Thank you for reading! Me and my coauthor Darinost are gradually combining forces and blogs, so the joint comment section for our stories is currently located on discord! Come on in and let us know what you thought, we don’t bite.
“Nami, I know you are upset and hurting,” Astaria said in as calm and controlled of a tone as she was capable of. It wasn’t easy; the weight of Levi’s stare was so heavy that her breathing was even more difficult than usual. Her eyes were beginning to water, his power transforming even blinking into an act that required deliberate and sustained effort. She scanned their environment as they talked, looking for any path to escape. “And you have every right to be. But we are not your enemies, and Tanya would not have wanted you to do this.”
“And what do you know of my sister?” Levi snarled. “You’re nothing but her goddamn cunt licker.” The furious vulpan’s tails lashed back and forth as he looked down on the two women from his place on the catwalk. He turned his glare directly on Seo-yun, and Astaria saw the redhead stiffen as his gaze hit her full on. “You’re dead, cunt,” he promised. “No more games. No more second chances. I’m going to fuck you to death and leave your cum stained corpse to rot in this sewer. But first, I’m going to make you watch me do the same thing to your dragon fucktoy friend here.”
He sprang forward at them, and Astaria had just enough time to realize that she was about to die. She felt like she was moving in slow motion, and the vulpan was the opposite, streaking towards her like a bolt of lightning. And then something even faster struck him in the side and sent him crashing into the rows of monitors. His body went straight through them, and straight through the thick concrete wall behind them, which crumbled as he fell. The sense of moving through quicksand vanished.
“I told you not to hurt her!” Nami accused, landing lightly on the ground. “Star is my friend, and she was Tanya’s friend too, not her, her… not the thing you called her!” She turned to the dragon. “Star, Seo-yun tried to kill Tanya! She’s evil!”
“You have your fox marble back,” Astaria breathed, shocked. That was wrong, very wrong. It wasn’t how things were supposed to be. Tanya had kept so much secret from her, but not this. She’d made it clear that she wanted Nami to have a normal life when this was all over, and one way or another Tanya had intended to die with that fox marble. If the future had already changed so much from Tanya’s visions… was it too late? Had their thin thread to victory already been cut?
“I did not try to kill Tanya Petrov,” Seo-yun said solemnly. “I swear to you on my mother and father’s name. She stabbed herself, Nami. She… she wanted to die.”
“LIAR!!” Nami screamed, and all the remaining monitors shattered under the force of her cry. Astaria flinched as the gumiho tackled Seo-yun, but instead of the spray of blood and gore that she expected, Nami merely pinned the woman to the ground and shouted in her face. “Tanya promised we would get to stay together! That I wasn’t ever gonna have to be alone anymore! She wouldn’t leave me like that!”
There was a sound like a gunshot as she slapped Seo-yun with one of her tails. “So take it back! Admit you’re lying!” She slapped her again. “Take it back, you, you… liar!”
“Nami, please,” Astaria said. She had no hope of physically dragging the girl away from Seo-yun, but she didn’t think things would come to that. Nami was angry right now, angry enough that she might think she wanted to kill Seo-yun, but gumiho hunger aside, she wasn’t really a killer. She was a kindhearted girl, and for her sake as much as Seo-yun’s, it was up to Astaria to remind her of that. “I cannot just stand here and do nothing. If she dies, then… then I will have to die with her.” She spread her arms wide. “If it is not too much trouble, please go ahead and eat me. I am sure you will make it quick and painless If not, I will be forced to kill myself through some other method that will not be nearly so merciful.”
“What?! No!” Nami protested, pausing her assault. “I, I don’t wanna kill you, Star! You’re my friend!”
“And Seo-yun is my friend,” the dragon said. “And if she dies, there are hundreds of other people, good people who have done nothing wrong, who will die as well. I will just be one more casualty. Nami, I cannot stop you from taking your revenge against Seo-yun. Nobody can. But neither you nor anyone else can prevent the harm that will come from her death. Which is more important to you?”
“But…” Tears leaked from the gumiho’s eyes. “But that’s not fair! If I don’t kill her, then she gets away with it, just like the bad people always do! But if I do kill her, now I’m gonna have to be all alone again!”
“You don’t have to be alone, Nami,” Seo-yun said. “Tanya asked me to take care of you, and I will honor that request. And if you won’t have me, there is an entire village worth of kitsune here, and they will welcome you with open arms.”
“She said that she would leave you a note,” Astaria added gently. “And that she would explain everything in it.”
Nami’s head whipped around to stare at Astaria. “So you knew?” she accused. “You knew that she was gonna… gonna… and you let her?!” More tears streaked down her face. “Why didn’t you stop her?” she pleaded.
“I tried,” Astaria told her. “But she wouldn’t listen.”
“Then you should’ve tried harder!” the gumiho howled. “You didn’t try hard enough cause you don’t love Tanya as much as I do! Nobody does! I’m the only one in the world who really cared about her, and she… she… she was the only one who really cared about me!” She began to sob. “She wouldn’t leave me! She wouldn’t, she wouldn’t, she wouldn’t!”
Rubble shifted as Levi rose from where he’d landed. He shook the dust off of himself and spat some blood onto the ground. “Don’t talk about my sister like she was family, animal. It’s disgusting. You’re just a worn out fleshlight that she took a liking to. Do as you’re told, and for her sake I’ll let you leave when we’re done here. Defy me, and I’ll rip that marble out of you myself and then send you back where she found you.”
Astaria had seen enough to know that Nami was more than a match for him in strength and speed, but the gumiho shrank at his harsh tone and meekly slunk over to him. “I’m sorry,” the fox whined. “Nami will be good, I promise, please don’t send me back…”
Levi cuffed her face once with a paw, and she made no attempt to dodge the blow. “Then quit your mewling and pin the fox down so she can watch me murder her friend slowly.” Nami nodded quickly and obeyed.
“Now, where were we…” he mused as he began stalking towards Astaria, his one good eye gleaming with malice. “How much do you think your father actually cares about you, cunt? If I show Karakostas your corpse, will it at least hurt his pride to see his daughter reduced to a mangled and cumsoaked piece of trash? Or will he not care, and I should just eat you alive after I’ve fucked you so hard and rough that there’s no friction left?”
Astaria tried to think. There had to be a way out of this, something Tanya had told her that she could put to use here. “Stay back,” she ordered in what she hoped was a commanding tone. “Unless you want me to use my dragonfire.” Tanya had known all about her collar, but did the rest of the Petrovs?
Levi laughed. “Do you think I’m that stupid? If you still had your fire, you’d have left this place years ago.”
“I offered an oath to my father not to use it against him,” Astaria said honestly, not mentioning that he had rejected it. “I have offered Paragon no such assurance. Look around the room, Mr. Petrov, and see for yourself whether I am lying.”
He glanced around the room, taking in the charred state of it. “Then go ahead and try,” he said easily, utterly unafraid of her threat . “Karakostas couldn’t kill me with his, but maybe his fucktoy of a daughter can manage, huh?”
“I didn’t say I would use it on you,” Astaria countered. “I would see my friend incinerated mercifully before I leave her to your cruel care.”
That made him stop short and her heart soar. Levi’s vulpan form sneered at her. “Alright, cunt, I’ll play along. If you still have your dragonfire, why haven’t you killed her already?”
“I propose a deal,” Astaria told him, mind racing. “Let Eirene and myself leave the Paradisium without interference from you or any member of Paragon, and I will swear not to kill Seo-yun with my dragonfire and deny you your revenge.” She tried to catch the fox’s eye to offer some silent reassurance that she had a plan, but there was no anxiety or doubt to be seen in Seo-yun’s expression.
“Done,” Levi said easily, and indicated the ladder with one tail. “Now get lost.”
Astaria obeyed, hoisting Eirene’s body over one shoulder and beginning the long climb up the ladder. She’d barely begun when she heard Levi laugh. “Like father, like daughter. Another stupid subhuman who thinks she’s so much better than real people.” His radio crackled. “Celeste! Get your fae ass in here. I’ve got a snooty dragon bitch I need pinned down so I can fuck her properly, so get in here and do it!” He called up to Astaria, “You don’t mind, right? The winter slut isn’t part of Paragon, so our deal stands.”
Astaria let go of the ladder, letting herself drop back to the floor. “Thank you, Mr Petrov,” she said, offering the vulpan a slight bow. “That was exactly the response I was hoping for. Seo-yun! Nami!” She called their names as loudly as her collar allowed. “Please get ready to run. I believe the sewer pipe will be our best opportunity.”
A moment later, bringing with her the chill of winter, Celeste stepped onto the catwalk above.
Celeste took in the entire situation and its players in a heartbeat. Her owner in his vulpan form. The dragon’s daughter, with his captive sphinx unconscious over one shoulder. The kitsune whose fox marble blazed like a small sun within her. And Seo-yun, the kitsune who had once been known as Ginger.
The sight of the fox brought back unbidden memories of the Paradisium Game, memories that she had been trying not to think about until now. Master Levi was currently her oldest living master far as she knew, and therefore his word must be obeyed above all others, but on the first day of the Game, Jessica Wilmingshire had said something important to her pet fox. Perhaps there had been been little meaning behind the words, but she had said them nonetheless: “There is no shame in losing, but you are a Wilmingshire, and must not act in ways that would disrespect our family name.”
It felt good to think about pink elephants.
In that moment, Jessica had named Ginger as part of the Wilmingshire family. Celeste did not know the kitsune’s age, but if she thought about it, if she let herself think about it for the first time in two years, eight months, five days, eleven hours, forty two minutes, and nine seconds, then she could only conclude that the fox must be Master Levi’s elder, and so by the rules he himself had set…
“Master Levi!” she shouted at the top of her lungs. “I must warn you: I will have to obey any command Ginger Wilmingshire gives me over your own!”
Master Levi’s brow furrowed with surprise and anger and he shouted something, but so did Seo-yun, which meant Celeste finally didn’t have to care about the garbage coming out of his mouth. “You never have to obey him again!” the fox shouted back.
For the first time in… in so long ago that even she had no idea anymore… Celeste grinned. “Yes, mistress!”
And she grabbed hold of the catwalk railing and launched herself towards Levi Petrov.
She no longer wore clothes, let alone a sword, so as she fell she made do with driving one foot into his skull in a downward kick. His chin slammed down into the concrete hard enough to shatter his jaw, and she immediately crouched and called upon Winter to try and freeze out his fox marble.
Her connection to Winter was stronger than it had been last time they had fought… if any good at all had come from her captivity, it had been giving her an opportunity to call on powers she would have otherwise neglected. Compared to last time, it came to her call readily. Unfortunately, she was also tired… Levi – never again Master Levi – had had her doing tasks for him since before the invasion had started, and the extra half second that her exhaustion caused was too long. Two of Levi’s tails rammed into her stomach like steel pistons and knocked her away from him. She landed on her feet, skidding backwards several meters from the force of the blow, and immediately launched herself at him again. Celeste was far weaker than she’d been the last time she fought Levi, and he was far stronger, but that was unimportant. She would protect her mistress. “Please take this opportunity to flee, mistress,” she called out. “I will hold him back.”
“Like hell you will,” Levi growled, his jaw already healed. His gorgon eye focused on her and she felt herself begin to slow down. Undaunted, she closed her eyes and the feeling vanished. Her other senses were attuned enough that sight was unnecessary to fight him. Unfortunately, with or without it she couldn’t keep up with him. He evaded her blows with serpent-like agility, and then wrapped a many-spiked tail around her torso and flung her to the side. She struck the wall with one foot and kicked off it just as he lunged forward toward the others. His midair leap was stopped short by her grip on one of his tails, and she yanked him backwards and away from them.
Celeste risked opening her eyes to see that Seo-yun and the dragon had already crawled up the outside of the sewer pipe and entered its interior through the opening in its side, the unconscious sphinx wrapped up in the fox’s tails. Only the other fox, the one with the powerful marble inside her, had not moved at all. Seo-yun disappeared into the top of the pipe, and then stuck her hand down, offering it. “Please, Nami, come with us. Let us find you a home where you can be happy.”
Nami hesitated, then began to reach out, but she jumped when Levi yelled at her. “If you’re not going to get the hell over here and help right fucking now,” he demanded of her, “then you might as well take that bitch’s hand and run, because you’ll be nothing but a furry fucktoy again!” The fox whimpered, looking between the two in a moment of frozen indecision.
And then the moment passed and she pounced on Celeste.
Her movements were incredibly clumsy, her stance full of openings and her attacks little more than wasted energy. But none of that mattered, not when she possessed the speed and power of a raging snowstorm. It was expert technique versus overwhelming strength. Nami batted her up into the air with an ungainly swipe of her paw, and just as easily smacked her down. If the girl had wanted to, she could have literally torn Celeste apart, but it was obvious that she wasn’t really trying to hurt the woman, only keep her busy.
Celeste grabbed the girl with both hands and tried to freeze the fox marble as she had with Akemi, and it felt like flicking snowflakes into a fire. She couldn’t force the smallest seed of ice into it, and Nami didn’t seem like she even noticed the attempt as she knocked the fae back again. Celeste was tossed around like a rag doll for what felt like an endlessly long amount of time until a final slap from Nami smashed her against the floor.
Dazed, she looked up to see that the fox, dragon, and sphinx were gone, but so was Levi. He must have followed them up the pipe. Celeste struggled to her feet and moved to follow them herself, but Nami intercepted her, an errant tail hitting her like a runaway train to knock her away. “H-he said I have to keep you here,” the gumiho told her nervously.
“Then I apologize,” Celeste said, getting back up again, “for not letting you fulfill his request.” She dashed for the pipe, and Nami blocked her again… except this time Celeste rolled under the tail swipe, dodging the girl’s attack for the very first time, and jumped, catching the lip of the entrance. She pulled herself up and nearly made it into the pipe before a tail grabbed her leg and ripped her away.
Experienced technique versus overwhelming strength. It was a lopsided match up, but the girl was growing no stronger, while Celeste was growing more used to her movements with every exchange. Compared to the patience required to endure years under Levi’s thumb, this was nothing.
Celeste rose to her feet and tried again.
Seo-yun thought she was climbing up the pipe as fast as she possibly could, until she heard the furious clanging and scratching that indicated Levi had entered the pipe as well and was quickly climbing to reach them. She got much faster after that. Thankfully, for once being a vulpan didn’t afford the man any advantages. He was far too large in fox form to squeeze through the narrow vertical passage easily and had to tear his way through. Which meant that as soon as they exited the pipe and were back out in the open, he would likely catch up to them in seconds.
So they kept climbing.
Seo-yun had no idea how far up they’d gone. It felt like miles. The inside of the sewage pipe was filthy and smelled awful. She kept hoping for some kind of junction point, a place where the pipe would split and they’d be able to lose Levi, but all the pipes that split off from theirs were a few inches in diameter at best. And finally there came the moment she’d been dreading: the end of the line. The top of the pipe was sealed shut.
A few sharp kicks were enough to break open the side of the pipe, and from there it didn’t take much to push their way out of the wall and find themselves in a very large and upscale bathroom, even by the Paradisium’s standards. There was a bathtub that was literally larger than most homes Seo-yun had ever lived in, and fed with a constant flow of hot water from nine fountains, an immaculate shower, a jacuzzi that looked like it could have doubled as an Olympic swimming pool… but they didn’t have time to take it all in. Levi was coming up fast behind them, and they had to make every second count. “Come on!” Seo-yun urged when she saw Astaria stop to stare at their surroundings.
“But…” the dragon began, and then shook her head. “Yes, it cannot be helped now. We must move with haste.” She followed Seo-yun out the double doors and into the adjoining room, which was a massive study filled with books and…
“What in the Lord’s name are you doing here?!” asked Batu, shocked. The bald man was standing hunched over a large desk covered with scattered maps that were themselves almost completely covered by hastily written notes and figures.
Seo-yun stared at the man, equally stunned. If the dragon’s personal assistant was here, then this… this must be Karakostas’ personal study. She whirled around, looking for the master of the Paradisium, but they were alone with Batu for now.
“He’s staging an assault on the occupied western wing right now,” Batu said, understanding her unspoken question. “But he could be back at any moment! You must leave here immediately!”
“As must you,” Astaria said, and grabbed his arm to pull him away from the desk.
“No, no, you don’t understand!” the man babbled, slapping at her hand to try and fend her off. “Lord Karakostas has put me in charge of coordinating the defenses! I must remain here if we are to have any hope at all of fighting off Paragon’s forces!”
“It must be an honor for my father to show such respect for your intelligence,” Astaria told him, not letting go. “And that will be one more reason for Levi Petrov to murder you when he arrives in a few seconds, assuming you live long enough to tell him of your new duties.” Batu blanched and stopped trying to resist. “I will lead us to the stairs. Follow.”
Without waiting for a response, the dragon ran out of the study. Seo-yun followed her into a lush hallway lined with red carpeting. The abode of Karakostas, perhaps the wealthiest and most powerful creature in the world, was… tacky. Everything was shiny and gold plated, the color so abundant that she would’ve assumed it had to be fake if she’d seen it anywhere else. She didn’t think she’d seen a less elegant place anywhere in the Paradisium. “This… is really… your father’s…?” she asked as they ran, panting with exhaustion.
“His private… quarters…” Astaria confirmed. “Only the servants… allowed in… no guests… designed… entirely to his taste…” The place was a minor maze of passageways, but she moved from one to the next without hesitation.
There was a crash behind them that must have been Levi breaking through the bathroom wall, and almost immediately another as he shattered the door to the study. “Here…” said Seo-yun said quickly, passing the sphinx over to Astaria. “I have the… best chance of… holding him off… if he catches up…”
The dragon didn’t look happy at the idea, but she allowed Seo-yun to hand over Eirene. “Stairs… just up ahead…” she said. And there they were, behind a gold plated door and next to an elevator that was flashing an out of order alert. Astaria pushed open the door and raced down the stairs two at a time, Batu following behind her as quickly as he could.
Seo-yun turned around and went the other way.
She bid Astaria a silent goodbye as she ran blindly through the hallways not knowing or caring where she was headed. She apologized to Sam as well, who was doubtless going to be furious with her. But they couldn’t outrun Levi for long, not with him mere moments behind and chasing their scent. He would catch up with them soon, on the stairs or anywhere else they ran to. But he didn’t care about all of them. He was most interested in Seo-yun, and if their trails split, she knew which one he’d follow.
She could hear him behind her, feel the vibrations in the floor from each step of his heavy frame. He wasn’t just going to rape her this time. He was going to murder her. She was going to die right here in these tacky hallways with the red carpet and gold plating, far from her home. At least it was better than the sewer. Mostly.
Seo-yun felt a flash of regret that she hadn’t taken Tanya up on her offer after all, but it was brief. She’d made the right choice. She didn’t want to die, but she’d accomplished what she’d set out to do: buy the people of Hanei a fighting chance. There were worse things to give up your life for, and after all the people she’d killed, she was hardly in a position to argue about the unfairness of a life cut short. Her own parents had died in the snow, in the service of nothing but shortsighted human greed. Compared to that, she should thank Inari for letting her death have meaning.
Sam would mourn her and rage at her and probably call her all sorts of names, but the woman was strong; she’d move on. She understood about sacrifice.
The vibrations grew louder and louder as Levi approached, and then suddenly cut off. He was in the air. Seo-yun dove forward, but it wasn’t enough, and Levi’s massive body crashed down atop her, smashing her into the ground and knocking the breath out of her.
Levi didn’t bother with taunts or threats. He had only one thing to say to the fox cunt now, and it wasn’t time for that yet. He could feel her struggling beneath him with far more power than she should have, calling upon her freakish connection to Morris. But it wasn’t enough to stop him. She was still just another weak, pathetic little fuck toy in the end. He coiled two tails around her arms and wrenched them up, twisting until he felt the bones snap and crunch and she howled in agony. He kept bending and wrenching her arms, finding new ways to break her bones and tear apart her muscles, as he coiled two more tails around her legs and did the same thing.
Once she’d stopped making amusing noises, he let her bloody body drop to the floor. He kicked her in the side and felt something crunch in a satisfying way beneath his paw, so he did it several more times before reaching for his radio. Before she died, she should at least know what a worthless fucking failure she was. “This is Commander Petrov,” he told the officer on the other end. “The vault has been unlocked. I want fifty vulpan in there, now. Tell them to kill anything that moves.”
Levi saw movement from the corner of his eye and realized that the fox was trying to crawl away on her mangled limbs, inching slowly down the passage. It took only a single paw on her upper back to pin her down like a bug, and then he lowered his head to finish what he’d started. She twitched madly when she felt his teeth against her tail, but the fox cunt could do nothing more as he began chewing off all four of her remaining tails, one at a time.
Tanya was dead, and this bitch had killed her. His sister was still breathing when last he saw her, but he knew that wouldn’t last long. She had told him so herself, the very last prophecy she had ever shared with him: “If the fox ever escapes, it will be because she killed me. So do me a favor and fuck her to death, big brother.” He had wanted to murder the fox cunt the moment he heard that. He should never have let his sister stop him.
And now it was too late to do anything but keep his promise and see her last wish carried out. He was going to fuck this goddamn animal harder than she’d ever been fucked before. His cock found her slit and he rammed it in, feeling her hymen tear around him. He’d been the first to fuck this hole back when she’d been a virgin in truth, and now he’d be the last. She wasn’t moving much, but that was an easy problem to fix. She was already making small sounds of pain as he ruined her insides, but it was when he grabbed her broken arms and legs with his tails and yanked on them for leverage that she began making true noises of distress. The harder he pulled on her destroyed body, the tighter her cunt clenched his cock.
After a few moments of that, he stuffed two of his tails up the tailless cunt’s asshole, her anal ring tearing as he forced the spiky appendages into it. She didn’t have half the resiliency that the winter bitch had, and her flesh tore and bled easily. He pounded her guts like that until her asshole didn’t even look like a fuckhole anymore. It was nothing but a gaping, useless void, just like the rest of her.
She was already gasping for breath when he ripped the red and white scarf off of his neck and used one tail to wrap it loosely around hers, cinching it shut with his teeth. “This is for my sister,” he hissed, and he drew it even tighter, cutting off the cunt’s air for what would be the very last time. Then, as she slowly choked to death, he began to really fuck her. He put everything he had into ruining her clenched twat, determined to destroy it far past what kitsune healing could ever hope to repair.
The fox cunt began to shake and quiver as he fucked her relentlessly. Even a stupid animal like her recognized death with it came knocking. She knew this was the end. She wriggled and twisted and tried to crawl away again, and his only response was to slam a tail into the side of the head until her skull caved slightly and she gave up, her body flopping down in utter surrender. She was nothing but helpless rape meat now, and they both knew it.
As her lungs rattled their last, he came for the final time into what had never been more than a defective furry fleshlight, showering her womb with his seed. By the time his cock finished spurting, she’d gone completely limp and still. He pulled out of her, wiped his cock on her ass, and stood back to admire his handiwork. The twisted, mangled thing could barely even be recognized anymore as having once been a body.
He spat on the back of her head, kicked her one last time, and then left her corpse to rot like the garbage it was.
They’d already gone down an entire flight of stairs before Batu noticed that Seo-yun wasn’t behind them. “The fox!” he squeaked, managing to express urgency and excitement and the desire to be as quiet as possible in one breathless outburst. “She’s gone!”
“I know,” Astaria said grimly. She had noticed her friend turn back, and known exactly why. To stop and try to talk her out of it would have been to sacrifice the chance for survival she was offering both of them. If the dragon lived through the night, she would have time to feel guilty about her choice. “We must continue without her.”
“If she is not already dead, she will be soon,” Astaria told him, wishing that her words were a lie. She hoped that Tanya’s brother made it quick, but she knew just how unlikely that was. “All we can do is keep moving and get to an exit.” She shrugged her shoulder slightly to readjust Eirene’s weight and keep the unconscious woman from slipping off..
“That won’t work!” he hissed, though he didn’t stop traversing the stairs. “Paragon doesn’t want any survivors. They’ve left troops behind them at every security checkpoint to choke off any escape. There is no way out unless we can rally and push their forces back.”
“There is still the vault,” Astaria reminded him.
The bald man made a small disgusted sound. “Did everyone know about the plan? It won’t work; we can’t drain the reservoir and we don’t have time to tunnel around it.”
“The reservoir will not be a problem,” she told him as they reached the seventh floor landing. “We-” Her voice cut off with a gasp as Batu suddenly tackled her, sending all three of them tumbling down the stairs. Everything spun wildly as they bounced hard off the unforgiving steps until the two of them ended up in a heap on the next landing, Eirene rolling even further down to the one below.
Batu was still on top of Astaria, his arms wrapped around her in a bear hug, and his grip tightened as the green haired woman frantically tried to push him away, refusing to let her go. What was he doing?! Had the man decided that as long they were doomed, he might as well have a last bit of fun by raping her? She remembered Tanya’s teasing earlier about how he had a crush on her, and felt disgusted. Her collar left her helpless beneath his bulk, unable to exert the kind of strength she needed to resist without setting it off. “Please don’t do this,” she breathed softly as she struggled against him. “Please…”
The door to the seventh floor burst outward as a plume of blue fire smashed through it. It expanded as it entered the stairwell, becoming a ball of fire large enough to nearly swallow them up. Even outside of it, Astaria felt the heat of it baking her skin. Less than two seconds later, the blast vanished almost as quickly as it appeared, leaving behind melted and charred metal.
She could feel that her face and arms had become even further singed than they’d already been, but that didn’t matter. Batu had gone limp on top of her, and without looking she could smell cooked flesh. He hadn’t been attacking her. He… he had protected her, shielded her from the flames with his own body. Astaria squirmed even more frantically than before, working her way out from under him so she could see how badly he was injured. To her relief, he was still alive, and though his back was badly burned, none of it seemed serious enough to be life threatening. He would live.
As if determined to make a liar out of her, she heard the footsteps of someone approaching from the hall above them. They were soft and calm, but the winged woman didn’t need to have seen the flame to know who was approaching. In the last three years, how many hours had she spent focused and listening for those steps? Waiting for the critical few seconds of warning they would offer that her master had returned?
Wearing his human form, Karakostas strolled casually onto the warped seventh floor landing and looked down.”Ahh, I thought I recognized Batu with you.” He shook his head sadly. “And here I thought the man was much smarter than that. Not the attempt to desert – humans are much like rats that way, scurrying away from every danger in the hope of extending their pathetic little lives – but you would think the fool man would’ve remembered that dragons, even dragon fucktoys like you, my daughter, are considerably more fire resistant than he is.”
Astaria felt curiously unafraid about seeing her doom in front of her. Her father would not let her go; he was not the man to give up anything that he did not have to. He would kill her if necessary, rather than let her escape. But she felt no fear because deep down, she’d already known it would end like this. She’d never had any real chance of escaping her father or the Paradisium. The only one who’d ever offered her any actual hope had been Tanya, and the girl had chosen to kill herself rather than stay and help her. Astaria knew why, but it didn’t change the fact that of all the cruel things Tanya Petrov had ever done to her, that was the one that hurt the most. “He was not thinking rationally,” the green haired woman said as she rose to her feet. “He… he was trying to protect me.”
“Yes, he did seem to have an odd fondness for your holes,” Karakostas remarked. “Always eager to be there while you were tortured, but did you know he turned me down when I offered to send you to warm his bed for his birthday? Curious fellow. Did you have to fuck him in advance to convince him to go with you, or was the promise alone enough for him?”
“He was not… Levi Petrov breached the ninth floor through the sewer system,” Astaria said. “Batu left his post only to avoid death. He was not trying to flee the Paradisium, he wanted to continue fighting against the Paragon incursion.” She didn’t mention that her father’s assistant had likely felt more obligation to protecting the men, women, and children living here than to guarding his master.
“Is that so?” Karakostas asked, not sounding particularly interested in the revelation. “Well, then I suppose I may as well leave him like that.” He gave an unbothered shrug of his shoulders and peered up at the stairwell. ”I suppose we aren’t lucky enough for the Petrov scion to choose these stairs for his descent. No matter, he’ll die with the rest.”
Something about the way he spoke his last statement told Astaria that her father wasn’t making an idle boast. He spoke of their deaths as if the result was already determined. “What are you planning to do?” she asked.
“My dear stupid daughter, you didn’t truly think there was any chance I’d allow someone to insult and rob me so? I was hoping to deal with this in a less dramatic fashion, but I’ve been informed that Paragon has managed to breach the vault. Those little animals are no doubt in there right now, getting their greasy paws on my treasures, despoiling everything. Ah… that is the sphinx down there, isn’t it?”
“Y-yes,” said Astaria, thrown off by the sudden change of subject. “What are you planning to do?” she repeated.
“Hmm?” Karakostas waved a hand idly as he descended the stairs. “That can wait. Eirene! It’s been so long since last I’ve seen you.” His tone had become jovial. “Not that you’re ever far from my thoughts, of course. I haven’t used a standard commode in decades without thinking about the drowned sewer rat who would be receiving it down below. It was almost enough to make me regret using my daughter exclusively for these last few years.”
Astaria squared her shoulders and braced herself as her father approached. She had no chance of beating him in combat, fair or otherwise, but she would not give into her fear of him. Karakostas, for his part, barely seemed to notice her as he walked by, continuing down the stairs towards Eirene. “If it was possible, I’d let you rot in that sewer for the next thousand years,” he said. “But change is inevitable, and all things must move on eventually.” He knelt to grasp her neck in one hand. “Goodbye, Eirene. I trust that whatever afterlife awaits you, it will leave you thinking fondly of your time here.”
“Father, don’t!” the dragon shouted, and then shuddered and fell over as her collar activated. Falling down the stairs was as painful the second time as it had been the first, but at least it brought her closer to the sphinx. “Please!” she gasped.
Her father didn’t remove his hand from Eirene’s neck, but he didn’t kill the woman either. “I knew letting Miss Petrov get her hands on you was a mistake. Only a few months, and already you’re questioning decisions and talking back. Were these not extraordinary circumstances, I would make you meat here and now. But I am already leaving so much behind. It would be nice to take something with me, even if it’s only a defective toilet of a daughter.”
“You… you are running away?” Astaria asked, hardly believing it. “You will simply abandon the Paradisium?”
“You speak as a child,” Karakostas said scornfully. “Do you think an empire is made out of buildings and possessions?” He thumped his chest. “My empire begins and ends with myself. My brilliance, my drive, my strength, my ambition. Everything else is mere adornment. The Paradisium is only a place like any other, and at times I have had cause to regret being so far from the heart of civilization. Perhaps I shall travel to Europe, or even the New World. I have visited the Americas on occasion, and found them a fine vista to behold.”
Astaria knew that she should be happy about this news. A day ago, she would have considered driving her father from the Paradisium to be the very definition of victory. “And what of those who worship you as a god?” she demanded. “Right now there are men fighting and dying for you. There are innocents clutched in a corner while they hide, praying with every breath for you to fulfill your boasts of divinity and save them. What will become of them?”
“Their deaths will be in service to me, just as their lives were,” Karakostas said with complete indifference. “And I can think of no better grave marker for them than the wreckage of this place.”
“Wreckage?” the green haired woman whispered.
Something like merriment twinkled in her father’s eyes. “Why else would I have had need to visit the armory? The timer is now set, and cannot be undone: in less than two hours, at six am exactly, the Paradisium’s last line of defense will activate. There are explosives lining every floor of this building and peppered through the surrounding architecture. Fully twice that number are in the vault itself. I do not suffer thieves, daughter; I will gladly reduce everything here to ash before I let it fall into someone else’s hands. Even Ilya’s furred cockroach of a son won’t be able to survive the holy fire that awaits him.”
“No!” Astaria gasped, nearly activating her collar again. “Please, father, there are hundreds of slaves trapped underground, and hundreds more servants above! You can’t just kill them all out of spite!”
Karakostas’s eyes narrowed, and he stood up to face her. “Are you telling me what I can and cannot do?” he asked, his voice deceptively calm.
Astaria instinctively shuddered and shrank away from him. “No, Father,” she whimpered, her tone dripping with genuine terror, and pressed her forehead against the floor. “I would never dare presume to tell you what you must already know.”
Her father’s foot rested on the back of her head, preventing her from lifting it back up. “A fucktoy does not order anyone around, especially not a god. Do not mistake my desire for a womb to breed my lineage in as anything approaching affection for its host.” His tone became reflective. “No, I wish to keep you, but not in this fashion. I see now that allowing you to retain the form of a person has given you the mistaken impression that you still are one. I expect to be quite busy in the days ahead, and I will not have time or inclination to deal with this sort of foolishness on a regular basis. Once we are away from this place, I believe the best course of action will be to remove your limbs and vocal cords and reduce you to a literal cum dump.”
The most chilling part of his threat was that it wasn’t one. Karakostas didn’t speak in the tone of a man trying to intimidate, and there was no allowance to his words, nothing that suggested she might avoid her fate through good behavior. He was simply telling her the conclusion he had reached. Astaria thought of the assassin Vanessa, and the utter hopelessness that she’d seen in the woman after losing her limbs and realizing she would never again be treated as anything but a sex toy.
A large part of Astaria wanted to claw her own throat out right now, while she still had the power to end her life. A violent and bloody death would be infinitely better than the centuries of hell her father had just decided on for her. It wasn’t fear of death that kept her alive, but the knowledge that hundreds of lives might now depend on her. And one in particular was going to end right now if she didn’t do something, because the weight of her father’s boot on her head had lifted, but only so that he could press it on Eirene’s neck. The nearly comatose woman gurgled helplessly as he slowly applied his weight.
Astaria bit back the pleas for mercy and appeals to his conscience. Karakostas had no intention of listening to any request from her, and anything like an order to leave the sphinx alone would only do nothing but ensure her own violent end would come soon after. She could only see one option left to her. “My womb!” she cried out as loudly as she dared, raising her head. “I will give you my womb if you spare her life!”
“Your womb already belongs to me,” he reminded her, not even bothering to look in her direction as he continued crushing the life out of Eirene. “And it will be my decision when to use it.”
“You own my body,” said the green haired woman, “but not my mind or my soul. I am offering you both in exchange for your mercy. Please Father, I beg you to put your child in me. Breed me to make yourself a true heir.”
Karakostas turned his head towards her. It was a small movement, but she knew him well enough to read that she now held his full attention. “Swear it, then. Swear an oath giving yourself to me, and I will let this sanctimonious vermin live.”
Astaria’s mouth went dry. She had hoped that perhaps in the tumult there would come an opportunity to escape, but what he was demanding would seal that possibility off forever. With just a few words, he could guarantee that she would never be able to oppose him in any way. But… her chances of salvation were pitiful no matter what she did, while Eirene still had a chance at life. Astaria couldn’t let the woman die just to hold onto her own sliver of hope.
The green haired woman pressed her forehead against the floor again, letting the apparent act of submission hide her expression as she frantically tried to come up with the right words to say. A few years ago this would’ve been completely hopeless, but she’d endured many painful lessons about the difference between being truthful and being honest. What she needed now was an oath that would satisfy her father without actually binding her to his will. “I… I swear that I… that I will endeavor to be a satisfactory womb for your g-glorious offspring.”
She kept her head down as she heard the man rise to his feet, not daring to risk causing offense. Astaria knew what was coming the moment his footsteps went behind her, but she still flinched when she felt his hands on her hips. A moment later he rammed his cock into her wet slit, impaling her on his thick, scaly member. All of her lubrication provided scant comfort, and the woman gasped in pain at the brutal violation even as her pussy faithfully clenched him, her body long since trained to help him enjoy raping her as much as possible.
Karakostas fucked her in slow and steady strokes, filling the stairway with the obscene sounds of penetration. The pace wasn’t intended to make this easier on her; he was just taking his time, enjoying his final and complete victory over his daughter. “And?” he asked calmly as his hands groped her tits and used them to pull her deeper onto his shaft.
“…And?” She was distracted by her new oath, which she could already feel influencing her. Every time he pulled back, she clamped down on him, the thought of his cock slipping out of her sending icy anxiety running down her spine. She had to make sure her pussy caught every drop of his seed when he came, assuming that he was ready to begin breeding her. And if he wasn’t, then her job right now was to change his mind. The thought of his cum inside of her made disgust well up, but she had to convince him to fill her womb with it… had to. Her knees scraped painfully against the hard floor as she pushed her ass against him, wanting the head of his cock as deep inside her as possible even as the rest of her despised every last millimeter.
“Accepting that you will never rise to any role greater than an incubator for my young is not an oath of obedience, daughter, only an acknowledgment of reality,” her father said. “I understand that it is difficult for someone in your position to tell the difference between her soul and her cunt, but it is the former you offered to hand over, not the latter. If you can’t even give me such a tattered, worthless thing as that, then my next load will not be used to set you upon your true path in life. It will go down the throat of your sphinx as she chokes to death on my cock.”
Astaria had thought she’d long run out of tears today, but new ones formed at the realization that her oath had been dismissed as worthless, even as her pussy walls continued to flutter around his shaft to try and entice him to finish. She felt such total despair at her failure that she nearly gave up then and there and swore a plain and inescapable oath to him just to get this over with. She focused instead on the MEA scars on her forehead, which itched as her physical exertion made her sweat. Thousands of innocent people had been condemned to death and worse here as meat, and if she let herself quit now, she would never again have any chance to help them. The rest of her life, which might stretch for millennia more, would be spent pleasing the same man responsible for so much pointless tragedy.
An oath. She needed to swear him a new oath. His cock was already throbbing, signaling that her time was almost up. “I swear… I swear that I… I…” She had to do this. For the sake of Ellie and everyone else. “I swear that I will always…” Gods, she hated him so much that she wanted to scream… and then it came to her. “I, I swear to never show you anything less than the complete and unconditional devotion that the master of the Paradisium deserves from meat.” In other words, as far as she was concerned, none at all.
But Karakostas, confident in his own superiority, didn’t have the same interpretation of her oath. He roughly yanked her hair back with both hands as his cock swelled inside her, his hips drumming a sharp beat against her flesh. “Yes,” he crowed as his warm seed burst from him to paint her insides. “That may have been the first sensible thing you’ve done in your life, daughter.”
“Thank you, ma-”
“Silence” he interrupted, and she promptly shut her mouth. “I never wish to hear another word from you. You are never to try and escape. In fact, you are never to do anything at all but what I order, including breathing. From now on, you are nothing but a cum stained doll. Do you understand?” She remained kneeling and silent, slowly suffocating with her breath held. “Good. Fuck me hard.”
Her hips began to move mechanically, her pussy lips sliding back and forth across his length as he quickly stiffened again. Her pace sped up as soon as he was hard, her backside butting against his crotch with enough force that he had to grab onto her to keep his balance. At the same time her walls hugged him, eager to milk out more of his cum for her fertile womb. Her insides were still sore from the pounding they’d just received, and her lungs burned urgently in her chest, but Astaria continued to hold her breath and fuck his cock with her body as hard she could. She had no actual obligation to behave this way, but any disobedience or hesitation would alert Karakostas that the oath she’d made was worthless, and he’d force another upon her.
“You may take one breath,” he said, and she gratefully obeyed, taking one of the shallow breaths her collar allowed her, only to find that the meager taste of oxygen only made her lungs demand even more. Not giving into them and taking another breath was one of the hardest things she’d ever done. “You may breathe once every ninety seconds,” her father continued. Though she was already dizzy, and his scaly cock felt like razorblades to her insides, she complied without pause or complaint.
It took only three more breaths to make him finish. Fresh waves of disgust twisted Astaria’s stomach as her father’s seed poured into her, but she kept her expression limp and unseeing, her body still smacking against his even after he’d gone soft. “That’s enough for now,” Karakostas said, and eased himself out of her, rubbing his cock against her bruised ass to wipe off the blood and semen. “It would not do to leave this place without witnessing its end. We shall find a proper vantage point and then resume.” His tone became dry. “It seems we will need to use a different stairway, though.”
Her father began to walk up the stairs, back to the seventh floor. “Follow on all fours,” he said without looking back or pausing. “Ah, and of course, I must honor my end of the deal. I am not beholden to most creature comforts, but it would be a shame to deny myself the variety of multiple fleshlights. So I will allow you to hold the sphinx’s hair in one hand and drag her along behind you. If you let her slow you down, though, I will make you kill her yourself.”
The green haired woman obeyed, suppressing a grimace at the thought of how painful the hard metal stairs were going to be for both her and Eirene. She silently prayed that she find a chance somewhere to escape and warn everyone, and that she find it soon. Until then, she’d be her father’s complacent fucktoy, but it was only a matter of time before he discovered her deception. Just a few minutes pretending to this lifeless, wretched existence that he wanted from her was enough to know that it would be a fate worse than death, and if she made a mistake… when she made a mistake, it would become the rest of her life.
“Seo-yun!” The voice was hollow and distant, as though echoing from down a long tunnel. “Seo-yun!” It was familiar, though she couldn’t place it, and the speaker sounded agitated. Frantic. “Come on, Seo-yun, you need to wake up! Please, wake up!”
Seo-yun opened her eyes and saw Morris.