Chosen – Chapter 2 – Paradise Lost

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.


When the latch holding Merielle in place had suddenly released, the selkie hadn’t hesitated… she and Yuki had been over the plan plenty of times. She didn’t pause wondering what was happening… she dropped to the ground and started crawling towards the nearest wall, as quickly as she could. Despite everything, she expected someone to yell, to notice her, to stop her.

No one did.

After years of living with her mistress, Merielle understood that an illusion hiding her was only, as most, half of the deception. The rest was misdirection. No one saw Merielle as the nearly invisible selkie crawled to safety because no one was looking at her… their attention was focused completely on Yuki.

She didn’t quite manage to make it out of the room before the violence started.

Merielle curled up in the hallway outside, hugging herself with her arms across her chest as she softly sobbed while listening to the gunfire, the yelling, the screaming, and the cries for help echo through the bunker. She felt helpless, useless as Yuki fought and risked her life while she just sat here… but what could she do? Yuki was the warrior… not her. She would only get in the way. Men shouted orders and warnings at each other, and cried out in confusion and panic as they died… frequently shot by another member of the militia. Before too long, the cries were more for mercy or their mothers than in rage or anger.

Then there was just silence… save for the clicking of a single set of footsteps. Her mistress’s strong arms enfolded her and Merielle leaned against her, still crying.

“I’m sorry!” the selkie moaned. It was all her fault. She was supposed to wait until all of them were there… then Yuki could have sprung her ambush. It would have been quick… and not dangerous. “I just… I just… when he said that, and I knew, I just…”

Yuki’s fingers pressed against her lips. “Shhh,” her mistress said, still holding her. “It’s alright. As long as you’re ok, it’s all alright.”

Merielle leaned against her harder. “Are they… are they all…” she swallowed. “Did you… kill them all?”

The nogitsune was silent a moment. “All the ones down here,” she said. “I can’t promise there aren’t more elsewhere, but-”

The selkie forced herself to wipe away her tears and stop crying. “Good,” she said, trying to sound more firm that she felt. “I’m glad.” She looked up and saw Yuki resting against her, blood splattered across her face. She raised one hand and started wiping it off her mistress.

Yuki let her, holding her until she had stopped moving. “And you’re sure you’re ok?” Yuki asked. “Not lying to me?”

Merielle shuddered a little bit. How could she be ok? She had just panicked and made Yuki fight for her life… how could she be ok with that? “I’ll be ok,” she said. Technically, it wasn’t a lie. “Let’s get my sister and get this over with, I don’t want to spend another second here.”

“Fair enough.” Yuki rose and offered Merielle a hand. She took it, coming to her feet naked and sore. She would need to get cleaned up and get some clothing on, but it could wait… her sister’s rapist was here, so she must be in the vault down here. Maya was here. “I saw the vault when they were putting some of the girls into it earlier, it’s down here…” Yuki was holding a ring of keys, and as she stopped in front of a heavy door she sorted through them, trying them one by one until one of the keys clicked in the lock. “There we go,” she said, pushing the door open. “Now we ca-”

Inside the room, someone started screaming.

The feminine screams from inside the room instantly made Merielle tense… the terror in them was complete and went right to the back of her head, making her look behind her, sure that one of the mercenaries was coming right for her. Or… or maybe one of them was already in the room. Or maybe…

As Merielle cast her gaze over the room, however, she didn’t see any men. Just a bunch of naked, cuffed selkies… cowering and cringing away from their rescuers, flattening themselves against the wall as much as possible as they screamed in terror… fleeing as far as they could get away from them.

No. Not from them. From Yuki.

“No!” Maeve cried out from the wall. Merielle had seen her on the way in, and it had been all she could do not to jump. “Not you! Not you! You can’t take us back to him! Anything but that!”

“Just forget you saw us… please!” another… Merielle was pretty sure her name was Saoirse… said, tears running down her face. “Anything but going back to that club!”

“Please, mistress, please! Mercy!” another, someone Merielle didn’t know, said between sobs. “You can’t give us back to the vampire!”

Merielle watched Yuki flinch under the terrified reactions of the prisoners… she seemed to shrink several inches all at once. Her tails thrashed back and forth and Merielle could all but see her bite back a dozen angry responses, and each time she didn’t snap back she seemed to shrink even further. Not all of the selkies here knew her… that was much obvious. Most didn’t react, but they could tell from the words of the others that the black furred fox was bad news. Well, fuck that. “She’s here to help you!” Merielle yelled, defending her. “We came to get you out!”

People seemed to notice her for the first time. “M… Merielle?” Maeve said. “Is that you?”

“Of course it’s me!” she said, trying to keep her voice from trembling. “Take you back to Mordred? Yuki’s the one that set you free in the first place!”

“And landed us here!” another shouted. Yuki winced again.

“She didn’t know!” Merielle protested. “We tracked you across the damn world!”

“Meri?”

Merielle froze… and slowly turned to the right. There she was… just like she remembered. Just like she’d looked the last day, more than a hundred years ago… like she hadn’t changed at all. “Maya…” she breathed. Then she rushed over, falling to her knees and embracing her sister. “Maya! Oh gods… Maya!” Even after Yuki had told her, she hadn’t completely believed it was true… that her long lost sister was still alive… here… in her arms. “I missed you! I missed you!”

The others watched, looking on. Yuki slowly backed out of the room.

***

It was still snowing in the night sky as Yuki stepped outside the main building of the camp. After she had swept the bunker, she was sure that it was empty of anyone else… it was just the selkies down there now, just Merielle, the keys, and the captives. Yuki would have to make sure that no other selkies had been left behind in the camp… and none of the militia, either.

Yuki felt… exhausted. Physically, but maybe even more emotionally. The exhaustion was nothing more than a slight sense of betrayal. The images of the selkies retreating from her in fear and, at least by her standards, being ungrateful for all the effort she had made in rescuing them. Yuki was already questioning the reason for her even being there. Why would she even bother for a bunch of ungrateful selkies? The answer seemed elusive to her. Those uncomfortable doubts were quickly leading to thoughts of her past. The stain and shame that lurked around her memory like a dark shadow that only drove her to a place of emptiness. Her mind needed to cope and filled that void that was without a doubt brewing within her. She began to remember all those scenes from below. It was as though she’d been sent to the pits of hell when she’d accompanied Jasper to witness the brutal torture of the selkies she was intending to rescue. The images of their perverted orgies persisted in her head, refusing to leave.

She just stared up at the sky as the snow fell onto her face, her blood-soaked clothing doing almost nothing to stop the chill. She would need to change, and soon. The snowflakes were already sprinkling all over her lush dark fur as she walked slowly on the red carpet that was intended to welcome her, and she tried to remember if that selkie had been in the bunker below… she didn’t think so. She would have to look.

She took a deep breath that gave her some sense of relief that at least this part of her clandestine half-ass mission was partly over. She just wanted to be back in Japan. Things made sense when it was just her and Merielle… when no one else had to rely on her. People relying on Yuki for protection didn’t have a fantastic track record… it was better to leave them off. She just… she just hadn’t expected that reaction.

Idiot. Of course she should have expected it. She laughed softly at herself, shaking her head. Idiot girl with your head in the clouds… you spend a year trying to track down these yokels and rescue your girlfriend’s sister, and you forget you’re not a hero anymore. Why would they want to see you? Of course, she hadn’t expected to have so many girls from Mists here… just another excellent example of how badly she had failed to protect people. The best she had done for them was give them skills that made their rapists want to keep them alive… and rightfully earned their hatred in the process.

Yuki shook her head. Now wasn’t the time for a fucking pity party. She’d done what she had to do. She’d protected the people she’d had to protect, no matter what it had cost. She was here… that was what mattered. Now she just had to get them out of this damn camp. That dragon bitch, the one who’d been calling herself Delphyne, had put out the word that she was offering sanctuary to any former slave that needed it. Yuki had reached out and told her to be waiting in Anchorage. Now she just needed to get there.

The camp seemed empty and void of any humans, but Yuki’s senses were on edge, warning her. There were still chimneys puffing smoldering smoke into the sky, still cameras everywhere. The camp also had a main watchtower, but it appeared that no one was manning it. Maybe she had gotten everyone here… but she doubted it. She was rarely that lucky… so instead, she masked herself and the entrance of the elevator with a simple illusion. The driving snow would have been a detriment to many kitsune… not to Yuki. To her, it just concealed most of the target, gave someone a less clear view.

She wasn’t sure how long she had been standing there in the freezing cold before she heard the elevator begin to work behind her. She didn’t turn around as it clicked back into place, and she could practically hear the silence of the crowd behind her. A single set of footsteps was all she heard, and Yuki only had a few seconds to wonder who the selkie had chosen to be their spokesperson before Maeve stepped up alongside her. “Well, what happens next?”

Yuki looked over at the familiar blonde, not really surprised by the choice. She only took a second to check and see and Merielle was in the crowd among the freshly freed selkies, gently holding Maya’s hand and fighting off her lingering fears. They had put on clothing… mostly men’s clothing, and not really enough of it, but at least they were wearing something. Satisfied, Yuki turned to look at the other woman. “We get out of here.”

“I hope you aren’t expecting tha-”

Yuki cut her off. “Save it. How many selkies are there that weren’t down in the vault?”

There was an odd tone in Maeve’s voice as she responded. “What makes you think I know?”

The nogitsune snorted. “Please, Maeve. Learning how many selkies were in the camp was one of the first things you did when you arrived her, and I saw you mentally starting to count heads before I even left the room.”

A small smile crossed the other woman’s face before she erased it. “We’re missing two. Nerina and Aoife.”

Yuki nodded. “Alright. That fucker’s truck isn’t here anymore, so someone moved it… someone who might not have come downstairs. We need to find a ride out of here.”

“I think I know a way,” Maya whispered in a small voice. “I haven’t been up here in ages, but…” she pointed. “Last I remember, they had a big truck. “Over there.” Maya’s hand pointed towards the south side of the camp… but her eyes, hard, fearful, untrusting, never left Yuki.

The nogitsune looked that way, rubbing her chin lightly. “A truck… that makes sense. They would need to bring in a lot of supplies at once.” There was a big building over that way, and even through the snowstorm she had trouble seeing it behind some big pine trees… and it looked like it had a large garage door built into the side. That would do. “Red, get them to the truck and get them inside.”

“And you?” Merielle asked.

Yuki held up the small, black box she had been carrying. “Wherever they took your skin, I’ll bet it’s where they put the rest of them. I’ll get them and the two stragglers and meet you back at the truck.”

Merielle leaned in and kissed her softly. “Be careful,” she whispered… though Yuki couldn’t help but notice the look on Maya’s face. Then, louder, Merielle continued. “Everyone! Follow me and Maeve… we’re getting out of here.”

Yuki watched the selkies, Merielle… and Maya… disappear into the snow. This wasn’t over… but it was going to be trouble for later. Sighing, Yuki turned away. Then, cloaking herself in an illusion, she turned and strode off into the storm alone.

***

Aoife cowered beneath the shadow of the pair of guards, knee deep in a thick patch of the falling snow. It was freezing, and her lips were blue as she shivered violently, but sadly that was nothing new… She knew it wouldn’t kill her, and so did her captors, so they were only all-too happy to enjoy the fruits of her misery. Nerina, a newer selkie, clung to Aoife as their abusers stood over them, clutching their rifles. “The hell were these two up to?” one of the guards, a man named Oscar, said with a smile on his face.

“It looks to me like a few selkies were tryin’ to get away!” the other guard, Matt, said… but his face was equally twisted in a grin.

“We weren’t…” Aoife protested by default, even though she knew it wouldn’t matter. They knew she wasn’t. The guards hassling any of the girls as they returned to their homes was practically a constant fact of life here.

The guard shut her up by slapping Aoife across the face with his rifle, sending her crashing down to the snow in a daze. The world spun, but she still heard the words he said next. “These fucking selkies don’t know how good they got it,” he said, kicking her in the side. “They think they own the place.” Nerina was screaming and Aoife wished she would stop… she was just going to make things worse. Her hand found her lip – split, bleeding… iron rifle stock – and held it protectively, but she stayed on the ground where he had put her… moving was unwise. “You want some of this too, slut?” Oscar said, lifting the rifle again before smashing it into Nerina’s belly. Her red hair flung against the chilled wind and her scream cut off instantly. “Shut the fuck up!”

“You two wanted to escape? Eh!?” Matt grunted. “Why would you want to leave this behind?” His large member hung from the gape in his pants as he unzipped them, reaching down to grab a handful of Aoife’s hair. “Let’s see if you can escape now!” he said with slight laughter as he shoved his prick into her mouth and down her throat while he kept the end of his rifle lodged against her face.

“Fuck yeah!” The other guard said as he let his slithering snake come out of his pants. He then slapped Nerina’s face with it.

“No, please! I’m sorry! I wasn’t doing anything! Whatever it was, I won’t do it again!” Nerina pleaded just before the guard’s fuck-stick forced its way through her tight lips.

“Which one was it? Oscar replied. “You didn’t do anything, or you won’t do it again?”

“That what I’m telling you, man,” Matt chuckled as Aoife’s head bobbed up and down on his hard shaft. “These sluts… they get confused. Their brains don’t work right.”

“Yeah, I see that,” the other man nonchalantly agreed as his dick traveled down Nerina’s throat with delight.

“You gotta make it simple for them,” Matt continued as he placed his hands on Aoife’s head and guided her down his pole, making sure she sucked all the way down to the base. Her head was starting to come back together after the rifle blow… Damn, he was big. “They just need to understand the way the world works. Otherwise they get lost.”

“True, true,” Oscar said as he tried to enjoy the sloppy blowjob that Nerina was giving him. “Listen. You’re fuckmeat. You’ve always been fuckmeat… just because you just got here a few months ago doesn’t mean you weren’t fuckmeat before then, it just means no one had shown you the truth yet. So we do whatever we want to you… and you just have to be a good little faerie whore and take it!”

“Now you’re speaking a language she understands!” The guards simply laughed their asses off as they continued to ram their long dicks onto selkie throat. “Fuck, this whore barely knows how to suck a cock. The mist-trained girl must have me spoiled. You gotten to try one of those yet?”

“Not yet,” Oscar said, glumly while he railed Nerina’s slender neck, making her make horrible, glugging gags every second or so. “Jasper’s kept me on guard duty practically non-stop since I got recruited… all because I wasn’t lucky enough to catch one of the fish bitches myself to donate to the cause. I only get their leftovers, so it’s been a while since I got to enjoy a proper selkie throat-job.”

“Ha, ha, ha! Yeah, fucking Jasper just wants these selkie bitches all for himself. Trust me, Oscar… you haven’t ever had proper selkie throat yet… wait till you get one of of the trained one’s around your cock. They could suck the chrome off a tailpipe!” He groaned as Aoife’s clenching throat massaged his length with each thrust. “The way I hear it, the new guy’s selkie is another one from the Mists. They’re breaking her in right now. Wish we were at that party… but everyone gets to fuck one of the new girls, and exhausted or not, two day long gangbang or not, I promise you she’ll give you the best blowjob you’ve ever imagined… really make this slut here feel like a fleshlight if you know what I mean.” He reached down and slapped Aoife. “Hey, fleshlight… I’m not feeling any effort down there. Keep sucking that fucking cock and don’t stop, you lazy slut!”

The gargling and the gagging got louder and louder as the men moaned and groaned. They each had their heads back, their eyes gazed at the beautiful arctic lights that danced through the sky as sweet awesome sensations traveled up their spine. They were getting close.

“Damn!”

“Fucking shit!”

“Oh, man I’m gonna blow!”

“Yeah, me too! I haven’t cum since yesterday!”

Right on cue the men began to twitch and howl as they unloaded their balls into the selkies’ throats. They filled up their mouths with jizz as wad after wad flooded their little mouths. Aoife was overwhelmed as the guard unloaded bucket loads of seed down her gullet. “AH SHIT!” The other guard continued to fuck Nerina’s mouth as more cum dripped out of his fat head lodged inside her neck.

The men were in complete ecstasy right up until the moment the tip of a sword emerged through Matt’s chest.

Aoife blinked, confused as he began to bleed on her, then she backed up in a sudden frenzy. “What the hell!” Oscar said, his voice rising in back as he staggered away from Nerina, raising his rifle and sweeping it over… nothing. “Who di-”

“You know,” a cold woman’s voice said in the snow. “Sometimes, I almost feel sorry for you idiots.” Oscar went rigid suddenly, his mouth dropping open in shock or pain. His rifle fell from his limp fingers as his feet left the ground, something unseen… no, a blur… hoisting him up in the air. As Aoife watched, it resolved into the shape of a woman with black hair, with nine magnificent tails billowing out behind her where a second ago there had been nothing but the snowstorm. “You really can’t do anything. It’s almost like clubbing baby seals… it’s not a fight, it’s a slaughter. It almost makes me feel bad. And then…”

Her face turned to Aoife, taking in the blood on her face from her split lip and nose, taking in the way Nerina was trying desperately to catch her breath. “And then you go and remind me why I don’t care.” The fox-eared woman narrowed her eyes, and something shimmering flowed out of the mercenary and towards her… coating her form in shimmering blue for an instant before it was gone. When she released Oscar, he felt onto the ground with boneless finality and did not move.

Aoife had unconsciously slid herself between the newcomer and Nerina. “Who… who are…”

“Call me whatever you want,” the woman said as she reached down and picked up a duffel bag that Aoife could have sworn wasn’t there a second ago. “We’re leaving. I’m getting you out of here.”

“Wait! Our skin!” the selkie protested. “We can’t leave witho-”

The sound of a diesel engine cut off Aoife as a large truck rolled in, a redhaired selkie that Aoife had never seen before behind the wheel. The fox looked over at it and seemed to almost beam with approval before she returned her gaze to the two selkies in the snow, shaking the bag in her hand once, heavily. “Like I said,” she repeated, flashing a smile at the two women. “We’re leaving.”

***

“And you’ve made all your preparations?” Yuki asked into the phone. “It’s rather important you don’t make any mistakes now.”

“I’ve prepared,” the voice over her phone said as Yuki leaned back in her seat. The truck was parked on the side of the road, half in the snow in the darkness. Yuki had driven nearly six hours before she had dared to stop and rest, and the snow had finally let up a few hours back… this truck didn’t exactly make good speed and the road was winding and unpredictable. It was getting difficult to keep the truck in control as the icy pavement made the truck slide a couple of times. That said, after six hours there was still no sign of pursuit, and there weren’t a lot of choices for road, so she felt fairly sure that no one was coming after them at this point. She was free to finally relax into some of the exhaustion that had been beating at her for hours now. “I’ll have everything ready to come out to Kyoto after finals.”

A low chuckle escaped the fox’s throat despite herself. “Getting presumptuous, aren’t we rabbit? You haven’t passed yet.” Her lips curled in a smile that, regrettably, he couldn’t see as she looked up into the shimmering northern lights. “That’s the bargain… I’m going to let you stay with us this summer… if you pass.”

“Yes, mistress,” he said, voice a bit more abashed. “I know. I only meant that, well, I will pass.”

She chuckled again. “Confident, aren’t we?” Yuki considered. “Then maybe I’m making this too easy on you. Maybe you should get the top score in your class.” She let just a hit of a growl into her voice. “Otherwise, that sort of arrogance requires an answer. Of course, if you don’t want to be punished, you could always just stay home instead…”

She could hear Shindou’s swallow even over the phone… it made her smile widen. “Ah… yes. Of course, mistress. The top score, then?”

“Yes…” she said, letting her voice trail off as the truck’s cab door opened and Merielle began climbing back in. “I think that would be fitting… don’t you, rabbit? Now, its late here… or rather, very, very early. You should be getting to class.”

Maybe it was her imagination, but his voice seemed a little faster as he responded. “Yes mistress.”

Yuki hung up the phone, and Merielle chuckled as she pressed herself against Yuki’s side. “You’re so mean to him,” she teased softly… too softly for Yuki’s comfort. “It should be a crime to tease someone who makes it that easy.”

The nogitsune snorted. “He’s a good kid,” she said as she shifted so her good ear pointed more towards Merielle. “How’s Maya?”

“Sleeping,” Merielle muttered. “Most of them are sleeping now. You should be, too.”

Yuki shook her head. “I’ll sleep on the plane. I don’t think we’re being followed, but I’m not so sure of it that I’m going to relax until we’re in the air.” She sighed. “I just… I just need a few minutes.” Merielle, bless her heart, didn’t try to convince her any further… she just wrapped one arm around her mistress and held her as they both leaned against the cab and watched the shifting colors dancing in the sky. Blues, greens, and even purples flashed across the darkness, the magnificent lights captivating to Yuki’s eyes. Some of the large streams of light reminded her of Merielle for some odd reason.

They were majestic and beautiful. Awesome and bright… and they could be seen from hundreds of miles away, but they were elusive and magical… hard to see for what they were at first. They could be scary… but just watching them was heartwarming. Her heart literally felt warm as she watched them with Merielle, alongside the other woman… her pulse fluttering a little inside her chest. The dark sky was filled with these alluring strings of light.

“The lights are so beautiful,” Merielle said breathlessly. “Aren’t they, Yuki?” The nogitsune nodded and made a small noise of agreement as she squeezed the selkie, which was enough to get her to continue. “Have you ever wondered what makes them?” Merielle wondered out loud.

Yuki paused for a second… then shrugged. “I dunno, Red. Something about the Earth’s magnetic field, or something like that. I mean… I kept up on stuff, but… there are limits, you know?” She chuckled. “I’m not a library. Ask your phone… you know, like a normal person?”

Merielle turned to give her mistress a warm smile before turning back to the dark sky. “I don’t need to ask. It’s magic,” the selkie said confidently. “The words they use to make it make sense don’t matter. It’s like… it’s like the magic of the whole Earth comes here. It gets all together and makes the sky glow.”

“Oh really?” Yuki whispered back before giving out a small chuckle. “You’re just as big a dumbass as I am, Red… otherwise, you wouldn’t have agreed to this hair-brained plan. You selkies don’t know shit.”

Merielle bit her neck. “I know you,” she quipped.

That admission made Yuki flush more than it should have. She reached out and took her selkie’s warm little hand in hers, gripping it, squeezing. “I just…” she swallowed. “I wasn’t expecting them to react like that. I’d forgotten what it was like to be looked at like that.” Yuki shook her head. “How could I have forgotten so quickly?”

Merielle laid her head against Yuki chest. “They were just afraid, mistress. They don’t know you,” she said. “The real you.”

It was a miracle how safe she felt with this woman… there was freedom in that vulnerability. Merielle knew all – most, she reminded herself, not all – of her worst secrets. She had seen Yuki at her worst… and the idiot stayed anyway. “I think they do, Red,” Yuki said, closing her eyes. “It wasn’t a misunderstanding, or… or…” She sighed. “I actually did those things that make them afraid of me. They should be afraid of me.”

“They’re alive because of you,” Merielle insisted. Her voice was gentle, but firm as granite. “I’ve seen enough to know what happens to most captives elsewhere… they’re treated like disposable objects. You kept them all alive, and they’re free now because of what you did.”

“You did all the hard work,” Yuki objected.

“Quiet, mistress,” Merielle said, and while Yuki wasn’t looking at her she could hear the smile in her voice. “Now you’re just being an idiot.”

Yuki raised one eye as she arched her eyebrow. “Idiot,” she growled.

“Idiot,” Merielle agreed. “Total moron. Absolute imbecil-”

Yuki grabbed her slave’s hair with one fist, tugging hard towards her and down. Merielle cried out, a sudden, sharp cry that didn’t linger as she toppled off the seat and down into the well. “Idiot,” she growled louder. “That’s funny.” She lifted one leg, aware of Merielle’s delicate fingers already between her legs, playing with the zipper on her jeans and yanking them down.

“Total fool,” Merielle said in a quivering voice as her hands exposed the nogitsune’s cunt, giving a small, eager whine as the fox wrapped her hair up in a fist, pulling the selkie against the slick mound between her mistress’ legs. She didn’t need any further encouragement to have her tongue out and buried inside her, licking with practiced movements.

“Mmm. Fuck yes,” Yuki purred as Merielle’s face met her snatch. She kept a tight grip on the selkie’s head while sweet smooth sensations began to travel up her body. Merielle was doing a good job, and she knew it. The brat. It didn’t take long until one of Yuki’s tails crept up to wrap around Merielle’s neck, forcing the selkie’s face to dig in some more. Yuki’s hip twitched a little as the selkie’s tongue made its way through her now soaking wet cave. Merielle traveled all over her luscious pussy lips, licking them up, practically bathing in her scent and the taste of her. It was, in moments like this, hard to tell which of them was more under the other’s spell… all that was clear was that neither would rather be anywhere else.

With the help of Yuki’s tail and the repeated tugs of her hand, Merielle’s face was able to reach great depths inside her sex, digging in even deeper and harder. Her cute nose was almost pushed flat against her Yuki’s skin, and she took the opportunity to give her mistress a few good tongue lashes inside her hole before turning over to her hard button.

“Mm, that’s perfect,” Yuki purred. “Just like that. Keep going, you bitch… and don’t you fucking stop.” Her body twitched with electric shocks of pure pleasure that overtook her as Merielle worked on that clit. “Shit, I trained you well!” Yuki squirmed in the seat as Merielle licked her reddened clit like no other, sucking and gently nibbling on it for what seemed like forever, giving her mistress a nice mental journey of ecstasy in just the way she wanted.

“FanTAStic, you little slut,” Yuki moaned as she twitched and twirled on her seat. “Mmm, yes. Yes!” The selkie’s mouth just kept eating on that clit. Sucking, kissing, licking. All of it. On that clit. “Oh FUCK!” Yuki snarled, tightening her creamed. “Oh, shit you little tongue-fucking bitch!” The nogtisune jerked in her seat as she came hard, grinding herself against her slave’s skilled mouth as her tightened her tail and cut off her breath entirely. “Oh fuck, yeah! YES!” Her tail forced the choking Merielle against her furry mound. “Eat that fucking pussy!”

Despite the fact that she could barely breathe, Merielle kept licking at Yuki as she squirmed and came. The selkie sank her mouth into Yuki’s warm cave, swallowing her by the mouthful while her euphoric mistress moaned and shuddered through her pleasure. Her tail began to tighten ever more around Merielle’s neck. The closer Yuki got to a second orgasm, the tighter it got, and soon Merielle’s airway was cut off. It didn’t seem to matter to the selkie, though… the more Yuki tightened her neck, the more aggressive her mouth got with her pussy.

It only took another minute for Merielle’s tongue to drive Yuki back over the edge, sinking her down past the point of no return to an explosive set or orgasms. “Yes, yes! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” the nogitsune screamed for her life. She felt like her soul was escaping from her body in a shock of raw pleasure as her orgasm made her body shiver and quake. Yuki shoved her hips against the selkie’s mouth and tightened her tail’s grip on Merielle’s neck. Her thighs also locked Merielle’s head like a vise. Her pussy then let out a few spurts of liquid which shot into Merielle’s mouth, who just kept eating Yuki out like a hungry animal.

“Ooh, FUCK!” Yuki rolled her head back before giving out a final cry. Merielle’s face was soaked from the fox’s pussy, and from the way her eyes glowed, even as they slowly rolled back in her head, she was loving every second of it… loving causing that explosion of energy from her mistress. “Ooh yes, yes, yes…” Yuki’s voice trailed off, slowly left powerless and breathless as she tried to regain her senses. She loosened her tail and her grip with arm and leg both, violently shaking in the aftermath of her cumming. “You… little… brat…” she moaned softly.

“Maybe that’s why you like Shindou so much,” Merielle whispered as she almost slithered up Yuki’s body, pressing her mouth against her and sharing the taste of her mistress with Yuki. Her tongue danced with her for several seconds before pulling back, still catching her breath. “You’re just as easy to bait as he is.”

Yuki ran a hand through Merielle’s hair, smoothing it down. “You know, last time I checked you were supposed to at least pretend to treat me with respect,” she chided as she pulled her pants back up.

Merielle curled up against her mistress’s side. “I am, Yuki… stop acting stupid, and I’ll stop calling you stupid.” She looked up at her, her eyes watering a little. “Thank you… for getting my sister back.” She lay her head down on Yuki’s lap at the fox put the truck back into gear and started pulling back onto the road. “I love you.”

Yuki didn’t want to argue with her that her sister was only in danger because of her, so instead she just stroked the selkie’s cheek and focused on driving. “I love you too,” she whispered.

***

Well, this didn’t look suspicious at all.

Yuki rolled her eyes as more than forty agonizingly beautiful women, not one of them looking a day over twenty, came out of the back of the truck one by one. They wore clothing that didn’t fit them and clutched old, ratty-looking animal skins in their hands like they were made of gold. Yuki had never in her life seen a more obviously out of place scene as the girls came out of the truck and stepped onto the paved floor of the airport hanger.

This was the meeting place they had agreed on… a small, private airport on the outskirts of Anchorage. She should be there.

“Wait here,” Yuki said. Her illusion was already covering her, hiding her tails and ears – ear – as she moved through public, and she stepped up to the door to the hanger and knocked.

The man who opened it wasn’t very big. At a head and a half shorter than Yuki, he had to significantly look up to her as the man… no… the kitsune… opened the door. He looked around, taking in the truck and the assembled girls outside. “These them?”

Yuki tilted her head. “Did I come here to speak with you, little man? Where’s Astaria?”

“Right here.” The dragon’s voice cut through the silence as she stepped into view, accompanied by a few others. “I have to say, I didn’t expect I’d be hearing from you ever again, Snowflake.”

“Yeah, well I’m just full of surprises,” Yuki bit back. She ran her gaze around the room. There were… there were a lot of kitsune here. More than she had seen in one place since… well, for a very long time. They were using illusions to hide their tails, but they weren’t trying all that hard, and Yuki knew what to look for. “I see you’re taking over your father’s position smoothly,” she said, waving her hand for Merielle to bring the others over as she ran her eyes over the bald-headed man standing beside her, taking notes on a tablet. Batu… almost all of Mordred’s dealing with Karakostas had gone through the man. “Can’t say I’m glad to see you thriving under new management.”

He opened his mouth to respond, but Yuki’s reaction cut him off… she moved right past him, sweeping the rest of the room… and settling on a surprising face. Immediately she fell back towards the door, reaching to her belt for a weapon.

The kitsune weren’t slow. Most of them went for weapons as well… automatic rifles mostly. They had them prepared for action before Yuki was halfway back out the door. “Stop it!” Astaria snapped. “Tobi!” The shorter kitsune man by her slowly lowered his weapon at Astaria’s words. “Let’s everyone just… calm down… a little bit…”

“What the fuck is she doing here?” Yuki snapped, pointing ahead at the four winged woman. “I knew you were an optimistic, naive idiot, Astaria but even you should know better than to trust goddamn Eirene.” At the mention of that name, many of the selkies who had been walking towards the hanger actually stopped dead. Even they knew the stories of what she’d done. Yuki let the illusion hiding her tails drop, though as she did she changed her fur color to a simple brown… announcing herself for what she was in the middle of this many kitsune would probably go badly. “You want to make a safe place for escaped slaves, and you try to prove it by having the fucking most famous traitor to that cause in history by your side?”

Eirene seemed to wilt a bit beneath the nogitsune’s fury. Yuki pressed in like a predator stalking prey… even the other kitsune guarding Astaria seemed uncertain now. “You sold them out… and you expect me to trust you with these girls?” She glared at Eirene as she clenched her fists. “You might as well ask me to slit their throats myself.”

“She didn’t do it!” Astaria protested. “It was a lie… my fath-”

“Then she still failed to protect them,” Yuki spat. “She let them all be captured again.”

“And the last time I saw you,” Astaria said, her voice firm, “I believe you were hurting a dear friend of mine… or was that someone else?”

Yuki hesitated, and Astaria stepped forward. “The past is the past, Snowflake. There are monsters out there. Mordred is still out there. My father is still out there. Paragon is still out there. We need to be looking forward, not fighting with one another.” Astaria slid her body between Yuki and Eirene, not looking away from the fox’s eyes. “Some of my supporters told me I shouldn’t come here. That this was a trap… that I shouldn’t give you a chance after the things you’ve done. Were they right? Or can the past stay in the past?”

Yuki didn’t know it if could… if it ever could, but suddenly she just felt exhausted. Rolling her eyes again before massaging her nose bridge, she looked away from the dragon. “Fine,” she spat. She didn’t want to argue anymore. She swallowed whatever pride she had left and stepped to the side, letting the selkies past her and sending them on to the dragon’s care. She watched them file up, hoping that she wasn’t making a mistake again… but then, after she had freed many of these once before and they had just ended up as slaves elsewhere, what was to say her own judgment was worth shit?

Merielle stopped by her side. “They’re going to take them back to Amala on this plane?”

Yuki nodded. “Looks like,” she replied.

Merielle swallowed. “Can… can we…”

Yuki froze. Of course Merielle would want Maya to go, and of course she would want to know exactly where this supposed sanctuary was and where she could find her… she certainly didn’t want to leave her alone. Slowly, she nodded. “Hey, Astaria!” Yuki shouted up at the dragon as she was guiding people onto the learjet. “Save us a seat. We’re coming too.”

***

Curled up in her seat, Yuki drew.

It was frustrating how hard it was. Once, it had been easy. Once, she had been able to look at something, and recreate it effortlessly, even hours or days later. She still had that skill. She still used it daily in her illusions if nothing else. But now… now it was so hard. She wasn’t any worse as remembering or visualizing the scene than she had been centuries ago, but her hands… it felt like they had lost all their skill in the intervening centuries.

And that was a problem. Almost all art started with drawing. From painting to sculpture to smithing… you had to see the object as its own shape and create it by hand. It was the first step to talents that she had let atrophy… the baby step, the easy step. She had forgotten how hard it was to start over. If only it could be as easy as magic, or swordplay…

A kitsune slid into the seat across from her.

Yuki looked up with one raised eyebrow. It was the shorter fox again… the man. His fur was almost the same color she was pretending hers was, and he lounged in the seat, looking at her. Astaria had called him Tobi, she thought. “Can I help you?” Yuki asked.

“Do you speak Japanese?” he asked in Japanese.

“I do,” she responded in English.

“Fine,” he said in the same language, taking the hint. He didn’t speak it poorly, but his accent was obvious. “So, ‘Snowflake.’ You were the madame and slave trainer for the Mists of Avalon?”

“That’s not a question,” Yuki said, looking back down at her page and trying to focus on drawing. “You wouldn’t be asking it if it was.”

“Then here’s one,” Tobi continued. “What’s your name? Where have you been? Where are you from?”

“The fuck does it matter?” Yuki snapped. “What goddess damn business is it of yours where I’m from?”

Tobi’s smile was cold. “Call me paranoid,” he said. “Security for Amala is a concern of mine… and letting former slavers anywhere near it isn’t high on my to-do list.”

“I’m not a fucking slaver,” Yuki said, narrowing her eyes. “That blood-sucking bastard was the slaver. I was just one of his playthings that he liked using as a weapon. You have a problem with him, take it up with the vampire, then feel free to come back and tell me how it went if you can.” She turned back to her sketchpad. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, you’re in my light.”

“You didn’t answer the questions,” he said back.

Yuki patience with this asshole was rapidly fraying. “Hanei,” she said coldly. “I’m from Hanei. I live in Kyoto, most of the time. Fucking happy?”

“Not really,” he said, “seeing as I’m from Hanei and I’ve never seen you before, ‘Snowflake.’”

Yuki froze. “Why would you? You’re what, two centuries old? I haven’t been there for more like seven.” Name, name, name, she couldn’t use her real name. If he was from Hanei, too likely it would be recognized. “My name is Yusika.”

Tobi stood up. “Never heard of you,” he said. “But that’s alright. There are people in the village that have been there since before your time. I’m sure when we get there, you can find someone to vouch for you… right?” He glared at her.

Wait… their destination was Hanei? If they weren’t tens of thousands of feet up in the air, she would’ve thrown herself out the emergency door rather than continue on to the village. And even then, she still would’ve considered it if it didn’t mean leaving Merielle behind.

Tobi was still glaring at her. “You come. You drop the selkies off. You go. Understand?”

Yuki didn’t have it in her at the moment to meet his eyes. “I understand.”

“Good!” Tobi said with a quick smile. “Glad we understand one another, Yusika.” He walked away, leaving Yuki alone with her sketchpad, a half completed drawing, and about a million uneasy thoughts.

***

“I don’t understand where we’re going,” Yuki said for what had to be the 20th time as they hiked through the wood. “Where the fuck are we going!?”

“And here I thought you said you were from Hanei, Yusika,” Tobi said as he walked alongside her.

“I am! I was!” Yuki said, feeling lost and bewildered and the sensation making her feel more than a little angry. It can been centuries on top of centuries, but she couldn’t just easily forget the land she had walked for decades, the land soaked with so, so, so many memories… the land she had run away from. Over the course of seven hundred years the land could change quite a bit… but not enough that she didn’t know what she was looking at. “But why the hell do we have to come here to get to Amala?” She’d been wondering that since the shock of finding out their destination had worn off. Wherever this dragon’s hiding place was, there was no way in hell Hanei was on the way to it. Hanei wasn’t on the way to anything.

“You ask a lot of questions,” Tobi observed, “for someone who is going to drop off her charges and go.”

Yuki’s unease was growing with each step. Wrong… something was wrong here. Yuki was pretty sure they were close to the village by now but she hadn’t needed to slip through any of the foxfire veils that hid the village, the suggestions that would send anyone intruding on their home blundering down a blindly wandering path. “The only answer I can see is that this Amala place is Hanei. But last time I checked, they’d stopped sending foxes out into the world. Now you’re telling me they have decided to host hundreds of outsiders? It doesn’t make sense.”

“They aren’t staying in Hanei,” Tobi answered.

“Which brings us back to where the fuck are we going?”

“None. Of. Your. Business,” Tobi growled, his tails flicking in agitation. “I thought I was clear before. Do I need to-”

“Tobi,” Astaria said quietly. With another soft growl, he turned away from her… but not before shooting her another suspicious glance. Yuki watched after him… that one had good instincts. He could tell that she was hiding something. Probably he could even tell she still had illusions up, though not exactly what they were. It didn’t matter. Before too long, once of the selkies would mention her real name, and shit would hit the fan, but she would be gone by then. She just had… to…

No.

Yuki froze… then she started running forward. “Hey!” Tobi shouted, chasing after her, but Yuki didn’t stop… she ran the last hundred yards to the edge of the woods, following her nose and the thick, old scent of smoke. She burst out and stopped dead at the ruins before her. Behind her, she heard Tobi’s footsteps slow to a stop as he caught up with her, finding her frozen and staring at a village in the middle of being rebuilt… trashed homes and burned fields and littered trash all over the ground. All around it, kitsune moved… rebuilding, cleaning, repairing, but slowly… there were so few of them, and so much to do…

Behind her, Tobi was silent for long seconds before he spoke. “You are from Hanei,” he said quietly. It wasn’t a question.

Yuki swept her head left to right, looking on in naked horror. Time had passed… centuries of it, but… some things were supposed to be timeless. The village had existed before she was born. It was supposed to still exist after she died. Alone among the devastation, the stone shrine on the hill in the middle of the village still seemed relatively untouched, its ancient pillars and bricks unmoved by flame and the cruelty of the vandals both, but the rest of the village… Thousands of childhood memories flashed before her, playing in her head. She just couldn’t believe what she saw. This was impossible, but… here she stood.

“What happened here…?” she whispered as Merielle caught up to her, her hand resting lightly on Yuki’s arm as if the selkie were afraid of breaking her.

“Paragon,” Tobi answered as Yuki looked helplessly at the carnage. It was all but destroyed. Most of the homes were burned out, smashed up, or just rubble, and even the ones that weren’t looked like they had seen better days. The selkies were all looking around as they entered the village, guided by Astaria and some of the kitsune. They clearly looked lost themselves, but they couldn’t understand how broken it felt to look at a place that was supposed to be safe and see it like…

Like this.

“Where is this?” Merielle asked her. “Mistress? What’s wrong? What is this place?”

Yuki’s voice came out quiet and weak. “This is my home.”

***

Yuki sat on the side of the hill around the central shrine, picking up rocks and throwing them at nothing in particular. Astaria, Tobi, and the others had taken the selkies into the shrine… Maya too. Merielle should probably be with her sister. Instead, she was sitting with Yuki as the dark furred fox brooded behind her illusion, alternatively feeling like she was going to start crying or she was going to scream loudly enough to break windows. The selkie, too kind for her own good, didn’t want to leave Yuki alone.

She put her head into her hands. This place was supposed to be safe. This place was supposed to be eternal. She had sacrificed everything t- Yuki shook her head. What would her parents say? “Akari,” she whispered. “How could you have let this happen?”

Merielle gasped as the other fox didn’t so much appear as she faded in, just seeming to condense out from the morning mist around the shrine seated next to her sister. The two women weren’t touching, quite, but they were closer than Yuki could remember them being without flinching away. She would call it progress but… if this was what it took, she wasn’t sure progress was worth striving for. “How could you tell?” she said quietly.

There were a million things Yuki wanted to say. To scream at her. To curse her. But… the look on the zenko’s face was just as haunted at hers was. Yuki just felt too exhausted to yell at her… it all seemed like an impossible amount of work. “How?” she said instead. “How could she let this happen?” Yuki stared straight ahead without blinking. “Say that there are rules, Akari. Say that there are rules right now, and I swear on our mother’s grave I will-”

“I couldn’t do anything,” Akari said, a hint of a growl in her voice. “None of us could. Inari closed the way.”

Yuki put her head back in her hands. “Why, sister? Why would she do that? Why, in the name of all of the kami, would she do such a thing?” She paused. “Bait?”

“That’s what she said.”

Yuki shook her head. “Strong bait,” she said, her voice cold, even, flat. Even a hint of emotion felt like too much to bother with right now.

“What are you talking about?” Merielle asked.

“For a few hundred years, the goddess has been playing it… close to the chest is putting it charitably,” Yuki said, just a hint of a growl in her throat. “She hasn’t stepped into the world herself for… well… I think I might have been there when that happened.” She sighed. “It’s all gone, Akari. I… I tried t- I did everything a-” She shook her head. “I wasn’t here. Those bastards. Those BASTARDS! I-”

“Someone is coming!” Merielle warned.

Almost immediately. Akari’s appearance changed, taking on the golden fur she had been born with. Yuki shut up instantly as well, silencing herself and waiting while the footsteps approached. And approached. And approached.

She looked up.

“Ichika,” Yuki said, her voice dull, barely caring to hide herself anymore. “Didn’t expect to see you again.” The kitsune in front of her was simply enormous… just as big as she had been the day Yuki had first met her during the war. Seven feet tall if she was an inch, she would have loomed over Yuki even if she’d been standing… sitting on the hillside, the woman looked close to a tower than a fox. “You’ve been working out. I guess Total Gym worked for you.”

A flash of confusion at the reference covered Ichika’s face before she masked it. “Yusika,” the muscular woman said. Her tone and demeanor wasn’t hostile, not exactly… it was just focused, intense, and attentive. Like a kitsune warrior should be. She didn’t bluster or threaten… she just… noticed threats, and paid attention, and made them go away the moment they began. “Tobi tells me you’re from here. Can’t say I know you… but you seem to know me.”

“Yeah, well, you’re kinda hard to forget,” Yuki said, letting out a huff of breath. “Not many elephants walking around with fox tails. Though you seem to have… filled out, since I last saw you.”

Ichika didn’t look amused. “Who are you?” she said firmly. “Really.”

Yuki looked up. “Does it matter?” She looked around the village, the destroyed ruins of the place she had grown up. “Does it really matter now?”

“Maybe it matters most now,” Ichika said. “Maybe, just maybe, I’m the captain of the guard here. Maybe, just maybe, it’s my job to defend this place from intruders and potential threats.”

“Well you’re certainly doing a fantastic job,” Yuki said. The way she said, no heat, no barbs, not even any coldness, made the statement all the harsher. Ichika flinched like she been slapped. Yuki could have pressed in for the kill then but… she sighed. Again. Too much effort.

Ichika narrowed her eyes. “Who are you, Yusika?”

Beside her, Akari sighed, and dropped her illusion. Ichika looked over, seeing to notice the other woman for the first time, and went wide eyed with shock. “H-honored one!” she breathed out. She fell to her knees, bowing low. “I, I didn’t realize that-”

Akari held up a hand. “She’s with me,” Akari said smoothly. “She fought in the war with me and left afterward.”

Ichika, stunned, stood almost ramrod stiff as she looking upon on the Zenko. “I… I understand,” she said softly, looking at Yusika as well. To Yuki’s slow-dawning horror, she realized that that other fox thought that when Akari said that she was with her, she assumed that Yuki was one of the heroes of that war, one of the foxes who had tried their best to save the captives from the flames like Akari had. Maybe even another of the zenko. The mistaken assumption made her nauseous. “I will leave you alone, then,” Ichika said, bowing again before rising to move away.

“Wait!” Yuki said, not sure why. When Ichika paused she swallowed. “I… I’d like to stay. Help… help rebuild… for a little while, at least. Let me look around and see how I can help, and… you know… we could probably do… I don’t know…” Yuki struggled to put her thoughts together.

Ichika again squinted her eyes and looked directly into Yuki’s face. Yuki could tell she was trying to read her.

“Yes…” she said quietly. “Yes. That would be ideal. And I would love for us to get to know each other. Perhaps you could come by my home tonight and share a meal. I would love to ask some questions about the old days.”

‘Yeah, I bet you would,’ Yuki thought bitterly to herself. “Thank you. Yes, that would be ideal.” She bowed her head to Ichika, and the muscular fox warrior left.

“Thank you,” Yuki said after several seconds.

Akari looked distinctly uncomfortable. “Don’t mention it,” she responded.

The three of them stared in silence for several seconds before Merielle spoke up. “Mistress… why can’t you tell them who you are?”

Yuki was silent for long seconds… long enough that, cautiously, Akari began to answer for her. “She was banished from the village, Merielle,” the fox told her, looking at her sister for her reaction… which was no reaction at all but a face of stone. “She isn’t supposed to be here.”

“Why?” Merielle asked. “What happened?”

Yuki sighed. “It’s a long story, Red.”

Merielle laid one hand on her leg. “We have time. I’m not going anywhere, Mistress.”

Yuki laughed quietly, looking over at her sister. Then she laughed harder. “Fuck it,” Yuki said as she looked over the ruins of the place she was born. “Why not?”

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