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The forest was dark, the lush green surroundings blinding her way forward, and Yuki was out of breath when she finally stopped running. She leaned forward to heave in breaths and fill her lungs. The breaths came fast and deep, and the nogitsune was more than tired. While she was bent over, her eyes were drawn to a trail of large ants in front of her. The little critters moved at a hurried pace, carrying bits and pieces of the forest. Many of them carried large items that seemed to weigh many more times than their small insect bodies. Yuki was amazed at how much dedication those ants carried on their backs. They shouldered their weight with ease, revealing none of the effort and pain that the feat must require. The ants had a common goal, and they meant to reach it regardless of their burdens. They reminded Yuki of Merielle.
Where was she?
The fox had been trailing right behind the selkie before losing sight of her in the forest. For the past several hours, she’d been frantically chasing in her wake, looking for the redhead. Now reminded of her task, Yuki immediately looked up and began to run through the forest again. The nogitsune was quite athletic, and her strong body was able to easily push her over or through many of the forest’s obstacles. Her gymnastic capabilities made her jump fallen tree trunks with ease, pushing through brush and jumping over dips in the ground and creeks, frantically running at incredible speeds while her eyes scanned the forest for Merielle.
She was able to run quite a distance before exhaustion slowed her pace again, but still she was not able to find the selkie. Yuki looked left and right, a quiet sense of desperation beginning to grab hold of her as Merielle continued to be nowhere in sight. It was not that long ago that the selkie had been only a few feet away from her, close enough to touch, but now it looked like Yuki had finally lost her.
The nogitsune came to a crossroads, the path forking left and right. Neither direction offered any hint of which way would lead her to Merielle. Yuki wavered between the two options. Right. She would go right. But before she’d put even one foot forward, she hesitated. No, she had to go left.
The moment she turned her back on the right path, she panicked. No, no, this was wrong, she was being stupid, she had to go right. She turned around, only to find that the pathway had vanished. It had been swallowed utterly by the forest, leaving nothing behind but a thick wall of green.
Left was now her only option… but it too had vanished by the time she faced it again. Yuki was left at a dead end, and whichever way Merielle had gone, the nogitsune could no longer follow. Yuki grabbed her hair in a fit of rage and utter desperation. “NO!” she yelled at the top of her lungs. “Merielle! MERIELLE! WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU!!!” The forest rang with her solemn echoes… but none received a response.
The furious fox sank to the ground as she realized her loss. After a few moments, the forest gave way to a subtle small sound that caught her attention. Her eyes turned left and right to see nothing but the dark green shrubbery and tall trees that surrounded her. “For fuck sakes!” Yuki yelled as she sagged in resignation. What else could she do to find her slave? Her lover?
Something moved. Behind her. Yuki spun, her tails fanning out to protect her… and through the leaves she saw the red roof of a shrine to Inari. Brushing aside the leaves, she could see it all-too-clearly. The entrance to the shrine was decorated in stark red columns, stretching up through the trees and out of sight. As far as Yuki knew, they stretched all the way up to the heavens. For some reason, she found it incredibly irritating that her goddess would decide to appear at this very moment, in the middle of a crisis, just to bother her. After all, it wasn’t like she cared. Yuki still remembered how she’d been betrayed. How after all she’d done for her and for her precious humans, how completely the goddess had failed her. Even that irritation, however, was covered by a deeper, greater feeling of loss.
Yuki didn’t know why. After all, she’d wanted Merielle to wise up and leave for months now. She should feel relieved that she’d finally gotten rid of her. But instead, she felt like a large part of herself had gone with the selkie. A piece of her soul was missing… and the sense of loss was becoming too much to bear.
The nogitsune looked at the entrance to the shrine and felt a sudden urge to go in. She hesitated at first, but then relaxed her defenses and quietly relented. The pathway to the shrine was long, long enough that it felt like she spent an eternity traveling between the red columns. She kept walking.
She didn’t stop until she’d finally made it to the lavishly decorated altar. Yuki looked around, taking in the majestic beauty of the place. No one else was here. She was alone. And yet… and yet Yuki felt she stood before Inari once again.
She wanted to curse, to scream, to rage. To destroy something. To burn the shrine and the entire forest to ashes with witchfire. The nogitsune didn’t want to surrender… She refused to do so. It wasn’t like her to submit. Not to anybody. Not even to the woman she had spent so long calling goddess. But… for Merielle… “Where is she?” she asked the empty shrine. The words hung in the air. “Where is Merielle?”
After a brief moment, an answer entered her mind. She had the sudden urge to run, and run Yuki did. She was a fox again as she ran as fast as she ever had, leaving the shrine far behind, passing through trees and under canopies as she raced through the forest on four legs until Mount Sakurajima stood before her. The volcano was active, large plumes of smoke traveling up to the sky. And it was calling her name.
The kitsune hurried up to the top of the volcano, braving the climb with ease in her natural form. It was hot here, and it only grew hotter as she grew closer to the summit. She could feel the heat radiating from every rock, and the air baked her skin and threatened to ignite her fur at the first stray spark. Yuki was panting by the time she neared the edge and froze. She wasn’t alone.
The crater of the volcano was surrounded by foxes. Foxes with flickering features, kitsune whose faces shifted and changed with every heartbeat… And each and every one of them had fur as dark as the void as they turned to face her. “Who the fuck are you?” Yuki demanded.
The kitsune all smiled at each other before one of them answered back. “We are your friends, Yuki,” one of them said with evil pride in her eyes. “Don’t you remember us? We finally get to see you again.” The flickering faces froze… and she knew them. Faces she knew well. Men and women who had been her friends. Her brothers and sisters. People who she had trusted with her life. People who had trusted her with theirs. Who had believed in her. Witchfire danced around all of them, lighting from fox to fox, and Yuki dimly realized that it wasn’t the volcano’s heat that she had been feeling all this time.
“No!” she replied with remorse and torture in her soul. “No! You can’t be here!”
They all replied with slight laughter. “Yuki,” one of them asked, “don’t you remember how glorious you felt when you burned your fur? How the power felt? You’re like us. You always will be just like us.”
Yuki fell apart inside. She remembered feeling that way, and being proud of it, but now it felt so wrong to her. “I’m sorry…” she whispered. “It’s my fault…”
“It was,” one of the nogitsune agreed. “And now, we thought, why not give your lover the same opportunity you gave us?” Yuki’s face lit up upon hearing of Merielle, but her eyes widened with horror when she saw four of the dark foxes carrying a struggling, bound redhead the last few footsteps up to the peak.
“What the fuck are you doing to her!” Yuki screamed with rage. “She’s mine, you bastards! Leave her alone!”
“No,” one of the nogitsune replied with certainty. “She’s one of us, now. One of us, like you.” She smiled. “Just another thing you broke.” With that, the black-furred nogitsune picked Merielle up in the air. The selkie shook in horror as she saw the entrance to the pit of the roaring volcano, screaming for help as the men and women carrying her heaved to throw her in.
“NO!” a helpless Yuki cried out. “You don’t know what you’re doing! She’s not one of us! She’s a fucking selkie! There’s molten iron down there! YOU’RE GOING TO DESTROY HER!!!” Yuki collapsed with utter grief as she saw the others prepare to throw.
“You’ve got it wrong!” one of the foxes replied as she turned to face a broken and bewildered Yuki… and Yuki saw Syllana’s face on her. “You are going to destroy her!” The black fox laughed with joy as she and the rest of the group threw Merielle down to the burning lava below. The redhead screamed for her life, the sound fading as she descended. Yuki darted desperately for the edge of the volcano… and watched, helpless, as the woman she loved was engulfed in lava and incinerated… and just like that, Merielle was no more.
“NOOO!!!” Yuki yelled to the heavens. “NOOO!!! NO! NO! This can’t be! Merielle! Merielle! NOOO!” Yuki moaned and cried like no tomorrow. Her very being was falling apart. “NOOO! No! Please!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” Her screams echoed throughout, loud enough to trouble the dead… loud enough to wake her from her nightmare in a screaming daze.
“NOO!!” Yuki screamed one last time as she awoke from the awful nightmare, jerking up and awake. She clutched at her aching head, the pressure behind her ears so powerful that she thought her head was going to rupture. She must have fallen asleep at some point. That was no good. If she was sleeping, she wasn’t drinking.
Yuki forced herself up, shoving the nightmare to the side and forcing herself not to think about it as she swung her legs over the bed… and hissed in agony as her first step revealed all the shards of glass still stuck in her foot that she had never bothered to get out. “Fuck!” Yuki hissed, pulling her feet up and roughly pulling the glass out and starting the bleeding all over again now that the glass was no longer plugging up the cuts that hadn’t healed. She didn’t bother waiting for the bleeding to stop… she walked through the dilapidated bedroom of her trashed apartment, leaving bloody footprints behind her that matched the now dried bloody footprints from when she had come. Her slow, calm breathing was slowly relaxing her slightly, helping her push the dream away… but nothing to cure the pulsing in her head. She picked around patches of glass still on the floor and reached for the bottle of sake, then frowned to find it empty. Two other jugs she reached were just as empty, but the fourth had a little bit left in it. Desperate, she tilted it up and emptied what little of the burning liquor was left into her mouth. Even less than she was hoping for. In annoyance, she threw it against the wall, not caring that the glass bottle shattered into a million sharp pieces.
She was nowhere near drunk enough. Fucking Inari. She’d shoveled down enough of the booze to kill an elephant, and she wasn’t even drunk. “This must be why people think foxes are tricksters,” she muttered darkly. “Because our existence is one big joke to you, isn’t it?” This was her fault. Right now, she would do anything to never heal again, to not have Inari’s ‘gift’ restoring her constantly. She wanted to escape into oblivion, and that selfish bitch of a goddess wouldn’t let her. Yuki shook her head. It didn’t matter. She just needed more.
The nogitsune started walking. She wobbled a bit but was strong enough to glide out of the dirty bedroom and into the living room, finding the grocery bags from the last time Merielle had shopped. Yuki dug around in the bags, but… no sake. Fucking hell. She knew they had gotten some. “Merielle!” Yuki called. “Where did you put it?”
Yuki looked around the ruined house. The lights had finally stopped flickering… having burned out at some point in the night, but sunlight poured in through the windows, painfully bright. She saw no sign of the selkie.
“The fuck are you?” she growled. She went out and peeked into the hallway. No Merielle. She came back and checked the ugly, shitty bathroom. No one there either. She looked everywhere and Merielle was nowhere to be found. She was gone.
“Good riddance, fucking bitch,” Yuki said to herself and the empty room. She was trying to forget her recent nightmare. It was probably nothing. “Have a fucking good time without me.” She’d been right all along… Merielle wasn’t going to stay faithful. She was going to betray her and leave her alone, just like everyone else. Just like everyone else always had. Yuki had always known that when push came to shove, Merielle would abandon her… everyone always did. She’d been right, all along.
That should feel better than it did.
Yuki headed back into the kitchen, barely avoiding stepping on more glass. Fine. If Merielle was gone, she would find it herself. Fuck that bitch. She might be back, or she might not. Probably not. Who the fuck cared. She’d finally gotten that stupid selkie off her back. “Good fucking riddance.” She started digging through one of the cabinets, pulling things out and scattering them on the ground as she looked for the sake. The relaxed nogitsune showed no worry, no remorse, no concern as she made a mess. Her mind was finally at ease. Everything was fine. It’s all fucking better now.
But Merielle was gone.
The next box, one of rice, hit the ground hard enough to break apart when Yuki threw it as hard as she could, sending thousands of tiny pellets scattering across the floor. Yuki stared at them until they stopped bouncing. Then, like nothing had happened, she went back to searching for the booze.
“So, she finally left,” someone said from behind her. Yuki’s hands froze, then she slowly came off her tiptoes and turned. Her sister, Akari, stood in the apartment’s doorway, looking around. Her ears and tails were hidden again, but the white-haired beauty still stood out in the trash heap like a diamond tossed atop sewage. “Good for her, I think.” She stepped in as she took a look around the apartment, noticing the burnt out circuit box, the broken furniture, the trash-covered floor, the holes in the walls. “Can’t blame her. Keeping her in this run-down apartment… it just shows how much you hated her.”
“Yup, good for her…” Yuki said casually, not caring what her sister had to say. “She’s probably doing better. Is that what you came here to tell me, sis? That she can do better?”
“Would be hard not to,” Akari snapped back. “I just don’t know what took her so long to realize how fucked up you really are.”
Yuki turned back to the cabinet. “Shut the fuck up,” the nogitsune responded, her voice passionless. “Not like you know anything about anything, Akari. You can go fuck yourself, too!”
Akari smiled… a smile that contained boundless disappointment. “I think I know enough,” Akari answered. “I know, for instance, how much you treated her like shit.”
“She liked it!” Yuki replied. “And she fucking deserved it. And now the dumb selkie has finally left me alone… Like I said. Good. Fucking. Riddance.”
Akari shook her head in disbelief. “Do you know what I’ve been doing for the last few months, Yuki?”
“Meddling?” Yuki answered without looking over. “Fucking with my life some more?”
Akari paused. “Maybe,” she admitted. “But all I wanted was to watch you and Merielle together. To see my sister again. But I’m not blind, Yuki… I can see just how far gone you are. I love you… but I won’t be an enabler of your darkness anymore.”
Yuki scoffed, tossing another box down where it broke. “Oh, that’s rich.”
“Merielle told me how much she loved you, you know,” Akari said. “That ‘dumb’ selkie really cared about you.” The zenko fox laughed, a surprisingly bitter sound. “And you know the part that really hurts, Yuki? When I listened to her? Just for a minute… I believed her. I could listen to the way she saw you and really believe that you’d changed. That maybe there was something that you offered her that was worth all the pain.” Akari took another look around the nasty apartment. “But that just made it hurt more when I saw that you haven’t changed at all. Pain and misery is all you have to offer, sister. Just pain and misery…”
“My life has been nothing but pain and misery, sis,” Yuki retorted. “You should know that more than anybody else.”
Akari didn’t respond. All she could do was shake her head in disbelief. “Unbelievable…” was all that she could come up with.
“Yup, I’m trash,” Yuki agreed. “Worthless. Thanks for pointing it out.” She tossed another box down, and frowned when it didn’t break apart. “You know, why don’t you get the fuck out of here too? If I need cooking advice,” she said, trying to sound nonchalant. “I’ll give you a ring, okay?”
“The Yuki I knew cared about building things,” Akari said softly. “She loved beauty for its own sake. She wouldn’t be living in a dump. She wouldn’t be microwaving her food. If you live the way you love, though, one would have to wonder. Tell me, sister… when was the last time you made something, rather than break it?”
“Ha!” Yuki replied with a laugh. “So I don’t want to cook anymore. My cooking is shit, Akari. So what?” she slapped her hands down. “So fucking what? Everything else is shit. My life is shit. And Merielle knew it from the beginning. She saw what happened to me with that… That, that hideous vampire…”
“Mordred,” Akari interjected.
“Don’t say that piece of shit’s name!” Yuki responded with irritation. She continued searching for the bottle, and Akari finally sighed.
“It’s not there, Yuki. You drank it all.”
“Bullshit!” Yuki spat, throwing something else across the room. “Merielle probably just forgot to get it when she was shopping. She never could do anything right. I’ll have to get it myself.”
“It’s more than just Mordred, isn’t it?” Akari said. “I can’t help but realize that you are seriously hurt. Yes, I get it.”
“I am past that, sis,” Yuki snapped. “I’m way past that.”
“Like hell. You’re just afraid,” Akari replied.
“Afraid?” Yuki said with a bit of indignation. “Me? Afraid. Shut the hell up! I’m not afraid of anything or anybody. Not you. Not that stupid selkie. Not even Inari. Got it? You’re the one who’s afraid! You’re the one hiding from me and everyone else. You left me behind because you can’t handle anything… that’s why you turned your back on me! You have no fucking guts! You fucking coward!”
Akari bowed her head in disbelief of Yuki’s arrogance. But she returned to face her. She needed to tell the truth. “You’re afraid of being alone,” Akari said with a stern look on her face. “You’re afraid of being hurt again. Because all you can feel is hurt, sister.”
“HA!” Yuki barked a laugh. “Ooh, yes! I am very afraid, Akari! Very afraid! Look at me! I am shaking over here,” she snarled. “I’ve been alone, you selfish bitch. Alone? Look nobody loves pooo liwtle ole’ me!”
“Well…” Akari said, narrowing her eyes. “That’s true, now. Nobody does.”
Yuki remained still for the several seconds it took those words to sink in. When Akari’s words finally hit home, Yuki’s rage exploded. The dark haired fox screamed, launching herself at her sister, one hand extended to punch her across the face and… and…
Akari caught her arm by the wrist with one dainty hand, stopping her fist with no visible effort. “I’m not Merielle,” she said calmly, but her eyes seemed to boil with anger. “And I’m not your punching bag.” Yuki gasped as Akari started to squeeze her wrist… hard. “Whatever gave you the idea I would let you strike me, Youma?” The white fox finally let Yuki go, the nogitsune losing her balance and stumbling back here where she tripped over fallen boxes and landed heavily on the floor. “I can see right through you. I can see your charade. And I’m sick of it.”
Akari took one last look at her. “I’m not here to fight you, Yuki. I’m here to tell you that she’s gone… and I’m gone too.” Akari shook her head. “I have a sister to mourn. Again.”
Akari left Yuki on the ground as she exited the apartment with grace. She didn’t look back.
Yuki kept her eyes on the floor, silently seething. She was livid at her sister’s audacity. How dare she? This was all her fault. If she had joined with Yuki all the way back then, none of this would have happened. If she had learned to fight, Akemi would still be alive. If she hadn’t played with Merielle’s head, the selkie would still be here.
She really needed a drink. Akari had probably taken the bottle, too. Bitch.
Suddenly, the utter emptiness in the room got to her. Yuki didn’t realize what she was doing until she had already grabbed onto the couch and flipped it over. Something cracked in the wood as she did but the fox couldn’t care less. Howling, she began to throw around whatever she could get her hands on. Shoes, debris, boxes, furniture, cutlery, nothing was saved from the rage which even she realized came less from a sense of anger than from desperation to feel anything at all. Furious, she grabbed onto the chair and flung it viciously across the room, creating a new hole in the wall. Then she lifted up the duffel bag behind it and-
She paused. This was Merielle’s bag. The same one she had given her clothing in, the day she had taken her collar off. The same one she’d used to move around her meager possessions ever since. Yuki set it down, rolling her eyes. Of course she’d left her shit here. Maybe she’d be coming back for it after all. A tiny surge of hope went through her at the thought before Yuki shoved it down… that hope was poison. She’d told Merielle the truth about her sister. The selkie knew exactly the sort of black-hearted monster she had called mistress now. She wouldn’t be staying. A small part of her was grateful for that, too… she didn’t want to see what she would do to the redhead next to make her leave.
And she would make her leave.
Yuki had to admit that to herself now, if no one else. That she had needed Merielle to leave. That she had needed Merielle to abandon her… because if the selkie hadn’t betrayed her, if she really had been able to stand beside Yuki, then… then centuries of preemptive hatred, bitterness, and venom were a lie. Years of betraying and pushing away anyone who tried to get close to her before they could betray her was a lie. And if that was true…
If that was true, she really was the monster Akari said she was.
Don’t think about it.
Part of her just wanted to throw the bag out the window. Numb, Yuki idly opened it instead. She walked away, like it was unimportant, returning to tossing items around, but like she was being pulled her pacing always ended right before that open bag again. Eventually, Yuki gave up and knelt before it, as solemnly as she ever had before one of Inari’s shrines. Far more gently than she had with the cupboard, Yuki began to pull things out of the bag one at time. Most of it was clothing, of course… Merielle still didn’t have much clothing… she probably hadn’t lost more than a few outfits when they burned down their old apartment, but what she had was in here. A keepsake or two. It was a lot to leave behind, but nothing really important… not for a selkie who was probably going to just walk into the sea and be gone.
She kept searching until she found a nice white gift bag with a name… her name… written on it with a black sharpie. The selkie had even spelled it wrong… picking the wrong Kanji. She never had gotten her head entirely around Japanese. Yuki tried to picture her, meticulously copying these forms from a book and making sure they got them right, not understanding that they weren’t even the right kanji. At least the silly selkie had tried. It was filled with blue tissue paper, and Yuki’s hand went inside, searching it until she found something and pulled it out… Yuki stared at the leather band, turning it around in her hands. It was well made, she realized immediately… soft, strong leather, a serious buckle too, and one that locked. It was probably expensive, she realized, before she even turned it over and froze.
In fine silver filigree, the front of the collar was covered by an intricate snowflake.
Yuki look at it, held captive by the sight of the thing. She wanted to toss it out of the window too but instead, she just stared at it, her hands shaking slightly. This must have cost a fortune, and what it was was obvious… this was a gift for her, from the selkie… a collar for her to wear for her mistress. She didn’t know why she kept staring at it. All she wanted to do was to forget Merielle… but for some reason, she couldn’t let go of the collar. Where had she gotten the money…
The men in the alley. Merielle had asked her for money. Said she had something she wanted to buy. Yuki had all but whored her out as bait.
The collar felt cold in her fingers, but she couldn’t let go of it. The nogitsune’s attention went back to the bag. 夕姫, she had wrote. The kanji for night, and the kanji for princess. It was completely wrong. That wasn’t how her name was spelled. She didn’t deserve a name like that. But… to Merielle, she really had been her night princess, hadn’t she? Merielle really had loved her.
She wasn’t going to betray her.
Something was wrong with Yuki’s eyes… everything was blurry.
There had been one beautiful thing in her entire life… and she’d managed to destroy that, too. Just like she did everything else she had ever touched.
By the time she had finished sobbing, hours had passed. The sun was going down again, and Merielle hadn’t returned… not that Yuki ever expected her lover to. The nogitsune put the collar back down, gently, on top of the clothing with all the delicacy of an ancient scroll. She’d gone through the bag a dozen times… there was nothing important in here but this. Nothing that she couldn’t live without. After all, what did a selkie really need? She was probably just going to vanish into the sea and…
Yuki paused. She tilted her head, a feeling a dread slowly building. Yeah. There actually was a way to tell for sure.
Merielle had given it to her… and in truth, she hadn’t done a great job of taking care of something so important. The vampire, for all his faults, had treated them like something precious, something to be hidden away and protected, something to be treasured. Yuki had just flung the skin she had been entrusted with over the the back of her bedroom door. Merielle might have given it to Yuki, but she knew where it was… and she wouldn’t have left without her skin. Once Yuki confirmed it was gone, she could-
The fox froze again.
The skin was hanging there… still slung over the back of the door. It hadn’t even been touched.
Yuki stared at it for what felt like hours, confusion and hope and dread and terror warring inside her. Slowly, though, she made it to the bed and sat down, still staring at the skin, and she was certain of one thing… Merielle wouldn’t have gone and left it.
Yuki had given up her skin.
Merielle wasn’t nearly as stupid as she was.
She would be coming back… to get the skin, if nothing else. That was… that was good, right? Yuki wanted her to… right? Hadn’t she just… hadn’t she just finished proving what a lying piece of shit she was? When Merielle got back, Yuki would… she would tell her that she was… that she regretted what she said. That… that maybe they could find Maya. That…
The feeling of dread was still growing. She felt like she couldn’t breathe, and she wasn’t sure why not.
Yuki told herself she was being silly. Merielle would be mad. She should be mad. Yuki deserved it. But… if she hadn’t left, it wasn’t doomed yet. She could try again. She could, she would, trust the selkie… completely. The real wonder was that Merielle still trusted her when Yuki was so obviously unworthy of it, but right now, she couldn’t be anything but grateful for that. It meant that Yuki could still find a way to make things right. There was still a chance.
But the feeling of dread kept growing.
The nogitsune looked out the window on the sun going down… and slowly, she began to realize what was bothering her. Hours and hours and hours had passed. She’d been here all day.
If Merielle hadn’t left…
Then where the hell was she?
Merielle couldn’t see a damned thing… where she was going, where she was heading, where she was. Her head was spinning and had been for hours now. All the selkie was sure of was that someone had hit her from behind on the streets by her apartment. After that, several strong hands had dragged her into a vehicle before covering her head with dark cloth. She remembered being driven around in complete darkness. She had felt the vehicle stop and go, turn left then right. It appeared to her that she was being driven around in circles but that probably wasn’t the case… she just couldn’t make out any kind of useful pattern to it.
It seemed like she was blindfolded forever as fear and dread filled her mind, confusion and trauma warring in her as the men who took her chatted all the way. Their voices were low… sometimes whispering, sometimes just quiet, but the selkie could tell that they were talking about her. They would on occasion even laugh out loud, making her fear all the more morbid. Her time as a slave in the Mists of Avalon worked against as her imagination provided all kinds of ideas of what these men wanted from her, what they could do to her… especially since she didn’t know if Yuki was going to be looking. Her mistress had certainly given her away for her pleasure more than once, but somehow Merielle doubted this was one of those times. It was this uncertainty that drove her morbid fear up a few notches as the vehicle got quieter, slowly rolling to a complete stop.
The frightened selkie shivered in horror as a man’s cold hand touched her face. He was caressing her, but the more he touched her the more grim her collection of dreads became. The cold hand slowly and lightly traveled down her neck as it headed down to her bust. She tried to resist, but with her arms bound she had few options as his hand grabbed onto one of her tits. Her already tenuous sense of safety was rapidly falling apart as she considered the possible gruesome outcome of her dark travel. The ice-cold hand squeezed her left tit gently, making her melon jiggle underneath her blouse. The hand’s owner was closer to her now… she could feel his smelly breath running down her neck. Goosebumps rose on her pale skin as she tried to push away, shrugging her shoulders in a weak attempt to dislodge him, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make the man stand down.
As time passed in the now quiet vehicle, his hands grew increasingly aggressive. It continued to play with her full mound with a bit more force, pausing occasionally to let some of his rough fingers play with and flick her hardened pink nipples. As the hand cupped her breast, she began to feel another hand reach for her other orb… coming from the front this time. Probably the other man… she could feel his breath now too, feel him near her as her breasts twitched with utter fear, mewling sounds escaping the hood over her head… she wanted to scream and run but they were stronger than her. Merielle was blinded and restrained and there would be no escape. As soon as she was thrown into the mysterious vehicle, she’d been helpless. The selkie’s sense of nausea began to grow as the unseen men’s hands continued to handle her bust with fierce squeezes and groping. The breathing of the two men was becoming even more dreadful as she felt their hands make their way from her bust down her stomach and reach towards her crotch. Her very soul shook with quiet but dire desperation as the first hand grazed over her pussy, moving with callous disregard for her struggling… his other hand holding her thigh, pulling her apart. Increasingly, Merielle felt claustrophobic… squeezed between the men and unable to see, her breath coming in faster and shorter gasps of panic as the hands continued to explore the treasure between her legs.
At last, she couldn’t take it anymore and started screaming. She shouldn’t have bothered. She had tried in the car, when they first took her… just like then, the men simply tightened the hood around her, squeezing her neck until she couldn’t breathe at all anymore. Her scream choked off into gasps, and then gurgles, before they finally loosened it. Only then did their hands go to her bonds, somehow undoing the tight things in a second. There was no opportunity to resist, however… the moment they came free their hands were back on her, holding her down with overwhelming strength no matter how she struggled against them… she could barely even writhe.
“Please, let me go,” Merielle pleaded to the heavens, her words singing a small prayer that wished for her freedom. “Please, we… we have…” she swallowed. “You really don’t want to do this. She’ll kill you.” Merielle hoped desperately that this latest nightmare would come to end. “Please, I don’t want her to hurt you.” Internally, however, Merielle wasn’t sure if Yuki would be showing up ever again. Her doubt must have shown in her voice, too, because the men just laughed and began to pull off her skirt… one of them holding the fabric while another crawled up her thighs, fingering her sex. Merielle wasn’t wearing panties… Yuki hadn’t bought her any. As her skirt fell off her completely and another hand touched the sensitive bare skin of her cunt, she shrieked again.
This time, one of the men just grabbed onto her neck. “Urusai!” he snarled, squeezing. Merielle’s Japanese wasn’t perfect, but she certainly knew that one. “Shut up, whore,” he spat, switching to heavily accented English. “Don’t give me a reason to kill you.” He leaned down to speak into her ear. “I will pour fucking hot iron all over you until it’s a question if it burns you to death or you drown in it… Got it?” He licked her ear as Merielle went shock still and trembled. “Yeah, we know what you are, little selkie cunt. Now behave!”
“Let us see that lovely pussy!” another voice, the other man, demanded. “You don’t want us to get nasty with you.” His tone suddenly got darker. “Or do ya? Seems you and your girlfriend like to play a bit rough. We could teach you a few tricks.” The man’s voice lit up with laughter as he forced her legs open, the poor tied up selkie resisting only for a second before she relented, shaking.
“She was right,” one of the men said with astonishment in his voice. “These fucking selkies have amazing pussies…” He began to hum with delight as Merielle’s legs were spread open. “Fuckin nice piece of cunt…” He began to mutter to himself in excitement as his breathing got harder. A pair of fingers began to play with her pussy lips, making Merielle react with both utter fearful shock and a bit of unwilling pleasure as they forced their way into her. She had been trained by Yuki, both in freedom and in slavery, well enough that even in these circumstances she couldn’t resist growing wet against her will as her slit was invaded, her cunt shaking around his two fingers. “Tight as hell, too… if I didn’t know better I’d say this slut had never been touched before.”
“We’ll make sure no one ever thinks that again,” the other man said grimly. Merielle tried to move and shake them off but it was no use. The men wanted selkie pussy, and they were going to get it… they were so much stronger than she was.
Then, Merielle suddenly heard the car door be flung open. For a mad, hopeful second, she wondered if that was Yuki, come for her. Saving her again. Immediately afterward, however, a voice followed. “Alright, alright,” a woman’s voice said from outside. “Enough you two. I need her first…” The voice was playful but there was an edge of steel beneath it that she was used to hearing from Yuki, a tone that demanded obedience and immediacy. To Merielle, though, the voice sounded very familiar… she felt sure she knew who it was but she just couldn’t place it. Before she had a chance to think on it further, however, the men dragged her out of the vehicle and up some kind of ramp.
This place… Merielle shuddered. This place was wrong. Dangerous. Every breath seemed to burn her lungs just a little bit… the scent of iron, of steel, was strong in the air. From what she had been told, the humans had places where they produced such things, in vast quantities… so much that tiny shavings of it could even be floating in the air itself. The selkie felt horrifically sure she was in such a place… she was surrounded by the deadly metal, overwhelmed by it. The two men force-walked her a ways up the steel ramp, hearing it bang beneath her feet, smelling iron until she finally made it up to the platform. There Merielle could hear echoing sounds of a large room. The bag was finally ripped off and the selkie could see that she was among a bunch of factory equipment, most of it old and rusted… probably abandoned, but still intact… still deadly. The two men who had held her captive stood before her. The two Japanese men had large smiles plastered on their faces and were dressed in business suits.
And between them stood Mai.
The black-furred kitsune stood there with an intense look on her pale face, eyes gleaming as she looked at Merielle with delight. She was wearing a tight black leather vest which accentuated her breasts, making it look like her tits were begging to pop out of it. To complete the look, she also wore a shiny, black leather skirt and black leather boots that went up to her knees. The woman looked utterly confident and comfortable, completely different from her appearance at the apartment last night and every other time Merielle had ever seen her, and it made her look like a completely different person, like someone putting on a mask. Or, Merielle thought with concern, taking one off.
Her heart raced with fear as Mai took a few steps closer to the captured selkie. “It seems that we have some pending business to take care of,” the nogitsune said without batting an eye. “For a start, these gentlemen here want to know why you killed their associates and then stole and wrecked their van.” Merielle’s eyes widened, first in surprise and then recognition as she understood what she must be saying. She remembered the gangsters Yuki had used her to ambush. How she helped lure those men to the alley so that Yuki could feast on them… and now it had come back to haunt her. The selkie swallowed loudly. “I… don’t suppose it helps to say I didn’t actually do anything…” she said quietly, already certain she knew what the answer was. No one who was friends with the two men who had raped her would care about a little detail like that, not with a chance to fuck her themselves right in front of them.
Mai laughed, shaking her head. “You see, my dear Merielle,” the fox continued. “Those two men that you and Yuki killed were Yamaguchi-gumi… they were yakuza, the arrogant idiot. They’ve been trying to track you down since then, and all they needed was just a little… bit… of help…” Mai’s smile spread wider. “And now they want payback. Tough luck for you, little whore.”
Merielle looked down in disbelief. Yuki had made her do it, and now it was Merielle who had to pay. But… that wasn’t entirely fair either, was it? She had agreed to help Yuki with her hunting… she had done it for her mistress, and the fact that her mistress had used it as an opportunity to play with her sub didn’t mean that she was any less guilty. Love was sacrifice after all… and she had chosen to stay.
“If you’d be so kind as to look down,” Mai said, slowly cracking her fingers. Merielle looked and saw that the platform was directly above a large bucket of refined iron that had been ready to be processed when the plant had closed and been left behind. That was what she was smelling… the source of the iron in the air. It shook her with immense fear and dread as she looked at the faces of the two mobsters who seemed all too eager to throw her down into that mess of sharp iron razors.
“But… it’s your lucky day,” Mai said with a grin, “because there’s a way you can escape your fate… one way out of all this.” The nogitsune casually turned her back to Merielle as she spoke. “You can give me your skin, little selkie. Hand it over, and I’ll convince my new friends here to let you go.”
Merielle’s eyes went wide. “My… my skin?” she gasped. “What? Why?”
Mai turned back, a frown on her face. “So you need a little bit of encouragement?” She reached down to her waist and Merielle saw her slowly uncoil the black leather whip hanging there, draping it down until its end was lying on the floor. “So. There are two ways this could go,” she said, voice cold. “You can let me torture you for a few hours. Beat you senseless. Let my friends do what they want with you until you’re a broken sobbing mess and then you can hand it over like the dumb fucking whore you are…” she leaned forward and grabbed Merielle’s chin, squeezing it, her grip far stronger than her hands looked. “Or you can be smart and tell me where you’ve hidden it right now. I’m really not in the mood for games.”
Merielle swallowed. “I… I don’t have it anymore,” she stammered. “I… I gave it to Yuki.”
“If you’d given it to Yuki,” Mai said, voice dismissive, “it would already be gone and she wouldn’t be bothering with you. Try again.”
“Why don’t we let her take a little swim in that iron down there?” One of the mobsters suggested as he eagerly came forward. “And if there’s anything left of her afterward, maybe it’ll have jogged her memory.”
Mai, however, held him back with a raised hand. “No. That’s not the deal. I get that skin, then you get your revenge.” She looked into Merielle’s green eyes and sighed. “I guess we do this the hard way.” She raised her hand and her whip before she gave Merielle a good slash of the leather cord, on the blouse just above her breasts. The leather cut through the thin fabric like it was water, and the selkie yelped as her skin parted just as readily. She shied away, and one of the thugs grabbed her hands and moved to stand behind her, holding her in place as Mai gave her another lash. The whip’s crack reverberated throughout the refinery. “This is just about the lowest form of persuasion I know,” Mai said as she whipped her a third time. “I haven’t even put shards of iron in this… and I could.” She leaned forward after whipping her a forth time, Merielle’s legs feeling wobbly. “I’m not some pussy-ass vampire who needs to keep you looking pretty and doesn’t want to reduce you to an iron-scarred ruin… I’ll break you to pieces to get what I want, love.” Merielle went limp in the gangster’s arms as the whip crashed over both her nipples at once. “Come on, stupid selkie! Where’s the fucking skin!”
“Aaaaagh! I told you!” Merielle screamed. “I… I don’t have it!”
Mai narrowed her eyes as she gave Merielle a few more cracks of the whip, painted the selkie’s body in crimson streaks. It wasn’t the first time she’d been whipped like this, but Mai was so much faster and better about it than any of her single trainers in the past… usually, to create this many red welts on her body before they healed took a few men whipping her at once. Mai alone was able to cover her skin with red, lashing the selkie’s healing skin as she caused as much pain as she could and slowly driving her back even in the man’s arms. Finally, Merielle realized that she had been pushed to the edge of the platform… and in fact, was hanging a little bit over the edge, held up only by the man gripping her abused body. Shards of sharp iron that would grind her apart were just a few feet below her… just seconds from death.
Mai stepped forward and grabbed her by her hair, nodding for the man to let her go. Merielle let out a scream as Mai held her dangling above the cold iron below by nothing but a single handful of her red hair. “Arggghh!” the selkie yelled uncontrollably as she felt her scalp be almost ripped off from her head. Her roots felt like they were being strained to their limit.
“Give me. Your. Seal skin!” Mai demanded.
“I told you!” Merielle sobbed, “I don’t have it! Why do you even want it?! It’s worthless to everyone but me!”
“Liar…” Mai hissed, and Merielle closed her eyes, sure that she was about to die. The nogitsune held her there for several long seconds before she grew impatient. With brutal strength it didn’t look like her form should support, Mai dragged Merielle back up over the edge of the platform, scraping her uncomfortably against the catwalk as she did before tossing her to the grated floor.
“A deal is a deal,” Mai said with evil glee in her eyes. “But there’s no reason you can’t have a little fun with her first. She’s all yours, gentlemen. She doesn’t want to talk? Let’s see if you guys can make a selkie squeal, instead.” The two yakuza goons grinned at each other before approaching the prone redhead. Merielle weakly tried to scramble away but one of them grabbed onto her with ease, effortlessly holding her down. The other man stood above her, his body casting a dark shadow over her nervous form as he began to take off his suit jacket and tie. He eagerly unbuckled his pants and belt and allowed them to drop to his knees to reveal a large erection that was straining his briefs. He lightly massaged his stiff prick once he was able to get his pants completely off. He knelt down by her face with his hardness, grabbing the back of her head and forcing her to face his erection before he dragged it up and down all over her fearful face.
“You love cock, don’t ya?” he growled. “Yeah, she told me where you came from. You must have been really sad leaving all that behind to spend so much time munching on a cunt instead. Don’t worry, I’ll help you out, whore.” The goon’s smile was broad and and eager as he grabbed Merielle’s head hard, manipulating her face as his partner held the rest of her in place. “Here you go, little slut… just what you’ve been waiting for!” Merielle tried to turn her face away, but no matter what she tried to do, his hard cock remained pressed against her features. The goon finally pulled down his underwear and his hard prick plopped out from beneath the strained fabric. The cock looked mean and aggressive to her, begging for pleasure as it pulsated against her face.
He slapped Merielle with his hardness for several seconds, then he began forcing it into her mouth… grinding himself against the selkie’s soft lips. With one hand squeezing her jaw, he easily broke past her mouth, beginning to fuck her face mercilessly and making his rod slide in and out with great speed. The beastly cock was able to reach the back end of her throat and he began to unleash some fierce fucking on her, making Merielle gag and choke without any relief for her throat and mouth. Her eyes got red and watery as she retched, holding on for dear life as the thick mushroom tip of his dirty cock plugged her throat.
“There you go!” Mai said with an amused smile, leaning against the catwalk railing, tails flicking back and forth. “Give it to her! And remember whore, you could have stopped this…”
“Nah, she likes it. She likes a nice, fat cock in her mouth!” one of the yakuza said as he continued to hold her down while his partner continued to fuck her throat as brutally as he could. Merielle could barely hear either of them… she couldn’t breathe at all, gagging horrifically. When Yuki choked her, she kept her straddling the edge of consciousness… made sure she would never have enough air to be comfortable, but never so little she would stop feeling everything. This man didn’t care about subtleties like that – he just wanted to feel good and cram as much of his thick cock inside the selkie as he could. She struggled to get free but her arms were held tightly behind her back. Merielle felt totally helpless as she slowly strangled.
Merielle’s spit with traces of pre-cum were drooling out of her mouth now, leaking past her lips to roll down her chin and neck and tits while he fucked her face, her lips chafing and scraping as they stretched around his too-thick rod. Every few seconds he made her lips kiss his base, shoving himself so deep in her throat that the selkie could swear he was in her stomach. She choked on it hard, her throat a gagging, squeezing hole for him as she retched and struggled for life. “Keep her there!” Mai ordered, walking around behind Merielle and wrapping her whip around the poor selkie’s neck. The goon’s cock continued to massacre her throat even as the whip cut off what little oxygen Merielle could still get, completely suffocating her in conjunction with the dick plugging her neck.
The selkie felt her eyesight turn dark as her brain slowly shut down, struggling to live… no longer even strong enough to bite, her jaw stretched too far. “Look at that cock go down the whore’s throat!” Mai smirked sadistically, looking down at Merielle’s face as she watched the life escape from her eyes. “You like that, don’t you, whore?” she said as the selkie’s eyes closed. She held it for another few seconds, then as one she and both goons released the selkie, letting Merielle fall to the ground. The helpless redhead gasped for air like she was trying to suck life itself back into her, her limbs weakly jerking on the floor… frail and powerless.
“Let me at that pussy,” the other thug said as he grabbed onto the limp selkie and effortlessly pinned her down on the floor. The other goon was able to remove her skirt and panties while Mai ripped what was left of her blouse off, allowing her nice perky tits to be fully exposed. The goon spread her legs with his as he aimed his hard prick towards her pussy. Disgustingly, he made a show of licking his fingers before he thrust three of them into her at once, giving her pussy a good, violent workout with the lathered digits while she slowly caught her breath. Merielle was still reeling from the lack of oxygen before she had a chance to realize that the goon was now playing with her pussy. She moaned out of disbelief as the goon fucked her with his fingers.
The other mobster took off his pants and briefs to reveal his hard cock. It was clean-shaven compared to his fellow and not quite as large, but the head still seemed huge as he shoved it into her mouth and against her throat once again. He didn’t allow her a chance to even finish catching her breath before he once again filled her mouth with cockmeat.
Mai stood next to them as she observed the scene with obvious pleasure, one hand down the front of her leather skirt. “Regretting not talking yet, whore? Or is this just like old times for you?” Her lips were slightly parted as she obviously played with herself while watching the show.
“Yeah! Take my cock, whore!” proclaimed the goon who had his dick in her mouth. “Yeah, suck on that cock!” His mushroom head reached the back of her throat as she tried to moan her sensations that were coming from her luscious pussy that was being ravaged by his fingers. The goon kept finger fucking her tight pink pussy nonstop even as she gagged on him, pumping her with brutal speed as she grew more wet, her body shaking as her face flushed and her eyes started rolling back.
“Yeah! Look at her, man!” The goon said as he took his cock out of her mouth. “She can take dick like no other fucking whore!” He slapped her nose, her cheeks, her closed eyes with his dick before he let the first man force his way back into her mouth, making a sloppy mess of her face as they raped it. He grabbed her by her ears and forced her mouth down his thick, pulsing shaft. “God! Her fucking mouth is so awesome! Wow, shit! Yes! Take it! Fucking take it!”
“You heard him” Mai said with a laugh. “Eat that cock, whore… it’s all you’re good for.” She lifted the whip and cracked it over Merielle’s chest… sending her tits jiggling as the whip lashed them and leaving a nice red mark over their tight skin. Mai gave the selkie a few more cracks of the whip as the other goon took his fingers out of her and positioned his spit-soaked dick at the entrance to her pussy.
With a roar, he shoved his way all the way inside. “Ooooh,” the man face-fucking the selkie groaned with please. “She vibrated so good around me while you did that. Make it rough, just like that!” The man clearly had no intention of doing otherwise – he began to pound Merielle, slamming his way in and out of of her tiny, tight slit with no mercy… stretching her from his balls all the way to the entrance to her womb, even as her throat was hollowed out the same way. Both men groaned in pleasure as they made the pretty foreign selkie their bitch.
Merielle’s tight cunt squeezed her rapist each time she choked, sending sweet shudders of pleasure up the mobster’s muscular body. His cock refused to ever not be buried inside her hot embrace, never leaving more than halfway as he continued to cause chaos inside the girl. Working together, they turned her so that now she was on top of him, finally freeing her mouth from the suffocating embrace of the cock down her throat as he plowed her pussy from beneath. Her relief was not to last, however. A few seconds later the other yakuza hovered over them, his thick dick glistening with her throat-slime as he squatted down over his partner’s legs and aimed his prick towards Merielle’s asshole. Without warning, he shoved his dick into the poor selkie’s tight rear, making her scream and her whole body spasm with painful shocks as the thick cock forced its way up her rear. Merielle screamed and screamed and screamed as both of her tight holes were filled and stretched with cock dedicated completely to wreaking havoc on the poor, hopeless selkie.
Mai knelt down before her, staring into the redhead’s eyes while she continued fingering herself. “Want to cooperate yet, slut? I don’t give a fuck about you… I’ll let them rape you to death if it gets me what I want… but that works both ways. Give me that fucking skin, and I don’t need you anymore… you can go. Just tell me where you fucking hid it from Yuki.”
Merielle couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted all this to end. She wanted to tell Mai where the skin was. She was trying to mumble the words as she was being mercilessly plowed by the goons in each of her ravaged fuckholes. “It’s… It’s… Argh! It’s… Mai…” Merielle tried to spit her words out. “Mai… the skin… it’s…” Her body shivered with great sensations as the men gave her a good fucking.
“Yes?” Mai asked, taking her hand off her own pussy to use it to hold Merielle’s chin. The selkie could smell her musk, wet and rich. “Where is it?” Merielle’s tight asshole was being stretched to its maximum as the giant cock that had been destroying her throat hammered its way through her tight shithole. She cried and moaned and it proved impossible to finally say where that the skin was left back at the apartment. She tried again to speak as the goon fucking her asshole bit her on the side of her neck. Not wanting to be left out, the other man bit at her dangling breasts, abusing them with his hungry mouth. The selkie’s skin proved resilient but the pain was overwhelming… he grabbed her tits and squeezed them together as he took large bites of each of her nipples at once.
Mai slapped her. “Pay attention, slut. Where is it?”
“THE APARTMENT!” Merielle yelled as tears leaked freely from on her widened eyes. “YUKI HAS IT I SWEAR! I GAVE IT TO HER A YEAR AGO!” The men continued to fuck her with even more brutal speed, grunting and moaning with pleasure as their sweaty bodies smashed against Merielle’s. It didn’t take long before each man ejaculated huge wads of hot jizz in both of her holes. Hot cum began to escape her asshole, reaching the pussy below. Both of the sweaty goons sighed and moaned with strained relief as they squirted their final drops of warm milk into the selkie.
The goon on top dropped to the floor as he tried to regain his breathing, while his partner gave Merielle a few more pumps of his cock as it glided nicely against the walls of her pussy. He finally let her go before Mai stopped fingering herself and stood over Merielle.
“If Yuki had it,” Mai growled through her teeth. “She wouldn’t be keeping you around, you useless collection of holes! She’d have used it already!” Merielle had no idea what she was talking about, she was just trying to catch her breath as she recovered from the brutal fucking she had just received. She was trying to mouth her answer. But an impatient Mai couldn’t wait. She grabbed hold of the selkie and dragged her across the floor to the edge of the platform. Forcing her to see the large bucket of iron again. “Last chance. Tell me, or I’m turning you into an iron-clad statue you worthless whore!”
Slowly, resigned, Merielle turned to face her. “It’s hers,” Merielle finally answered again. “Back at the apartment. It was only a couple of feet away from where you stood last night.”
“Bullshit!” Mai retorted… but she no longer sounded as certain.
“No…” Merielle replied. “It’s there. I promise you it’s there.”
“So what’s up with that skin?” asked one of the goons as he started getting dressed again. “What the fuck is that?”
Mai gave a cruel laugh. “This idiot has no idea how old she actually is, I think… no idea why Mordred gives a shit about one worthless skank or how much power there is in that old skin. Enough power – enough soul – to make all kind of impossible things happen. And it’s just going to waste on one worthless selkie bitch.” She leaned down. “I want my skin back, whore… and if Yuki’s already used yours up to remake her own, I am going to flay you cell by cell.”
Merielle didn’t understand what she was saying… too many facts thrown at her at once as if she already knew them. “It’s there!” she gasped, grabbing onto the one thing the overwhelmed selkie could focus on. “You can have it. Just… just take the skin! It’s still there, I swear… I use it every week. Just…” she choked. “Just… leave Yuki alone. Don’t hurt her…”
Mai stepped out of her panties and abruptly stuffed them into the selkie’s mouth, making her gag at the taste of the wet cloth… the stale taste of repeated arousal on her tongue as Mai’s finger pushed it in deeper and deeper. “She best not have used it already, or I really have no use for you at all.” She stepped back, pulling a smartphone out of her bra and making a quick call.
Merielle watched her grow a bit more annoyed as the phone rang and rang, but when someone answered she would have recognized the voice anywhere. “Merielle?” Yuki asked over the phone. She sounded panicked. “Is that you? Where are-”
“Hiii, sweetie,” Mai said sweetly. “Merielle’s a bit indisposed, but I’d loooove to talk. So, if you ever want to see the bitch again, here’s what you’re going to do…”