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.
Yuki worked with silent, furious determination as she hefted her twin hammers with practiced ease, slamming them down on the stubborn piece of metal. One blow at a time, she shaped it. This was something she could change. This was something she could fix… incremental progress, and if she screwed it up, no one would get hurt but her. Methodically but with great precision, she hammered the red hot metal, folding it in on itself, making the blade stronger so that it could join the half-dozen other swords she was working on, that were laying on the cloth table while they slowly cooled. Few smiths could handle two hammers at a time, but then few smith had been working at it for most of a century without breaking their bodies first, and even among those foxes who had Yuki had never met one that could match her skill.
Of all the art forms, Yuki preferred metalwork the most. Her illusions could be lifelike, downright vivacious, but they were ultimately ephemeral… brief and temporary. Metal lasted. When she shaped something from steel, it wouldn’t go away… making something that would probably always be in the world. Unless, of course, she let the person holding the blade get swallowed up by the jorogumo.
Snarling in disgust, she tossed down her hammers and glowered down at the piece of metal. Yuki was a beautiful woman… she knew that without pride. The woman had a powerful physique well suited to her role as a warrior… and as a smith. Not many men, much less women, had the strength to shape metal like Yuki did. Standing over six feet tall, her arms were corded with muscle and her bare belly glistened with sweat in the light of the forgefire, her abs flexing as she breathed. For all that, Yuki had never had reason to be concerned about her appearance or not looking feminine enough. Her waist was narrow and added emphasis to her large, firm breasts and the womanly flare of her hips, and her long hair was tied back in a neat braid that trailed down to the curve of her backside and suggestively caressed the curve of her spine as she moved. None of those were what a stranger would notice first about her through… that, of course, went to the 9 stark white tails fluttering around her in obvious agitation.
The pounding of the other hammer in the smith was aggravating her. “Get out,” she snarled, glaring over at the other man… a human smith. Yuki didn’t think much of his art. Supposedly, Kuro had wanted to come and learn with her. Supposedly, he was the best the human town of Aikawa had to offer. If that was the case, Yuki hoped she wasn’t defending the town only to have all the metal in it rust away while no one could smith. The man was a crude barbarian, and he showed no interest in learning whatsoever. Yuki had tried at first… she really had. She had abandoned any effort months ago, however.
Kuro didn’t protest. He just looked up, saw her face, and spat to the side. Then without a word the rude man picked up and left her alone in the tent as she sulked.
Yuki stared down at the hammers like they had bit her, crossing her arms over her chest as she finally relaxed the effort of magic. Hammering the metal into shape was only half the exertion… the other half was in healing the flame with foxfire. The light went out, leaving Yuki standing in the shade with only the light from the open tent flap… which made the shadow standing in the light all the more obvious.
Mai stepped up behind her, her soft hand against the small of Yuki’s back. “What happened to those soldiers wasn’t your fault,” she whispered to her. “Seijun asked the four of you to do something dangerous. Not just dangerous, foolish. Really, it is her fault for sending such inexperienced soldiers out there with you.”
Yuki kept staring down at the latest incomplete sword. “It was just a simple job to scout out the border for jorogumo activity,” she said as she buried her face into both hands. “How is it we can’t even do that right without losing someone?”
“Seijun should have taken your advice and moved the camp while we still had time,” Mai said, sighing as she slid onto the bench and guided Yuki down along with her. “You do always have the best ideas,” she said as she wrapped her arms around Yuki. “You just really need to get through to her so your voice can be heard.”
Yuki shook her head as her ears twitched. “She’s right… we can’t let them separate the humans from Hanei. It’s so damned frustrating… I don’t know if I should talk or scream,” she said as she turned and looked at Mai.
“I know one way to make you scream,” chuckled Mai as she rubbed one hand over Yuki’s breast, her fingers tracing over the thin cloth she had bound her tits flat with while she worked.
Yuki let out a pleasured sigh as she looked at Mai and closed her eyes. “Really not sure we have time for that.”
Mai looked at Yuki and just smirked as she kissed her and let her hands run further down her body. “We can make time,” she insisted. Her cool fingers touched over Yuki’s thigh as she slowly slid down her legs. Mai pulled back and turned her head. “Let me offer some much needed relief, mistress…”
Yuki didn’t have much of an objection. It seemed like all she did lately was have sex whenever she wasn’t on active duty or studying with Seijun, but she was fine with that and Mai was often more than willing to oblige. Yuki spread her legs, letting the leather pleat she wore as a skirt ride up as Mai slid between her legs and started playing with her clit, rubbing her in the most pleasurable way while her fingers caressed her increasingly wet hole. Mai kissed Yuki’s neck as she dipped a finger inside of her and Yuki let out her first relieved moan. Mai nodded, happy to satisfy her stressed out war hero as she used one hand to cup her mistress’ breasts and the other continued to thrust into her pussy. Yuki shivered a bit as she shook from the pleasure, but there was really only one way Yuki ever felt like she could get off.
She turned and kissed Mai hard on the lips before grabbing a fistful of her hair and shoving her down on the bench. Mai gasped, already knowing what was coming. Yuki growled low in her throat as she crawled up on Mai and turned around, stuffing her wet pussy into Mai’s face as she lifted her lover’s legs up and spread them open. The foxskin kimono Mai wore fell open to reveal her succulent lips, bare beneath it, and Yuki went down hard… pushing her face into Mai’s pussy. Her tongue ran circles around it, lapping over her lover’s clit and occasionally dipping inside of her, savoring the sweet taste of the beautiful fox beneath her. Mai started to moan as Yuki still smothered her with her pussy, her mistress digging her nails into Mai’s ass as she aggressively went at her cunt
Mai could barely focus on eating Yuki, she could barely even breathe from how hard Yuki’s thighs were squeezing on her head. Yuki just continued to go at her hard, forcing fingers into her sex now along with her tongue and pumping vigorously. The white-furred fox grit her teeth with an expectation of making Mai cum so she could get off on hearing her moans muffled between her legs. Mai squirmed as she continued to lap up Yuki like the slave she was to her mistress, thrusting her body upwards against Yuki, worried if she didn’t cum then Mai would black out. She started moaning, her body shaking as she was forced to cum hard. Yuki sighed with relief as she sat up and began to grind her body vigorously against Mai’s face, moaning all the while she bounced up and down with Mai’s tongue going in and out of her.
Yuki grabbed hold of her breasts as she continued to sway her body back and forth against Mai’s face. Her slave struggled to breathe, but her hands still caressed Yuki, rubbing over her thighs or holding her ass and squeezing as she licked. Yuki ignored almost everything she did, just grinding on her, shuddering on her tongue in her quest towards orgasm. She rode Mai’s mouth harder and harder and harder still as she started throbbing and finally releasing a wave of cum and tension out of her pussy. Mai moaned beneath her as she was forced to lap up the cum while Yuki rode out the full orgasm. Mai gasped as she took in her first deep breath of air in minutes.
Yuki, tense, muscles quivering, shook for several seconds longer before she sagged down on top of Mai, feeling the pleasure leave her body as she moved to the side, rolling off of her flustered, gasping lover as she embraced her. “I-I am sorry, Mai,” she said slowly. She had not realized how hard she was going at her lover. “You alright?”
Mai breathed a few more times. “Just… fine,” she said. “Remind me not to get you hot and horny when you’re mad at Seijun over some damned botched attempt at heroism.”
Yuki chuckled, shaking her head. “It felt amazing, Mai. You’re the goddess’ gift to the world.”
“Not to the world,” the fox said softly, touching her arm. “Just to you.”
Yuki looked at Mai and sighed. “Flatterer,” she said… but she couldn’t hide how pleased she was.
Her ears perked up as she heard a loud commotion from outside in the camp. Tension made her muscles shake for a few moments before she realized that it couldn’t be an attack… the sounds were wrong. Excitement and activity, but not panic or pain. Besides, the jorogumo were not yet that bold, to strike at them in the open, in broad daylight. Still, her flash of tension spoke the truth of how she was feeling… Yuki shook her head and stood up from the bench, grabbing her battle gear. “I should get ready,” she said. “Night is coming soon, and they are undoubtedly going to come for us tonight.” She hesitated, chewing the words. “Mai… I want you to go back to Hanei.”
“Leave?” asked Mai, her ear twitching with mixed emotions. “I can’t leave you, mistress. You need m-”
“I need you to be safe. Tonight is… it’s going to be rough.” Mai couldn’t defend herself… she was no warrior. She was only here, in danger, because of Yuki… and the white-furred fox couldn’t have that. “Head back to Hanei… you’ll be safe there.” Yuki looked back at Mai with a dead serious glance. “The only goddess damned monster that can have you is me, understand?”
Mai shivered and nodded as she looked at Yuki in distress. “I-I understand,” she muttered as she looked down.
Yuki finished getting dressed and tightened the harness on her shoulders before grabbing her sword. Then she kissed Mai furiously. “I’ll see you when this is over,” she promised. “We’ll have some time together soon. I swear.”
With a final caress of her lover’s cheek, Yuki strode out into the late afternoon air. The camp was alive with soldiers scurrying about, moving, running… and carrying injured to the medical tents. Her heart thudded in her chest… what had happened? She ran in the direction of the medical tents, sprinting across the ground as soldiers carried other injured foxes into the tents, laying them on beds. Where had they all come from? Had-
“Out of the way, Yuki!” Hands, not angry but firm and not especially gentle, pushed her to the side as her sister Akari rushed by, carrying an injured red-haired fox between her and another kitsune Yuki knew named Kari. From the way her belly was swollen, Yuki didn’t have to guess what had happened to her… even without the webbing still stuck to her form. “Help or stand aside, sister,” she commanded before vanishing into the tent. Yuki stared for a few more seconds in surprise before she turned around and ran for the edge of camp where another group of healers were doing triage before pointing at guards and soldiers, directing them who to take and where. Yuki had barely reached the edge of camp before a harried healer named Alia had pushed one of the wounded into her hands and told her to get to the main tent.
Yuki had no trouble carrying the woman herself, unlike some of the others, and she wasn’t worried about hurting the other woman… her injuries had nothing to do with cuts or broken bones. Kitsune healing was more than sufficient to handle those types of injuries. No amount of jostling or bumping was going to hurt her more than delay was, so Yuki ran without pausing to think too much about what she was doing, just acting.
There was already a serious lack of beds inside the tent, but one of the doctors – a male fox from Hanei who had been one of Akari’s early mentors named Yuudai – was quick to direct Yuki where to put the mostly unconscious, moaning woman. Then Yuki backed off and watched as the other fox knelt over the injured kitsune and summoned foxfire.
The real threat to kitsune victims of the jorogumo wasn’t anything as simple as scratches or bites. While they were horrifying to the point it made Yuki’s skin crawl, it wasn’t even the eggs or the monstrous young that came from them, either. No, the concern was the venom. There, Inari’s blessing worked against them… the fangs, claws and webs of the Binding Brides were all impregnated with it, and their healing meant that a kitsune could get a truly terrifying amount of it into themselves… and build up an equally strong tolerance to it. The vast majority of the foxes that didn’t make it after they were rescued from the forest didn’t die of their injuries or the eggs… they died of the shock of sudden withdrawal.
Yuki looked on with helplessness, and the barely concealed envy that went with it, as Yuudai’s hands began to glow with true foxfire. The magic reached into the woman and touching her own soul, strengthening parts of her body’s response and weakening others, precisely controlling the pounding of her heart, the gasping of her lungs, the twitching of her chest. Yuki was one of the most skilled users of true foxfire she had ever heard of – as far as the foxes that she knew only Seijun was better – but while it was also difficult, this use of the magic wasn’t nearly as much about skill as it was about the raw strength of the user’s foxfire. Yuki knew from sad experience that she would pass out trying before she could maintain the magic long enough to help anyone… she would already be seeing black spots after just a few seconds.
Akari, on the other hand…
The blonde fox stood over one patient, manipulating her body and fire with a single hand while her gaze and most of her focus was on the one in the next bed, already diagnosing her condition and how to best assist her. Strength was something her sister had in surplus. She could do this for hours, and Yuki could barely do it for twenty seconds. And so Yuki, feeling useless, was incapable of helping while her sister and her team of healers saved lives.
Frustrated, Yuki ran out of the tent, back to the edge of the camp. This she could do. It wasn’t much, but she could do it. She ran as quick as she could between the triage station and the hospital tends, taking victims as quickly as they could be evaluated for what kind of treatment they needed. Black cloth was outside the tents… minor injuries. Green was moderate withdrawal, or implanted eggs… important injuries, but not ones that were going to kill quickly. Red was critical attention… without a healer, they’d be dead within the hour. A fox with red cloth would get immediate attention from Akari or one of her apprentices or…
Yuki went looking for her mentor, and finally spotted her in the secondary tent with other doctors… wearing herself out along with the others. “Seijun!” Yuki called. “What happened?”
Seijun noticed Yuki’s approach as she sighed with a softened look. “You were right, Yuki,” she said, her voice exhausted but pleased. “I should have believed. She came through. She brought them back.”
Yuki’s eyes widened as she curled her lip. If these foxes hadn’t come from a recent battle, but instead had been rescued from deeper inside the forest, then it would have been done by Akemi, her oldest sister. Yuki smiled wickedly, delighted by a sudden turn of good luck and not even slightly surprised by its source. All three of the sisters had been raised in a family of warriors, but of them Akemi was the one who had taken to it like a fish to water, or a deer to the forest. Lightning fast and skilled as anyone Yuki had ever seen with sword and tail, fang and claw, Akemi was a consummate warrior. She was, by all accounts, the main reason the jorogumo hadn’t broken through months ago… a damned hero. When she put her mind to something – like rescuing a clutch of fox warriors that had been captured by the enemy – Yuki had never had the slightest doubt that she would do as she said.
Yuki breathed out and sighed, feeling the beginning of weight being removed from her shoulders. With Akemi here, no one would expect her to lead… prophecies or no prophecies. “Where is she?” Yuki asked.
“Right behind you, bleached fuzz,” Akemi said cheerfully as she approached from behind. Yuki ears twitched right before her sister wrapped an arm around her and rubbed her hair between her ears, ruffling it up like she was still an unruly kit rather than someone getting closer to two centuries old than she was to one. Yuki tried to pull away half-heartedly, but her eldest sister held her without any real effort. Though the kitsune army didn’t have a commander in any official way, everyone recognized that Akemi was the one in charge… in the struggle against the jorogumo, everyone – even Seijun – did as the Akemi said.
Yuki at last pulled herself free and turned, smiling broadly and feeling at least a century younger. “You did it, sis!” she said, grinning. Her sister was a beautiful red-haired, red furred fox, with vibrant tails like sprawling fire that flowed behind her so bright that she seemed to glow.
Akemi smiled proudly at her sister. “Look at you. You look like you have been busy carrying the weight of this camp on your shoulders, sister.”
Yuki bowed slightly in appreciation. “Someone had to carry the weight with you gone.” Yuki loved her sister dearly… some might even say obsessively. Their oldest sister was the one that bore all the burdens she was given with ease… whether that burden was a bad harvest, a fire in the village, or an invasion of murderous spider-demons, and Yuki wanted nothing in the whole world more than she wanted to be like her… to not feel the weight of the village’s expectations on her. To be effortlessly impressive to all who beheld her glory, to be bold, confident, and daring. All of those traits Yuki strove for but felt she lacked the confidence to fully embody… but Akemi manifested them as easily as she breathed.
The warrior fox smiled at her, and matched her bow. “It will be an honor to fight with you,” she said.
“You could have given us some warning,” Akari’s prim voice came from the tent entrance where she stood, ushering in another victim. “We need all the people we can spare to save these people… we weren’t ready for so many.”
Akemi rolled her eyes at Yuki where their middle sister couldn’t see it, and Yuki chuckled softly. “Sorry, sis. Next time when I find so many of our sisters, I’ll leave a few more of them behind so you won’t be overwhelmed.”
“I obviously don’t mean that,” Akari said, annoyed, “but you could have sent up a signal fire or something to alert us. Unless…” She narrowed her eyes. “Akemi… have you really not been practicing?”
“There’s a war going on, Akari,” Akemi snapped. “And in case you haven’t noticed, we’re losing.” She shook her head, scarlet mane whipping with the motion. “No amount of practice is going to let me match the jorogumo, let alone that sorcerer they have with them. I practice the skills that are going to let me win it. I’ll leave foxfire to the two of you and focus on what I’m actually good at.”
“Did you see him then?” Yuki asked, doubtful but a little exited at the idea. That was one of Akemi’s pet theories… as far as she was concerned, they had seen too much magic from the jorogumo for their own abilities to explain. Someone with some real sorcerous power was hiding in those woods too, staying out of sight… or so Akemi insisted. After a year of war, though, no one had ever caught so much as a glimpse of that person.
Akemi paused, and Yuki could see the disappointing answer on her face. Before she could voice it, however, Akari butted in. “No, of course she didn’t… because he doesn’t exist. Our sister is chasing ghosts to avoid practicing her abilities.”
The two sisters glared at each other for a second before the tension was interrupted by a male fox with blonde hair walking up before falling prone and prostrating himself. “Lady Akemi… Lady Akemi, please… when you were rescuing people, my sister…” He looked up, and Yuki looked at her face, realized she didn’t recognize him. “She would have been tall. Very tall. Built like a willow tree. Did you…”
Yuki swallowed. The new recruit… he was talking about the woman that had been taken by the jorogumo this morning. Yuki had never even had an opportunity to learn her name.
Akemi took a moment to breath and relax the tension of confronting her sister away before forcing her expression into gentleness and turning towards the prone man. “Are you new here, soldier?”
The fox looked up at the red-haired goddess standing over him. “Yes, Lady Akemi… we… we just arrived from Oshu three days ago, from the south. We… we heard that there was danger, and people who needed help.”
She nodded. “And so there is,” she agreed. “What’s your name?”
“Kamio, miss,” he said. Gods he looked young to Yuki… was he really a century old, or had he lied to be permitted to serve? Had his sister? “Please… have you seen Ichika? My sister wa-”
Slowly, sadly, Akemi shook her head. “I saved a lot of kitsune,” she said quietly, “but I don’t recall one like that. All isn’t lost, soldier… you must keep hope. The jorogumo don’t kill their victims often… at least, not intentionally.” She put a comforting hand on the desolate fox. “I know that doesn’t seem like much of a comfort, but where there is life, there is hope for a rescue. We will continue to free them from in the forest as we push the spider-bitches back… you have my word on that.”
“Please, let me help!” Kamio said, rising to his knees. “I can help fight, I can he-”
Akari’s voice rang out from behind him. Yuki looked to find the golden-haired fox, her hair tied back out of her face, standing in the doorway to the tents again. “When you reported in, you mentioned that you could use true foxfire. Is that so?”
Kamio nodded enthusiastically. “My father taught me!” he said, eager, hopeful at being told there was something he could do that would help. “I know how to-”
“Good!” Akari cut him off. “Then get in here. We need all the hands we can get. The more people you save, the more soldiers we’ll have to go looking for Ichika, Yuhari, and Botan.”
Kamio’s face had begun to fall slightly when he realized he wasn’t being sent to fight and rescue his sister, but it hardened in determination as Akari continued. “Yes, lady healer,” he said, rising up. Yuki could only stare in appreciation at how well that had been done… how effortlessly Akari had taken his pain and channeled it in a useful direction. Kamio followed Akari into the tent, and she quickly put him to work, showing him how to neutralize jorogumo venom in the slow, gradual, exhausting way required to bring someone down safely from their dependent state, and Yuki shook her head. Her sister had even learned the names of the three missing foxes from this morning… by Inari, where had she found the time?
While you were moping, a small voice said. Yuki shook her head and hardened her eyes. She couldn’t afford to be weak. She needed to succeed. She needed to get those two back. She needed to win this war. Her parents had believed in her.
Now, Yuki just had to do it as well.
Yuki paced the camp walls, looking at the tense foxes as they observed the forest from behind the barricades. So many of these foxes were so young… almost every skilled, veteran fox from Hanei was serving at one of the war-camps, but there just weren’t enough of them… they were spread so thin. For every one of the veterans that Yuki had trained with, learned under, and taught, there were half a dozen young foxes that had come from other villages to join the struggle. Yuki was grateful for the assistance, but she couldn’t help but wish more older foxes with true foxfire had answered the call. Most probably didn’t believe that the jorogumo were back, and were reluctant to leave the humans they watched over unguarded. Eventually, they would believe… Yuki knew that… but by then it would be far too late.
The humans, at least, took this seriously. Many of them had turned out to defend their homes and stood in the defensive positions alongside the kitsune, clutching spears mostly. They were willing… but most of them were farmers and ranchers. Before this, many had never touched a weapon before… and unlike the kitsune, any injury was likely to prove fatal before they made it to a healer. Yuki admired their bravery deeply, to stand in danger to protect their own weak. She just wished she had more reason to admire their abilities.
Yuki looked at one of the young foxes whose hand was trembling on her bow horribly. “You won’t hit anything like that, young one,” Yuki told the girl. She had gorgeous hair the shade of roses in full bloom, and her fur was only a touch lighter as it caught the moonlight. “You have to hold your arm steady.”
The woman looked to her, her eyes wide as she met Yuki’s gaze. “Lady Yuki…” she swallowed, then nodded. “I’m… I’m terrified,” she whispered to her.
Yuki turned and looked at the young kitsune directly and raised a brow. “Do not be frightened. Be vigilant,” she said. “The kitsune exist to protect our charges. Be brave.”
“I am trying,” said the young soldier. “Most of us are not as confident as you or Lady Akemi.”
Yuki sighed, once again forced to realize that at this point so much of their forces compiled of young and inexperienced kitsune warriors who had not seen a real battle before this. “What is your name?” she asked.
“Mei,” said the soldier with a small bow.
“Well Mei,” Yuki said. “If you watch my back, I will watch yours. Alright?”
She nodded. “Yes, Lady Yuki!”
“Good!” Yuki smiled, once again turning towards the forest edge. They still hadn’t come for them. She continued her walk, heading back to the center of the walls where her sisters waited.
“Where are they!” Akemi said, restlessly. The kitsune of the war-camp waited in fortified positions, overlooking the forest. “I don’t understand what’s taking them so long.” Privately, Yuki agreed… her fingers were starting to feel clammy where she held onto the palisade. In war, the only thing worse than a predictable bad thing was unpredictable anything… surprises were never good. “They should have been here already.”
“Be grateful,” Akari said, her voice ragged. The blonde kitsune leaned against the wall, her eyes half closed. The healer looked half dead… but if the warriors were going to be fighting then she was going to be here to support them, no matter how exhausted she was. “Every second they delay is a second longer we have to recover.”
“No, she’s right,” Seijun disagreed. “Something is wrong. They were lurking at the forest edge… I expected them to come at us the moment the sun went down, but there hasn’t been so much as an oddly swaying branch. They’re up to something.”
The sisters and Seijun stood in the center of the palisade, staring at the forest. Occasionally, Seijun would conjure a globe of light and send it sailing through the front rank of the forest, or have Yuki do it. Nothing moved… the forest was still. The tension seemed to grow by the second minutes turns into an hour, the moon rising higher in the sky until…
Yuki stared at the moon, squinting, unsure of what was bothering her. It was just the moon. She had seen it every night for two centuries but… something was off. Something didn’t look normal, it looked like… like… “Teacher…” Yuki said slowly. “Does the moon look too pale to you?”
Seiju looked up, narrowing her eyes. “I’m… I’m not sure.” She turned to meet her apprentice’s eyes. “Are you?”
Yuki looked one more time, her sense of unease growing. It was wrong. It shouldn’t look like that. “I’m sure.”
It was good enough for her. Seijun launched into an elaborate pattern of foxfire, weaving a net of blue-white light through the sky. The whole thing momentarily lit up the old rice fields like midday, and every eye in the camp was on Seijun’s working as the net grew larger and larger, while growing more and more dense. Then, with a grunt of effort, Seijun threw it into the sky. Yuki watched while the net sailed, marveling in its construction. She had watched the whole thing, and she was usually able to replicate anything she saw another fox do with foxfire after only a time or two of watching them do it, but this one was amazing. If she understood the construction right, spiraling webs of the net would ground any any energy it encountered, channeling it into the center of the web before dispersing it down to the ground. It was one of the largest, most elaborate counter-magics that Yuki had ever seen.
And the elaborate illusion it ran into broke apart like rainwater running off a roof.
Most of the sky was dark… it was easy to hide the changes there… and who would have noticed if a star or two was a little too bright or too dim? The moon, however… Yuki had noticed something was wrong with it, and as the illusion fell apart she noticed the red glow in the sky that the magic had been hiding.
A signal flare to the east. Not one light, but three.
Immediately the air seemed to turn colder on Yuki’s skin as she turned to get into position. Akemi leapt up onto the tallest platform to look out into the trees. The light was dim from the moon and the flares, but it still presented more than enough to see the base of the forest from. The shadows in that forest seemed to shift dangerously, and Yuki could imagine thousands of spider broodlings ready for a meal gathered right at the line of the forest. Yuki stared on in shock. Seijun’s eyes widened in horror as she started to mutter a prayer in the silence.
Yuki watched her as her ears twitched nervously before looking back out into the forest. She had never, ever, seen the jorogumo perform magic nearly this large… they had hidden the whole damned sky! If she had been asked yesterday, she would have said it wasn’t possible but… the evidence of her own eyes proved that a lie. “The sorcerer…!” Akemi snarled, staring at the glowing flare in the sky with open anxiety and fury. “The flares are to the east! That means…”
“They aren’t after us at all,” Yuki continued sharply, her mind working. Mai! She had… she had sent her… “They-”
“They’re going for Hanei!” The fiery maned fox hadn’t even finished speaking before she had vaulted the palisades and was running for the woods. “3 lights is an all-out assault!”
Yuki looked at Seijun. The woman had all but collapsed to the ground after her working, leaning against the wooden barrier to keep herself up as Akari knelt beside her, hands on her abdomen. “Go!” Akari hissed. “I’ll take care of her and make sure no one breaks through.”
Yuki didn’t need to be told twice. “Veterans only!” she shouted as she vaulted the palisade herself, her human form melting away until a white-furred fox raced across the moonlit field. “Everyone else protect the village and the wounded!” A dozen other foxes, mostly women, followed… sliding into their own fox forms as they went and leaving only the most confused-looking, young warriors guarding the palisade.
Yuki hated this but what else could they do? Three flares was an overwhelming assault… it meant that the Binding Brides should have nothing in reserve to hit here, or at least not much… but the jorogumo only grew stronger every single time they took a kitsune into the forests. It may already be too late. She would just have to have faith that it wasn’t. They should be able to hold. They had to be able to hold.
There was a heavy silence that lingered over the entirety of the battlefield as the foxes raced across it, all the veteran warriors preparing themselves for the insanity of going into that forest. There was little other option, save for circling around the dark forest and arriving at Hanei hours and hours and hours too late. “Whatever you do,” Akemi growled to the others as they ran, “do not let them take you back into the trees. If you find yourself captured by the enemy, serve your people by ending your life. Surely the fate of birthing their brood is a fate worse than death. Spare yourself and everyone that agony.” She paused her words without pausing her steps. “May Inari bless us this night.”
Then they hit the forest, and vanished into the shadows.
Hikaru screamed in anguish at the webbing was wrapped more and more around her bare skin. In her desperation, the kitsune had returned to her human form, becoming smaller and hoping she could squirm out of the binding web, but it had only lead to them wrapping her tighter and tighter as three jorogumo spun her through the air. The venom in the webbing was agonizing, and in human form, without her thicker fur, the pain was even worse. Blind with pain, Hikaru thrashed, unthinking that she was only sticking herself tighter and tighter in the webbing. She couldn’t even transform back… she didn’t have the room, and the pain was robbing her of any concentration that she could use to try to use magic to escape.
Not that she could even think of anything she could do.
“Shhhh,” one of jorogumo whispered in her pointed ear, her voice a slithering, silky hiss. “Stop squirming… and it won’t hurt so badly…” a sinister smile crossed her grey face over the small parts of it that wasn’t covered by her long black hair. Glowing yellow eyes shined from beneath it as she let out a serpentine laugh. “Or keep squirming… the babies will prefer that anyway.’
“I’m first…” the second of the spider women growled. “I saw her first…”
“They saw her first…” the third said, gesturing at the sliced and cut and crushed shells of dead jorogumo around the kitsune… the four that the defender of Hanei had taken down before being overwhelmed. “I bound her first. I go first.”
“Don’t you dare to try and take what is mine!” The first of them hissed.
“Thief!” The second shouted, throwing herself at the one who had spoken.
Hikaru screamed as her cocoon of webbing plummeted down through layers and layers of web as the three spiders fought over her. The fall rubbed the webbing against her skin, sending more agonizing venom coursing through her body. She shrieked, sobbing pathetically as she was dosed and dosed and dosed again with the agonizing venom of the jorogumo.
She hit the ground like a stone, her breath leaving her in a rush. They hadn’t expected the jorogumo to come this far east, to fight their way through the wards inch by inch to get within a mile of the village and attack the sentinel posts. She’d been cut off from her friends, sent running through the woods chased by dozens of monstrous spider women before being cornered and having to stand her ground and fight. Her sword… she had to reach her sword. It should still be on her back. She might be able to cut her way free…
Hikaru tried, over and over again she tried to reach the blade… but her arms were wound in layers and layers of venomous silk, holding her agonizingly immobile in the embrace of the Binding Brides. Every attempt to shake herself free hurt… she likely would have dosed herself into unconsciousness if her kitsune regeneration wasn’t constantly struggling to clear the poison. It hurt over and over again, and she kept struggling…
“I told you not to squirm…”
The first jorogumo had returned to loom over her, her face completely covered in black hair that hung down low enough to almost but not quite cover her breasts. The blood of the dead jorogumo covered her skin but she didn’t even seem to notice. “You’re all mine now…” she hissed as she climbed over the bound fox. “We’ll see how many broods you can survive…”
“No,” Hikaru moaned as the spider woman’s hands ripped her sword from her back, sending shooting agony through her as her body was plucked like a lute string in tension. “No, please, you can’t do this!”
“Oh, I very much can,” chuckled the jorogumo, tossing the sword away into the darkness. “I know you foxes can heal… but I’ve never had one of you for my own. Let’s see just how much you can take…” The spider disappeared from Hikaru’s view, scuttling away, making her scream as its movements sent jolts and shivers through the venomous webs wrapping her, pressing against her tender skin, her breasts, the globes of her firm ass as she felt something wet and warm press against her thighs.
“So small,” hissed the spider, her hands caressing Hikaru’s face. “So warm. So soft… you will make an excellent host for my children…”
There was no warning at all. One moment, nothing was touching her but the spider’s hand. The next, Hikaru screamed as she was penetrated, the silk in the way snapped savagely as the jorogumo’s massive, almost prehensile organ worming its way up violently up into her belly as she moaned at the pain both in her body and now in her nethers. “Please…” she begged, warm tears flowing down her face. “You can’t do this… I can’t take it! You’ll kill me!”
The spider clutched Hikaru’s breasts as her thrusting increased in pace, making her scream. “Yes… perhaps. If that is what it takes. So soft… such lovely curves, such ripe breasts…” She squeezed harder. “So full of fat and meat. Your body will make an excellent meal for my children when they burst from your womb by the thousands, their little legs scraping holes in your tender soft belly as they chew your flesh…” She chuckled. “How well can you heal, little fox? Can you heal fast enough to survive that? My elders say that you can… I hope it’s true. That way, I can plant another brood inside you, and another, and another…” The spider squeezed her breasts even harder as she thrust faster and deeper, reveling in the way that Hikaru tight, bleeding hole squeezed her length. “Oh yes… I simply cannot wait to watch your belly swell with my young…”
Hikaru screamed as she felt the spider’s cock worming its way inside her… and with horror, the tearing sensation of her cervix giving way, the narrow tip of the strange cock perfectly shaped to wedge inside and slowly, one thrust at a time, pry her womb open to the monster. Hikaru shrieked and shrieked and shrieked as the thick organ slammed deep into her uterus with each thrust. She had been no virgin – being an immortal meant she had sought many pleasures on this earth – but even if her body wasn’t perfectly restored each time this would still be untouched territory. Never in hundreds of years had the fox warrior had something shoved inside her so deep, so painfully, so raw…
“Get… AGH! PLEASE! Get out of me!” Hikaru begged, caught between cursing and pleading, her words making no sense even to herself. “Please, don’t rape my womb! I beg you pleaaase anything but that… I don’t want to be a broodmare… please, mercy! Dear jorogumo please… I’ll do anything…”
“You already are doing anything,” she said with a growl. “The only thing I want you to do is stay still and be silent while I rape and breed you!” Losing patience with Hikaru’s mewling, the spider grabbed onto her head with one hand, yanked it over to face her… and hocked up and spat a wad of venomous silk directly onto her face. Blinded, the woman screamed and moaned behind the agony of the poisoned strands clutching at the tender skin of her face. The venom didn’t just burn… it also amplified her ability to feel everything else. The more venom that the spider cruelly pumped into her, the more she felt the cock thrusting inside of her womb… and the more it hurt. Seemingly out of pure cruelty for her modest resistance, one of the creature’s eight legs slathered a length of silk directly against Hikaru’s sensitive clit, making her scream nearly silently into the gagging webbing as her most intimate region was awash with burning pain. Each thrust of the jorogumo’s massive abdomen sent new screams of sensation through Hikaru’s limbs; every throb of her unwillingly sensitized clit was a new rent of agony through her soul, and every scream was a fresh wave of suffering as the silk on her face tore at her sensitive skin.
“Nooooo,” moaned Hikaru, who by now had given up all hope of survival… but her words couldn’t even be understood. “Nnnnnnnn! Nnnn, plsh, plsh kuh mah! Jussh kul msh!” Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop please Inari, Goddess it hurt too much, please… but no help came. All around she could hear the sounds of battle as her sisters desperately fought, perhaps not even aware that Hikaru hung from one of the trees, webbed and raped and begging for death as the spider roughly caressed her victim’s petite body, enjoying her struggles beneath her.
“I have never had an opportunity to breed a creature like you. Most of my recent broodings have been… smaller. Not as soft. Not as sweet smelling… and the young they produced were limited, weak and stunted things, from animals. Not like the children you will give, golden-haired fox bitch!” The spider hiss with pleasure as she drove her cock deep into Hikaru’s womb, punching up against the sensitive flesh; Still, not even a third of her massive organ was inside the little fox. Hikaru felt like she was going mad as she considered that… and she knew the only reason she wasn’t forcing the rest in was that it wouldn’t do to tear her womb apart before she had laid her eggs inside of it. She grabbed the little fox’s breasts, moaning as she enjoyed the warm slip of the fox’s nethers against the invasion of her cock, thick as one of the fox’s arms. She groaned as she approached the moment when she would explode, a thousand eggs sliding down her stabbing false-cock and embedding themselves one by one inside the kitsune’s body…
Raking, her hands began to tear away the webs around Hikaru’s belly, ready for that moment to begin. She hadn’t bred in many moons, and her abdomen was writhing and full with eggs… all of them about to be injected by her massive cock into poor little Hikaru’s stomach. “MMMPH!!! MMMMMPPPHHHH!!!!” screamed Hikaru beneath the webs, her fox ears twitching and her tail straining in agony as she felt the jorogumo’s fat organ begin to pulse inside her. Hikaru would have screamed loud enough to summon the moon from the sky if she were able to – the ocean of pain from struggling nothing compared to the terror of what would happen to her should the spider-woman ejaculate her eggs inside of her waiting body.
“Be ready little one,” the jorogumo moaned as she thrust harder and harder. “This is going to be the best orgasm I’ve had in my life. You are such a perfect little breeding bitch, little fox… anything less perfect than you would have succumbed to its wounds by now and been cold and unresisting. Instead, my children will have plenty of soft, warm flesh to feast upon as they hatch.” She groaned in sheer pleasure. “Be ready to breed my beautiful babies… oh! Oh yes! Oh yes! AH! AAHH!”
“NOOOOOOOOOO!” screamed Hikaru as she felt her womb penetrated by the spider’s final thrust, punching past her cervix and into her sensitive birth organ. “No no no no please no…” the golden fox moaned into her web gag as she felt the first dozen of hundreds of eggs begin to flood her belly, making her stretch and grow uncontrollably.
And in a dozen other pits, or in the canopies of a dozen other trees, a dozen other foxes were experiencing the same fate.
High up in the top canopy of the Southern side of the forest, Nyami smiled as she watched the foxes entering the woods. “Isn’t that sweet…” she purred into the ear of the tall, thin fox that she held onto. “They’re coming for us. I do hope they like the surprises I’ve left for them…”
She wasn’t sure if her kitsune pet could understand her… she’d been dosed with enough venom to knock out a dozen deer, and she was still thrashing around inside her cocoon, giving herself more doses each time she struggled. She was a stubborn one, with unusually good healing for her kind… despite her scrawny, limber body, this one had impressed her more than she thought. She might make an excellent broodmare in the long term. Probably worth the effort to make sure she survived a few clutches of eggs, at least.
Most of the spiders wouldn’t have bothered. One breeding vessel was as good as the next to them, almost mindless in their lust. But Nyami wasn’t much like any of them, though… no matter how similar the foolish kitsune thought they were.
They called them jorogumo… the children and children’s children and children’s children’s children they slew by the score. They didn’t have a clue. Those weak, pathetic things weren’t true jorogumo… they were barely larva. Not even worthy of consideration. Not one of them had feasted on tens of millions of their sisters, absorbing their strength, becoming something greater than any mere spider. They weren’t worthy of the name their father had given them, the name of the jorogumo, and they would never be.
She and her sisters wouldn’t allow it.
Nyami didn’t didn’t love her sisters… she hated them. She would rip Kumiko and Akume apart if she could, and she knew that they would do the same to her in an instant, the same they had done to the rest of their sisters alongside her. Akume was the strongest of them. She could have killed either of them, slew either Kumiko or Nyami herself… but she couldn’t kill them both together.
Nyami hated her sisters, but cooperation was preferable to oblivion… if Akume forced her to, Nyami would protect Kumiko from her, and she knew that Kumiko would do the same for her… for the moment one of them was gone, there would be nothing to stop Akume from slaying the other at her leisure. The same fact, unfortunately, protected Kumiko from Nyami herself. Consuming her would make Nyami the strongest… so Akume could not permit it to happen. If Nyami attempted to eat her sister, Akume would protect her as well.
So they were forced to coexist, or die.
Nyami felt no love for her father, either… but again, cooperation was preferable to oblivion. When Father called, they answered… not for love or for profit, but for fear, for he was the strongest. He could eliminate her… and so when Father asked her to take the South side of the forest and delay them while her sisters attacked to the West, it had not been a request.
Cooperation was preferable to oblivion.
The forest below was absolutely covered in webs… the lesser spiders, those things the foolish foxes called “jorogumo,” has been spinning their silk all day and turning the forest into a maze of it. It would take them hours to get through, even with most of her children gone to the West.
Nyami smiled as her clawed fingers softly caressed the golden-furred fox’s exposed throat, leaning in to nibble softly at it as her other hand ran over the bulge in her belly where her young waited to rip their way free. “Shall we see what your friends are capable of tonight?” she purred against her plaything’s throat. Then one of her eight powerful legs strummed a cord of silk, sending it vibrating… and making the whole forest seem to vibrate in time with it as the warrior foxes ran through her forest.
And from below, the broodlings began to shriek.