Chosen – Chapter 12 – Controlled Burn

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.

Shirakami-Sanchi, Japan

She called it witchfire.

“Very good,” Syllana praised, smiling out of one side of her mouth. “It’s getting so much faster for you. Soon it will be as effortless as breathing.”

The fire ran up and down Ari’s arm, practically purring with energy as it did… flowing over her more eagerly than her foxfire ever had before, coming to her call with almost no effort at all. It didn’t burn… or at least, it didn’t burn her. Several of Yuki’s outfits over the two weeks had not been so lucky. These days, the whitehaired kitsune only wore a wrap and her fox skin, coiled around her body at breast level like bandages, and Ari wore little more. “It’s like it wants to be used,” the veteran observed, feeling it as the heat flowed over her skin. “Like this was how it was meant to be used.”

“Because it does, and it was,” Syllana agreed. “The power of the gods lays open to you now, as it does to my apprentice.”

Yuki and Seijun had been busy. Syllana spoke the truth… the technique she promised them was not difficult. In fact, it was almost suspiciously easy compared to mastering some of the techniques Seijun had taught her, like mimicking the sense of touch with illusions… comparing them almost felt trivial. Yuki had always been a master at picking up new techniques and could often pick one up the very first time she saw another fox use it, copying the patterns, but she had expected something as dramatic as Syllana promised to be… harder, somehow. Instead, she had been hurling bolts of flame inside of a day.


That wasn’t entirely fair, she knew… she had already learned how to conjure flame, and light, and heat, and a half dozen other applications of true foxfire, and each one built on the others, but even so it had been easy.

It reassured Yuki that she was doing the right thing.

All around the town, veteran foxes worked and practiced with grim, fatalistic determination. After the first few days of studying, Seijun and Yuki had started going back to the war camps and Hanei, pulling veterans out a few at a time to convince them, to train them. Yuki had thought that would be harder than it was as well… until she learned what had happened to Hanei.

Her home was… gone. Mai was gone. Just like her sister.

Refugees that had escaped the slaughter in Hanei had been trickling into warcamps since then, seeking refuge or running to the south… but as far as Yuki could tell no one had seen Mai. Her heart ached to go looking for her but… she couldn’t. It wasn’t out of a sense of responsibility, though that was what she tried to tell herself – that she owed it to the dead and those who had survived to be here, to end this. At night, when she slept, she knew the truth – As long as she didn’t know, she could have some hope. Finding Mai dead would break her.

Over the last few days, the warcamps had disbanded… all but the largest one, the one directly between the forest and human lands. What was the point of the rest of them? Containment had very clearly failed as a strategy, and the fall of Hanei showed that spreading their forces at all was hopeless. Every bit of remaining strength the kitsune had needed to be concentrated together for them to have any chance at all.

Among those who had been forced to abandon their defensive posts, anger, fear, and despair were the prevailing emotions… and it made for good recruiting among the veteran warriors. Those who had been in camps, defending the edges of the forest instead of in Hanei when it had needed them. Hanei, which was supposed to be untouchable, unreachable. Hanei, which was their home. Forbidden and profane techniques or not, most of them were as tired of watching their brothers and sisters die as Seijun and Yuki were. Very few refused out of hand, and most of those that listened to their arguments ended up coming with them to Shiyomi, and their numbers had steadily swelled… Ari was only the most recent of the foxes to come, eager to learn the secrets that would allow her to destroy the jorogumo.

In truth, Yuki was glad to see that she had decided to come… the kitsune looked more alive now that she had in weeks. Trauma and loss had done the woman no favors. Yuki looked at the grey haired kitsune, her hair dark enough that it was almost green, and watched her face light up as the fire came to her command. Since Yuki had rescued her from the jorogumo, she had seemed to live in almost a walking coma. Now, though, her face lit up with more than just the witchfire’s flames… they came with a small measure of hope… and more importantly, the promise of revenge.

Too many of the other kitsune were the same. Too many had been preyed on by the jorogumo, captured and only brought back by Akemi’s daring rescue. Fully half of those that Yuki had helped into the infirmary that night had come to join them by now, and nearly four out of every five veterans… even the ones who hadn’t experienced the horrors of the jorogumo firsthand. The rest had seemed uncomfortable even considering it.

Yuki had hoped, in her heart, that Akari would come around… but it seemed like she had only grown more stubborn as the days passed. Yuki, knowing that butting heads with her big sister would only lead to pain, had let Seijun try to convince her… but time and time again she had been rebuffed.

The jorogumo hadn’t attacked again yet, not since one of those monsters – Akume, one of the true jorogumo that had murdered her sister – had destroyed Hanei. The reprieve didn’t give her any of the comfort it might once have, however. Between the last battle and the horrible loss of life it had taken to get Akume through the wards, the spider-bitches had taken obscene losses, many thousands of their broodlings and the lesser jorogumo, the ones that Syllana called drones. Not long enough for Yuki’s taste. She would have traded all of them and a million more besides for her sister’s life back. Unfortunately, they had also taken captives… hundreds of them. Given time in that forest, they would use their bodies to replenish those numbers.

Yuki squeezed her eyes shut, forcing back the tears. Then she started summoning up fire to coat her body as well, running it up and down her arms and across her tails, marveling at the potential and how good it felt to make something with foxfire, the way she had always dreamed. Everyone who had been taken… the kitsune lacked the strength to go into that forest and recover them, as Akemi had managed before. Everyone lost was already as good as dead. Worse than dead.

Nyami. Yuki hurled a bolt of power at one of the stones they were used for practice. It cracked beneath the impact… even unable to burn she was superheating and melting it. At this rate, they would need to drag more of the quarried stones over before noon.

Kumiko. Yuki threw a second. The flames blasted a smoking column in the air as they splashed across the second rock like waves breaking on the rocky coast. The flames took more than a minute to die, even without fuel.

Akume. Yuki threw a third. She would have expected to be exhausted… she never had been able to truly produce work after work after work like this in the past, and true foxfire like this was always the hardest… but these came easily. The fire wanted to be used.

It wanted them to die.

The jorogumo would be back, and soon. Nyami. Kumiko. Akume. Their names blazed in Yuki’s mind from what Syllana had told her. Three jorogumo that had captured, raped, and murdered her sister. Three jorogumo that were the strongest. Three jorogumo that had lived since ancient times.

Yuki called up more fire.

Three jorogumo who had lived long enough.

Deep the woods, the jorogumo were busy replenishing their numbers in brutal fashion, as Hikaru was all too aware. She lay limp in the webbing that held her, left to heal after her body had recently been emptied of eggs in the gruesome fashion she had been forced to grow familiar with… but even limp and dazed and poisoned, the blonde fox couldn’t help but notice they were working their way back towards her, filling up one fox after the next with new clutches of eggs. Even so… even exhausted and helpless… she couldn’t help but whimper as she saw something moving closer to her through the dark forest. Most of the jorogumo’s face and torso was covered with its long, ratty hair, and she watched as its various joints moved in a jerky but efficient fashion that sent it crawling right towards her. The strange, terrifying creaking noises those alien limbs made, the smooth sliding of chitin against chin, horrified her… doubly so because besides those the spider moved in completely silence. Its eyes, flat and dead, glowed scarlet behind the curtain of hair as it walked towards her, fixed on her.

In a matter of moments, the monster was on the webbing directly in front of her. Hikaru’s eyes remained fixed on the creature, not even blinking. “Please…” she whispered as she felt a cold rush down her spine, making her shiver. She couldn’t even understand her own words. The only thing that came out of her dry, frozen throat was a low croaking sound, so quiet she doubted anyone but her next rapist could hear it.

The jorogumo pressed one of its legs against her ankle and rested its weight here, and Hikaru made another croaking noise as her ankle broke broke beneath the creature’s weight. With its other legs, it scurried silently towards her. Soon, she felt the other front leg press against her leg and the creature leaned down over the top of her, its body hovering just a few inches away from her. Its smell was terrible… it reeked of rot, of death, of dirty and garbage and weeks old sex, and if they had given Hikaru anything to eat but eggs for weeks she would have vomited. As her senses absorbed the creature, the kitsune felt almost hollow of conscious thoughts… like someone had squeezed her brain like a wineskin and pressed them all out of her. She just froze in abject horror, trembling in pain. Part of her was as certain as she had ever been of anything that she was moments away from dying, from being eaten alive. The rest of her was horrifically aware that she wasn’t that lucky.

The spider leaned even more closely towards her. She could see the pupils in its terrible eyes now, hovering just in front of her face over her stomach. It blinked a thousand times and she could hear a dull clicking sound coming from somewhere in its body. That body was vibrating slightly, and shaking from side to side. After a moment, the creature paused… its back legs suddenly straightening and making the vast spider-woman rise up quickly. The spider’s body let out one great shudder as it stared into her, all of its attention focused on the limp, naked, helplessly webbed fox girl.

In an incredibly rapid motion, the spider’s right front leg, the one that was not stabbed down into one of her feet, rose up and then swiped quickly across her body. Hikaru remembered seeing the thin spines that were peppered along the spider’s armored legs, and felt the hollow hairs, like needles, as they punctured her a thousand time. As the spider’s leg slipped across her thigh and then stomach, she winced with the agony as it felt like someone taking a grater to her skin… but the venom flowed. Already the poison of the monsters swam through her veins, absorbed through the webbing that bound her, but the amount in her increased again and again and again as the jorogumo rubbed its limbs against the kitsune, and with each touch she grew more sensitive, everything hurting more. It kept injecting venom until the touch of the forest breeze on her nipples felt like the stabbing of a thousand knives.

Hikaru lay there in the web, her mouth locked open in a perpetual silent scream at the over-sensitized pain. The spider-woman instantly took advantage of that mistake… her eyes locked open but focused inward on her own agony, she didn’t even really see it coming. She felt it before she saw it as the hard black tip of the creature’s cock suddenly pushed passed her lips and into her mouth. Her lips instinctively wrapped around it, but her teeth did not close in time, and the ridges of the prick struck against them hard enough to send shocks of liquid agony radiating from her jaw to her toes. She felt the bamboo-like shaft press hard against her tongue, flattening it in her mouth as her eyes crossed, staring down the length of the impossibly long shaft protruding from her mouth. It tasted even worse than it smelled… how was that even possible when every single one of these spider-bitches had been scraping their pricks clean on any prisoner they could find for months? The precum-like fluid leaking from its tip pooled warm against her lips and dripped over them and down her body. It spattered against her legs, her thighs, her stomach, her breasts, and each place that it touched instantly felt the same warm, coital warmth that her leg had felt. Everything was happening so fast, it was so disorienting. Somehow it didn’t even feel real.

By far, however, the most intense sensation was in her mouth as the prick pushed even deeper. Hikaru tried to move her tongue out from under the creature’s length and free it, but as a result really just only lapped at the jorogumo’s massive cock. The thick white liquid was thickest there, and the taste of it instantly overwhelmed her other senses. It was not a good flavor by any means, sour and bitter at the same time, like some kind of rotten vegetable discharge. She gagged and tried to pull it out, to fight against the jorogumo, but it was hopeless… with her wrapped up in webs, starved and exhausted and poisoned and pained, she was more helpless than a newborn. Her tongue felt almost hot with how the sensations burned on it, the precum covering her gums and dripping down her throat, inflaming each place that it touched. The monster raping her forced her to suck on the dripping thing as it pushed slowly ever deeper, pouring more of that foul liquid down into her throat as its cock dripped and Hikaru’s mind went blank with misery.

The sucking sensation seemed to spur the spider onward. Its ovipositor pulled back slightly, but rather than pull all the way out of her lips, the creature merely adjusted. Then, in one rough, insensitive motion, it pushed its cock sharply back into her mouth. This time, it didn’t press into her tongue. This time, it shot back over her tongue and then quickly down beyond her teeth. It must’ve gone six or even seven inches into her throat, her neck bulging outward, her eyes bugging. Hikaru gagged hard and felt her muscles constrict around the creature’s shaft, but that only served to more thoroughly coat the entire inside of her throat the creature’s horrible, poisonous liquid. She shuddered as she felt the strength of the jorogumo’s tool against her pursed lips, dragging itself over them back and forth as, slowly, the creature began to slip its long tool back out of her throat, and over her tongue. The poor kitsune’s mouth filled with thick, viscous saliva as she gagged again. In a moment, the tip of the creature’s dick was resting against her tongue again. She took in a gasping, ragged breath, her drugged head so clouded with terror and humiliation and pain that her ability to even comprehend what was happening to her came in fits and spurts. The cruel jorogumo didn’t seem to care, however… after just a moment of enjoying her tongue, the spider thrust again with the same force and speed that it had before. If anything, it went deeper, pushing beyond her tongue and deeper into her throat, questing for her stomach and making the captive fox gag again. It was so painful for her that reflexively she tried to fight and pull uselessly against the webs.

The spider continued to do this… for how long, Hikaru couldn’t imagine. It felt like forever… for centuries. For long enough that her memory of having been a free woman seemed like a dream, or a legend as distant as the tales of Inari and the birth of her people. It kept thrusting its long cock down into her throat, holding it for a second and then pulling it back out. Soon it began to move faster and faster, thrusting harder and harder. The first dozen or so times, she gagged terribly and her entire warrior’s body trembled with pain and fear. It didn’t matter. The thick, hard shaft was too powerful to be denied… it forced her throat open and kept it that way, allowing the monstrous woman to thrust in and out of her. She knew what it must have looked like… like she was being made to fellate a thick spear. She was shocked it wasn’t coming out between her legs. She could not move, she could not fight, she could not scream… The only thing that she could do was to open her mouth and to take its dick.

The whole while, as her lips had remained pursed tightly around the creature’s thick member, it had been growing inside of her mouth… swelling up, widening, preparing to drop off the next batch of eggs. It was still producing a large amount of the thick, white liquid, the venom that was obliterating her mind, but it was becoming more than that, too. Her thick lips were so tight that the creature’s cream just sort of sloughed off its shaft as it pulled back, trapping it in her mouth. Then it began to cum and she felt the throbs, counting them as egg after egg after egg poured down her throat with the cum, pooling into her stomach. Ten. Twenty. Fifty. A hundred. She lost count around 340… or was it 430? She wasn’t thinking clearly, and they were still coming…

When at last it ended and the spider pulled back, letting the fox get her first unobstructed breath in what felt like years, she looked down at her body with dismay… she looked nine months pregnant, her belly obscenely swollen. With a tiny smile, barely visible past its hanging hair, the spider webbed Hikaru’s mouth shut, silencing even her groaning whimpers as it began to rewrap her in silk and stick her to one of the trees to await her next crop of soldiers to kill and enslave and rape more of her people.

The whole time, the monster had never even said a word to its egg sac.

Chie grunted with pain as Kumiko dragged the red fox behind her by her tails, humming to herself to mask her annoyance. The kitsune bounced along behind, bound in webs, barely able to move. “I hate this,” the pale spider complained as she tried to bounce her captive off of every single rock, root, and fallen tree she could find. “Having to lay eggs is such a miserable experience.” Chie really didn’t feel like the jorogumo had any room to complain… it wasn’t like the damned things ate their way out of her, now was it? Still, the white spider continued to grumble as she dragged her onward. “It takes my favorite playthings out of commission for a time… I have to be “gentle” with them… to keep the young intact. Have to keep Father happy.”

She shook her head. “Such a waste… it means I need to find new cumdumps for a little bit… settle for barely adequate flesh to wrap around my cock. Someone like you.” Kumiko looked back at the kitsune and sneered before lifting her up and throwing her forward. Chie impacted against a wall of silk and stuck as Kumiko stalked towards her, pressing her massive body against the smaller kitsune, working to wrap her tails up more thoroughly in the webbing. “I have to make do…”

As soon as her tails were tied down, the spider worked on the web on her arms. She was already bound, but not thoroughly enough for the jorogumo’s tastes. “Just let me go, you creep!” Chie hissed, trying to summon up a glare. Even though she put up a brave face and continued to look right at the beast, she was terrified… and it wasn’t a mystery what was awaiting her. This would be the fourth brood that had hatched inside of her, and Chie was beginning to earnestly wonder if trying to survive and hope for rescue might just be a more foolish plan than trying to die.

The spider smirked, and Chie could feel the hard appendages of the spider’s legs slipping up the outside of her right thigh. “Not too bad,” she said quietly. “At least you have some spirit left. A few drops, anyway.” Chie could feel the poison seeping into her from the fresh webbing, flooding fresh pain through her as the monster spread her legs apart and webbed her ankles down until the poor kitsune couldn’t move anymore. As soon as she was done, the spider’s leg moved quickly up her thigh and rounded up over her ass cheeks. “Let’s see how much strength you have left, then.”

A second later, Chie whimpered as she felt the tip of the spider’s thin leg press quickly against her tailbone and then begin to slip down. “No, no, no!” she cried out as she felt the hard tip of the creature’s appendage pressing against the tight rosebud of her asshole. “No… noo… you bitch… you fucking bitch, please let me go…” the kitsune half begged, half cursed the spider. She struggled as much as she could, but already knew there was no amount of squirming in this web that could stop her from being raped.

“And…” Kumiko said, smiling. “In we go…” She pushed, and Chie’s eyes bulged as she screamed. The narrow tip of the spider leg quickly grew thicker, spreading her obscenely as it pushed further into her asshole. Her armored leg was covered in millions of tiny, poison-filled needles, and it scrubbed at her insides, forcing more and more and more venom into her with each movement… each drop making her feel more, making it hurt more. She screamed louder, and then Kumiko stopped, impaled deep inside her asshole now, letting the thick venom coat her insides and slime pour from her bleeding hole.

The millions and millions of nerves around her ass came alive as the poison continued to amplify everything, making the sensation in her asshole dwarf every other pain and thought in her body, every other injury and soreness. The vibrating heat of agony rolled up her nerves and turned her entire insides into jelly. She moaned again, loud but ragged as Kumiko pulled the limb out, the ridges feeling like a sawblade. Every touch was a thousand times more sensitive than normal… every bit of her asshole more sensitive than her clit had ever been as the jorogumo prepared to rape her.

The poor kitsune wanted to struggle. She wanted to scream and try to get away, but she couldn’t manage more than a whimper as her knees shook against the webbing, her body held still. Even as she shifted slightly in the web as the huge white spider brushed against her, her legs disobeyed the orders from her brain to close, to struggle. She could barely even brace herself as the giant spider pressed against her from behind. She wanted to move, she wanted to run, but she could not. All she could muster was another choked moan, half in pain and half in terror.

“Let us find out together how big of a disappointment you will be,” Kumiko growled softly, her fingers prodding at her now gaping backdoor. Her asshole was now totally soaked with the spider’s venom like it was lube… the poison was actually dripping down her thighs and pooling in the web between her knees. Even the barest touch of the jorogumo’s fingers were agony, but shortly that sensation was overwhelmed by another, even more, extreme feeling… one that despite everything she would never have expected to feel in her life. The hardened tip of the creature’s cock pressed harshly against her asshole, and while she’d been penetrated in her rear before by the monsters it hadn’t been anything like this… this was thousands of times more intense, thousands of times more painful. The jorogumo was not gentle at all, either… It was skewering her, not pleasuring her. Chie screeched in the sudden anguish and tried to think of some way to fight, to somehow shake the creature off of her… But the only thing that happened was that her arms grew weak and she pitched forward, her bare breasts in the web and her ass up in the air.

“Not too bad… I guess…” Kumiko said as she pushed her cock more forcefully against the kitsune’s asshole.

“Please!” she moaned loudly, but she could not resist. “Please, no more, anywhere else!” Chie begged for her to stop, but the pale spider didn’t hesitate.

“If I do that,” she answered as she pushed forward, and the helpless kitsune felt her rosebud pushing back open again. “Then we’ll never know how much of that spirit of yours is real, and how much of it is just because the rest of my kind are soft weaklings, now will we?” Chie felt a sharp pain and then her body’s resistance was spent… a single, tentative inch of the spider’s thick cock pressed inside of her body. Chie screamed again… it might as well have been on fire for how her body reacted. Even that little felt like it filled her completely, and felt like it was covered in razor blades as well, but as soon as her resistance had slipped even a little and that first slow, painful inch was given, there was no stopping it. She was opened entirely for the jorogumo, its cruel shaft well lubricated by the venom as it slipped further and further inside her body while she seemed to almost glow with pain. In what felt like half a second to the suffering kitsune, what had to be ten inches of cock were buried inside her ass.

“No! Please, Inari, goddess no!” Chie screamed into the web. She felt her hardened nipples pressing sharply into the venomous strings of silk as the creature’s shaft sunk deeper and deeper inside of her ass, feeling thick as the mast of a ship. Even as it pushed, she could feel more and more of the creature’s venom slosh around inside her, pouring out of its body as the shaft forced it either out or deeper into her intestines to make room. Between venom and blood and the creature’s unholy strength, even her incredibly tight, clenching asshole yielded more and more easily with each passing second. She felt completely filled, agonizingly so… stuffed like she was going to burst.

Her cheeks were hot with tears and they leaked from her eyes… the torment was overwhelming. Chie squirmed desperately, trying to break free, but two things worked against her. The first was the now-familiar dizziness and odd euphoria of the jorogumo venom. The other was that the agony kept spiking as Kumiko’s cock swelled with each thrust, and the fresh spike of pain drove all conscious thought from her mind. Then she began to cum, and even those gossamer thoughts vanished as she felt the hauntingly familiar sensation of thousands of eggs, coated with slime, being packed into her bowels… more and more and more and more of it. As it filled and overflowed her guts she could feel the warmth it brought spreading straight to the very core of her body… It was like the sensation was being injected directly into her heart. Kumiko kept pumping her cock into her asshole, churning it as it filled her ass with thousands of her eggs, pushing against one another, driving themselves further in as they collided, seemingly forever…

Chie had no warning. One second she started to feel nauseous. The next, she started to throw up as eggs poured out of her mouth, making her gag as her stomach emptied of the foul eggs being forced into her through the intestines. Over and over she retched, trying to breathe, trying to clear the eggs clogging her throat, and Kumiko laughed. “Well,” she mumbled, “I guess that was passable.” Chie would have screamed if she had any breath… the jorogumo forced a thick wad of webbing up her asshole, stuffing it, lodging the eggs in place there and leaving her sobbing as her stomach rebelled.

She crawled in front of the sobbing, retching girl and smiled at her. “Now… let us see how much strength you actually have, little fox,” she said, pointing at her cock. “I’m going to fill your womb with eggs as well… but it’s up to you how.” She slapped her shaft against the fox’s face, smearing the mess she had made of it with her bleeding asshole onto the woman’s cheeks. “You can be stubborn and strong and I’ll make your cunt swell with poison before I fuck it as well… or you can clean your asshole off my cock like a good little cumdump and I’ll only stuff you full.”

Chie was coughing and gagging and sobbing, but not so hard that she couldn’t latch her lips around that messy shaft and start licking like her life depending on it. “That’s what I thought,” Kumiko said as she patted the fox between her ears. “Weak whore.”

Akiko winced as she was dragged away by the hair, her cocoon scraping across the forest floor as Akume moved her through the forest and down to her lair. Unlike most of the other jorogumo, she didn’t make hers in the forest proper… instead, she had found a cave. Akume had happily explained to her how much more secure it was, how much safer. Akiko didn’t care about that… she only knew that she dreaded being ripped back down into the darkness. She whimpered… most of her life was lived in the dark now. She was bred in the dark, then wrapped in webs and left hanging in the dark, only for her new “children” to eat her free. It was only then, when they ate away enough of the webs that some of it fell off her, that she got to see a glimmer of light again through the forest canopy.

To her shame, it actually made her look forward to it a bit. It was the most miserable experience of her life, but it was also the only bright spot. Now, instead, she watched the light fade as they left the surface behind, vanishing further and further down into darkness. The spider grabbed her from her waist and pulled her towards her body, adjusting the warrior’s silk bonds as she further wrapped her up. She didn’t even try kicking or squirming anymore… it would just lead to Akume beating her until she was still and then continuing anyway. The jorogumo wrapped her in her legs as she started to create the web around her, cocooning all her tails in tightly as well before hanging her from the cave ceiling. Quickly the fox was completely immobilized… Akume didn’t believe in taking chances, even with egg sacs as broken as she was. She was left hanging in the air in the darkness with only the glow of Akume’s scarlet eyes to tell her where she was in space, moaning softly as the venom sank into her through the fresh webbing.

In the darkness, there was no warning. Akume disappeared as she strode behind the immobilized fox, and then Akiko screamed as the jorogumo rammed her cock up the kitsune’s dry pussy. She screamed despite herself, begging wordlessly. That was a mistake, and she knew it… she bit her tongue to stop her screaming but it was already too late. Akume growled furiously. Akiko could hear the strange popping sounds in her joints at the spider legs flexed and shifted. Then she wrapped a length of spider silk around the fox’s neck like a cord and pulled, garroting her and silencing her completely.

The kitsune’s unseeing eyes bugged out horribly as her air was savagely, brutally cut off by the giant spider, Akume’s weight and power overwhelming. The sandpaper-rough chitin rubbed against her body, hot and venomous, as she choked and gasped and writhed helplessly. Then her muscles flexed and she thrust forward, and the world lit up for Akiko with sheer stars. She made a gagging sound deep in her throat as the cock wedged itself deep up her tight little cunt, the beads and ridges lining the spider’s shaft grinding roughly against her pussy walls as the spider pressed deeper and deeper inside of her body. She felt herself stretching, painfully, as the monster’s prick grew thicker and thicker inside of her as it went inside, even as her throat bruised and her lungs burned. “Now be silent…” Akume hissed at her as she rammed her way in, making the kitsune’s tight form stretch to accommodate her attacker. “I have many more of your sisters to attend to, and no time for you to complain.” As the spider pressed more and more firmly against her, its entire body began to vibrate. It sent shivers through her nipples, sensation rocketing through her body as the spider tightened the noose of silk further.

Akiko gurgled as she choked, but Akume wasn’t content to let her pass out. Instead, she loosened her grip, just long enough for a quick breath before she yanked back again and drew it tight… using the garrote almost like a leash. Akiko felt the bumps on the monster’s cock sliding against her as the cock rammed in and out lightning fast, its rape happening in a complete blur of overwhelming power. One instant, the monster was buried in her to the hilt, the next only the tip remained. And then it was in her again. And out again. And again. And again. She couldn’t pick out a single individual sensation of the thrusts… just the world-shattering pain.

The kitsune wasn’t sure how long it took, lost in her private hell of oxygen deprivation and rape. It felt like forever and no time at once. Akume remained on top of her, her heavy stinking body vibrating against her. The only sensation was the woman’s cock, pumping at her with all the mechanical, never-abating fury of a waterwheel as it raped her again and again and again. The thick, cone-like cock slammed desperately into her dripping pussy, the little beads slipping across her labia and ripping her pussy walls as it throbbed inside of her, growing thicker and harder with each thrust. As the spider thrust roughly into her, she continued to choke her, right up until the second she began to be filled with eggs.

Akiko gasped in breath when the cord was released, but she didn’t make a sound as her body was filled up, as her guts cramped, and her insides were turned into a condom for the foul creature’s young. She remained silent and tame as Akume used her like a cocksheath. Then, with just as little warning, her hands were on the kitsune’s breasts, gently squeezing them. “That’s so much better,” she whispered as she began to wrap around layer of silk around Akiko. The kitsune didn’t know when her eyes were blinded by the next layer of web… she already couldn’t see anyway, but she cried knowing that she was locked into the darkness again. “Yes, that’s so much better…”

Soon she was left hanging again, from a jutting stone this time instead of a tree. There was nothing for Akiko to see but inky blackness… nothing to hear but the moans and sobs of other nearby egg sacs… and nothing to do but wait. Wait for her eggs to hatch and find out if these would be the ones that killed her. If not, she would just be bred again… and again and again… until she finally lived no more and saw nothing ever again.

The grim darkness from the forest was a lie… Akari knew that. She and the rest of the soldiers were lined up along their palisade, clutching weapons as they waited for the sun to finish setting. A scout had come running from the forest just this morning, web sticking her fur as the fox ran, warning that the jorogumo were gathering… that they had descended from the tress and were headed for the edge of the forest. Three hours until the sun was down. The jorogumo were massing again, and soon they were going to pour out over the kitsune lines and try to wash them away like a black tide… and Akari wasn’t sure they would be able to stop them.

The last three weeks had been tense. Ever since Hanei had fallen and been abandoned, and the refugees had fled here or beyond, all of them knew that the spiders were coming for them. The kitsune militia on the border had been increasingly nervous as more and more of their leaders and veterans disappeared… by now, all of the other warcamps had been abandoned as any hope of containing the jorogumo had failed. With Hanei fallen and abandoned, there was nothing left to protect but the human kingdoms to the south so every kitsune still willing to fight was right here with her… and as they watched, cowering behind their walls, the forest become more and more active at night. Each night, the sounds of familiar animals was replaced with alien trills and warbling in the darkness, and distant, haunting screams.

Akari watched it all… after the sun went down, she sat on the wall, staring out into the forest and watching it churn and sway. The next morning, there would be more webbing… the forest darker and more corrupted. The jorogumo were swelling their numbers, she knew… they would come for them again soon.

She wished her sisters were here.

Thinking of them always made her heart ache. Akemi was gone, and Yuki was off doing something incredibly foolish… and dangerous. She stressed during every waking hour for her sister and Seijun, worried about the corruptive nature of that witch’s dark fire and what their lessons entailed. Instead, she threw herself into healing, working herself until she was exhausted. Every injured kitsune that was going to pull through already had, but plenty of freed humans still needed care, and spending her time helping them recover was the best thing she could do to take her mind off her concerns.

Just as Akari was thinking she was going to have to stand alone, the sounds of excitement on the line reached her. “They’re back!” an excited man whispered, hope in his voice. Akari turned, and her heart momentarily soared as she watched a group of kitsune stride into camp. Her excitement as she recognized her sister and the other veterans, however, was tempered as she saw Syllana and her bodyguards among them… and outright soured when she saw the way their tails flickered with blue and green and violet sparks of energy. Its dark, malevolent light radiated outward from the tips of their tails and the dangling strands of their hair.

“Do not fear!” Yuki shouted, making sure she could be heard by everyone in the defenses. “We will not let you fight alone. We will hold them… and then we will push the demons back to where they came from. We have returned… and we bring power!”

Akari’s eyes watered as she shook her head. “This is not power worth having, sister. What you bring is nothing short of disaster, and corruption!” she said. “This dark fire is forbidden, Yuki! It’s evil!”

“It is evil in the wrong hands,” said Seijun. “We would not dare bring evil into our ranks. The dark fire will be our answer to these demons. No more will we struggle to fight with sword and sheath, paying with the blood of our sisters and children.” If anything, her face was even more set than Yuki’s was… just as sure of herself.

Just as wrong.

“This is insane…” Akari protested, her voice soft. How could they not see that? “If this is the only way, we should retreat instead and… and think of something else. Anything else, sister… please listen. The goddess has given us guidance for a reason, Yuki, Seijun! This is strictly forbi-”

“Yes, yes, we know,” Yuki interrupted, narrowing her eyes. “It’s forbidden. If the rules are so much more important to you than lives are, maybe you were right to stay back… maybe you shouldn’t fight. I’ll avenge our sister myself.”

As they spoke, Seijun climbed up on the wall to gather attention to their presence from any who hadn’t noticed yet, beckoning them over… summoning all of the soldiers in the encampment to come around as Yuki took her place with her. Akari watched as the soldiers had mixed reactions to seeing the radiance of the dark fire that the two commanding kitsune radiated off their person, and she turned her glare on the self-satisfied Syllana where she stood to the side, watching with not-even-slightly concealed glee.

“Brothers, sisters! Brave soldiers!” Yuki called out. “Seijun and I have come with a great gift of knowledge! One that we wish to share with all of you! Join us and behold… together, we will wipe out the jorogumo menace. With this fire, we will vanquish our enemies and cleanse Japan of the monster’s filth forever!” She smiled at them. “We only have a few hours before the sun sets… not long enough to teach you all, but we can get started. Any fox who would fight to save Hanei and Japan, gather around one of those who came with me and learn.” The veterans began to move among the crowd, gathering their own small followings of warriors around them.

Akari looked on in naked horror. This was enough… she climbed on top of the wall herself to make her own stand. “You cannot do this thing!” the blonde fox protested. “It is wrong, Yuki!” She shook her head. “Those who see that… those who wish to live by Inari’s commands and avoid corruption, know you are not alone! Stand with me!”

Some soldiers came to her. Not as many as she had hoped… but some. Most of the healers stood with her. Maybe a quarter of the soldiers. Almost none of the veterans. It was… a little disappointing.

“You want to take up arms and run?” accused Yuki. “You refuse to face our foe? While our sister fought and died, where were you? Why must you always be so weak, Akari!?”

Akari gasped like she had been physically struck. She hopped down off the wall and looked at the soldiers. Hurt filled her eyes as she shook her head in disgust, self hatred, and despair… unsure of what she could do. Yuki glared her down as Akari turned to the others. “Follow me if you follow Inari’s light; Otherwise, stay, and throw yourselves away to darkness,” she said as she turned her back on Yuki. She couldn’t do this… and she couldn’t watch her sister do it, either.

Yuki fought back her own tears to see her sister stand so adamantly against what she had done… less of sorrow and more of frustration. How couldn’t she see that all of this was the betterment and protection of her and their people? How couldn’t she see that there was nothing left of what came before to guide them? Yuki trembled with anger, glaring at her sister as she walked away. Seijun placed a hand on Yuki’s shoulder gently. “Peace,” she said, watching as a solid quarter to a third of their soldiers walked away. “Fights with family are always the worst. It’s not worth it. She’ll come around.”

“Too late,” Yuki growled as the others left the battlefield. She didn’t know where they were going. Maybe they could be headed to Nagoro, or perhaps to some smaller kitsune village somewhere to the south now that Hanei was gone. She didn’t know, and at this moment she didn’t really care. Instead, she turned to the soldiers. “Come! We have little time, but there is enough for us to teach you the most basic of spells… enough to help. Those of us who have been learning the last several weeks will be the spear point… follow us, and we will tear down the jorogumo once and for all!” she cried. The soldiers cheered on to rally behind her.

Yuki looked over one last time at the sight of Akari and her followers disappearing behind the crowd, feeling betrayed and alone. Still, she knew there was a time to be upset and a time to be present and at attention. Now was the time for action. She turned her focus as Seijun and she worked to quickly teach any who would learn the most basic destructive spells that any spellcaster with knowledge of true foxfire could comprehend – summoning destructive flames, binding fire to their blades, and casting flame wreaths of protection to make each soldier a far more formidable force than ten combined. Conjuring a blade of flame was a known kitsune technique by most soldiers… Yuki showed them the small changes in mindset and technique to replace it with witchfire. The white fox held onto that focus to try to keep her thoughts from wandering as she taught soldiers the simplest uses of Syllana’s witchfire technique.

But all the while, she wished she had Akemi, Akari, and Mai by her side.

Time passed. The hours drew down as the sun began to vanish over the horizon, and darkness welcomed the camps with a foreboding aura. The sands in the glass were running out, marking the beginning of the end. As Yuki conjured witchfire over and over again for her eager soldiers to learn and follow along, the sound of the broodlings screeching and skittering through the forest out into the fields could be heard as the light slowly died. Yuki turned her gaze towards the forest, a grim smile without humor plastered over her face. This was it, then. It was time to bring their new gifts to meet their enemies and annihilate them once and for all.

“We should take the fight to them,” spoke Syllana as she appeared from the shadows.

“Yes, take the fight to them,” both of the twins spoke behind her in unison.

Yuki turned to see her mentor and companions and smirked. “We will… we will. I couldn’t agree more,” she said. “Will you fight with us?”

“They will,” Syllana said, gesturing at the two women that Yuki still hadn’t learned a name for. “Me… I’ll take the field if the sorcerer shows himself. I must be prepared to counter him.”

Yuki nodded in understanding as she turned her attention to the forest, just as monsters began to pour out of it. Her lips curled back into a smile. “Let’s go.”

The alarm went up on the wall as kitsune and humans manned it with spears and bows and swords, just as they had been for a hundred fights before. This time, though, things were going to be different. This time, the veterans weren’t on the wall… Yuki and the others stood behind it, out of sight, and waited while the warriors formed up in good order, ready to defend the attack on the warcamp like they had so many times before.

Thunder rolled again, loud enough to shake the sky, and on the heels of the thunder, a keeling, alien howl rose up through the evening air. A sound that belonged to nothing on this world. A sound that didn’t belong here. Her mouth went dry despite herself, and she held firm, letting images of her sister and Mai fill her find… letting righteous fury and violent rage burn. Beyond their pathetically thin walls the spiders were on the march, pouring out of the forest… the mist was nowhere near as thick now. Hundreds of large spider women surrounded by thousands of the tiny broodlings, trying not to get trampled underfoot as they rushed the last defenders. It was an eerie sight… so many deadly monsters watching towards her as their faces stared hungrily forward. The swarm moved with inhumanly perfect precision, step for step as they headed forward.

Many of the adults bore weapons now… usually spears. Before, Yuki would have called them jorogumo. Now she knew better… and that was what she was waiting for. The real jorogumo to show themselves. “Watch their eyes,” Yuki instructed as some of her soldiers began to waver. “Look at that look in their eyes. These are the monsters that destroyed your home. These are the monsters that have taken those you love from you. If you let them through here, they will kill everyone you have ever loved, destroy everything you have ever wanted to protect. This is the moment of our victory… we fight to the end.”

Arrows buzzed overhead. It was hard to shoot in the darkness, and many of them glanced off the jorogumo skin which was universally much tougher than it looked, but some sank home. The footfalls of a thousand spiderlegs seemed to shake the earth like thunder, and the air vibrated as the spiders shrieked an alien whistle. Then the fight was met, and all was chaos.

Ari watched, holding her sword tensely, as the monsters swarmed their walls. The stone and wood palisade really wasn’t capable of holding up to their strength if they wanted to leverage it, and their sharp legs easily sank in wherever they chose… the monsters blackened the land with their shapes, covering the fields like one enormous shadow as all along the wall kitsune and men fought and bled and killed and died.

She stood there, breathing hard. She hadn’t been back in battle since being rescued… she didn’t know if she still had to strength to do it, but… but she had to. People were counting on her to fight. Ari would just have to manage… she would just have to be strong. People were counting on her. For the tenth time in half as many minutes, Ari looked over the wall and…

And she saw her.

If Ari lived to be a thousand, she would never forget that monster. Pale as a full moon and cold as a Yuki-Onna, the spider was simply enormous… dwarfing all of the others. One of the true jorogumo, the monster Kumiko, had taken to the field. Ari didn’t remember calling up witchfire but she had… all the sudden it coated her tails and arms and hands, burning in her eyes… filling her with fury. Any doubt about if she was ready to fight or not vanished as the anger filled her. That monster. She was not going to yield… she hadn’t come this far to be defeated.

Every fiber of her being longed to vault the wall and try to burn herself a path to the spider… and she thought she might be able to do it, too. Witchfire wanted to be used… it came to her call easily, almost effortlessly once she had started summoning it. It was only with the last specks of her dignity and discipline that she held back, awaiting the command… trusting Yuki as she had trusted Akemi. She waited. She waited. She waited. Her knuckles were white on her sword. She waited. She waited. Ari needed to wipe sweat from her eyes. She waite-


Like the word completed some kind of thaumaturgic ritual, Ari held out her hand and summoned fire… and fire… and fire… Then she screamed, lunged forward, and released.

And the foxes of Hanei screamed their defiance into the storm, and when they spoke it was with a voice of fire. With a roar that shook the ground, fire in blues and purples and green and lavenders leaped up from behind the walls and into the skies in crushing arcs of bright colors, twisting and churning and swirling. For a second, everyone within a hundred miles looked up into the sky as spears of power thrust for the heaven. Then it began to fall, and the sheet of power and thunder and destruction crashed down, shattering the middle waves of the jorogumo swarm. It tore them apart by the thousands. Those caught directly in the flame were charred to black powder. Those lucky enough to be shielded by their fellows or spared by chance were driven down to their arachnid knees, singed and covered in the ashes of the slain.

Once the echoes of that initial strike of witchfire had rolled over the army, Ari surged up and over the wall with dozens of her sisters, advancing, summoning up more of it as she cut her way through three frazzled broodlings in her way to hitting the ground. Smaller flashes of witchfire flashed out as other kitsune did the same, power crashing down among the monsters, smattering and smashing dozens of them at a time. Their power literally tore the earth asunder beneath the feet of the spiders. The light was blinding, and Ari needed to squint against it as the flurry of concentrated witchfire lit up the night like a noonday sky. Debris of mud and grass and ash and scorched viscera and chitin rained down all around them as they advanced. Caught in the ruins of open farmland, the jorogumo found no refuge from the sheer destructive fury that the kitsune unleashed on them… years of torment and war and stress and loss without ever really being able to hit back, unleashed back onto them all at once.

There was a quivering quality to the horde in front of her now… an uncertainty in their movements. These bitches thought that they were coming to a sure victory, that tonight they would break the backs of the kitsune. Instead, they had run directly into a wall of magic that was nothing like any of them had ever seen before. The horde seemed poised between fighting and fleeing, and right then, as the jorogumo hung there uncertainly, Ari came upon Kumiko again.

The titan stood in front of her, one side of her stark white body charred dark by blasts of fire… but for all of that she still stood. From the expression on her face she didn’t even look in pain… and when she saw Ari, her face split into a smile. “You…” she purred delightedly. “And I was beginning to fear you had hung yourself or gone to take a walk on the bottom of a lake. So nice of you to return yourself to me, precious.” She skittered forward. “Now we ca-”

Ari screamed with rage, lifted her hand, and blasted her.

At this range, the fire hit her like a physical column of power. Kumiko screamed, but even as she did she charged forward… the flames sloughing off her body. The witchfire burned her but it didn’t consume her… she plowed forward, charging at Ari… a pale white streak in the night, thinkably huge, unthinkably fast. It flung itself at her and Ari needed to throw herself bodily to the side, twisting to avoid one-two-three stabs from the monster’s legs. She stomped down on the fox behind Ari, and blood blossomed up in a sudden shower. The next soldier stabbed forward with a spear… this fox had time to use the rudimentary witchfire to line his weapon with flame. It didn’t matter… Kumiko caught it, stopping it cold, and with a twist of her body she ripped the spear from his hands, sending him staggering and falling into a mass of broodlings.

She was so fast.

Ari, filled with panic, focused and called up more power, blasting at Kumiko as she advanced on the fox, knocking her off balance… just in time for an arrow to take her in the throat. The arrow caught on her hard skin, but it hit squarely… and instead of skittering off, it pierced her, penetrating far enough that it obviously had gotten caught on the back of her neck as it tried to exit. The pale jorogumo seemed more annoyed than threatened by that, reaching up and ripping it out of her, but it bought Ari a moment to get back on her feet before the spider’s attention fell back on her. The kitsune warrior slipped to one side as legs of white-grey chitin reached for her, their tips shining like swords in the burning firelight illuminating the battlefield.

Ari ducked the slash of the first leg and the thrust of her stolen spear, her sword sweeping up to strike at one of the spider’s front legs. She might as well have tried to chop down a tree with her sword… the sword bit in, but even with all her force behind it the blade didn’t hack deeper than a fraction of an inch. One of Kumiko’s clawed fingertips flashed by Ari as she chased after the dodging fox and the slash missed her eyes by inches, opening up a crimson fissure that burned like fire high on her cheek.

The spider came about and kicked at Ari, sending her tumbling. The kitsune transformed as she fell, all four limbs and nine trails scrambling for traction, her sword left behind in the mud. Kumiko was charging at her, quick as lightning, her mouth open in a furious snarl.

And then one of the black haired twins hit her from above like a hammer.

The woman’s sword couldn’t puncture the spider’s back well enough to spill her blood, even if it looked like the black fox had struck hard enough to cut a house in half, but it still smashed the jorogumo down into the dirt. She twisted like a snake on the ground, slashing out… but as she did multiple needlepoints of flame struck her chest, the other twin standing just ten feet away and using her as a pincushion from nearly point blank range. The arrows didn’t penetrate deeply, but each head flickered with witchfire, and a dozen shafts studded her torso, neck, and shoulders by now. Kumiko shrieked and tried to roll, claws lashing out, but Ari had had time to get back on her feet now and the next lance of witchfire drove into the spider’s back.

Ari didn’t let up. If the first blast had been a fireball then this was a spear of flame and she used it like a solid object, shoving it against the jorogumo as she tried to right herself. It lit the white spider up in the night as well, and even as Kumiko struggled towards her she was driven back to the ground by another spear of flame, and then a third. “Hold her down with it!” Ari yelled as more kitsune warriors followed her lead, directing fire at the white spider, keeping her from getting back up and making progress. Their flames were like using awkward, twenty foot poles to hold down a rampaging bull with pressure, but it was enough to keep her off balance until two far, far heavier streams joined in… both of Syllana’s bodyguards joining the effort and almost pinning the overwhelmed spider down to the mud.

Ari could see the gleam of the flame in the monster’s wide eyes as she glared at her with fury, trying to struggle closer. “You are nothing!” Kumiko hissed, most of her body covered in flames… scorching her chitin black but refusing to burn. “You are nothing! I will eviscerate you all!”

Ari leaned down, picked up her sword, and its edge disappeared as it became little but a column of witchfire. Then she rushed towards the roaring Kumiko. “You will al-”

The sword, heated beyond belief, shattered when it struck the chitin of her neck… but the witchfire, given form by the blade, did not. Kumiko’s head tumbled from her body, falling heavily to the ground, her jaw working as if in confusion at how this could be possible. Her legs spasmed wildly, like 8 frenzied knives cast about in a storm. Then, at last, she collapsed all at once.

The was a moment of silence as the entire jorogumo horde seemed to freeze, staring at the pale, dead form… and then Ari howled. There was nothing human about that sound… it was a primal, bestial thing, raw excitement and triumph, raw vindication. “Who’s the bitch now!” she snarled as the kitsune host echoed her triumphant cry.

Then, as one, the horde turned and fled.

Yuki felt fantastic.

So this is what it felt like? What Akari always felt like? In the wake of the initial barrage of witchfire, she had vaulted the walls with the others, moving as quick as ever. Usually, using true foxfire like that, something that required a major expenditure of energy, would nearly floor her… it had been one of the most lasting frustrations of her life. Instead, not only had she thrown a firestorm but she didn’t even feel it… she felt like she could throw dozens more like it without so much as breaking a sweat. She felt… invincible.

The feeling was only reinforced as she saw the carnage around her. She had ripped them apart with the power… torn them asunder. She had made them hurt. Still, Yuki wasn’t closed to satisfied… she wasn’t here to kill the chafe. She was here to kill the jorogumo… and Akume was on the battlefield.

She kept her eyes fixed on that monster as she walked forward, not losing her amidst the chaos and the flames. The true jorogumo couldn’t hide, not really. Now that Yuki knew what they were, it was amazing that she could have ever mistaken one of the weak things for being the same. They were bigger, true, but that wasn’t all… the moved with a kind of alien grace and speed that was wholly at odds with their awkward appearance. Both the true jorogumo and the drones were dangerous flame, but it was a candle to a bonfire… impossible to fail to tell apart once you knew there was a difference to see. Yuki pressed forward, cutting the monsters between her and the jorogumo down as she went or blasting them with angry flame and reveling in their screams.

As she fought off the spider warrior directly in front of her, its massive, spider legs lashed out towards her like knives. Yuki deflected each blow with her sword as all around her her fellow kitsune struggled to find victory against the monstrous women, fighting and killing and dying, pressing them back. All around them, witchfire flew… the barrage her fellow kitsune had used at the start of the battle to slow the jorogumo advance was finished now but individual spheres of flame popped into existence, scorching the monsters and setting what little still grew in this killing field ablaze. All around her, she could see foxes struggling to cast spells or wield their weapons against the horde of spider-women… but the horde no longer seemed as invincible as it had a minute ago, nor as sure as itself. The ground was now slick with jorugomo blood and ashes, littered with the gutted corpses of their enemies or their burned out husks. Yuki watched as one of the adult spider-women was brought down by three kitsune, each of them driving their spears into her ribs and breasts and stomach, her shrill hissing screams silenced as one of the fox-girls slammed her blade into her eye. Human halves split open, guts spilling out onto the ground as their owners tried to hold themselves in with their human hands, their eyes wild with desperation as blood flowed from their beautiful lips. Decapitated heads lying motionless in the grass. Severed limbs, both spider and human, lay bleeding on the ground as bodies were torn apart, impaled, burned up by magic or chopped to pieces… Blank, dead eyes staring upwards as they were put down by Yuki’s warriors.

It should have been horrifying. It should have been enough to make her sick. Instead, it felt like a good start.

Kill them all.

Yuki was engaging a jorugomo one on one, the spider trying to use her speed to outmaneuver her sword… her sister’s sword. The white-tailed fox dodged one of the spider’s leg slashes, leaping onto her back instead. With a huge scream of fury, Yuki drove her blade forward, bisecting the spider-woman at the waist. She leaped away as another monster came for her, spear thrusting… she blasted away with witchfire, forcing her enemy back, forcing her to make room for Yuki to find her footing again before launching herself at the spider. The young jorogumo thrust again and Yuki simply flipped out of the spear’s way, flying acrobatically through the air as she drove her blade directly into the spider woman’s mouth. The monster’s scream cut off suddenly, but she didn’t die right away… Her human hands wrapped around the metal of the blade, trying to stop it, trying to pull it out for several seconds longer before her eyes went empty. Slowly, her arms went slack and fell to the spider woman’s sides, her bare breasts jiggling gently with the force of the lethal strike. With a scream of exultation, Yuki ripped her blade free and the limp monster slumped to the ground, blood pouring from her face and soaking her long black hair.

Kill them all.

Screaming, Yuki sprinted onward, ever closer to the true jorogumo in the back… one of the monsters who had murdered her sister. She slashed through dozens of broodlings almost without noticing, their human faces twisting up in very human expressions of pain and fear as they died before the next adult stood in her way. This one had a shield of wood and a sword that appeared to be made of sharpened chitin, but it didn’t matter. Yuki swung her sword with all the strength in her body. She blocked it with the shield, of course, but the spider hadn’t anticipated the blast of witchfire that came with it. It set the shield blaze, reducing much of it to ash, and when the devastating swing hit the shield the wood shattered on impact.

The spider’s face went from triumph to terror as she watched her shield cleave into pieces, her arm cut off at the elbow a second later. “No…” she moaned in disbelief, right before Yuki cut her fucking head from her body. Her inhuman body staggered, her spider legs spasming as if they thought they were still alive, her human half swaying lifelessly for several seconds. Then her body crashed sideways into the ground, her head falling and tumbling thirty feet away where it rolled along the mud for a few more feet before coming to a halt, her eyes still blinking in disbelief as she died.

Kill them all!

Yuki kicked off the body of the fallen spider, barely sheathing her sword before she had transformed. Then a howl, a howl of pain and loss and rage and vicious, exultant triumph went up from her army. Yuki looked over and saw the first of the three jorogumo, the white monster Kumiko, fall at the hands of her sisters-in-arms. Yuki joined the cry, echoing from the throats of hundreds of foxes.

And then the spiders turned and fled back for the woods.

They were getting away!

Before the beasts could make it halfway back to the forest, the two black-furred twins struck. Dashing to the front of the kitsune lines, they provided a fast, firsthand demonstration of what witchfire could do. The two nameless foxes called up an inferno of power, just the two of them… a web of blazing fire that spread between the spiders and the trees and the webs, lashing them, burning them. It incinerated broodlings by the thousands in a wall of pure fire as the rest of their kind drove them into it, only cooling it enough to let them pass by turning many of their number to ashes in that heat. Yuki let out a battlecry as she charged forward into the flame, the witchfire wall fleeing away from her as she approached it like water pouring off a roof.

Yuki’s howls were filled with frustration. She had lost her. She couldn’t see the jorogumo anymore… Akume, Nyami… they had to have made it back into the trees. Yelling her fury, Yuki cut down as many as she could before she reached the edge of the woods, their deaths doing nothing to satiate her burning rage. When at last the spiders were beyond her reach, and only the darkness of the forest was in front of her, only then did she stop.

The rest of her army did the same, their advance slowing and stopping at the edge of that web-filled forest of death. For most of a year now, kitsune didn’t enter the forest if it was at all avoidable. Darker lurked in there. Inside there, the spiders were at their most dangerous. Shirakami Sanchi had become their refuge.

When every last spider had either made it into that forest or was dead, Yuki stalked over to the pale white corpse. Her steps slow, deliberate, she stopped beside the fallen jorogumo, near where Ari stood over the body. The kitsune veteran was still breathing hard, hugging her body with her arms, disbelief on her face. “I did it…” she whispered. “It… it works. We can hurt them.”

Yuki nodded as she reached down and grabbed Kumiko’s severed head. “You did it,” she reassured the woman. “Excellent work… but there are more of them left.”

Ari nodded, her face firming. She wiped her sword off on the jorogumo’s body before sheathing it and following Yuki as she returned to the edge of the woods. Seijun joined her halfway there… the other white fox looking exhausted and troubled but uninjured. “We drove them back, Yuki!” she said, her voice excited through the fatigue. “We did it!”

“A good start,” Yuki agreed. Then, without another word, she strode up to the edge of the forest. “Akume!” she shouted, as loud as she could as hundreds of kitsune gathered behind her. The woods seemed to shake with quivering tension, tension not reduced by the building storm overhead. “Nyami!” She tossed the pale spider’s head into the forest. “You murdered my sister!” she growled, “and now we’ve killed yours. Are you satisfied? Because I am not!The kitsune drew her sword, letting witchfire burn along her offhand as she did. “Come out, cowards. Come out and face me!”

She paused, waiting while the wind blew. The sky growled overhead, drowning out even the sound of Yuki’s furious snarl. “FACE ME!

The forest remained still and empty.

Yuki turned to look at her followers. Covered in blood and ash, some of them looked furious. Some of them looked frightened. Some of them looked uncertain. All of them stood with her… none of them were leaving.

This was the first real victory they had ever had against the jorogumo, and Yuki’s heart momentarily soared. They had pushed them back. They had won.

Then she swallowed, and her heart sank once again. They had taken the jorogumo by surprise, tonight… Completely unprepared, completely unaware of the new power that was waiting for them. They would never again get an opportunity this clean, would never again face them so overconfident. Those ancient monsters knew they could be hurt, now… and Yuki had little doubt that if given a chance to prepare, and recover, they would be dangerous once again.

Nothing had changed.

Casually, Yuki raised one hand and blasted a stream of witchfire far up into the air… lighting the night with a pillar of flame that could be seen hundreds of miles away. The army watched the display with awe… and hope… as Yuki turned to face them. “The monsters,” she began, speaking slowly, “hide in our forest. They make a refuge of the lands the goddess gave us to protect. They prey on men and foxes alike, raping, consuming, destroying… and they think to take shelter in what is ours!?

If the battle was allowed to end here, everyone the jorogumo had taken was doomed. They might survive their first clutch, or even their hundredth, but eventually all of them would die in that spider cursed place, devoured from the inside by the unholy filth that had been raped into them. Caution and patience couldn’t save them… Akari and her cowardice couldn’t save them… but swift and decisive action could. Yuki could.

This was what she had been born to do.

The white fox turned and faced the forest again. She could see it in her mind’s eye as, in a dozen different places around the forest, in the fallen warcamps, a handful of other veterans she had sent there began moving… obeying the signal flare Yuki had sent up. Walking toward the edge of the forest with witchfire already burning. “We will leave nowhere for them to hide from us.” She called up witchfire in both hands, narrowing her eyes. Then she turned back to the forest and began to stride forward with purpose, eyes glowing as her fire swelled.

“Burn it down.”

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