Crikey came in a few minutes after they did. The first words out of her mouth were “Oh, I was right, that was Betty I saw down there! Poor girl is getting good and truly stuffed down there; puts them tentacle beasties from yesterday to shame. Doesn’t seem to happy about it, neither, but I guess that’s just the sort of thing that happens to people who try to help you, huh, Ginger?”
It took every ounce of Seo-yun’s willpower not to attack the koala. She didn’t need the hunger of a gumiho to want to rip the flesh right off her bones. But Sam had already warned her that it wouldn’t get her anywhere. The Paradisium had turned a blind eye to the occasional violence outside the Game before, but now that they’d reached the final round, they were going to be much more strict. As Sam had caustically told her, the women weren’t contestants anymore, they were finalists; the viewers would be upset if any of them were eliminated before the big day. At best, her mask would activate and make her pass out before she did any serious damage to Crikey. At worst, they’d haul her upstairs to spend the night crippling, raping, and mutilating her, then toss what was left into the arena tomorrow morning so that the audience could enjoy her final moments. So she held her tongue, shaking with silent rage as she tried to ignore the grinning woman’s barbs.
Crikey couldn’t have missed the fox’s reaction, and it must have amused her because she pressed onward. “And lucky you, you got her ribbons too! It’s so refreshing to see someone who has her priorities straight. Hey, Vorona, what do you think? Is the cat gonna die from getting pumped too full of spiders, or do you think she’ll live long enough to feel them chewing their way out of her?”
Vorona had shown up with her. Seo-yun had watched the raven transform in front of her very eyes, going from winged fox to winged woman in a matter of seconds. At any other time, she would have had a thousand questions for her. Right now, she just wanted to cry and go to sleep. “Give it a rest, please,” the dark haired girl said. She sounded as tired as Seo-yun felt. “We’re all miserable enough here without your help.” Crikey laughed, unaffected by Vorona’s sharp words.
“How could you?” Seo-yun asked. She hadn’t been planning to ask the question, but it had slipped out without thinking. “How can you just stand there and laugh after being responsible for such horrible things?”
“Horrible things?” Crikey repeated mildly. “Like what? Helping you and Betty get intimate with the crawlies?” She was still smiling, but there was a nasty edge to it. “In case you’ve forgotten, Ginger, this is a competition, and there are stakes. Maybe if Delphy had stuck around we’d all be hugging and singing kumbaya right about now, but she’s long gone.” Her smile widened. “She really was stupid enough to think that we could all just get along; annoyed the hell out of me. Gosh, you should’ve seen the look on her face when I hit her with that itching whammy.”
“Just because we’re competing doesn’t mean we have to… have to…”
“What, enjoy ourselves?” Crikey made a face. “You can get all holier-than-thou if you want to, foxy, but I ain’t going to apologize for having some fun. After all, you’re just slaves. It’s not like I hurt anyone who matters.”
“So you’re not a slave too?” Samantha asked archly. She was leaning against the wall, away from the others, but her eyes were shooting daggers at the woman.
Crikey waggled her hand back and forth in the air. “Eh, don’t know if I’d call it freedom as such, but I’m a lot higher up than you little fucktoys. Isn’t that right, Vorona?” Her smile didn’t fade when she looked at the raven, but there was a clear tension in the air.
Vorona swallowed. “Yes mistress,” she said reluctantly, her body language suddenly much more deferential.
“See?” Crikey asked. “It’s a sad state of affairs when this birdbrain is this smartest one around, but I’m guessing neither of you were chosen for your intelligence. Really, if I were you I’d play it safe, you know? Give up on thinking entirely before those pretty little brains of yours burn themselves out. What you lot should do tomorrow is just lay around, relax, and get fucked. It’s all you’re good for, after all. Oh, and if you’re still alive by the time I win, maybe you could do me a favor and give me a standing ovation, yeah? That’d be a right proper sendoff.”
“I’ll think about it,” Samantha told her. “Unless I’m too busy cleaning your blood off of my fists.”
The koala grinned. “Sure, sure, the big scary phoenix. Won’t it be a real special treat for the audience when they get a look behind that mask? I know Sindak’s been jonesing for it a while, but this is the year he finally gets his chance. Everyone will be just dying to spend some quality time with their favorite firebird.”
Samantha’s expression didn’t so much as flicker at the threat. “I guess that’s just one more reason not to let you leave this game alive.”
Crikey laughed again. “You think you can take me down, Emms, you go right ahead and try.” She yawned. “In the meanwhile though, I’m beat, and it looks like we got some real posh lodgings this time too. Pays to be a finalist, huh?” Unlike the previous floors, this one had no communal sleeping area or public bathrooms. Instead there were eight separate bedrooms, each sporting its own bathroom. It was all still about as rundown as a cheap motel, but compared to Seo-yun’s usual sleeping arrangements, having a room to herself sounded almost as extravagant as the palace above them. “So,” the kaola continued, “before I hit the hay, should I start prepping some dinner? Won’t be as fancy without my head chef, but I bet I can still manage something halfway edible if I put my mind to it.”
Seo-yun felt revolted at the thought of sharing another meal with the woman. It hurt to think about having eaten her food the last couple of days. Crikey had always seemed kind and cheerful; an ally at the very least, if not an outright friend. But it had all just been an act to get them to trust her, and knowing how badly she’d been tricked, and how little the woman actually thought of her, burned hot in Seo-yun’s heart.
Samantha, on the other hand, seemed relatively unfazed by Crikey’s treachery. Clearly disappointed that she couldn’t kill her yet, but otherwise unfazed. To her, that level of double dealing must have been nothing new. Seo-yun wondered how many people like Crikey she’d had to deal with over the years,and found herself understanding much better where Samantha had been coming from before. If this one betrayal was enough to make Seo-yun feel so hurt, what must it be like to have to go through it over and over? No wonder the woman had eventually decided that it was easier to not trust anyone.
Her stomach was rumbling with hunger, but Seo-yun had something more important to do before taking care of that. She was covered in gooey webbing and black spider juices, and was acutely away of all the slime inside her from the melted eggs. She’d never felt more disgusting in her life.
Just like the showers below, the ones here couldn’t get very hot, and the water pressure was pathetic, but it still felt absolutely amazing. Seo-yun stayed in there for over an hour, long after the spray had become icy cold, scrubbing herself until her skin was bright red everywhere and even her sensitive nose couldn’t detect a whiff of filth. There still weren’t any towels, so she settled for shaking herself dry as best she could.
Whens she stepped out of the shower, she was surprised to find Samantha sitting on the bed. The woman’s dripping red hair told the fox that she’d showered recently too. “I figured you’d want something to eat,” she told Seo-yun when she saw her, and indicated the plate sitting next to her, stacked high with an assortment of prepackaged and microwaved food. “And that you wouldn’t be in a hurry to risk leaving your room to get some and having to deal with that bitch again.”
Seo-yun accepted the plate gratefully and sat down beside her. “Is she still out there?” she asked as she wolfed down the food, forcing herself to eat as slowly as she could to keep from getting sick.
Samantha shook her head. “No, she and the bird went into one of the other rooms while I was grabbing us dinner. Probably scheming about tomorrow. Hey, what was up with the fox thing that Vorona did?”
“Beats me,” Seo-yun said wearily. “Probably something incredibly important that I know absolutely nothing about, like usual.” The two of them ate in silence for a while.
“It wasn’t your fault,” Samantha said eventually, glancing at her. “Betty, I mean. It was her choice, and if she hadn’t done it, all three of us would be down there right now.”
“I know,” Seo-yun said. “That doesn’t make it any easier, though. If I was stronger, I could protect everyone. No one else would have to make sacrifices anymore.” She flexed her hands. “And I had that kind of strength once. I had so much power, and I used it for nothing but murdering innocent people. And now that I’ve finally found a real use for it, it’s gone, and it’s never coming back, and I have to live with that. Betty and Snowflake are gone because I was too weak to save them, and I have to live with that.” She looked back at Samantha. “Does it ever get easier? Watching terrible things happen to other people?”
“If it ever starts to, I’ll let you know,” the phoenix told her. “Best I can manage is to try not to care about anyone.” She sighed. “I was getting pretty good at it too, until you showed up.”
“So…” Seo-yun said slowly, “what Betty said back there… were you really flirting with me?”
Samantha lowered her head as if to hide her face, but the tips of her ears glowed pink. “No,” she said defensively. “……..maybe… did you want it to be?”
Seo-yun didn’t understand the question, so she ignored it, sliding off the bed and onto her knees. She shuffled over to Samantha, gently easing her legs apart. “Hey,” said the woman, “what are you-stop that!” Seo-yun tried to move her face in closer to start licking, but Samantha pushed her head away. “What are you doing?”
The fox looked up at her, confused. “You want to fuck me,” she said. “It’s okay, I’ve done this many times now. I don’t mind doing it again.” Samantha had saved her life today, after all. It was only natural that she’d want some reward for it. Seo-yun glanced around the room. “Or did you want to penetrate me first? Knowing the Paradisium, I’m certain there’s a strap-on or something lying around. And if not, you can always use your fist like my mistress liked to do sometimes; I’ll heal.”
Samantha seemed to be at a loss for for words for some reason. “I… is this what you want?”
Seo-yun cocked her head. “Why would I ever want to be raped?” Samantha flinched at her statement, and Seo-yun hastened to add “But like I said, I don’t mind doing it, and my mistress says I’m very good at it.” She tried once again to reach the woman’s slit so she could demonstrate her willingness, but the redhead continued to block her.
“I wasn’t trying to…” Samantha pushed herself off the bed and hurried to the far side of the room, hugging herself with her arms. “God, I’m so stupid… I just… I haven’t really cared about anyone since Jack, and I thought… I thought maybe you also…” She shook her head. “Never mind. I-I should go.”
“You don’t have to do that, Sam,” Seo-yun told her as the woman strode towards the door. She scrambled to her feet, a gnawing anxiety inside of her. It was obvious that she was making Samantha upset, and she didn’t understand why. “I’m telling you, it’s fine!”
Samantha turned to look at her, and the fox was surprised to see tears running down from beneath her mask. “It’s fine that you think I want to rape you?” the woman asked incredulously, her tone harsh. “And I can’t even blame you for thinking I’d do something like that. I tried to murder you barely twenty four hours ago! I’m an evil bitch who’s killed plenty of other people, so why wouldn’t I be a rapist too?”
“I don’t think you’re an evil bitch,” Seo-yun protested, increasingly frustrated at her irrational behavior. “I wouldn’t be here with you if I thought that.”
“You’re just here because of Jack,” Samantha muttered. “He’s in there messing with your head. Without him, you wouldn’t give a damn about me.”
“That’s not true!” Seo-yun said, her voice raised. “I… I noticed you because of him, yes, but he’s not the reason I’m here with you! We both care about you, Sam!”
Samantha pounded her fist against the wall. “Then why do you think I want to rape you?!” she shouted.
“Because why else would you be attracted to me?!” Seo-yun shouted back.
The room fell silent, both women breathing heavily.
For a long moment they faced each other like that, until Samantha broke the silence. “You think…” she said softly, “that being attracted to you means wanting to rape you?”
“What else would it mean?” Seo-yun asked with more than a trace of bitterness. “That’s just how people are. Even Morris was happy to rape me in the end, even if it wasn’t by choice.”
Samantha let out a deep sigh. “Yip… Seo-yun,” she said. “Yeah, I guess I was flirting with you a little back there, because yeah, I’m attracted to you. You’re fun to be around, you call me out on my shit, and when we’re together I almost feel like an actual human being again. Plus, you’re damn nice to look at, and I’d be lying if I said that the ears and the tails don’t do anything for me. But that doesn’t mean I wanted to, to do something to you without your consent. I wanted you to want me back.”
“Why?” Seo-yun asked, not understanding. “What does what I want matter?” She sat back on the bed and looked down at herself. “It never has before, after all. Even before I was captured. I wanted to make my parents proud, I wanted to protect the villagers that were my family, I wanted to not become a monster… I’ve never gotten the things that I wanted, so why should anyone care about what I want?”
The fox heard Samantha approaching, and felt the bed creak as the woman sat down beside her. “What about me?” she asked, her tone more gentle than Seo-yun had ever heard her use. “Do the things that I want matter to you?”
“Of course,” Seo-yun said promptly. “You deserve to get the things that you want. That’s why I’m okay with you raping me, so you should just-“
Samantha interrupted her. “Then shouldn’t the reverse be true too? Don’t the things you want get to matter to me?”
“That’s not how it works,” Seo-yun said sullenly. She saw where the woman was going with this, and she didn’t like it. “It’s not the same thing.”
“What’s the difference?”
“You’re…” It seemed so obvious to Seo-yun, but she struggled to put it into words. “You’re a person, and I’m…” She remembered Levinson’s words, right after he’d first taken her. The way you’re squirming right now feels good on my cock, and for the rest of your sorry existence, fucktoy, that is the closest anyone will ever get to caring about you. “I’m just a fucktoy,” she said. “And the inside of a fucktoy’s head doesn’t matter to anyone.”
“Ohhhh,” Samantha said in understanding, and nodded. “Now I get it: you’re an idiot.”
Samantha talked right over her. “Only an idiot would go through the last four days and come out thinking that she’s just a fucktoy. You’re strong, Seo-yun, and brave, and kind, and almost as stupidly reckless as I am. If I get to be a person, you sure as hell do too, and like it or not, what goes on inside your head matters to me.”
“Then you’re an idiot too,” Seo-yun muttered.
Samantha surprised her by laughing out loud. “Jesus, have you not been paying any attention at all? Of course I’m an idiot! I’m hot tempered, impulsive, a sore loser, and the most goddamn stubborn bitch in the world. And that’s why I refuse to let you repeat the lies people have been feeding you. I’ve got bad news for you too: you’re outnumbered, because there’s no way Jack is taking your side over mine.”
The woman was right about that last part, at least. Seo-yun had felt slightly flushed and dizzy for the last few minutes, and she had enough familiarity with it now to know that it was because she and Morris weren’t seeing eye to eye on this. He and Sam were both wrong, she just didn’t know why. Time passed as she stewed in her head, trying to think of the perfect argument to prove Samantha wrong while also trying to ignore the woman’s words. What did Samantha know about her, anyway? Who was she to try and tell Seo-yun her own business?
She was still lost in thoughts like those when Samantha rose and stretched. “Alright, I guess I’d better call it a night,” she said. “For what it’s worth, Seo-yun, I’m sorry I gave you the wrong impression. I would never, ever try to do something to you without your consent. Your active consent, not just being “okay” with it…” She grinned behind her mask. “Aside from killing you. I definitely tried to do that one without asking permission.”
“You tried to steal my backpack too,” Seo-yun grumbled, the words feeling petty even as they left her mouth.
“Oh yeah, I did, didn’t I?” Samantha said, unfazed by the comment. “And cutting your arm, that counts too. I’ve actually been terrible to you for a while now, haven’t I? You’re a saint for putting up with me all week.” Her smile faded. “I really am sorry for all the times I hurt you, and for making you feel uncomfortable tonight. You deserve better than someone like me.”
Seo-yun watched her walk to the door. She was going to leave, and then there would be the game tomorrow, and then they’d never see each other again. “…wait,” the fox said quietly. Samantha paused, her hand on the doorknob. “I…” Seo-yun swallowed. “I don’t want someone better. I want you.”
Samantha turned her head to look at her. “You don’t have to say that just to make me feel better. I’m a big girl, Seo-yun.”
“I mean it!” Seo-yun insisted, trembling. Everything in her head told her that this was wrong, that she was making a mistake by exposing herself like this. She was just going to get hurt again. She was just going to be a disappointment again. She’d failed to protect every last thing she’d ever loved, and Samantha would be no exception. But she forced all of that down and stood up instead, walking towards Samantha on shaking legs. The redhead didn’t move a muscle as she approached and leaned her head in.
Sam’s lips were softer than Seo-yun had expected, and her drying tear tracks made them taste salty. The woman held still while the fox kissed her, but her mouth was warm and eager. It wasn’t a long kiss, no more than a few seconds, but it left Seo-yun’s heart racing by the time she broke it off. “I want you,” she repeated. “I want you.”
“You’re sure about this?” Samantha asked, her dark eyes serious. “It’s totally okay if we don’t do anything. I don’t want you to feel like you have to-” Seo-yun shut her up by kissing her again, and felt the woman relax, the tension leaving her. Samantha slumped back, and Seo-yun’s body pressed hers up against the door.
The phoenix’s arms encircled her as their lips and tongues continued to greedily explore each other. “So *mmm*, what do we do now?” Seo-yun asked between kisses.
Samantha laughed softly against her mouth. “*mmm* You’re not a exactly a *mmm* virgin. I’m sure you *mmm* know what to do.”
“I know how to *mmm* get raped,” Seo-yun told her. “I’ve *mmm* never, you know…”
Samantha froze mid-kiss, and pulled back her head. “Wait, you’re telling me you’ve never had real sex before? Like, not even once?”
Seo-yun shook her head, feeling a little embarrassed. “I-I’ve lived alone most of my life. I was a virgin when they found me.”
“Not even a boyfriend or girlfriend or something that you got handsy with?” When Seo-yun shook her head again, the phoenix swore quietly. “No wonder you picked up some screwy ideas. OK, here’s what we’re gonna do. I bet your owners usually tell you what to do all the time, right? Have rules you’ve gotta follow? Well tonight, Yip Yip, you’re the one in charge.”
“But… I told you, I don’t know what to do,” Seo-yun told her.
Samantha grinned. “Exactly! This is your chance to learn. Here, this will help.” She broke off the hug, slipping to the side and away from the door, then untied one of the blue ribbons on her forearm and passed it over before presenting her back to Seo-yun and holding her arms out behind her, wrists pressed together. “Tie me up.” When Seo-yun didn’t respond, she shook her wrists at her. “Come on, trust me.”
“Trust you?” Seo-yun asked hesitantly. “You’re the one who’s trusting me. How do you know I won’t try to do something once you can’t fight back?”
Samantha turned her head to look at her and rolled her eyes. “Yeah, you’re right, I’ve bet you’ve just been playing the long game all this time waiting for your chance. If it makes you feel better, I can absolutely kick your ass with both hands tied behind my back if I gotta.”
Seo-yun carefully knotted the ribbon around the woman’s wrists, making sure it would be comfortable and not cut into her flesh. “Perfect,” Samantha declared when she was done, and then turned to face her. “It’s all you now. Go at your own pace and see what you like, no pressure. Hell, if you decide you just want to snuggle, I’m down.”
The fox thought for a moment. “Lay on the bed, please? On your back?” Part of her felt surprised when Samantha obeyed without hesitation or complaint, resting on her bound arms. It was so strange to be able to tell someone else what to do. She joined Samantha on the bed, facing the opposite direction on all fours with her face right above the phoenix’s. She lowered her head to kiss the woman again, the sensation slightly different but no less pleasant now that they were upside down relative to each other.
After a minute of this, Seo-yun raised her head and crawled forward slightly. Her chest now hung right above the woman’s face. “Would you…?” she asked shyly. She’d done this for her mistress frequently in the past, and even for Snowflake the other night, and they’d both seemed to enjoy it greatly.
“Would I what?” Samantha teased, her tone making it clear that she knew exactly what the fox wanted. She licked her lips. “I can’t imagine what you’d like me to do.”
Seo-yun felt her face grow red. “Would you… use your mouth on my… my breasts ple-” She gasped as Sam immediately latched onto her nipple, hungrily licking and sucking on the little nub and sending a rush of pleasure through her. Men had done this with her before, but it had always been painful. They would chew and bite, trying to mark as her their own with their teeth. Samantha did nothing of the sort. Her tongue was soft and gentle, and the friction as it rubbed against her was almost electric.
Samantha’s own breasts were right in front of Seo-yun, and she quickly reciprocated, taking one of the woman’s nipples into her mouth. The phoenix shivered beneath her as Seo-yun returned some of the pleasure she’d been given. Samantha’s skin was sweet and salty and smelled wonderful after her shower. For a time, the room was silent and mostly still, save for soft slurping and the occasional quiver from one or both of them.
Seo-yun alternated every few minutes, giving both breasts equal attention. Whichever one she wasn’t worshipping with her tongue, she would use her fingers to rub and play with. Samantha was being stoic, but the fox could feel the minute trembling from the woman every time her finger pads softly stroked her. With her arms restrained, Samantha couldn’t match what she was doing, but she made up for it with enthusiasm and skill, her mouth making Seo-yun pant heavily.
Seo-yun could’ve happily stayed like that for hours, basking in the warmth and smell and taste of the woman. But their time together was limited, so after a while she reluctantly pulled away, both of Samantha’s nipples now covered with saliva and rock hard, her own no different. Samantha pulled away too a moment later, licking her lips again with a little purr that left Seo-yun’s knees weak.
There was a bit more kissing after that; Samantha’s lips were warmer than before, and it was oddly appealing to know that the warmth had come from Seo-yun’s own flesh. Then she began to explore the rest of Samantha’s body, drinking in the sight and smell and feel and taste of it. She hadn’t realized just how many scars covered the woman. Most had faded over time, but she could still feel them against her tongue and fingers. Samantha had been through so much. Seo-yun had been alive for three centuries, but after just nine months it felt like she’d been a slave far longer than a free woman. Samantha was just shy of three decades, and had been a slave for six years. An entire fifth of her life spent in captivity.
Seo-yun couldn’t heal Samantha’s scars, or take away the memories behind them, but she could give the woman some positive sensations and memories, and she strove to do just that, softly caressing and nibbling and nuzzling. The phoenix was doing the same for her, and it made tears come to Seo-yun’s eyes. It wasn’t the pleasure that got that reaction out of her – though Samantha was very, very good at what she did – it was the gentleness. Outside of a few all too brief moments, like her time with Morris and her hug from Qarinah, Seo-yun hadn’t been touched with such kindness in centuries. She basked in it, feeling warm and wanted in a way that had been missing ever since she was orphaned.
She saved the wetness between Samantha’s legs for last. The woman’s slit was slick and almost feverishly hot to the fox’s tongue, and Sam moaned as Seo-yun began exploring her insides with as much enthusiasm as she’d had for her outsides. “Thuh, that’s not fair,” whined the phoenix, her voice distressed but sweet. “Jack is, he’s cheating!”
Seo-yun grinned as she realized that the woman wasn’t wrong. Samantha’s pussy felt familiar to her, and she could tell without thinking about it what she liked. She focused her attention on a spot that she already knew was extra sensitive, flicking it with her tongue and enjoying the way it made the redhead shudder. “This is *shlurp* revenge,” she told Samantha as she eagerly attacked her. She wasn’t sure what exactly it was revenge for, but she had other things on her mind.
And then she couldn’t think of anything at all as Samantha fought back, burying her own tongue in Seo-yun’s pussy. Seo-yun’s legs felt like jelly, and it was all she could do not to just collapse into a boneless heap on top of the woman. Her master and mistress had forced her to cum for them before, but it was always just another way to control and dominate her. There had been physical pleasure to the experiences, but it was dwarfed by the shame and humiliation. What was happening now… Seo-yun whimpered helplessly as her lover brought her to an earth shattering orgasm that made her back arch and her limbs shake, and left her feeling about ready to melt off the bed and onto the floor. “S-so that’s what s-sex is supposed to f-feel like,” she stuttered woozily after it had washed over, leaving pleasant tingles of aftershock behind. “Fi-finally see what all the, the fuss is about…”
“Mmmm hmmmm,” agreed Samantha, already working to coax another out of her. Seo-yun resisted, yanking her hips away from the woman’s mouth. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to cum again. Goddess, there were few things she’d ever wanted more. But right now, one of those few things was to make Samantha squirm. The phoenix tried to chase after her, but Seo-yun put a hand on her stomach and pushed her against the bed, taking advantage of her trapped wrists. Samantha struggled without success as the fox pinned her down and went after her pussy again. “Come on!” she protested weakly, her trembling voice telling Seo-yun that she was already close. “This is- it’s supposed to- it was about making you feel good, not me!”
“So you want me *slrp* to stop?” Seo-yun asked. She was prepared to do just that if the woman said yes, but she wasn’t surprised when Samantha only growled and kept struggling. The way her slit throbbed with need against Seo-yun’s tongue was more than answer enough.
As Samantha’s legs kicked the air and her juices flooded Seo-yun’s mouth, signaling her first orgasm, part of Seo-yun marveled at the fact that in so many ways, this was exactly what she’d been forced to do all this time, and yet the experience felt nothing like it. She’d spent countless hours over the last year kneeling between Jessica Wilmingshire’s legs, and it had never brought her a fraction of the joy that she now felt. It was like the difference between a refreshing swim and drowning. She was doing this of her own free will because she wanted to, and because Samantha trusted her enough to let her do it. And Samantha wanted her. Not just a warm body that would do as it was told. Her.
Sam was trying to get away, her hips bucking in an effort to evade Seo-yun’s tongue, and the fox happily rejected every escape attempt, her head busy and productive between the woman’s legs. “D-damn you…” Samantha panted shortly after her third orgasm. “Gonna… make you… pay for ahhhh ohhhhhhhh…” Seo-yun couldn’t help but giggle as she licked the phoenix to number four. “You’re just… lucky I said…you could call all the shots tonight…” she said after her seventh. “Otherwise, I would… I would…”
“Why? *slrp* What would you do if- aah!” Seo-yun squeaked in surprise as Samantha immediately began twisting around like a snake. She barely had time to notice that the woman’s hands were free before their positions were completely reversed. Samantha was still below her, but now the phoenix’s legs were locked around Seo-yun’s torso in a wrestling hold, her hands were groping the fox’s butt, and her face was close enough to Seo-yun’s crotch that she could feel her breath on it.
“I’d do something like that,” Samantha said. “And then I’d do something like this.” It was the fox’s turn to writhe and moan as Sam gave her wet pussy a single long, slow lick. “You just let me know if I should keep demonstrating.”
“Ohhhh,” whimpered Seo-yun. “You should… should… sh-show me more… so I know wh-what I’m missing…” For a while after that, she felt too good to form words, let alone complete sentences. She could only squeal and gasp and scream as Samantha ruthlessly made up for lost time.
A long while later, both women laid on their sides, gently lapping each other as they embraced. It was late, and Seo-yun was exhausted, but she didn’t want to stop. Stopping meant going to sleep and then waking up to a fresh nightmare. And worst of all, they would be separated after it was over. This was all the time they were going to have.
Samantha must have had similar thoughts on her mind, because eventually she sighed and stopped licking. “Alright, if I don’t get up soon, I’m gonna fall asleep like this. And as nice as that sounds, tomorrow’s going to be bad enough without all my muscles aching because I slept in a stupid position.”
“What do you think tomorrow will be like?” Seo-yun asked her. She didn’t actually care about the answer. She just wanted an excuse to stay awake a little longer.
“Brutal and violent. A couple years ago they put us all in one big cage with a bunch of weapons. Number of points determined the order people got to pick one. I was only in second place when we got there, but the leader made a mistake, went straight for the only gun available without checking if it was actually loaded. As if the Paradisium would let one of us kill another that cleanly. Last year we were strung up and they brought out some of their biggest sadists to see which one of us could hold out the longest. Every point you had was worth a single second before they started in on you. By the time my hundred and twenty seven were up, two of the other girls had already been accidentally killed. A third gave up immediately to try and spare herself, and they didn’t like that one bit. She was begging for death long before they put her out of her misery.”
“That all sounds horrible,” Seo-yun said. The threat of dying today had been bad enough, but what Samantha was describing was pure torture and murder.
“That’s the Paradisium for you. Every year is different, but it’s always a bloodbath.” She grew quiet for a moment. “…I can’t help you tomorrow.”
The words came as no surprise, but they still hurt to hear. “I know,” Seo-yun said, trying not to let any of it show in her voice.
“You don’t understand,” Samantha said forcefully. “I… I have to win, because…” Her breathing had grown ragged. “Because…”
“It’s okay,” Seo-yun told her, “you don’t have to-“
“No!” Samantha interjected. She twisted around on the bed so that the two of them were face to face. “I want to tell you, I, I’m trying to tell you, it’s just…”
Seo-yun had never heard her speak with so much anxiety in her voice, and Morris seemed just as shocked. Seo-yun hugged the redhead tighter. “It’s okay,” she repeated. “It’s okay. Just breathe and take your time…”
For a few minutes they stayed like that. Several times Samantha tried to speak and stopped herself. Seo-yun didn’t try to push her, just waited for her to find the words. Finally, in a very small voice, she said, “…………i’m meat.” The admission seemed to take something out of her, and she began to quietly weep. “I’ve been trying so hard to be tough and fearless and, and eventually they’re all going to find out that I’m just worthless meat.”
The despair in her voice made Seo-yun’s heart break. All of Samantha’s bravado was gone, and beneath it she was as terrified and hurting as anyone here. The fox continued to hug the woman and stroke her hair while she cried, offering her warmth and her presence. “You are more than meat, Sam,” she told her gently. “And a far cry from worthless.”
Samantha shook her head. “No, I’m not. When I’m not here, when I’m Samantha, I… I’m just another pathetic slave. I sob and I beg and I fuck my master just the way he likes and thank him for his cum when it’s over. But when I’m here, I get to pretend to be Ember. She’s the one who’s worth something, the one who’s important. And every year it gets harder to be her, harder to remember how to act like a real person.” Her crying grew heavier. “And even if I win, I have to go back and be Samantha again, and I don’t want to be Samantha. I don’t want to…”
She didn’t speak again after that. Seo-yun embraced her as she wept, wishing she knew the words to make things right. She knew one thing, though: as long as she was alive, she wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to Samantha. No matter what tomorrow held, or what it cost her, she was going to keep her safe. For Morris, for herself, and for the woman who’d been forced to fight all by herself for the last six years. She wasn’t going to be alone anymore.
It had been hours since the round ended, and at some point they’d shut off all the lights in the arena. Within that darkness, the nogitsune hung in place, her body twitching as several hundred of the eggs in it pipped, their shells cracking open bit by bit. She could already feel the first few legs of thousands pawing at her insides, seeking freedom. She was in hell.
“I’m used to you being pathetic, whore, but this is a new low,” said Master Mordred. Snowflake thought he was speaking through her earpiece at first, forgetting that it had been destroyed, but the darkness in front of her shifted, and her owner’s hand stroked her face. Then he slapped her. “And a kinder one than you deserve, if you ask me.”
Snowflake whimpered. There was no one in the world she hated more than the vampire, and every session with him was an ordeal of pain and degradation, but right now she would happily spread her legs and open her lips for him if it meant rescue. She murmured through her egg stuffed mouth, trying to express her complete submission.
“Even Karakostas knows how rare a nogitsune fucktoy is. I think the greedy bastard has hopes of stealing you from me someday, because he told me that if I requested it, he’d have you taken out of here early and treated for your…” He squeezed her swollen belly with one hand, making her squirm in pain. “Your stupidity. I told him to let you rot down here until I was ready to take you back.” Snowflake’s heart sank. “Do you know why? Does the number seventeen mean anything to you, whore?”
It did, and her heart sank even further. “That’s right,” he confirmed, drinking in her look of misery. “Seventeen orgasms. Did you really think I wouldn’t notice my fox fucktoy breaking the rules? You’re not allowed to cum, whore, not ever. And now you have to pay for it.” He squeezed her belly again. “I’ve experimented with torturing you enough to know that these things probably won’t kill you, no matter how much you’ll be wishing for it. All fourteen hundred and fifty one spiders in there right now will crawl or eat their way out of you, and then you’ll be stuffed and sealed again for the next batch. Seventeen orgasms, seventeen batches. That’s only fair, don’t you think, whore?”
His words made her shiver, particularly because she knew that he wasn’t bluffing. If he wanted her to live through this nightmare seventeen times, he’d make it happen. He didn’t care if she came out of it broken and insane.
“It should only take a week or two,” Master Mordred told her. “And while you’re down here, squirming and screaming with a thousand spiders inside you, I want you to keep something in mind.” His cold lips brushed her ear, and his breath smelled stale and dead. “When you get back home, I’m going to find even worse ways to punish you.” She shuddered.
“The ones in you now are just about to hatch,” he said. “A few more minutes to go. I thought I would watch this first time. I imagine it’s going to be quite a sight to see, and it would be a shame if only spiders were around to appreciate it. Are you ready to become a mother fourteen hundred and fifty one times over, whore?”
She shook her head. Snowflake knew her owner far too well after being both his fleshlight and favorite snack for so long. He wasn’t taunting her like this just to humiliate her; he wanted something. Fine. If it meant an end to this grotesque torture, she couldn’t think of anything she wouldn’t eagerly agree to.
Sure enough, the vampire’s next words carried a hint of amusement to them, and he idly sunk one fingernail into her breast, making her squirm in place as he tore through her skin, and then licked the blood off of himself. “Not having you around for a few days has left me hungry, hungry enough to engage in foolish sentimentality. So I will offer you a single chance to escape the punishment you deserve: die.” Even in the darkness of the arena, she could feel his merciless gaze on her flesh. “If you can apologize for your centuries of incompetence and beg me sweetly to make a feast out of you, I will consider sending you off as my first and final act of mercy.”
He meant it. The vampire was always true to his word if he could help it; it was one of the reasons he was a rat bastard. How many times had she begged him for death in the last five centuries? Once she’d harbored grand fantasies of overpowering him or escaping from his clutches, but for ages now her fantasies were much more mundane, if equally unobtainable: Master Mordred being overeager and feeding on her too strongly. Master Mordred choking her to death on his cock without realizing it. Or best and most hoped for of all, just dying quickly and painlessly in her sleep.
And now she’d finally made it. She could be free. All she had to do was grovel before him just one last time, and all of her suffering would over. It wasn’t as though she had much pride left to lose, not after being so thoroughly defiled today. And no matter how slow or painful he decided to make her end, it was infinitely better than what was about to happen next, let alone the sixteen times after.
Master Mordred touched her webbed mouth. “When I release this, you will not waste time on negotiating, or thinking, or breathing. Either beg like the pathetic furry cum stain that you are, or don’t bother trying.” He gave her no further time to prepare. A single slash of his fingernail parted the gag and throbbing spider eggs began pouring out of her mouth and throat in a torrent.
She didn’t hesitate to give him her answer. Even without his warning, times when he allowed her to speak to him were too rare to waste. As soon as her airway was clear enough to speak, she forced out the words. “Fuck… you…” she rasped, and spat some of the sticky black spider slime into his face.
Death would be a fate a hundred times kinder than the spiders, and she was well aware that in the days to come she’d remember this moment and curse herself for her decision. But right here and now, she couldn’t do it. Death meant peace and escape and never being fucked bloody again, but it also meant letting him win, giving up forever on those impossible dreams of revenge that she’d thought she abandoned centuries ago. This week had been a bunch of stupid, annoying bullshit that culminated in these fucking spiders, but it had also made her feel like herself again for a little while. If she took his offer and begged for death, that would vanish. She’d die as Snowflake, the worthless, scum sucking whore he wanted her to be, and that was the worst fate of all. When she went, she wanted it to be as herself. As Yuki. She was a fuck-up, a murderer, and an exile, but she’d earned those scars… and she refused to let anyone take them away from her.
If her defiance angered him, he gave no sign of it. “Gooooood,” he purred instead. “I was hoping you’d be that stupid. Say hello to your new family, whore.”
It began as a tiny cacophony of cracking noises, so minute that even her sensitive ears barely registered them. Then Yuki felt the hard eggs inside her start to crumble, replaced by a million new and horrible sensations. The nogitsune screamed in pain and terror as a horde of freshly hatched spiders began eagerly exploring their home. As she twisted and howled, part of her already regretting her foolishness, she heard Master Mordred’s mocking laughter.
Nadia was so exhausted that she fell asleep the moment her head hit the pillow. Transforming always took a lot out of her, and didn’t help that she weighed more as a fox than she did as a human. Her wings would be sore for weeks after demanding so much from them.
It felt like she’d only been laying down for a few seconds when she heard the soft creaking of her bedroom door opening. Instinct made adrenaline surge through her body, burning away her sleepiness in an instant. It was common for Ilya to wake her up in the middle of the night because he was up late and felt like using her, and being only half-awake had never been a valid excuse for not performing her best.
The intruder was her sister. That wasn’t uncommon either; Tanya liked to say that it was such a waste to masturbate when she could give Nadia the chance to feel like she’d actually accomplished something, and Nadia had woken more than once to find her sister’s muff already planted on her lips. Even worse, sometimes Tanya would get up in the middle of the night needing to pee, and be too lazy to walk all the way to the bathroom. Her sister hadn’t molested her since the game had started it, but Nadia supposed her patience had run out.
She reached up to turn on the light, but Tanya grabbed her hand midway. “Keep the lights off,” she said quietly. “I’ve disabled the listening devices, but Eirene will notice if I turn off her cameras, and I have to assume that she can read lips.”
Her words didn’t make much sense – Tanya had never cared much about privacy – but Nadia let her arm fall to her side. She was still worn out, and didn’t have the strength to complain. If Tanya didn’t want anyone to see Nadia eating her out, fine. She just wanted to get it over with and go back to sleep.
“Nadia, we have to talk,” said Tanya. She sounded different than usual. Nadia was used to her sister always sounding gleeful, especially when she was being cruel, but her tone right now was dead serious. “There are things you need to know, and we don’t have much time.”
Nadia sighed and sat up. Was she about to be punished? She didn’t know what she’d done wrong, but Tanya had never needed much of a reason to hurt her. “What is it, mistress?” she asked tiredly.
Tanya flinched at the word ‘mistress’. “Please don’t call me that, Nadia. Please.”
“Yes mi- Tanya.” Nadia had never seen her sister acting like this, and it put her on edge. Change was never good, in her experience.
“First, I need to apologize,” Tanya said. “For… for everything I’ve done to you in the last fifteen years, and everything I’ve let happen.” The bedsprings squeaked softly as she sat down next to her sister. “I’m not going to ask your forgiveness, because I know I don’t deserve it. But I need you to know how deeply I regret every single moment of pain and humiliation that I’m responsible for in your life.”
Nadia sat up straighter, confusion and fear warring in her head. She didn’t understand why her sister was saying these things, and she didn’t dare believe her; this was just going to be another one of her pranks, looking to squeeze a bit of enjoyment out of her with false hope.
“I need you to listen carefully, Nadia,” Tanya continued. “Fifteen years ago, I realized something very important: the only way we could ever truly defeat Ilya and those like him was by earning his trust. And a monster only trusts other monsters. Since that day, every single action I’ve taken has been a step towards a larger goal. I needed to make him believe that I was as cruel as he was, and… and you were how I did it.” To Nadia’s astonishment, she saw tears glistening in her sister’s eyes. “Sometimes I wonder if there was something better I could have done, a path that wouldn’t have required you to suffer. If I’d been smarter back then, or wiser, maybe I would have seen another way. But I didn’t, and once I’d committed, there was no turning back.”
Nadia shook her head. It was an appealing lie, but as much as she longed to believe that her sister didn’t really hate her, as much as she’d dreamed of moments just like this, she couldn’t swallow this sudden reversal after all these years. “There were so many times you hurt me when no one else was around,” she said. “It was more than just an act. All these years, and you’ve waited until now to say anything?”
“I couldn’t risk telling you about it,” Tanya pleaded. “Not while we were at Paragon, where he has surveillance everywhere. I had to assume that he was watching me all the time, which meant my deception had to be flawless and permanent. Even when we were alone, I couldn’t drop the act or try to give you a hint. He had to think that I was a genuine sadist who enjoyed abusing you.”
“So why tell me now then?” Nadia asked bitterly, detesting the sick joke her sister was playing. She wished this had been one of Tanya’s usual nighttime visits instead. “I’m not exactly living free.”
“Because the Paradisium is the best chance that we’ll ever have,” Tanya told her. “It took years of cajoling and subtle manipulation to convince him to put the both of us in the Game.”
“We’re locked in a box underground,” Nadia reminded her. “This isn’t exactly an improvement over home.”
“Not yet. But tomorrow will be different. Plenty of people around, light security, and multiple avenues of escape. If we act in tandem, we can be out the door before they know what’s happening.”
Nadia hated how tempted she was to give in. “You think you can just walk in here and say all this?” she snarled instead. “After treating me like garbage, after hurting me and raping me and humiliating me for years, all it takes is an apology and a lame excuse, and I’m supposed to smile and hug you and say we’re sisters again? Do you have even the slightest shred of proof for this bullshit?” She couldn’t tell which answer would hurt more.
“I do,” Tanya said quietly. She pressed her right thumb against her left forearm hard enough to break the skin, then dragged it up her arm, leaving a gash several inches long. Nadia grimaced as her sister forced her fingers into the wound. “I knew I couldn’t keep anything around that seemed sentimental,” Tanya explained as she dug into her own flesh, “so I had to hide this. I took it the day before we turned eighteen. Told Ilya I’d cut myself trying to cook him dinner to explain away the injury.” She pulled out a small and bloody plastic cylinder, no thicker than a pencil, and offered it to Nadia. “Here.”
Nadia hesitantly took the tube. There was a cap on one end, and she removed it to find something rolled up inside the tube. It took a minute to ease it out, and then she unrolled it and stared at it in shock. It was a Polaroid photograph, and a familiar one. Young Nadia and Tanya stood side by side, grinning, in one of the hallways of Paragon. One of the researchers who’d treated them more kindly than most had taken it on their fifth birthday and given it to them as a present. Tanya had insisted Nadia keep it. There were various records and video recordings documenting their childhood, but this was, as far as she knew, the only real photo of the two of them together. Nadia had treasured it for thirteen years, until it was destroyed with all of her other things by Tanya… or so she’d always thought.
Her fingers shook, and a teardrop fell onto the Polaroid. Tanya had kept this picture. Kept it and hidden it all this time. “You… you really don’t hate me?” she whispered.
“Never,” Tanya promised. “I love you, Nadia. I always have. And I’m so, so sorry for what I’ve had to do to you, but I swear to you, I’ve only ever done what I thought was absolutely necessary. I’m not trying to excuse or justify my behavior; I am a monster, and I can never make up for the things I’ve done. But tomorrow, if you help me, I’ll finally have the chance to make all my sins mean something.”
Nadia shook her head. She shouldn’t believe a word Tanya was saying. Her sister had to be lying to her. This was going to be some elaborate trick, and when the time came Tanya would laugh in her face for being so stupid. But… but she couldn’t help herself. After twenty five miserable years of life, she couldn’t shut away the only chance for happiness that she’d ever had. “What do you need me to do?” she asked.
“First, you need to understand that this is about more than just escape,” Tanya told her. “Ilya is insane. He thinks that the other races would destroy mankind if given the chance, and he’s decided that the only solution is to kill them all first. Even the Paradisium is just a stepping stone to him, a way to get access to test subjects for his projects. And soon… I can’t give you the details, but if we don’t do something, eventually untold numbers of people will die.”
Nadia’s face paled to hear that. She knew her father’s opinion on nonhumans all too well, but his goal of literal genocide was new to her. He’d never trusted her with that kind of information. It explained a lot though.
“Second, I need you to take two of my fox marbles. Yours must be running low by now, and you’re going to need all you can get.” Tanya kissed her sister. It was far from their first kiss, but it was the gentlest one Nadia could remember ever receiving from her. She was almost sorry when it was over and Tanya’s two marbles sat beside her own. She hadn’t known Ilya had given her sister extra marbles, but his favoritism was hardly surprising.
“Third,” Tanya said, “you’re going to have to use them tomorrow.”
“All three of them?”
Tanya nodded. “They’ll make you far stronger than just one when you activate them at the same time. That’s why Ilya gave me three.”
Nadia tried to imagine what that kind of power could look like. She already felt superhuman when activating a single marble. “If we’re going to use these to escape, though, wouldn’t it make sense to split them equally?” she asked.
“They’re not for escaping,” Tanya told her. “They’re for fighting. I have a plan for this, Nadia, a plan that I’ve been working on for a very long time, and for it to succeed, Ember needs to die.”
Nadia felt a ball of icy dread in her stomach that had nothing to do with the marbles there. “Die? You… you mean I have to kill her?”
“Yes. It’s our only hope, and a powerful phoenix like her will require your full strength. I know I’m asking a lot from you. I’d do it all myself if I could, but I’m going to be busy with my own plans tomorrow.”
“Wait, you already know what tomorrow’s competition is going to be?”
“Of course.” Tanya gave her a small self deprecating smile. “Ilya put some of his people inside the Paradisium to feed him info, and one of the perks of being his favorite cum dump is that he shares it with me. Do you think you can do this, Nadia?”
A week ago, Nadia would have said no. She’d killed to survive before, but never by choice, not like this would be. But now… She clenched her fist. “I have a condition,” she told her sister. “If I’m going to help you, you have to help me too.”
“Killing Moonshine’s owner, right?” Tanya asked.
Nadia was taken aback for a moment. “How did you…?”
Tanya shrugged. “You started taking the game far more seriously after she died, and you know as well as I do that winning this disgusting, barbaric competition wouldn’t mean much to her. But if you made it to the winners’ circle, all the other owners would be there too, including the man who sent her here. Reaching him has been your goal since then.”
“If you figured it out, other people probably did too,” Nadia muttered darkly. She’d made Belle a promise after the werewolf’s death. She was going to win this thing for her, and make her owner pay for everything he’d done. There was no chance she’d survive afterward, but her life wasn’t worth much anyway.
“I don’t think so,” said Tanya, shaking her head. “Everyone up there underestimates us. When they look at us, all they see are helpless slaves that will obey their every command. Escape is one thing; they can’t fathom the idea that we might strike back. And that will be no problem at all. You’ll get your chance to kill him before we’re done here, I promise. In fact, the plan depends on it. I’ll need a distraction tomorrow, and you teaching those bastards not to underestimate us will be perfect.”
Nadia took a deep breath. “Okay,” she said. She felt like she was standing at the edge of a pit, about to jump in. The fall was all but certain to kill her, but for just a little while, she’d get to enjoy the wind on her face. “I’ll do it. I’ll kill Ember for you.”