Chosen – Chapter 14 – Inferno

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

The kitsune poured through the forest, Yuki in the lead, and the jorogumo burned. Seijun watched in satisfaction as the enemies that had plagued them died by the dozens, by the hundreds, by the thousands, as the kitsune warriors took the battle to the trees and pushed further and further into the lair of the jorogumo menace.

She stalked through the forest with them, doing her part to exterminate their foe. Her flames burned away their hiding places, drove them out of their defensive positions, blocked their avenues of escape. She left her opponents with no choice but her, and her spear, and the spray of blood as she ripped them apart. And then it was time for the next opponent, and then the next and the next and the next and the next.

Seijun had spent years feeling helpless about their situation. How many friends had she lost in that time? How many family members? How many times had she strained not to get close to someone, to keep her distance and avoid the pain of loss? Every time she’d discovered a new bloated, defiled corpse that had once been someone she’d loved, it had been a fresh dagger to her heart, but it was the ones she’d never found that haunted her nightmares. Had they too been used up and then cast aside like garbage, or were they still out there somewhere, suffering?

But now the rules had changed. No more endless, futile battles that seem to accomplish nothing but making her watch the deaths of those she’d sworn to protect. No more feeling like she was being slowly ground away into nothing. And no more war. This ended tonight.

There was nothing left nearby for her to kill, and nothing ahead of her but thick foliage, so Seijun summoned her fire once again. The White Fox of Hanei, disciplined as ever in her foxfire used, had mastered this technique with ease and wielded her considerable amount of power as a cudgel. She concentrated an immense amount of magic into her hands, creating a brilliant blue sphere of blazing power before hurling it forward. The inferno she had conjured was so powerful that it didn’t set trees on fire… it incinerated every tree in its path, clearing the view forward through the smoke and foliage for a hundred feet…

And revealing the jorogumo swarming towards her.

“Gyaaaaaaaaa!” Seijun howled in fury as she saw the hated enemy that had claimed so many of her friends charging forward. She sneered at them, her eyes narrowed, her breathing quick. These beasts had thought they could get away with killing family? They’d thought they could kill Akemi? Seijun would teach them the error of their ways… that there was more than one warrior here able to butcher them like the swine they were.

She danced through their midst, dodging contemptuously, stabbing, thrusting, killing. These were young ones, she noticed… not broodlings, but not fully grown either. Their armor was weak, their techniques sloppy… they were the ones that the jorogumo had been breeding. Just the thought of what they had done to her people to create these monsters made her see red and she started to conjure witchfire to-


She didn’t need it. She would kill these bastards with her own hands, instead. Stab, thrust, twist, withdraw, dodge left, kick the leg, have her chase an illusion, slide the spear through the base of her neck. Kick off, kill the next one… and the next… and the next. Her fury blinded her… Seijun continued moving forward, only to be caught by surprise by the web coming right at her. She wasn’t ready for it, but she reacted with the skill and speed of centuries of practice. She threw her spear, embedding it in a tree, catching a corner of the web and hanging it up even as she shifted to her fox form, ducking beneath the webbing and coming out the other side.

“You really are crazy to dare come at me like that,” a flat voice said, a hint of a slither in her sound. A dark spider-woman approached her through the smoke and flames… one that Seijun knew. She was one of the True Jorogumo… the one that Syllana identified as the strongest of them. Akume, she had named the dark skinned monster. “I don’t believe I have ever seen a kitsune this angry before,” she said as she flexed her hands open and shut, claws shining on her fingertips. “And to dare to come towards my lair… kill my children…”

The spider stood up taller, towering over Seijun. “I recognize you, white fox. Those mongrels of Inari’s look to you. I’m going to make it so if they ever speak of you again, it will only to warn their children. I will make an example of you to anyone who would dare to lift a finger in the presence of Akume!”

“I promise,” Seijun growled. “No one will ever have the chance to lift a finger against you ever again.” The witchfire popped in her hand and ran up her vulpine body as she prepared to… to…

The sickness hit her all at once.

Seijun doubled over, her fox form evaporating away as she retched on the ground, vomiting. It felt like the witchfire had worked its way into her stomach and was burning her from the inside… like she was about to explode. Her eyes widened with horror as she looked up at the amused jorogumo, sweat abruptly covering her face. She had been wrong. She had been horribly, horribly wrong.

She had never tried to kill anything with her fire before now. Even during the battle, she had used it to contain, to ward away, to destroy obstacles, trees, ground. Not another living, breathing being with a soul. She had fought with traditional methods that she knew… no matter what she said. Seijun had been lying from the beginning. She’d known from the first moment she’d seen witchfire that something wasn’t right about it. That it was too good to be true. It had always felt slick and greasy to the touch for her, and left her feeling filthy. She had no idea what witchfire really was, but she knew that it was wrong.

And she hadn’t cared. Not if using it could bring an end to the war. Not if it could save her people. So she’d lied, to them and to herself. And now…

Shirakami-Sanchi was burning.

All around her, the fires had grown beyond the control of those wielding it, spiraling completely beyond the point where they could be contained. The forest Seijun had grown up with had been transformed into an inferno. Jorogumo and kitsune and humans alike were being swallowed by the scorching fire, turning into ash before her eyes. Other foxes screamed in agony as they tried to summon more witchfire than they could handle and burst into flames, overwhelmed and consumed by the wild destructive power.

This wasn’t a battlefield anymore, it was a killing ground. The entire forest was going to burn, and everyone and everything inside was going to burn with it.

Seijun’s panic and disgust and pain increased tenfold as the talons of Akume came down around her, sticking into her body, and as she dropped down the demon bit her neck, injecting her with poison. The white fox gasped and shook violently as her body stiffened, falling limp into the massive spider’s arms. Akume hissed with delight as she started shredding Seijun’s clothing and armor with her sword-like spider legs, stripping her naked as she pulled her up into the trees and proceeded to retreat further into the wood, away from the hellish fire destroying both armies. “You just might be a prize worthy enough for me to be alright with this disaster,” Akume chuckled. “Let’s try to make you last a little while, shall we? I will make powerful children from our spawn…”

Akari’s eyes widened as she stared through the smoke and tears, watching her forest be swallowed by flame and ember. She gasped for breath, breathing through the golden tail she held against her face. “By Inari,” she muttered. “Yuki, what have you done?”

Despite the anger and reservations she felt towards her sister and the use of the evil magic brought on by Syllana, Akari could never have truly abandoned her people. Her apprehension was great, and she would not use the magic… but that didn’t mean she couldn’t save lives. It wasn’t long before she’d turned back to inevitably provide her aid, and when she did it wasn’t alone… her healers, of a similar mind, followed with her. Their horror at seeing the forest they had grown up in lighting up the night sky with the raging fires knew no bounds, though.

With her sword in hand, Akari dashed at rapid speeds into the burning arena, slashing down broodlings as they attempted to swarm her. The battle had broken into absolute chaos as the furious kitsune burned their way through the forest… there was no coordinated attack or defense anymore, and most of the jorogumo she fought struggled with terror, not hunger or aggression. It made the few cases that that was not the case all the more striking as she and her followers spread through the woods, eager to rescue those who had been taken by the Binding Brides.

She witnessed a jorogumo matriarch, one of their adults, having pinned down one of the soldiers… a human man. She was laughing as she spun him up in a cocoon of webbing. The soldier had long since been stripped naked and the jorogumo was enjoying her dominance over the man as she spun the downed warrior around and around and around, screaming as the poison in the webbing dosed him again and again. Those screams were soon cut off as her ovipositor promptly forced its way into the soldier’s mouth all the while. The demon laughed as she looked down at the helpless human, taking her moment of triumph in the flaming disaster this night had come… only to fall as Akari’s sword suddenly split her skull. The creature let out a horrific cry as Akari proceeded forward, hacking as the spiders body reflexively flailed around in a lethal fashion, dicing the monster up into multiple bloody pieces.

The terrified soldier tried to crawl away as quickly as possible in a panicked fear for what was going on, partially wrapped up in the webbing, screaming in pain from the hypersensitivity. Akari quickly hurried over to the fallen soldier and swung her sword with expert precision, cutting through his bonds. The soldier gasped as he was freed, looking up at his golden-tailed savior. “Lady Akari!?” he cried in relief. “Thank Inari! You have to help us!” He looked panicked, his eyes wide. “The Dark Fire… it’s burning out of control, and the jorogumo are picking us off! So many soldiers were taken into these trees and they will die by this evil magic before they die by the demons!”

“I know,” said Akari with a heavy sigh. She rubbed over the soldier’s arms to calm him and check for any serious injuries, her hands starting to glow. Thankfully, he hadn’t been in the webbing for long… he hadn’t gotten enough poison into him to cause a problem. As soon as she got him walking again… “This was not the way to end the war,” Akari muttered as she finished healing the cuts on his legs. “Go! Leave these woods and run on the road until you reach Nagoro. I will send as many behind you as I can free and heal… tell the village lord to expect injured!”

The soldier looked at Akari with wide eyes as he nodded in understanding, scrambling to his feet and running as he hurried away from the burning flames. Akari turned back and looked at the fires as they were already rapidly spreading. She breathed in slowly before bracing her sword and charging into the woods, catching glimpses of her healers doing likewise around her… never too far away.

It didn’t take long for her to find more soldiers fighting off broodlings that had caught fire and were surrounded. The creatures were ready to drop down on the soldiers in a likely suicidal attack to take one or two of them out until Akari blasted through them with her wild swings of the sword. “Lady Akari!” cried one of the soldiers, coughing, her tails stained with smoke and dirt. “Inari forgive us… there’s a nest not far from here, but the flames are too thick!”

“Run! Toward the Nagoro highway! Hurry!” Akari ordered as she turned toward the nest. “I’ll take care of it.”

The kitsune hurried through the trees, avoiding falling embers as she ran alongside her followers into the mass of woven branches and webbing that showed a lair of the jorogumo. Besides some broodlings that were promptly cut down, it seemed empty of spiders. Likely it had been abandoned as the demons fled the flames further into the forests, but the webbing and cocoons full of kitsune waiting to be harvested of their implanted young remained. Akari looked at the sight in horror as she could only imagine the horrible fate these poor women suffered.

Still, she was in no hurry to join them. She was vigilant in her stride as she entered the den and started cutting the cocoons open. The stench of toxins and jorogumo spunk filled the air as Akari wretched back in horror. Mostly, the kitsune she found were alive, but each of them having suffered a terrible fate. Akari fought through tears as she started pulling them from hardened webbing, holding them in her strong arms as she pulled them free.

Then came the hard part.

There was so much venom in these girls that it would kill them. Not by the poison itself, but the withdrawal… it would stop their hearts. Normally, she would have rather tried to get them out one at a time and cleanse their addictions, but the fire was approaching… they just didn’t have the time. Nor, regretfully, did she have time to fully cleanse any of them. Instead, Akari threw herself into just stabilizing them… keeping them going, making sure they wouldn’t die while they took them from the forest. Then, one by one, she handed them to other healers almost like they were sacks of flour, sending them scurrying back out of the forest before the fires consumed the nest.

“Leave no one behind,” she muttered to herself as she wiped her eyes. “I won’t leave a soul behind. I’m so sorry. All of you, I’m so sorry.” Yuki…

“Akari! Help!” The huge form of Yuudai came into view, holding a pair of kitsune half wrapped in cocoons over his shoulders. “These two are bad,” he said grimly, setting them down.

It didn’t take Akari long to realize how right he was. Yuudai was one of the best healers she had, so if he was having trouble, it had to be bad… and it was. These two had been here for months… Yusai and Ume had been taken near the very beginning of the infestation, and Akari had had little hope that either of them still lived. However, it seemed that they had… and had been trapped in the torturous pain of the jorogumo venom that whole time.

And had built up a correspondingly potent dependency to it.

Akari threw herself into the healing, working alongside the red-haired healer. It felt like… it felt like mopping up a leak when the water was still coming through… trying to push it back into place while it fought you every step of the way. Block by exhausting block, Akari used foxfire to build up their bodies’ resistance, building a metaphorical wall of strength to prevent organ failure for now. These two would require more work – much more – and they didn’t have time to do it here. “They should be alright for now,” Akari said, gasping with exhaustion from the effort. She looked around with open dismay, lost in the raw horror of triage. “We need to get them out of the forest. Take them and go!”

“What about you?” he asked.

“Leave no one behind,” she said again. “I’ll get the rest.”

Yuudai hesitated. “Are you sure that’s a good idea, Lady Akari?”

“I’m certain if I do not, people I could save will die,” she said, trying to keep the need for rest from her voice. “Go.” Yuudai didn’t need more explanation than that. He was a healer too… he understood. With a nod, the large kitsune transformed, lifted both women up again and began to run from the forest, carrying them as quickly as he could.

And then Akari was alone… stripped of allies and of help. With a deep breath, she turned and strode further into the warren of webs.

Most of the cocoons she found as she searched were empty. She hoped that that was because one of the others had gotten to them, and that the jorogumo hadn’t taken their victims with them when they fled. They had certainly left plenty of others behind, so Akari didn’t think it was likely, but she hoped it was true. It didn’t do anything to reassure her that others of the cocoons only contained desiccated husks, many of them too destroyed to identify even if Akari had known the fox or human in question.

Right when Akari was considering leaving, she heard it… a cry for help through the forest. Breaking into a run through the smoke, she looked around frantically, unable to find the source of the sound at first until she looked up. Far up in the webbing in the trees, there were more cocoons… high, high above. Throwing herself at the tree, Akari climbed as quickly as she could.

Once she reached the top, she tested the web… finding it was dead web, not sticky, she stepped out onto it, reaching the cocoons in a flash and beginning to cut the first of them open. “Don’t panic,” Akari said to the helpless blonde who was tightly secured in the spiderweb that her captor had spun into this tall tree. Even as she spoke, she knew that the woman was unlikely to take her advice. The forest was on fire, Akari was clearly exhausted, and the tall blonde’s eyes were widely dilated with jorogumo venom. “I’m going to get you out of here,” she said, the forced calm of a battlefield healer taking over her voice. “Stay with me now, I nee-”

Abruptly, the woman’s eyes focused. “Look out!” she screamed, and Akari jumped away just in time to dodge a spray of webbing that came within centimeters of coating her like a venomous blanket. 

“And just what do you think you’re doing?” A dark skinned jorogumo, a big one, hung from the webbing even further above, almost invisible among the darkness and the smoke. She glared angrily as she watched Akari land awkwardly on her feet and draw her sword from its sheath, but her tone was amused. “I come back here to get some of my favorite pets… and I find you’ve been freeing them?” She clicked her tongue as she shook her head. “I suppose you’ll just have to take their place. And you, my lovely,” she said, looking at the drugged kitsune that Akari had been in the process of freeing. ”What made you think you could go? You should know by now that you belong to me… I’d never leave you behind. Or allow someone to take you from me, either.” She smiled broadly at them both, a smile that never reached her glowing eyes. “The love of Nyami is eternal… as your friend here will soon find out.”

Akari stared into that smile, setting her face into a grimace. Nyami could doubtless see the tiredness in the fox healer’s eyes. She did not expect this to be a long fight. One way or the other, she was right about that… with her exhaustion and the forest burning down around them, Akari didn’t have time to waste. She needed to-

Nyami leaped towards Akari, catching her off guard with the sheer, brutal speed of her approach. She was still trying to flinch away and get her stance beneath her when the spider was on top of her, one of her legs lashing out in a sudden, brutal rush of a kick. It sent Akari flying up in the air before she crashed back down to the webbing, rolling as she bounced along it even as Nyami ran over and stood atop her, attempting to wrap the kitsune in a web and hang her on a tree.

Akari turned around and swept Nyami away with a strike from her powerful tails, all nine of them swinging together like a cudgel. It didn’t knock her over, or even knock the spider back, but it made her sway on her feet and rocked the unsteady “ground” beneath them, giving Akari time to find her feet again and rush to get close with Nyami. That was the best way to fight a jorogumo… they had blindspots, places that were awkward to reach and to see both. The kitsune knew that… and the jorogumo did too.

So, instead of continuing her rush, Akari summoned foxfire and crafted an illusion of herself at the same second she wrapped herself in a cloak and froze. Nyami swung, her legs moving expertly, and she caught the illusionary kitsune as she tried to bob and weave her way into a blindspot, her face twisting in confusion when she felt nothing from the illusion. Then, when the spider was fully committed to her attack, Akari struck. She aimed her sword cut at the leading pair of Nyami’s legs and swung her hand as hard she could. There was a sharp sound as her sword struck the heavily armored legs and Nyami took a few quick steps back when she felt the blow of the sword.

The sword rang in her hands… but while Nyami momentarily winced, there was little but a crack to show evidence of the haymaker of a blow. “Silly fox,” she taunted, her face cracking into a smile. “Silly, tricky, clever fox. Your sword is powerless against me,” she purred out the words as she laughed and ran towards a tree close to her. She climbed quickly and used the network of webs she had spun around the forest, disappearing into the canopy.

Akari moved, keeping the cloak on herself. Kitsune invisibility was anything but… it made her more of a blurry, translucent form than a truly invisible one, but in the smoke and the darkness it was nearly as good… which was why it was a surprise when Nyami abruptly leaped out of the canopy and down onto her, grabbing. Akari sensed Nyami’s falling body at the last moment and she rolled away as fast as she could, but caught another leg to the side as she dove, sending her sprawling.

“You can’t hide from me, sword girl,” Nyami said, drawing back before she spat out a silk ball of webbing that unfolded as it flew. Akari was just getting to her feet, and she held her sword in front of her to block the projectile. The silk web was nearly impossible to tear but it cut easily enough, and the edge of her katana was sharp as a razor… it split in half around her. The sheer force behind the thrown thing, however, was staggering…  it sent Akari crashing into a tree behind her. As she hit the hardwood, the fox’s invisibility faded and Nyami ran towards her in an attempt to pin her to the tree…

Only for the barely conscious captive fox, still mostly encased in webbing, to grab onto one of her legs and pull it into a full body embrace.

Nyami tugged, but now that the tall, lanky blonde kitsune had her body wrapped around the limb, she had it caught. Now it was the strength of the webbing keeping the jorogumo in place, not her drugged muscles. Akari’s eyes widened as she tried to push up… that woman shouldn’t be able to move at all, high on venom as she was. In truth, she looked incredibly weak and exhausted… but still she held on for dear life as Nyami tugged, trying to get free. “Won’t… won’t… let…” she mumbled.

“Oh puppy,” the spider said, her expression patronizing. “You shouldn’t.”

Then three legs lashed out, one two three, and their tips viciously stabbed her through the chest like three bowshots. Crimson stains spread through the white webbing, and her arm went weak and limp as she sagged down in her bonds. Akari screamed in outrage, but the woman’s insane bravery had bought her some time… she had regained her footing, and used two of her tails to grab a branch just above her. She swung away as Nyami shot another ball of silk web towards her, impacting where she had been standing just an instant before.

Akari knew that Nyami was trying to trap her, but she was not going to let that happen. She was going to use all her skills to ensure that she defeated this monster and freed all the captives. She tried to use her foxfire again, to cloak herself again, but she had been running through the forest and saving lives for more than an hour before now and she was just too exhausted to do an adequate job. She tried anyway, hoping the smoke would cover for her failings…

But as she turned back, she saw that Nyami was out of sight, vanished into the night and smoke. She listened as closely as she could for the slightest sound of trouble, but the only thing she could hear was the soft moaning of the dying blonde fox and the crackling of the fire throughout the woods.

“You think you’re the only one who can disappear?” Nyami teased as Akari kept turning her head frantically, searching for her sneaky opponent. Her voice echoed through the webbed maze that she had made of the trees, making it almost impossible to locate the taunting jorogumo. “You shouldn’t have tried to tamper with my pets. I really liked that one. I hope you’ll be up to take her place…” Akari swung her sword aimlessly around in an attempt to ward off any sudden attack, moving, trying not to stay still and present an easy target… but invisible or not, Nyami found her again without issue. The huge spider-woman launched herself out of the dark, but this time it wasn’t down at Akari… instead, she jumped over her, spinning a series of silk webs from both her mouth and the spinneret on her thorax. Akari went into a mess of spinning slices, a frantic set of cuts that just barely managed to cut them away before they could reach her. It brought her back to more calm days, more peaceful days… learning the sword with Yuki, with Akemi, with her mothers… she wasn’t the warrior in the family. She wasn’t the one whose battle this was… but Akari had never been good at running away from a bully either.

Still in the air, Nyami landed on a tree on the other side of the web Akari stood on and rebounded immediately, going into a second leap and stabbing down at the fox as she cut away the last of the spat webs. The sharp points of her armored legs thrust like spears, and Akari spun gracefully aside and watched as Nyami crashed into the silken floor of her lair.

The jorogumo was impossibly swift, but by the time Nyami sprang up, Akari was already approaching. She held her sword with both hands and swung at Nyami’s neck, missing by less than an inch. Nyami shrieked and tried to strike Akari with one of her legs but the fox skillfully blocked it with her sword before clapping Nyami’s face with two of her strong tails. Akari tried to follow up with a kick to the face, but when she leaped in the air, she realized that she had not jumped high enough. She hadn’t realized just how tired she was… she felt like she needed to return to her fox form and sleep for a month.

When she landed on the ground, her feet were swiftly swept from underneath her by Nyami’s armored legs, and Akari rolled continuously on her stomach to avoid being captured or stabbed. Nyami followed steadily behind and she laughed hysterically when she saw that Akari was slowing down. “Don’t tell me you’re tired already, little fox,” she taunted. “I was beginning to enjoy this! Fear not, though… if I pace myself, we can have years to work on your stamina.” Her mocking voice chased Akari as the golden kitsune came to a halt. She was breathing heavily and she had to support herself on the trunk of a tree before she could get to her feet. She looked around at the innocent people trapped in Nyami’s various webs in an attempt to find motivation for one last attack. She took in a deep breath and pointed her sword towards Nyami who just smiled at her. “That’s more like it,” the jorogumo teased.

Akari ran towards her, vanishing behind another cloak of foxfire that cost her the last of her reserves. By the time she got to Nyami, she swung with everything she had at the jorogumo… and in the blink of an eye, she had jumped away, perfectly timing her dodge despite the cloak of foxfire she wore. at the jorogumo who easily maneuvered away. How…

A length of webbing rose up around her ankles and tugged. If Akari had been fresh, she probably would have had the dexterity to keep her balance. Instead, with a scream she toppled to the web, and in a flash Nyami was on her, grabbing the exhausted kitsune with all her legs and hugging her tightly before sinking her sharp teeth into her victim’s neck. Akari cried out in agony as the enormous dose of the spider’s venom was injected right into the bloodstream, making every sore muscle, ever scrape, every bit of exhaustion hurt a thousandfold. Akari went limp almost immediately, her body twitching involuntarily as it was invaded by the toxic poison. “You should know better than to fight a spider in her web,” Nyami mocked as she began to wrap Akari up in her webbing, the weak, exhausted kitsune crying out again as the webbing introduced further poison to her. “But it’s alright, my lovely… this is the way it was always going to be. You were mine the moment you stepped into my lair… mine for as long as I want you…”

Please, please, please… it can’t be like this…

Akari’s last sight was of the innocents trapped in Nyami’s webs, and of the fallen, blonde warrior bleeding in the webbing. She was looking right at Akari, and her drugged eyes had a strange sense of lucid horror as she watched Akari be wrapped in an expertly spun cocoon. She reached deep inside her, searching for reserves of foxfire and finding nothing… even her vast reservoir had been depleted. She tried to transform, to find more, but the pain kept her from concentrating, from forming a single thought that wasn’t a confused, desperate blur. All that was left was her soul itself, a delicate, unstable source of power that she had never been good at drawing on, no matter how many times Seijun had tried to describe how to do it, no matter how many times she had seen Yuki do it. Please… please…

Then a length of silk covered her eyes, and Akari was left in total darkness, alone with the ever growing agony of the poison coursing through her.

Seijun had expected Akume’s lair to be among the trees, or on the hills. She hadn’t been expecting it to be in a cave… or at least a webbed ravine between some hills that occasionally vanished into them. The hole was deep in the forest, and Seijun was still hanging limp from Akume’s arms, struggling against the venom invading her mind, as they disappeared into the darkness. “I can’t promise you’ll ever see daylight again,” Akume cooed at her, a chuckle in her voice, “but then that might be a comfort to you before too long, as well.”

The lair was filled with other cocoons, where Akume kept a hidden larder of her favorite breeders, harboring some of the strongest broods… the start of a new army, born of the strongest of the jorogumo. Many of the cocoons moved, but others were horribly still… their occupants either dead or so drugged that they couldn’t move any longer. Safely back in her home, Akume got to work on webbing Seijun up securely, the spider obviously well aware of the danger that the white fox possessed and not taking any chances with her. Seijun could feel the pain as her bare breasts rubbed against the venomous webbing, the harness around her tightening and framing them almost like a pair of trophies on her chest.

Akume caressed her soft, sensitive tits with her human fingers, squeezing her nipples between her nails with a playful edge. “Yes…” she purred. “You will do nicely. I’ll get an excellent brood from you…” Already sensitive, the venom amplified the effects of her fingers a thousandfold to Seijun… she couldn’t even tell if it hurt or felt good. The sheer sensation of it was mind-bending. Seijun’s legs wobbled with the sudden sharp spike of feeling, and if she wasn’t webbed in place she would have collapsed to the gully floor with her tails splayed out. Akume started to pull on her own silk, dragging it through the kitsune’s mouth, gagging her to prevent speech or mute her cries. “You are mine, now…”

Akume grabbed her with firm yet surprisingly gentle and controlled hands as she tightened the web like it was a cloth around her mouth and wrapped it around her head several times over. The webbing held tight, through it pulled at her hair with each rotation. Seijun didn’t have much of a say in how she was being handled, however… not that she didn’t try to scream anyway. The agonizing euphoria of the drug made everything so much harder, even holding onto a single thought.

Akume was aggressive with her handling as she pulled Seijun back into the webs like she was attached to a hooked chain, binding the fox’s hands to her back even as she lifted her up so that she could dangle in the air several feet above the ground. Seijun’s heart raced as she saw how calmly the spider worked, how pleased she was with herself… utterly unconcerned about the burning forest above as she prepared to claim the white fox like she had so, so, so many others Seijun had sworn to protect. She watched as the dirty ground started to pull further away with each pull and she was lifted upwards into the air to where the demon wanted her… helpless as could be even before Akume grabbed Seijun’s ankles and pulled them up to the web, using new lines of poisonous silk to bind them spread so that her body formed a pyramid shape as it hung in the air – her ass and groin spread open as her knees were forcibly divided by the position she was now bound into.

Akume clenched Seijun by the cheeks and smiled as she pulled the web over her face. “I will have you begging and praying for mercy, little slave,” she said in a firm voice. It was terrifying by the sheer lack of emotion in it… she didn’t say it like a threat, but merely a fact. Akume was very, very angry about the harsh setback she had been dealt here, the destruction of so many of her children and the ruination of her plans, but her anger was a cold, calm, and pragmatic thing as she licked her sharp teeth. “I will not be kind to you.”

Seijun felt shivers all the way down her spine, the poison already making their control over her body known. The venom, almost without trying, was mind-obliterating… able to practically melt her ability to speak without her needing to even try. She could tell instantly – and yet far too late – the vast gulf there was between the spiders she had been killing for years and one of the true jorogumo, a monster like Akume. She wanted to resist, to fight, to scream, but she also wanted to yield and stop twisting against her bonds, further poisoning herself in the webbing, and a small part of her also wanted to just give up and let herself to be used and abused like their plaything, despite knowing in her mind that it was going to lead to torment and misery. She was an object to this monster now and nothing more, exactly how they wanted her to be. Seijun’s rape was going to be her first real experience in sex for decades now and she had never felt more unprepared… and yet her body couldn’t be much more ready, either.

She felt Akume continue to explore her body by rubbing the tips of her sharp taloned fingers down her belly and hips and over her trembling thighs like she was seeing a naked woman for the very first time… like every piece was something special. Seijun gasped as the first immediate rush of pleasure ran through her, her entire body insanely sensitive. “What I see here,” Akume purred, “is a toy that needs to be played with.” The jorogumo stroked her fingers down Seijun’s genitals backwards and forward, caressing her asshole down her taint and back up over her pussy lips. “You poor thing… you haven’t led an exciting life for all your years, have you? Until now, that is…” Her other hand fastened around Seijun’s breasts and squeezed, hard. “And now you will know my reckoning, little one,” she hissed.

Seijun could hardly move with how she was bound, but her whole body quaked with pain and fear and excitement all at once, the drugs coursing through her body so confusing she didn’t even know how to react. All she could do was squirm as her cries were muffled by the thick wrapping of webbing around her face as she attempted to let them out. The spider chuckled. “Oh? Something to say?” The jorogumo pulled her body over and yanked Seijun’s hair to look at her straight in the eye. She then cracked a smile as she pushed herself against Seijun’s ass with such ferocity that it immediately left the kitsune shaken. “Slaves only speak when given permission to speak.”

Seijun gasped and shivered as she was bashed back and forth. It hurt, and it burned… and she felt her pussy tingling with need even as she shook in the webbing. This was so much different than any experience she had ever had being touched before, and it was all driven by a mixture of poison, dark magic, fear, and titillatingly forbidden pleasure. She regretted so much in her moments of sanity as she thought long and hard about the poor kitsune who’d suffered this fate for so long before now… and how many more would suffer because of her mistake of teaching them witchfire?

Akume chuckled as she rubbed over Seijun’s ass and squeezed where she was bruised. “So tender,” she muttered in a seductive tone. “Such a succulent ass, and one that can take a beating.” The jorogumo proceeded to spank Seijun hard, right on the same spot that she had struck with her hips. Seijun moaned into the gag, and not even she was sure how much of it was pain. Her shoulders twitched from how hard she jerked forward in the hanging position she was in, her whole form trembling as her toes clenched tightly. Akume licked her hand and proceeded to rub the throbbing clit between Seijun’s legs, teasing it. Seijun knew that the jorogumo just wanted to prepare this tight pussy for a real beating and ultimate impregnation, and that she shouldn’t feel anything but horror at her touch, but the mess of sensation was so confusing that it was hard to think straight. The now constant sense of touch on her over-sensitive skin began to make her feel like she was drifting as part of her mind began to yearn for Akume to continue in her assault, to do anything at all to her so long as she kept touching her – Seijun’s body betraying her senses at every turn.

Akume started to gently stroke Seijun’s hair, running through it with one hand while her other continued to play with her slit… admiring the athletic body of the beautiful kitsune, soft in the right places and hard in all the others. Eventually, that hand came to rest on her breasts, caressing her swollen nipples beneath the spider silks that covered her. Seijun’s tits were already sore from being squeezed by the web, which caused them to really jut out from her body and presented themselves as something to be played with, and she took full advantage.

Seijun didn’t see it, but she felt it as the large, egg-laying cock unsheathed itself from where it was hidden away inside the jorogumo’s body, prodding stiff and hard against her back and ass as she dangled helplessly in the air. Seijun had never actually seen one of the jorogumo’s ovipositors before, but she had imagined them… and her worst imaginations hadn’t caught up with the reality. That felt massive! “It would be a crime against nature,” Akume purred into Seijun’s pointed ear as she continued to play with her, “to linger on such a lovely thing when this cock is hungry for a good fucking. I’m swollen and filled with eggs, and you will make for a perfect remedy.”

Seijun quivered as Akume casually rubbed herself to full extension. It was a slow build up of tense expectations as Akume was clearly a well endowed creature and an experienced one at that. What she had jutting from her body wasn’t a dick… it was a weapon, one mightier than any sword or spear Seijun had seen before. The poison coursed through her body, electrifying her brain, clouding her judgment of all reality. She wondered if Akume could fuck her to death with that. There was a mad, lunatic kind of curiosity about it, that her drugged body almost wanted to find out. Then the terror came, and she struggled harder, straining against the webs as Akume chuckled, proceeding behind Seijun, and all the white fox could do was quiver in anticipation and cry that she didn’t want to want it the way her body kept insisting she did.

Akume held firmly to the back of Seijun’s neck, locking her in place and leaning forward to kiss her on the head, even as her other hand continued to caress the swollen nubs of the captive kitsune’s tits. “You have my permission to scream, slave,” Akume whispered. Then, with no further warning, her cock slid between the cheeks of Seijun’s ass. The drugged kitsune could feel the heat and the wetness of that fat, lubricated cock tip as it rubbed up between her pussy lips, the shaft fully caressing the length of her genitals. Seijun let out a dull whimper as she held her breath. Akume spread her spider legs open as wide as possible, lowering herself, adjusting position, and slowly pushed herself in with a firm hold on the webs around them.

Seijun’s eyes widened as she gasped, and then she screamed… but even as she did her eyes rolled back in her head as her body reeled from the pain so intense it was almost like pleasure. Akume filled her up completely and had plenty of extra meat to spare… the spider grunted and groaned with pleasure as she started to thrust in and out in slow, moderate intervals at first.

“Of all the things I love about you foxes,” Akume commented, “how tight and welcoming you stay has to be my favorite. It means I could break you in every day for decades if I wished.” She chuckled. “And you couldn’t stop me… I feel like I could break you in half. It’s strange – for such a powerful adversary, you feel so fragile on the inside, bitch.”

Seijun was submerged deep into the delusion of lust now, the venom poisoning her brain to the point she couldn’t tell if she was flinching away from Akume or thrusting back towards her. It didn’t really matter either way – Akume used her body like a toy, growing more and more vicious in her use as Seijun’s body gave up its resistance to her cock, starting to pound harder and deeper, breaking in Seijun’s cunt in with some immense force as she tried to cram every last impossible inch into her. The white-furred fox was constantly perched on the precipice of a screaming, agonizing orgasm without being allowed to tip over it, her pussy juicing despite itself to help the shaft properly slide up deep into her pussy and push her walls further apart. She was overwhelmed with the mind-obliterating touches of the monster, and even more so when Akume grabbed onto her tails and yanked back on them, immobilizing her and using them as a handle to fuck her even harder.

“Look at you, whore,” Akume hissed. “You love it. You are enjoying every second of this, aren’t you?” Seijun shook her head miserably in the webbing… but she also moaned. The very action made her sob and Akume smirk. “Well, let’s see if I can’t make you any less conflicted, then?” She brought one hand to her face, and with a moaning sigh the jorogumo seemed to drool her aphrodisiac poison into the palm of her hand. “It would take a true whore,” Akume said as she pressed her fingers between Seijun’s cheeks, the now-soaked fingers caressing the rim of her asshole, “to enjoy getting raped up her ass, too… wouldn’t you say, young fox?” Seijun gasped as she squirmed, finger fucking her ass even as she continued to skewer her cunt, pumping her finger in and out as she drove her cock inside of Seijun, reaching around to play with her clit. All three sensations at once made Seijun’s very mind go blank, vanishing into a white haze of humiliation and pleasure and anguish. Akume continued to swap between spanking her and finger fucking her, the venom slopping around in her asshole as it sank into her and blew up her world. Her thighs and ass cheeks were turning red as Akume even pulled on the web that hung around Seijun’s neck, just to completely emphasize how thoroughly in control she was. “I take it back,” Akume teased. “I guess you are that big of a whore after all.”

It made Seijun add being light headed and dizzy to the list of ailments she was feeling, the madness sweeping through her… but she still felt it when the cock came free of her pussy at the same time the finger withdrew. Some part of her mind knew what that meant, but the rest of her was still taken completely, devastatingly by surprise as Akume’s monstrously thick cock shoved most of the way into Seijun tight asshole in a single second. With the poisonous lube shoved into her, her sensitivity was off the scale… she would have screamed loudly enough to wake the dead even through her gag if she’d had air. Instead she jerked and thrashed in her bonds, the venom and friction causing raw burns on her skin from where she rubbed against the webbing. “So tight…” Akume purred in pleasure, slamming back and forth. “You nine tailed egg sacs always have the best holes… why should we ever settle for less?”

Seijun wasn’t sure how long she had been suffering on the edge of cumming, unable to be pushed over as her body was filled with pain and maddening pleasure. She couldn’t tell time… she couldn’t even think. It felt like she had been here for years and years and years. She couldn’t smell smoke anymore, couldn’t smell anything but her own sweat and the spider’s alien musk making her dizzy… she couldn’t hear anything but the beating of her own heart and wet shlick shlick shlick as her asshole was raped, couldn’t feel anything but the single, pressing sensation of the spider being inside of her, always inside, deeper and deeper…

When she pulled out, it was hard for Seijun to remember there had ever been a time she wasn’t filled… her asshole felt empty, clenching on nothing as hypersensitive flesh spasmed in the hollow space opened up inside of her. Akume, for her part, simply climbed up her body and one of the trees to hover over Seijun, rubbing her cock against the white fox’s face. Her sharp nails made quick work of the webbing covering her face, letting her rip the sticky stuff off of the dazed kitsune’s lips. She opened her mouth to cry out at the sharp pain, and in the next second Akume was inside of her, forcing all of her in. The spider felt even more massive in her mouth as forced the kitsune to taste both of her holes and the venom on the thick cock.

Seijun gagged hard, but it didn’t stop Akume for a second… it didn’t matter that she was practically choking on Akume’s cock, the jorogumo kept thrusting in and in and in, the tip of her head throbbing as it pushed all the way into the back of her throat and pulsated with slime as it drew closer and closer to releasing thousands of eggs into her body. Akume continued to thrust deep into her throat and force her gag reflex to train itself to please her, making the kitsune shake and convulse as her whole body reacted to the choking cock forcing its way down her neck. Then, without warning, the spider’s legs wrapped her in a crushing embrace as Akume unloaded a huge stream of thick, egg-filled cum down the fox’s throat.

Seijun had to gulp and gulp just to breathe, to swallow back down the bits that tried to escape her throat. “Yes… that is just right,” Akume said, her hands playing through Seijun’s white hair. “Suck it all down, little bitch.” She pulled the tangled white mane aside so she could watch her swallow her cum. “Take it all… Take my eggs into your belly! Harvest some real warriors for once in your existence.”

Akume sighed in relaxation as she emptied her seed into her mouth as Seijun took it all in… and that was when a loud screech of fire tore through the nearby webbing, right through the gulch that the jorogumo had made her lair. The spider screamed in something between horror and rage as her thorax caught fire from the magical burning power. She dropped off of the tree to the ground below, rolling rapidly in an attempt to put the fires out, rolling on her back before she looked up.

Seijun did the same… just as Yuki, completely covered in smoke and ashes, strode through the burned gap in the webbing. “Murderer,” she hissed.

Akume could not believe how quickly everything had been ruined.

Her dreams of conquering the foxes and the humans, for building a world for her children… everything had been going so well, and then it had all crumbled at once. Kumiko was dead. She could remove her remaining rival for control at any time now, but even the thought of finally being rid of the troublesome Nyami brought her no comfort… tens of thousands of her children were dying. The forest was practically a furnace… and that accursed fox was responsible for it. 

As Akume pushed herself fully up, the other damned white fox strode closer, blazing with that strange fire that she had never seen anything like. “You stupid creature! You think you can kill my sister and get away with it?!” the fox, Yuki, screamed as a deadly flame burned in her eyes. She held out a hand, and a fireball sailed swiftly past Akume, missing her by a whisker as she leaped to the side. The other woman strode confidently forward… the moment Akume landed on the side of the cave, she tried to jump off to elsewhere but Yuki increased her speed, driving a kick directly into the dodging spider’s chin.

Akume had not expected that… and she certainly had not expected it to hit her as hard as she did. She found herself falling carelessly towards the ground as the kitsune shifted into her fox form in mid air, kicking off her again, sending her smashing down against the rocks. Akume hit the ground, bounded, and rolled, forcing herself quickly back up to her feet, scanning the area to see if Yuki had come with any help. When she was satisfied that they were alone, she smiled to herself.

She had killed millions, for longer than this fox bitch could trace her ancestry back. No matter how angry and confident Yuki felt, it was still a stupid move to try to fight the greatest of the jorogumo alone. Akume would teach her the error of her ways.

With her newly fortified confidence, Akume ran at Yuki in an eight legged rush. The white fox barely had time to transform back and draw her sword from its sheath before Akume crashed into her with all her might. Yuki’s strength was nothing compared to a monster like Akume’s, and she crashed into the same stalagmite from which she had kicked the jorogumo a few moments ago. A wave of fury built in Akume, anger for her murdered children, for her foiled plans, for the dismissal her father would doubtless feel for her… for her failure. The spider leapt after the fox in order to crush Yuki’s body between her and the stone, and Yuki forced herself up and off the tree as Akume approached. The jorogumo swung one of her spider legs at the escaping kitsune. The sword-like tip of the leg brushing slightly against Yuki’s hand while the rest crashed violently into the stone, smashing into it, half battering and half cutting it in halves.

Yuki’s hand bled from a large, ugly cut, but she didn’t even seem to feel it in her intense anger. She was healing as quickly as she could, but paid the wound no other attention as she dodged away from the spider’s follow up attack, summoning foxfire to her call and pouring it into illusion after illusion. By the time Akume turned around, a grand illusion of a dozen other Yukis moved through the cave.

Akume’s eyes flitted between them, trying to decipher which was the real one. She lashed out in a quick attack, trying to follow the original, only to find her limb passing harmlessly through it. It opened her up to a heavy sword strike from behind, not from one of the illusions but from the invisible kitsune that had masked herself completely instead of losing herself among the copies, attacking from stealth as she raised her sword as high as possible and sent it crashing down at full speed at the jorogumo’s head.

Yuki swung Akemi’s sword straight down, and the strike hit full on – a direct hit with the blade slicing down on her horned head. That strike should have cleaved stone in two. Instead, it bounced off of Akume’s iron-hard skin and her harder-still skull. While her natural defenses had repelled the strike, though, the sheer force of the impact had dazed her as it shoved her down. “Only one of us can leave here alive!” Yuki yelled as she rose in the air and spread her hands and tails. “Just die already!” Her arms blazed with witchfire, her whole form swelling with it as she summoned up incredible amounts of energy. The decoy illusions had disappeared with her attack and the redirection of her magic as she squeezed her fists, her whole body glowing with power as she called up more and more.

So much power. Yuki, for her whole life, had needed to make do with scraps. Now, with witchfire, she finally had the kind of power that others had… the nearly limitless reserves of foxfire that had let Seijun and Akari do such wondrous things. She would use it to end this war, once and for all. Yuki squeezed her fists, screaming as she launched a barrage of fireballs one after the other towards the dazed, dizzy jorogumo.

Even exhausted and injured and overwhelmed, the jorogumo was quick enough to dodge the first lance by leaping sideways. A quick shift of her body got her out of the way of the second, as well. The third, however, struck her directly, and the spider screamed in agony as the unbearable, all-consuming heat engulfed her body with flames.

“You will burn along with the forest…” Yuki snarled as she chased after the fleeing spider, already summoning up more power. “You and all your kind! There will be nothing left of you but ash!” Akume seemed a little unsteady on her feet, but she still proved why she was the mightiest of the jorogumo… even as her body burned with flames she fought back furiously, and Yuki fell into a dance of dodging and weaving blade and tail, working her way through the spider’s limbs and webbing. Akume slashed and cut several of her tails, stabbing one all the way through, but while Yuki screamed in pain it only made her angrier and more determined. That anger fed the flame, reacting perfectly to her outrage and fury and urge to destroy… the flames in her eyes burned even more blue than they ever had before as the wounds on her tails blazed with flame as she forced the spider’s limbs away from them.

“You murder my people,” Yuki snarled as she battered away limbs one after the other with her blade, driving the jorogumo back. “You murder children! Your plague is over!”

Akume spat venom at her, and Yuki slapped it aside with a tail. “You should speak of murdering children,” the jorogumo spoke back, her voice burning with rage. “How many thousands of my children have you killed?” Her face twisted in a mask of outrage as she sheltered behind a wall of her chitinous legs. “I will rebuild,” she promised. “I will grow back, and I will wipe your people clean from this world. You will not even exist as egg sacs… nothing but corpses to form the foundations of my empire. Fear not, however… you won’t be here to see it.” Akume opened her mouth and spat out four lines of silk webbing at Yuki.

Yuki, in turn, sent out quickfire lances of flame to destroy the projectiles, turning them to ash before they got to her. She raised her sword once more and sprinted towards Akume, who ran fearlessly towards her attacker in turn. As Yuki swung, Akume jumped in the air to escape the strike before sending out one large silk web, which managed to wrap around one of Yuki’s tails. Yuki did not seem to notice, and she swung her sword again, this time landing a sweet strike on Akume’s chest, opening a long but shallow cut across her nearly-impenetrable skin and sending Akume stumbled backwards as she struggled to regain her composure.

Yuki could tell that the spider was weakening… but she wasn’t sure which of them was tiring faster, and the spider was nearly invulnerable. When Akume came at her once again, she found it hard to dodge or repel the attack… she might be the one weakening faster, and her fury only did so much to buoy her against the fact that she had been fighting and killing for hours now. Akume drove her sword down with a series of slashing attacks from her legs before punching her in the face. Yuki flew up in the air before landing sprawling on her back. Something was wrong. How come she felt so tired and vulnerable all of a sudden?

She tried to push herself up with her tails, but they were almost unresponsive. Akume was about to leap in the air to impale Yuki on her armored legs, and when she took off, Yuki quickly rolled away. In the process of rolling, she noticed the webbing tangled around her tail, dosing her with poison… the main thing no doubt making her so exhausted as the surging fire kept burning it away. Without even a moment of hesitation, Yuki sliced off the tail that had been caught, and while she didn’t start feeling any stronger she stopped feeling weaker by the heartbeat.

Akume plummeted towards her and Yuki rose, prepared to end this. She closed her eyes and summoned all her strength, visualizing her sister in her mind and not fighting against the flood of nearly irrepressible anger that the thought brought on… and the incredible surge of power that came with it. She let out a loud scream and gripped her sword with all her might. Akume jumped and aimed two of her sharp legs at Yuki… and a sheath of blue witchfire six inches thick suddenly blazed to life around it, glowing so brightly that it was almost blinding. Akume screamed in excruciating pain, unable to believe as her two front legs were severed halfway down.

The spider looked down in shock. She had always been invincible, her armor impenetrable… and now she knew injury for the first time since her battle against her millions of siblings. Her balance disrupted, she wobbled on her remaining feet as Yuki swung for her face. The jorogumo tried to block the attack with her right hand, but the fire cut through her arm as easily as it had her leg. Akume screamed, clearly turning to flee.

“Time to die,” Yuki said as she prepared to swing again. Akume was clearly distressed, and she fell flat on the floor in an attempt to escape what was surely going to be a brutally lethal strike. Instead of swinging, however, Yuki aimed her sword at Akume’s naked chest and brought it down with a force so fierce that it came out through the Jorogumo’s back and lodged deep into the ground.

When Akume opened her mouth Yuki expected a scream, but all that emanated from her cavity was a wet rattle, and it took her a moment to realize that the demon was laughing. “Is this funny to you?!” the fox snarled.

“You call us monsters…” Akume hissed, “but all we have ever wanted… is to live. It is your kind… who brought death to this place. Killed more of your own… than we ever did…”

“Only to stop you!” Yuki countered, trying not to think about the carnage she’d seen in the forest. She’d believed that her army could control the witchfire well enough to destroy the spiders without harming their captives. She’d been wrong. By now, she and Seijun were likely the only kitsune left alive in Shirakami-Sanchi.

“Yesssss… killed your own to get to us… just like jorogumo would have. That was my mistake… believed your so-called love would stay your hand…” She laughed again, and it was a mocking, triumphant sound. “Always knew it was a lie… no better than us after all…”

Yuki couldn’t stand to hear another word from the spider matriarch. She gripped her sword as tight as possible and began to channel her fire through it… all of it. Burst after burst of power poured through the sword and directly through Akume’s skin, and the creature only laughed again and again as the intensity grew. Yuki’s hands burned, smoke rising as her sword vibrated and the fire spread through the jorogumo’s vanquished frame. The flame churned violently through her insides, turning her viscera into black dust.

By the time Yuki had finished channeling everything she had left, black smoke was rising from Akume’s charred form, and she’d finally stopped laughing. But the spider’s eyes were still fixed on her opponent, and her mouth opened one last time. Yuki didn’t know if she was trying to scream or speak or just laugh at her again… but no sound emerged, and then she closed her eyes and sagged. Yuki watched in silence as the monster’s mutilated body was reduced to ashes, and she listened to the calming silence of the burning forest. It was done.

For you, Akemi. For you.

Her tears smoked on her cheek as they dropped, even as the wounded Seijun crawled her way free of her webbing. Her eyes had opened to a half dead stare as she looked at Yuki in awe and horror, and for the first time Yuki really saw how she looked… her white fur blooded and charred, slathered with smoke and dirt until they were nearly black with ash and fire. Her hair was plastered with spider viscera, webs clinging to her body, and Seijun looked on her with open horror. Her voice quivered as she teared up. “By the goddess, Yuki,” she whispered. “What have you done? What have we done?”

Yuki sighed and looked up as rain began to fall through the openings in the top of the cave. Her voice was cold and dead as she answered. “We won.”

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