after Jake gave permission, since Tera had apparently said it was okay during a follow-up visit.
And the snow leopard had to admit, they were thriving compared to what their older school records showed. Going from a 75% average to a 92% average was no small jump. And their language grades had been the largest improvement of them all, though Aika chalked that up to the one-on-one tutoring. Getting them fluent in the Omega Alliance native languages wasn’t going to be as hard as the two kids thought.
But as Aika began walking toward the front desk for her midday rounds, she caught the end of a conversation between Servina and someone else. A bluejay, at least from the neck up.
“I’m sorry, but I really need to see my brother. Tyrel Smith?”
“You must be Jake.” Aika said as she approached, holding out a hand. “I’m Mistress Aika. Tyrel’s been getting tutoring from my team.”
“Nice to meet you.” He replied, shaking her hand with his talon. He was still partially in one of his own red gryphon lovedoll suits, with the head removed to reveal his organic cranium, so the two produced a loud squeak when they gripped each other. “How’s my little bro holding up?”
She motioned for him to follow, and follow he did, deciding to put himself back into his full love doll state.
“He’s thriving, honestly. Haven’t seen a kid so excited about math in a long time, though I mostly blame Mistress Faral’s teaching methods for that. Both he and his boyfriend bounced back pretty quickly.”
“Can I see him?” Jake’s voice had changed, sounding far more feminine to match the doll body he bore.
“Not right now. We’ve got them doing lessons till eighteen-hundred, and Mistress Vega doesn’t want them disturbed during class. Especially with the investigation still going on.”
The gryphon’s ears lowered. “Oh… I guess news hadn’t showed it yet.”
Aika looked back as they rounded a corner toward the northern showroom floor. “Obviously. What happened?”
“Shalren Falls got shut down for the year. Damn near everyone on staff got arrested, and the headmaster’s apparently been missing for the last two days.” Jake shook his head. “Town’s up in arms about it.”
“Well then…” The snow leopard took a moment to wave to a few customers as they passed by. “What’re you going to do? You could wait around here or in Ecoil Valley for a couple hours till their lessons are done.”
The red gryphon took a moment to think, rubbing his open toy beak as he did. “Nngh… I think I’ll head to Ecoil for a bit. Need to see if there’s any houses for sale.”
Aika stopped, turning to Jake. “It’s that bad?” The nod from Jake said it all. “Oh, Lenne’s gonna be livid. Follow me.”
“Lenne? Which Lenne?”
“Mistress Vega. CEO of the company.” The snow leopard began walking again, this time toward the elevator bank behind the show floor. “Hir daughter TeraDyne wasn’t around when Kyle showed up to ask for help, so shi talked with him. Shi’s the one who ordered the investigation, too.”
“Trust me, you’ll want to let hir know. Shi’ll watch your back.” The two entered one of the waiting carriages, along with various other employees. “Fifty-seven, please.”
The elephant nearest to the panel pressed the buttons for the various floors being called out, and Jake simply watched. At each stop, a few people would get out, emptying the space out little by little. By the time they passed floor twenty, him and Aika were the only two left, meaning a straight shot to their destination.
And when the doors opened for the last time on their trip, the two stepped out, with Aika leading him into the darkened office. Lenne was sitting back on her throne, and surprisingly, TeraDyne was there, the Cobalion sitting off to the side in another similar chair.
“Mistress Vega?” Aika said, stepping inside. “Sorry to barge in, but Jake Smith is here.”
Tera looked up at the gryphon doll as he walked inside, quickly getting to her feet and sounding relieved. “Oh good. You’re safe. I’ve had people looking for you for the last hour now.”
“Sorry about that, Mistress Ezeri.” Jake replied, coming to a stop in front of Lenne’s desk. “Soon as I heard things were getting rough, I packed our things and put ‘em in storage. Mr. Olstein was doin’ the same thing before I left. Don’t know where he went.”
“Don’t worry about him, Olan.” Lenne said, getting to hir feet. “He’s being brought here on a shuttle. We’ll help you both relocate.”
Aika gave a rather confused look to her boss. “Ol— Wait, Jake is Master Olan? The one you were asking me to start training a few days ago?”
A smile came across the dragoness’s face as shi stretched, walking around front. Both legs ended in what looked like orca heads, hidden behind thick black rubber boots with their faces molded into them. Jake had seen them during his other visits as well, but he hadn’t expected hir daughter to match with a pair of Garchomp limbs in the same positions.
“I was hoping you’d meet under better circumstances, but yes.” Shi admitted, trying to keep hirself moving a bit. “He was supposed to be manager of the Bridgestar out there, but given these circumstances?”
Tera soon started walking toward the office door. “I’m heading down to the lobby. I wanna be there when Mr. Olstein arrives.”
“Tera.” Lenne called out, causing hir daughter to stop. “When he gets here, take him to the medical wing and have him looked over. I’d rather not chance the stress getting to him.”
The bondi-colored gazelle nodded. “Will do. And thanks for making sure he’s got a place to stay, Aika.”
Once Tera left, Lenne looked over at Jack, who was resting against his knees as he leaned forward. “You need rest, too. Aika can take you to where your brother’s been calling home. There’s a place for you as well.”
“Thanks, Mistress Vega.” The gryphon got to his feet, sighing with relief, and partially glad his doll face couldn’t show just how tired he was. “Thanks for everything you’ve done.”
Aika waved silently to Lenne before heading out of the office. And once the door was closed, Lenne leaned back, tapping on the console in hir desk.
“Sevina, cancel all my appointments for the rest of the day. Same with TeraDyne’s and Aika’s. Emergencies only, please.”
“Yes, Mistress Vega.” The robotic avian said over the speakers. “Detective Chalren wishes to speak with you as soon as possible. He just left for the security chambers.”
“Was he alone?”
“There was a snow dragon in cuffs and a muzzle with him. Mistress Ezeri gave them a glare as they passed, but didn’t follow.”
“Tell him to meet me in briefing room five.” The dragoness replied, shaking hir head. “And have our usual lunches brought there from the cafeteria. This might take a while.”
“Yes, Mistress Vega.”