[A6I5] ==>

Like humans, cheru8s perceive romance through only one quadrant. Unlike humans, their rel8tionships are exclusively 8lack. 8ut their m8ting ritual is much more violent than any practice trolls would, or even physically could engage in. And though it is critical to the perpetu8tion of their race, the confront8tions can sometimes 8e lethal to one or 8oth cheru8s. Regardless of the outcome, the stakes are always high. The winner of the duel will assume control of the other's territory, while the loser will slink away to 8ear the offspring. So as she toured the planetary wreckage, she knew her quest for a m8 was not just a8out the propag8tion of her species, 8ut the li8er8tion of 8illions from a monster.

She pursued him for many sweeps with mounting o8session, until one day the trail came to an end at a 8lack hole. Cheru8s typically seek out 8lack holes as the setting for their m8ting ritual. 8ut not any 8lack hole. Once long ago it was a star, and circling that star was a planet. That planet was home to one of the presently sparring cheru8s. The male in this case returned to the site of his hatching to m8, a loc8tion now conspicuously occupied 8y a truly massive 8lack hole.

This was where she found him. And this was where they would duel.

> [A6I5] ==>
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