The Rogue's Harem Book Two: Rogue's Wicked Harem Part Eight: Deadly Shadows By mypenname3000 Copyright 2018 Note: Thanks to B0b and WRC 264 for beta reading this. Chapter Twenty-Two: Ambush Aingeal The Forest of Lhes, The Strifelands of Zeutch My elation turned to dust as Kora collapsed. Something black thrust out from beneath her breasts beside her amulet.
An owl hooted above. Her blood soaked into the pink of her robes. Violent convulsions wracked her body. Foam bubbled on her lips. I struggled to understand what was going on? What had struck her? Where we? What was— "Aingeal!" Sven growled, his arms grabbing me and hauling me backwards. The world spun around me. My pink hair flew past my face and then. We hit the ground. I gasped, the muscles in my back twitching. Something hissed out of the dark trees above us and.
Why were we in the Forest of Lhes? The question struck me even as my heart pounded beneath my breasts. A cold chill pumped through my veins as Zanyia yowled and hissed. Metal rang, a dark dart bouncing off Ealaín's vambrace she held up before her. Then she drew her ax and war hammer, staring up at the trees. Sven thrust me to the side.
"Kora!" he shouted as he gained his feet. "Las-spawned bastard!" Sven drew a throwing dagger then jumped back. The dark dart slammed into the ground at his feet. It buried in the ground. Nearby, a small, glittering form moved in the ground, squeaking out in fright.
I gazed up at the trees. Something was up there. Something was trying to kill us. Queen Sidhe knew. She knew if she sent us to the very mushroom ring that we used to enter Faerie, an enemy would be waiting for us.
We were beyond her power now, but she ensured that we'd be punished for crossing her. Why was I just lying here? I should move, but. My entire body didn't want to obey me. My mind felt dizzy, reeling, my thoughts spinning around.
I couldn't understand why someone would attack us. Would hurt Kora. She gurgled.
Sven darted back again, his blond hair swaying about his face as he scanned the trees above. It was so dark. It should be daylight and yet the gloom of twilight gripped the woods. The tall pine trees' boughs faded into a black haze. They creaked and groaned as something moved around in them. "Kora!" Sven shouted. "Aingeal, my sister!" Sven's words galvanized my body. It electrified me. Whatever had gripped me, the shock of the attack, released me.
My brain worked right. Kora was dying. The dart. The dart must be poisoned. Kora thrashed nearby, her legs drumming on the ground.
I had to do something for her. I scrambled to my feet. The air hissed as another dart fired down at Sven. He slashed his dagger, deflecting it. The dart spun through the air and impaled into the earth near Princess Ava's rose quartz proxy. She was scrambling through the dead pine needles littering the clearing around the mushroom ring.
My breasts swayed as I reached Kora. Their weren't as many spirits in this world as there were in Faerie. But they came to me. They knew me. I had lived in exile in the Forest of Lhes for decades.
Balls of green light shot down out of the sky to me. They danced around my hand as I grasped the dart thrust out of Kora's chest. I yanked it out. She screamed out in pain. Rivulets of frothy bubbles poured down her cheeks.
Her eyes were open, but all whites. They'd rolled back into her head. Her fingers twitched. Her entire body spasmed as I placed my hands over the wounds, purple light flaring from my grip as my will channeled the spirits into her body. "Kora," I whispered, my heart so tight as I repaired her body. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zanyia My tail swished back and forth as I grabbed Nathalie and dragged her to safety.
My fellow slave-girl trembled in shock. She didn't fight me as she clapped a hand over her mouth, staring at Mistress Kora. The blood screamed through my body as I shoved Nathalie down by a tree. "Stay here," I told her as another dart hissed through the air and thunked into something wooden.
"Okay?" "What's going on, Zanyia?" Nathalie asked, her entire body trembling. Her blue eyes became liquid. Fat tears swelled at the corners of her eyes. "Mistress Kora." "I don't know," I said. I breathed in deeply, smelling the riotous scents of the Forest of Lhes. Dead pine needles, loamy soil, the sweet scent of pine resin, and something else. Something up in the trees.
I stared up at them, my ears twitching. An owl hooted. The haze. That wasn't a natural haze. That wasn't what a forest at night would look like. Farther through the trees, I could see sunlight. This darkness was localized to just us. My eyes widened as realization struck me. "Master!" I shouted. "It's—" Something crashed into me, hissing in fury. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Princess Ava I gripped the blade of grass as my rose quartz proxy shuddered.
Sven slashed his dagger. He struck something streaking out of the air. I squeaked as it tumbled through the air and slammed into the ground not far away. I stared at the thick shaft of wood. I could see the grain of the wood, little cracks in the surface. It stood taller than my little body.
"Sven!" I shouted, my voice sounding so small, so squeaking. Zanyia yowled and hissed. She collapsed. Something wrestled with her, another pale form. I caught the sight of a tawny tail and a black tail swaying as the two forms rolled on the ground.
Another lamia fought with Zanyia. The newcomer had black hair. The two hissed and snarled at each other as they tumbled across the ground.
My small body breathed. I felt the air sucking in through my mouth even though I didn't need it in this form. My real body was miles and miles away, outside of Echur. It was safe, breathing with ease while I rode slumped over my horse's saddle.
But fear still pounded through me. My little fingers held the leathery stalk of grass, my fingers digging into it. Sven shouted his sister's name. Poor Kora thrashed as Aingeal reached her. "It's up in the trees," Sven shouted, staring up. "Do you see it, Ealaín." "The shadows are cloaking it," the aoi si said, her white hair swaying about her midnight-black face.
Her armor glinted as she twisted her body, a dart striking her vambrace. "We must hone our senses, Sven." I peered up at the trees, staring at the gloom. The trembling, pounding fear dwindled as I focused on something, looking for anything moving up there.
Another dart streaked out of the boughs of a pine tree to my right. A shadow moved up there. It detached from the gloom. A pine tree nearby rustled, its bough swaying back and forth. "Sven!" I shouted, pointing my little arm. "There, there, that tree! It jumped!" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sven Falk Little squeaks caught my attention.
Ava's body glittered as she pointed her tiny arm up into the air. The little statue bounced on her feet. My eyes flashed up into the trees and. A dart hissed out at me. It moved so slowly. Battle's exhilaration pumped through me.
Time stretched, slowed. I swung my dagger, gripped in my left hand, hard, knocking it from the air. My right hand throbbed. I kept flexing my broken finger. I ignored where it went, focused on the gloom in the trees and. it shifted in there. It moved around the tree towards its right side. Realization crystallized through me. I followed the movement, spotted my target, anticipating the shadow's path.
My dagger flew from my hand. I threw it hard at a thick branch jutting from a pine tree, almost swallowed by the gloom. The moment I released my weapon, a shadow flowed from the first tree and crossed the space for that same branch.
Thunk. My blade buried into the wood. The shadow landed on the branch I hit. The tree creaked. The branch waved as it tried to support the thing's weight. A loud crack snapped through the air. The branch, weakened by my dagger buried into it, snapped in half. The form tumbled through the air, twisting. The shadows clung around it, hiding whatever it was. The surface of the thing undulated and rippled like oily ink on the surface of a pool.
It landed in a crouch before me. I threw myself to the side as a dart hurtled from the shadows. I hit the ground and rolled up into a crotch, drawing my short sword in my left hand, grateful that the Fencer's College trained me to be ambidextrous. My right hand throbbed worse as I came up into a crouch. I had to stop clenching it into a fist. It itched to hold a weapon as I darted at the shadows. Ealaín bellowed, the aoi si raising her ax and war hammer to swing at the shadows.
The inky form twitched and convulsed. Then lances of darkness shot out from it. Ealaín's boots dug furrows as she halted her charge before being impaled. "Rithi's brilliant talent!" I lunged my short sword at the target, thrusting the weapon forward, stabbing hard with it. The shadows contracted. The thing flowed away from my weapon, moving like liquid darkness in the vague form of a man. "Las's putrid cum!" I groaned as I ducked a lance of shadow.
"What is it?" "A lie," Ealaín shouted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ealaín My cheeks burned with shame. I couldn't believe I let an illusion make me afraid. I didn't need to flee those dark lances.
The figure used shadowmancing, drawing on negative space to create illusions in the opposite way Kora did. Instead of manipulating light, shadowmancers manipulated its absence. It.
limited what they could create. But it had no substance. It couldn't hurt, but only distract and deceive. "Do not fear the shadows," I shouted at Sven as I charged in, my armor rattling. I raised my ax, my war hammer held low. I swung hard at the figure. "They are not real!" Inky tendrils twisted into a lance and thrust from the figure.
I didn't flinch before them, my ax slicing down to cut the shadowmancer hiding in her illusion in half. My skin tensed anyways. I knew it wasn't real and— The spike slammed into my armor.
It glanced off the curve of my breast. The force of the impact jostled me back. The lance skipped over my tit and cut across my exposed breastbone. Pain flared as my torso twisted backward. Shock struck me harder than the pain throbbing from my wound. "Impossible!" I shouted as I fought to hold my balance. Another lance shot out at me. I lifted my warhammer, blocking the attack with the steel weapon. The blow almost ripped it from my hand. I backpedaled, more shadows thrusting out from the form, stabbing like a dozen slender spears.
"I thought you said it wasn't real?" Sven shouted, slashing his short sword before him, parrying the stabs flying at his body. "I." I shook my head.
"They shouldn't be!" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zanyia "Hithina!" I yowled as I rolled across the ground with my sister lamia. "Zanyia!" she snarled back, her claws raking across my forearms, her dyed-black hair sweeping about her fierce face.
I hissed through clenched teeth as the fire throbbed in my arm. I planted my foot into Hithina's stomach and heaved her over my head. She landed on her back as I flipped over and straddled her torso. I slashed at her face. Her hand caught my wrist, arresting my claws before they could rip out the hissing bitch's eyes.
"I won't go back!" I yowled. "And I won't let you hurt my owner!" Hithina bucked her torso, her ears twitching. Cruelty burned in her golden eyes. "You won't. I'll bury you with him." I strained to slash at her throat while my arm throbbed worse.
The scratches pounded, twitching. Something pumped through my veins, an acid burning me from the inside. My nose inhaled, smelling the alkaline scent of the poison. I spat my fury as her poison afflicted my body. My tail flicked as I fought with her to grasp her throat. I would not let her and her disgusting master, the assassin Keythivak, harm my master and his sister.
Sweat poured down my body, thick drops that soaked into my eyebrows. My ears twitched as my claws came closer and closer to her throat. "Your mother should have drowned you when you were a kitten!" I yowled. "You are as disgusting as the nagas!" A wicked smile crossed Hithina's lips. "When you serve your master with all your heart, you are rewarded. If you had surrendered to Warleader Therek, he—" "He only knew how to beat me!" I spat.
"I watched him die! And I'll watch your owner die, too!" Hithina's pale face twisted. Her golden eyes flashed. She bucked and squirmed beneath me as I brought my clawed fingers closer and closer to her throat. I would rip out her life before her Las-damned poison overcame me. My left arm pulsed with pain. The wound swelled. My skin felt overripe around it. I ground my teeth together, heaving against her arms. My claws came closer to her flesh. Her throat throbbed with her heartbeat.
Her life pumped through her veins. "I'll bury you with your master," I snarled as my claws brushed her throat. I drew a line of red, just a scratch to her skin. Her hand strained to force me back. An expression swelled on her face, but not fear. Exultation.
I frowned as my claws reached for her throat again. Why was— Shadows flowed across her skin. My eyes widened as she shadowmanced. A lamia? The inky night surged at me. I squeezed my eyes shut, flinching as. nothing touched me. Shadows weren't real. They couldn't hurt me. Only. I opened my eyes onto darkness.
My tail went rigid. I yowled as Hithina twitched beneath me. Cold waves of panic washed through me. Flashes of being in the kennels, trapped in darkness to be punished, to be molded to be the perfect sex slave for the naga's favorite humans.
For Therek. "No!" I hissed. "He taught you to shadowmance?" "I gave myself utterly to my owner," Hithina taunted, her voice rising from all around me.
Her body flexed. Distracted by my blindness, she had gained advantage. I flipped over her and landed on my side. I fought the whimpers wanting to bubble up through my throat. I had to focus. I wasn't in the cage. I wasn't being punished. "He taught me all the secrets of the nagas," purred Hithina. "How to manipulate shadows. How to make poisons. How to kill!" Hithina's voice sounded closer. My ears pricked. Movement. I threw myself to the right out of instinct, rolling across the ground.
I came up in a crouch, movements assaulting my ears. I struggled to filter out the sounds of battle and focus— Hithina struck me across the face. Chapter Twenty-Three: Deadly Shadows Aingeal The spirits surged through Kora.
I could feel them working to heal her wound. Her convulsions slowed. The froth stopped bubbling from her lips. Her eyes closed. She let out a soft exhale. Her blood no long pumped out of her, staining my hand. "That's it," I said as the spirits danced in and out of her body.
"They're fixing you. Okay?" Kora let out a soft groan. I nodded my head, my back muscles twitching. "You're doing great. It'll be fine." "Aingeal." muttered Kora, her eyes moving beneath her closed lids. "Yes, yes, you're almost fixed." She could feel the spirits of enhancement scouring through her body.
The final trembles faded from her body. "There. Just take a moment, Kora. You're going to be fine." Kora didn't answer. But her chest rose and fell with regular breathing. The spirits zoomed out of her body in streaks of green. I sank back, my rump resting on the heels of my feet.
I looked around, gasped at the sight of Sven and Ealaín battling a figure of shadows. Lances shot and stabbed and thrust at the two warriors, keeping them at bay. I gasped at what I saw dancing in the shadows.
"A witch?" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sven Falk "Las's putrid cum!" I snarled, holding my right hand behind me, using my arm as a counterbalance as I parried with my short sword.
I backed off of the shadowy form, the spears of darkness seeking my flesh. The form made no sound. No grunts or growls. No curses or taunts. Just deadly silence. The flowing darkness just tried to kill us. How could I close the distance? It had such great reach. My blade was so short compared to the knifing spears it made.
They were twice the length of my arm.
"How do we stop shadowmancing?" I shouted at Ealaín. "There is a way," Ealaín said. "What is it?" Ignoring the throbbing pain of my broken finger, I pulled a throwing dagger from my bandoleer. I sucked in a breath as I gripped it awkwardly. I flicked my wrist. I winced at the clumsy toss. My throwing dagger tumbled through the air. The shadows flowed out of its path. Ealaín, standing on the other side, swung her war hammer and deflected the weapon before it struck her body.
Then she charged in and swung her ax in great, scything arcs, cutting at the shadows. She severed through inky tendrils. They melted into mist before her. The form merely flowed back from her and kept thrusting.
When it passed over shadows on the ground, they rippled and writhed, drawing into the growing mass. Feeding whatever it lost. "Ealaín, what is the way?" I shouted and thrust at the figure. A lance shot out at my head. I ducked it, going into a crouch and plunging my sword upward at the figure.
Part of the shadows hardened into a shield. My sword struck it. The tip embedded into it like I hit wood. My blade quivered. I ripped it free and tumbled back as stabbing spears sought my flesh. "Ealaín! How?" "Not yet!" she bellowed, war hammer and ax swinging before her, double arcs that swept aside attacks from reaching her.
I drew another throwing dagger in an agonized grip. Ealaín had a way to beat this attacker. If she wouldn't speak it, it meant she didn't want to tip off the attacker. I needed to aid her. I had to watch her and follow her lead. She closed on the figure. It flowed back. I had to give her an opening to land her attack. This might be it. I gripped the dagger tight, ignoring the grinding pain in my broken finger.
I concentrated, sweat breaking out across my face. I threw it as hard as I could. It tumbled end over end. The figure noticed it. The shadows stopped flowing, letting the dagger flash before it instead of retreating into its path. It was a brief halt to his movement, only a heartbeat of distraction, but it was enough for Ealaín to close the distance. I charged in after my dagger.
We could pen it in. Cut it down. The shadow rippled as Ealaín bellowed. She sounded like a fierce warrior, a charging bull bringing death sweeping down at the figure. A thick spear, wider than my arm, thrust from the center of the mass of shadows. The surface rippled and ran towards the extending attack lunging right at Ealaín.
Her war hammer swept around, blurring silver, and slammed into the new attack. Rebounded. "No!" she gasped. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ealaín The thick lance of darkness struck my breastplate where it covered my stomach.
My armor rang like a gong. Metal crumpled. The air exploded from my lungs as I stumbled back. The world blurred around me.
I hit the ground. I coughed, gasped. Waves of agony washed out of my stomach. My eyes fluttered. My hands flexed over nothing. What happened? I tried to suck in a breath, my lungs expanded. Something crushed my chest and stomach, squeezing so tight I could only inhale a fraction of what I needed. Stars danced across my vision. Darkness fuzzed at the edges. My head swam. Sven cursed. I struggled to lift my head and peer down my body at. "Oh. no." I wheezed.
The blow had concaved my armor. The dented metal pressed on my stomach, on my solar plexus. It squeezed about my breasts and put pressure on my ribs. They creaked as I sucked in another short inhalation.
Dizziness washed over me. My hands clenched on nothing. I had to get the armor off. I fought against the waves of sluggish thought that swept through me. I needed to breathe. My mind screamed for it. My lungs burned to be filled. I sucked in another breath through my nostrils and. Agony crushed my torso. "Rithi's. per. fect. art." My fingers found the straps of my breast plate. The leather had pulled taut, stretched by the distortions to my armor.
I fumbled at it, struggling to gain any slack so I could unbuckle them. I whimpered, pulling at the leather with all my— "Gods!" I screamed. Pulling the strap taut put so much pressure on my stomach.
I couldn't suck in any breath. I kept pulling at it. I had to relieve the pressure. My hands released the straps. The world spun around me. My eyes fluttered as I lay their on the ground. I needed to do something. To stop this. What? So hard to think. I sucked in another breath, crushing breasts and ribs to fill lungs with air.
A moment of clarity. Kora. I needed to inspire Kora. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Princess Ava I clutched at the grass as Sven fought the shadows alone. He retreated away from the fallen aoi si.
She lay in a crumpled, twitching heap, her dark face twisted with grimaces of pain. I squirmed my stone body. What could I do to help Sven? He couldn't fight the shadow on his own. It was too fast. Had too many attacks. Eventually, my betrothed would take a blow like Ealaín had.
Only he didn't have her armor to protect him. Those lances would skewer through his flesh. "Pater, no," I moaned. "Father of the Gods, defend your son from this monster." I had to do something. Anything. But what? I was just a princess. I didn't know how to fight.
I didn't have any skill with the sword or spear. I didn't know how to move and dodge and weave like Sven did. He moved with such grace as he retreated.
His sword slashed with his left hand. His right, fingers twisted and broken, clutched a dagger in an awkward grip. He threw it hard. The shadow flowed around the knifing dagger. What could I do? I was just inhabiting my. My stone body. Rose quartz was strong. It was heavy. I touched the enchantment the twinborn witch Fiona put on my proxy. The world shrunk around me as I swelled.
The blade of grass I clutched like a scared maid dropped away. I soared to my real height as I sprang at the shadows. I wasn't here. This wasn't my real flesh. I had nothing to fear. "Sven!" The shadows rippled. I could feel something cold, malevolent, considering me as I rushed at the inky thing.
I would protect my Sven. I would be his shield. His armor. I would keep those lances from finding his flesh. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zanyia My head rang from the blow. I stumbled on the ground, my toes and fingers digging through the loamy soil. Dried pine needles pricked at the soles of my feet.
My tail swished as my ears pricked, trying to figure out where Hithina was. "You're remembering the punishment kennels, aren't you?" Hithina taunted. Her voice floated from my right. I whirled and swiped in that direction.
Hit nothing. "Do you feel the metal walls closing in on you? How they grew hotter and hotter as the day's sun warms the iron. The air growing stuffy. Your tail trapped, unable to swish? Huh, Zanyia? Alone in the smothering night? Is it making your heart pound?" "No!" I hissed. "The nagas don't own me! They cannot punish me! It's just a trick! You covered my eyes with shadows!" "Did I?" The voice came from my left.
I whirled and leaped, hissing furry. I landed on the ground as she laughed to my right. I spun around and slashed so hard, clawed fingers scything through empty air. I missed. My left arm ached so badly. It felt like it would pop. Something dripped down from the wound.
A foul reek filled my nose. "Maybe it's the poison. Maybe it's blinded you, little Zanyia." My fingers dug into the soil. My ears pricked. I filtered out the other sounds. I had to focus on her.
Her! "Soon you'll be clawing to rip off that arm. It'll suppurate worse and worse. Can you smell it already rotting away?" My ears tracked her voice. She circled me, taunting me. I gripped the soil in my hand as I spit my fury. I acted, throwing the dirt before the figure. Soft impacts of soil hitting flesh echoed. She yowled in shock. I lunged at her as she spluttered. I slammed into her body. We rolled and thrashed across needle-strewn earth.
The dark world spun around me as we wrestled on the ground. My claws raked across her round breasts. Her yowls howled through my ears. I savored them. "I'll bury you alive!" I snarled. "You can be punished!" "I spent three days in the darkness!" she laughed.
"Three days in the punishment kennel. My owner put me in there and taught me not to fear it. Not like you. Terror's stink oozes off of you." My claws dug into her tits. "And when I rip out your heart? What will I smell oozing—" I didn't see the blow that struck me in the head.
But I felt it. I flew off of her and rolled across the ground. I came to a rest on my stomach. My stomach churned. Stars danced before my eyes. I couldn't see anything but those red and yellow and blue specs. They taunted me as I groaned. Hithina laughed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sven Falk Ava's rosy form barreled at the shadow.
Her steps heavy, belying the grace and slenderness of her naked figure. The stone moved like flesh, her small tits jiggling, her thick hair spreading out behind her. She bellowed with such motherly, protective fury. I sucked in a breath, watching her in awe.
My princess charging into battle. She spread her arms wide like she intended to hug the form. But I knew the weight of that body.
She could crush a man. Quartz had weight. The dark figure flowed around the princess's charge. A shadow lanced out, catching her foot.
She gasped, stumbling and falling to her hands and knees on the ground. Without even pausing, the thing rippled towards me, lances thrusting. "Las's putrid cum!" I growled, swinging my sword in an upward parry. A lance of shadow knifed past my head, deflected at the last moment. I fell back as death stabbed at me over and over. Chapter Twenty-Four: Rose Quartz Flesh Aingeal Princess Ava collapsed nearby. She gasped, shaking her rosy head. Quartz glittered across her pink skin, breaking me out of my stupor.
The sight of the darkness had arrested me. Spirits of transformation bobbed in and out of the shadows, visible only to me. The inky thing attacking my family was a human witch. It had lashed the local spirits to its will through magical incantations. The spirits modified the shadows, inhabiting them, using them to make a fusion, combining the two different arts to form a lethal attack. Sven retreated back.
His sword blurred, but how much longer could my husband defend himself. I couldn't sit here useless. I had to act. My back muscles flexed and. Right, no wings.
I stood on my legs and reached out with my senses. Human witches had to bend and force the spirits, chaining them with knowledge. But the primal forces of the universe loved faeries and those with our blood. They surged towards me. Bright orange evocation spirits danced around my hand as I pointed at the shadows. A lance of purple energy fired from me, a conduit through which the evocation spirits hurtled towards the shadowy form. The inky darkness rippled.
Abjuration spirits surged to the forefront of the shadows, forming a shield of night. "You think that paltry defense will save you?" I asked, advancing on him. I passed Zanyia rolling on the ground with the other catgirl. "You think I can't batter down that little shield. I am faerie, mortal. You play with my powers." More and more evocation spirits surged down at me, powering my attack.
They hammered into the inky shield. Abjuration spirits bust out of the darkness, sent spinning away by the blows of my attacks.
Its shield shrank a little more. Sven recovered, charging in to attack. I grinned my triumph. Sven's sword would take the mortal in the body and— A spitting yowl screeched to my right. Movement flashed. The black-haired lamia crashed into me. I gasped, her claws digging into my flesh. Pain burned up my collar bone to my throat. I spun around, her impact sending me off-balanced.
"No!" she hissed as we crashed onto my back. Air wheezed out of my mouth. Her weight crushed my chest. My head cracked into the hard-packed ground and. My brain rattled. Fog spilled over my thought as. As. Claws touched my throat. Fear banished the fog as sharp pain tore into my throat. The lamia's golden eyes filled my vision as she purred in pleasure. Blood spurted around her finger.
My life spilled out of me. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Princess Ava I gained my feet, shaking my head. I whirled around to see Sven charging in at the darkness. A beam of purple light slammed into it from Aingeal only to cut off as the faerie screamed out in alarm.
The enemy lamia landed on her, dropping her to the ground. The shadows rippled. Fear clutched at my real heart. I felt it so distantly, fluttering in my chest. Terror crystallized realization in my mind. The enemy would bring to bear all its deadly might on my betrothed. Sven closed the distance. He would be cut down. I didn't think.
I charged forward. The shadow lances stabbed at Sven. His boots dug into the pine-needle strewn ground. He slashed and swiped his sword, driving back the first attacks, but more hurtled at him, seeking to find his flesh. To kill him. "No!" I screeched in fight and threw myself forward.
I flew between them. The thrusting shadows slammed into my stony body.
The sharp points slammed into the rose quartz. Cracks snapped through my nonliving form. Bursts of sparkling chips exploded from where the attacks landed. I felt a shock through my soul, a tearing of the power animating the statue. "Ava!" Sven shouted. I hit the ground. The cracks spread. The impact twisted my body. The damaged crystals tried to move like a real body, twisting and bending like flexible skin. But where the statue was hit had reverted to hard unyielding quartz.
The cracks spread. I screamed as my body shattered and— My eyes snapped open. I threw back my head, my entire body thrashing in my saddle. My mare neighed in fright. A thousand crystals stabbed into my mind.
I clutched my head, my thoughts slashed to bloody ribbons. I leaned over my horse. My stomach rebelled. Bile burned down my throat. My breakfast spilled from my mouth in a vile stream that splattered the skirt of my dress. My bedmaid, Greta, screeched in alarm. She called my name as my stomach heaved again and again. I hoped it was enough. I hoped I saved Sven. The attack destroyed my proxy.
It thrust my soul violently back into my body. I clutched my pounding head, tears streaming down my face as I shook. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sven Falk Ava shattered at my feet. Her crystalline arm stuck me in the shin.
I grunted, stumbling. A shadowed lance, half deflected by her quartz body, struck my sword. As I struggled to keep my balance, my grip had loosened. My short sword flew from my hand, tumbling through the air.
"Las's putrid and disgusting cum!" I howled, jarring pain flaring up my leg. I collapsed amid the ruin of Ava's proxy.
Half her face came to rest before me, capturing the fierce love that compelled her to thrust herself in front of me. Shadows stabbed.
I twisted to the side and— Pain exploded in my left shoulder. My collarbone snapped as the lance penetrated my flesh and drove me back onto the ground.
I screamed out in agony. It overwhelmed my senses. I thrashed on the ground as it twisted inside of me, an icicle shoved through my body, grinding against my shattered collarbone. Fire burned through my veins, attacking my mind. Darkness washed across my vision. The shadowy form loomed over me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zanyia I lay on the ground, panting. Hithina had abandoned me. My left arm beat with agony. I wanted to gnaw it off. Tears burned my eyes as convulsions wracked my body.
The poison rotted away my flesh. It smelled worse and worse. Master's scream of agony cut through the pain.
My senses came alive again. He needed me. My Master needed his slave. I could hear it in the pain. In the suffering. Keythivak had injured him. That damn assassin would kill my Master. Sven freed me from Therek. He rescued me from pain and suffering. That memory of Sven fighting Therek in his tent burned in my memory. I would be forever grateful to him.
Even if I didn't love him—and I loved him with all my being—I would die for him. I sprang at the sound of screaming. I hurtled through the air, my tail adjusting my balance in flight, twisting my body, angling me at the sound of pain. I couldn't see, but that didn't mean I couldn't give my life for my Master and— I crashed into something.
A form. Out of instinct, my limbs wrapped around the figure. Too thin to be Sven. I smelled a mix of acrid and alkaline wreathing this new man. Poison. "Keythivak!
That's my Master!" The assassin grunted and growled. He twisted as my teeth bit into the meat of his shoulder. I tasted his blood. Sven screamed again.
The pain drove my jaw to clamp harder, to dig my fangs deeper and deeper into the assassin's flesh. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sven Falk The lance ripped out of my shoulder. The pain retreated, but I kept screaming. Just moving my body shot agony through me. I shook my head, trying to think through it. The shadows retracted back to the form. It writhed. Something had changed. Sucking breaths against the torture wracking my body, I drew a dagger. The broken finger didn't even hurt.
How could I ever feel another ounce of agony against my gored shoulder? Blood soaked the front of my clothing as I sat up. Dizziness beset me as I raised my dagger. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kora Falk I groaned as my eyes flicked open onto madness. Sven screamed in agony.
Aingeal thrashed on the ground, a black-haired woman clawing at her throat. Ealaín moaned near me, her armor crushed in. I struggled to think, to understand.
We were fleeing Queen Sidhe's palace and Aingeal screamed we weren't heading to the right place and. Pain in my chest. The world shaking. "Brother mine?" I called out, sitting up, my robe sticking to my chest, matted down with blood. I spotted him writhing on the ground, something dark embedded in his arms. Then Zanyia leaped into the shadows looming over him, screeching in rage. "Kora," Ealaín groaned. She reached towards me, her yellow eyes glossy.
"Light. Need light. Radiance. Banish. darkness." My muse spoke. Inspiration struck me. My hand jabbed between my thighs. Fingers plunged into my pussy. "Rithi, I call upon a light of such radiance to reveal the beauty around me!" The power surged through my body. My Goddess answered my prayers. I pulled my fingers out of my twat. Light blazed on them. My pussy juices glowed with the brilliance of the sun.
I thrust it up as daylight crashed through the clearing and struck the figure. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Aingeal Blood filled my mouth. I couldn't die. I wouldn't die. Sven screamed in agony. I couldn't let this catgirl bitch kill me. Anger reached out as the darkness sought to strangle me. I fought to stay conscious as my will screamed out for aid. The spirits responded. Evocation spirits crashed into the catgirl. She yowled, thrown off of me in an explosion of purple energy.
Her form rag-dolled through the air and struck the ground in a whimpering pile as bright light exploded from Kora. Daylight bathed the clearing as I shuddered on the ground, prompting an owl's hoot of surprise.
Every beat of my heart spilled more of my blood from my throat. I clamped a hand over my wound, my eyes fluttering closed. As unconsciousness dragged me down, I reached out with my will one last time. Spirits of enhancement responded. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sven Falk The daylight washed over the darkness. The powerful light allowed for no shadows to be shed. They melted away revealing a whip-thin and tall man, his skin the swarthy brown of a Shizhuthian human.
He wore black leather, like me, a quiver of throwing darts at his hip. Wrapped about his torso was a strange chain wrap connected to a sickle sheathed at his waist. His head threw back. He screamed in agony because. Zanyia bit him. She savaged the flesh at the nape of his neck, his blood spurting around her clenched teeth.
Her golden eyes fixed on me. My broken fingers of my right hand clutched a throwing dagger, raised and ready to throw. I snapped my wrist forward. The knife flashed at the man as he twisted his body and flung my catgirl over his shoulder. Her body smacked the throwing dagger out of the air on her way to slam into the ground.
She hit hard, her back arching. She howled in agony, clutching at her swollen, left arm. Pus oozed out of raw, ragged scratches. The assassin glanced around the glade. Purple light burned around Aingeal. Her legs kicked and shuddered.
Kora stood up, her eyes fixed, her fingers moving as she readied to use her divine magic. I reached out and grabbed my short sword with my right hand. I sucked in such deep breaths, fighting against the agony pounding in my shoulder. Blood ran down my arm and my chest as I stood up. The assassin clamped a hand over his bleeding neck. He gave me a slight nod before springing back and darting away. He scooped up a stunned lamia in his arm.
The chain around his torso unwrapped. He flung it upward. It wrapped around a tree branch. He hauled himself up into the pine trees with speed and skill. "Gods," I groaned, staggering amid the shattered pieces of Ava's proxy. I wanted to follow but a sudden surge of dizziness washed over me.
I collapsed. "Brother mine!" Kora shouted as I stared up at the darkness. Her face appeared over mine. "So beautiful, sister dear," I whispered as her haggard, blue eyes stared down at me. Her mouth moved. I didn't hear the words of her healing spell, but I welcomed the numbing, soothing caress driving back the torture grinding in my shoulder.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Keythivak Hithina's eyes fluttered open. She let out a whimper of pain as I cradled her on my lap as we sat in the crook of a tree. "Master? Did you. retrieve it.?" "They live," I answered. The herbs had numbed the throbbing in my neck to a minor annoyance. "They had an aoi si with them. It. upset things. The priestess recovered and banished my shadows, while the faerie." "I thought I killed her," Hithina mumbled.
"Then she. And it." She frowned.
"I'm sorry for failing you, Master." "We didn't fail. I hit the priestess with a poisoned dart. The distillation of styrchnos beans pumps through her veins." "It lingers," she whispered and shuddered. I nodded my head. The faerie may have thought she healed Kora, but she only suppressed the symptoms. Lurking in the priestess's system was another chemical. One which would slowly kill her. And it would spread to those she had sexual contact with.
"We just have to track them now," I said. "And wait." "So smart," Hithina murmured as her eyes squeezed shut again. In moments, her injures pulled her down into unconsciousness. I held her in my lap as I closed my eyes and rested. I would need it. This Sven had gathered quite the harem of powerful women around him. The next steps must be taken with care. But with the styrchnos in Kora's system, distractions would come. Opportunities to punish Zizthithana's enemies and retrieve the pendant would soon open.
To be continued.