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Introduction:

Noah, Valia, and Shannon return to Welindar and find tension in the air.
Animal Kingdom

With the loss of Carthace’s prison, the Profane menace should have been decimated, but the danger had only increased for Noah, Valia, and Shannon. Countless fiends were slain in the liberation battle, while the rest were scattered to the winds. Left to their own devices, they either rampaged on their own or joined back up with the rest of the Pack. After leaving the prison, the battles the trio faced were frequent and bloody, but nothing they couldn’t handle.

Shannon was still mourning her lost tribe, a pain that would never entirely go away, but with Noah and Valia’s support, she learned to smile again. However, that smile was often a lewd one. Shannon fully immersed herself in her servile role and new duties, mainly her oral obligations, and Noah thoroughly trained her to his liking. Whenever they stopped to take a break, Shannon eagerly would assume the position, kneeling before her lord with her mouth open, ready to accept him, hands clasped under her chin to catch any spillover.

He was usually gentle with her, stroking her hair and rubbing her ears while she bobbed her head and sucked on his member like a horse with a saltlick. The rest of the time, he’d drive deep down her throat, obliterating her gag reflex. Tears would stream from her eyes as she choked on his cock, but every time he pulled away, she’d beg him for more, relishing the harsh treatment to the point of climaxing. Noah often caught her gazing at him like a drug addict, looking for her next hit. Valia enjoyed watching Shannon’s devotion, glancing with a giggle and amused smile. However, when she felt Noah’s attention was unfairly distributed, she quickly pulled rank. More than once, Valia would dismiss Shannon during a session so she could take over and show off her fellatio skills.

At night, Noah made love to Valia passionately and vigorously, and every time he ejaculated, Shannon would dutifully swoop in to perform cleanup and restore his rigidity so he could continue. Watching them filled Shannon with burning envy. She wanted Noah to take her the way he would Valia, ravaging her until she could no longer walk.

In the throes of passion, Valia was gorgeous and pristine, like a goddess of sensuality, but when Noah wanted to, he could make her graceful expression melt away. Hair askew, eyes swimming, biting her lip, and whimpering; she’d look like she was struggling just to survive Noah’s technique. Shannon desperately wished to wear that look on her own face, to have her mind broken by brutality and pleasure and be reduced to such a disgraceful state.

Lying beside Valia, she’d play with herself as she watched them fornicate. Her ravenous envy energized her busy fingers, making her arch her back and moan, praying to feel Noah move atop her. There was no word on when he would properly initiate her and truly make her his, so all she could do was wait in sexual anguish as though they were toying with her.

After days of travel, they finally arrived back in Welindar, though it was in a different state from when they left. More soldiers now walked the streets, stopping and questioning everyone they deemed suspicious. It didn’t take much to earn a beating. There was also more graffiti around, with the mark of the Pack painted everywhere, and even posters encouraging revolution, though the soldiers were hard at work erasing every sign.

“I don’t like this,” said Shannon.

“Something must have happened while we were gone,” said Valia.

The trio hurried to the palace, and though they had to stop multiple times at checkpoints, Noah and Valia’s gold emblems cleared their path. Once inside, they journeyed to the throne room to speak with the prince, where, as usual, he was in the middle of a meeting with various military and local figures. Lupin appeared tired, fueled no longer by hope and duty, but by frustration and anger. Nell, still at his side, seemed likewise worn down.

Upon the three’s arrival, he raised his hand and dismissed everyone, leaving just him and Nell. “Lord Noah, Lady Valia, you’ve returned,” he said in a dry, monotone voice.

“We have, Your Highness,” Noah replied, “with news both good and bad.”

“Very well, let me hear it.”

“The Pack echelon were telling the truth. We found a facility where enslaved beastmen were being turned into fiends in large numbers. They were building an army to not just reclaim Welindar, but to annihilate Uther.”

“An army of fiends,” Lupin muttered.

“Lady Valia and I managed to free the prisoners, but my tribe… my tribe was already long dead,” said Shannon softly.

“We killed the Profane in charge and leveled the facility, but it’s only a matter of time before they build a new army and march on Colbrand. Apparently, destroying Uther is the requested compensation for the Liege’s support.”

“For them to already be planning to claim Uther. Thank you, Lord Noah, you’ve bought us time. We need to move quickly.”

“Prince Lupin, what has happened in our absence? The air is so heavy here,” Valia asked.

Lupin sighed. “Kaisen the Liger has returned and galvanized the people against me. He made a big show during the harvest festival and killed countless troops in front of the citizens. He’s already replenished his upper ranks with a new class of elite fiends that are immune to our poison, and has killed countless soldiers. Even worse, the Profane used one of their worms to transform Reynolds into a ghoul. I lost Paulman and over two dozen good men and women during his subsequent rampage. I had to kill them both myself, along with several soldiers who had been turned into vicious cannibals.”

“By the gods,” Valia murmured. “You have my condolences, Your Highness.”

“It’s been difficult while you’ve been away. We’ve suffered countless losses, including the lab, and—”

“Wait a moment, what did you just say?” Noah asked, turning pale.

“The lab was obliterated, turned to rubble. We’re still trying to cleanse the scene of lingering corruption.”

“Please excuse me, Your Highness.” Noah then turned around and quickly left, surprising everyone.

“Noah?”

“My Lord?”

Valia and Shannon called out and then went in pursuit, along with Lupin and Nell. They followed him to the destroyed lab, finding him standing in the sun where the room had once been. He was clenching his fists, and Valia could see his shoulder trembling.

“Lord Noah,” Lupin said.

“Prince Lupin, do you know why I punished your brothers the way I did?” Noah asked, speaking with his back to everyone. “It wasn’t because they burned down my favorite brothel. It wasn’t because of all the people they killed. It wasn’t even because I was the intended target. No, I could forgive all of that. Contrary to popular belief, I strive to be a very patient and forgiving person.

I wrought their suffering and ground them into the dirt because valuable research was destroyed in that fire, research I was going to use to help break my curse, the same way I was using the tech in this lab. Getting in the way of my pursuit, prolonging my curse.... I will end Kaisen and the Pack, and I say that not as a promise, but a warning, for if this entire city must be annihilated in the process, then know I’ll leave nothing behind but scorched bones and crushed bricks.”

The threat, spoken with such malice, made everyone shiver. Valia had heard the details of what he did to the princes and their friends, she had seen his anger slip free when she confronted him about Ziradith Herald, but this was her first time seeing the flame of his rage come alight. This was the fury of an ancient being, the wrath of a force of nature. Without even turning, she could sense Shannon quivering in fear. After everything Shannon had seen Noah do while calm, the way he ripped information from prisoners with a scalpel and syringe, she understood that his words were not to be taken lightly.

“I want Kaisen dead just as you do, but I can’t allow such actions against the city,” said Lupin.

“If you don’t want it to come to that, you’ll have to put your life on the line. Kaisen desires an audience for when he beats you, and he can’t have it as long as you’re cooped up in the palace. If you want to end this once and for all, you must face him on his terms. You’re going to invite him to fight you and take him down in front of everyone.”

“You haven’t seen what he can do. Even without a parasite, he’s far stronger than any host. If I could kill him, I’d have done it already.”

“Now you won’t be fighting him alone. Challenge him, make him face you in the open, and I’ll sabotage him during the fight without anyone knowing. All those watching will see the prince of Uther put down the feral beast and assert dominion as the mightiest warrior. They will submit to you.”

“It’s one thing to send others to capture a criminal, it’s another to cheat in a one-on-one fight and claim it as an honest victory.”

“Are you seriously worried about your pride? You have soldiers hassling old women out there, but you’re afraid of being judged for killing a terrorist by any means necessary? If you want to win, if you want this violence to stop, then you must swallow your ideals and do what must be done.”

“This isn’t what my men died for! So that I could lie and cheat my way to the top!”

“They died because your enemy still lives, and they’re going to keep dying until that changes. How many soldiers and innocent people are you prepared to sacrifice just to maintain your integrity? How many lives is your conscience worth?”

Lupin turned away. “Come with me,” he said before storming out. Noah and the others followed him through a familiar corridor, into a room none had been in. It was a large chamber filled with hanging targets and training dummies, all covered with gouge marks. The smell of old sweat lingered in the air. “After every battle, I train for hours, repeating everything. I remember every move I made during the fight, every move my enemy made, and I try to fix my mistakes. I visualize everything and try to get it right. Every time an enemy dodges me, my attack doesn’t land hard enough, or something goes wrong, it latches onto my mind and smolders; my failure, potentially costing someone their life.

I’ve thought about my encounter with Kaisen almost nonstop, how he completely shamed me, and no matter how much I train or practice different strategies, every scenario leads to my doom. Both you and he think that the people will only support the strongest, that only the most powerful warrior deserves to rule Welindar. If I cannot beat Kaisen on my own, if I need your help, then does that not mean I am unworthy to lead? It was not I that broke down the gates of Welindar; it was the basilisk. It is not I that took the city; it was my men. It is not I who decimated the Profane; it was you. If I can’t even defeat my nemesis, what good am I? By what right do I have to call myself a leader?

Is it my fate to be just another weak, inept aristocrat who can only shout orders from his chair? Someone who is obeyed simply because he has soldiers to do his bidding, neither feared nor respected, but simply tolerated? I’d rather die than be that man.” Lupin then turned to Noah and took the whip off his belt. “Fight me, Noah. Fight me just as you did my brothers. I need to know how I compare, what my worth is, if I even have any.”

“Your Highness, please rethink this!” Nell implored.

“I agree. This is a terrible idea,” said Valia.

“The two of you aren’t a part of this. Noah, step forward and face me.”

“Very well,” said Noah, removing his hat and jacket and handing them to Shannon. “But it would be problematic if I did to you anything remotely like what I did to them. We’ll make this a proper duel, and the first one to land a hit on the other is the winner.”

“Very well then. Lazy Zodiac, you’ll moderate.”

“Yes, Your Highness,” she begrudgingly said. Noah stepped forward and drew his sword. The two men took their positions, facing each other with Valia, Shannon, and Nell standing at a safe distance. “The match ends when one person manages to strike the other. I expect you both to show adequate restraint. Now, begin!”

Noah crouched down and zoomed towards Lupin, ready to end the fight in one move. As he had during his battle with Reynolds, Lupin stretched the chain across his back, using it as two whips instead of one. “Steel Stinger!”

He swung his arms and sent the two ends shooting toward Noah like a pair of missiles. Noah deflected one of the sharp handles with his sword and dodged the other, but Lupin had already altered the movement of the chains. With a simple flick of his wrist, both ends of the chain seemed to move with their own mind, threatening to wrap Noah up. He ducked down and rolled to the side to avoid the crossing whips. He got to his feet and tried to close the distance, but Lupin worked hard to keep an optimal space between them.

Jumping, swinging, and twisting his body, Lupin was in constant motion to ensure his chain never slowed down. The more it moved, the more mana it accumulated, and the more powerful each whiplash became. On the other hand, Noah dodged and sidestepped with as little movement as possible, not wanting to get caught up in Lupin’s rhythm. The floor around him was eviscerated, with every slice of the whip gouging stone and shattering brick.

When Noah backed up, Lupin changed his strategy and let the whip slide out to its full reach. “Concussive Crack!” He sent the chain zooming towards Noah, reaching to hit him like a blow from a steel baseball bat. Noah dodged the swing, and the whip struck the wall, blasting it open and exposing the next room.

“Your Highness, that’s too much!” Valia scolded.

Noah sprinted towards Lupin, but the prince wasn’t finished yet. “Blind Strangle!”

With a simple flick of Lupin’s wrist, the stretched-out chain coiled back, attacking Noah from behind and reaching to tie him up. Noah struck the chain with his sword, not severing it, but disrupting its momentum and mana flow. Noah was too close for Lupin to attack, so he went on the defensive. When Noah attempted to slash him with his sword, Lupin used the chain as a shield to block the attack, then wrapped it around the blade. Noah didn’t waste time or effort by trying to free his sword; he relinquished it and delivered a punch straight to Lupin’s chin, knocking him onto his back.

“This match is finished,” said Valia.

“Your Highness!” Nell exclaimed as she rushed over.

He sat up with a groan of pain and frustration. “No wonder my brothers lost. Are you that strong, or are we just that weak?”

Noah sheathed his sword. “You can’t use magic, can you?”

“What in the world are you talking about?” Lupin countered unconvincingly.

“I can see the flow of your mana. You announce your spells, but your mana doesn’t fluctuate at all, and frankly, it’s at the level of a child. The whip itself is enchanted, and you just pretend you’re using warrior magic. I noticed it during the raid when we fought that armored ghoul, but couldn’t be sure until I saw it up close.”

“Your Highness, is that true?” Nell asked.

Lupin sighed. “It’s true. I have no magic aptitude, and like you said, my mana is almost nonexistent, especially compared to my brothers. Seraph is like a living god, and even Galvin, for all his faults, can wield two elements, but I was born without any talent whatsoever. Most people can’t use magic, but for the aristocracy, it’s required. Throughout my childhood, nobles pushed for me to be denied the right to the throne despite being the firstborn. Who would respect a king who can’t use magic?

Fortunately, we had this whip in the royal vault, a powerful weapon with imbued abilities. The more it moves, the more mana it accumulates, making it more powerful and responsive to the wielder's intent. I learned to use it, and once I developed some skill, my father put out the lie that I was the owner of a rare type of warrior magic, whip magic. I built my reputation, my strength, and my life around that lie. Every spell I’ve ever cast has been make-believe, a farce to dupe those around me and earn their fear and respect. I focused on diplomacy and commerce to avoid fighting, but I needed military accomplishments to gain the support of the nobles and prove I could serve as king of Uther.

Welindar was supposed to be my crowning achievement in every sense of the term, proving that I could fight for Uther’s interests, destroy her enemies, and protect her territory. I wanted to earn the love of these people and bring Welindar into the fold as an authentic piece of the country, to rain prosperity upon them and create a nation free of divisions, but I’m just too weak to do anything. I wield an enchanted weapon because I can’t use magic, I send others to fight my battles for me, and I can’t even keep my conquered lands safe from the Profane of the Pack. I’m just a failure.”

Nell threw her arms around him, crying into his shirt. “No, Your Highness, that’s not true! You’re not a failure! There is no one in this world I respect more than you, and that’s as true now as it’s ever been!”

“Then you’ve made a mistake. I don’t deserve anything from you; your love, your loyalty, and certainly not your respect.”

“She’s right, you aren’t a failure,” said Noah, causing Lupin to perk up. “Take it from someone who has seen and met more people than you could hope to count: A man who fights as well as you do, who works as hard as you do, who cares as much as you do, is not a failure. Only a man like that is worthy to be king.

Unlike your brothers and those inept aristocrats you mentioned, you didn’t have talent handed to you. You were considered weak and looked down upon, just like the commoners. Experience like that is priceless. It taught you to empathize, understand, care about the powerless and the suffering and want to improve their lives. A strong heart is more important than a strong spell.

You don’t have any magical talent, which means you’ve had to compensate with hard work and humility, the truest qualities of a leader. Show that to the people, and they will rally behind you. Face Kaisen and show the people you’ll fight for them. Prove it to them and prove it to yourself. Be their champion.”

“I can’t prove it with you helping me from the shadows.”

“With or without my help, this doesn’t end until you yourself end it. Face him, and fight for your kingdom. Put your life on the line for your dream, or it'll never come true."

Lupin got to his feet and faced Noah. “I will,” he said softly. He then stepped past him and left the room. He was moving fast, and everyone followed him through the palace and up to the rebuilt balcony he’d stood on during the harvest festival. Down below, the citizens were going about their daily lives.

“People of Welindar, hear me!” Lupin boomed, drawing all eyes up to him. “I, the First Prince Lupin Oxam Vilard Albion, am recalling all excess troops patrolling the streets. They are no longer needed for what is to come. I am declaring an end to the war here and now! I am here to challenge Kaisen the Liger for the right to rule this city! No more cut-and-run, no more attacking from the shadows and then fleeing, no more Pack insurgents against soldiers!

Three days from now, on this spot, I will be here to fight him, with the winner receiving the throne of Welindar! If he’s not too afraid to face me, he’ll be here! A battle to the death for the sake of these lands between me and him! One way or another, the bloodshed ends with us!”

After Lupin’s announcement, Noah spent the rest of the day reviewing everything salvaged from the destroyed lab and what he had collected from Carthace’s prison. He busied himself with work, scanning information, repairing magical tech, and even making weapons. It wasn’t just for the sake of necessity for the situation, but also to distract himself from his seething anger.

Once again, his search for answers had been sabotaged, burning his soul like nothing else. Having lived for thousands of years, patience was a skill he had long-since learned, but this frustration surpassed all discipline. The Knight’s Sheath, Valon, the lab; how many more times would this happen? How many times would this world give him a chance to end his curse only to take it away?

Arriving at their room after a bath, Valia saw Noah sitting at his desk and could sense him fuming. He was muttering curses while working on a device, and when it didn’t go right, he finally turned and threw it at the wall with a snarl of frustration.

Valia embraced him from behind. “Shhhh, it’s all right. Take a deep breath.”

“It’s not all right. It’s a huge fucking mess, a mess I’ll be trapped in until the end of time.”

“No, you’re not. We still have time.”

“Time for what? I’m going to die in this world and my soul will be hurled to some shithole somewhere in the multiverse, having to wait another thousand years for my next chance to end this nightmare. Another thousand years of pointless drudgery, where everything I do, everything I struggle for, amounts to nothing, just like everything else I’ve done. It doesn’t matter how many people I save or how hard I fight here. In the end, time reduces everything to dust and renders all suffering and endeavors meaningless. I am cursed to exist.”

“We’re going to fix this together and get you your peace. I told Elisandra that when I lost hope in finding Valon, I knew you’d be there to get me back on my feet, well I’m going to do the same for you. No matter how many times things might go wrong, I’m not going to let you give in to despair. I won’t abandon you to the suffering of eternity. I’ll carry you to the end if I have to.”

Noah took several deep breaths while Valia massaged his shoulders, working out the tightness and frustration. “Like a rolled-up carpet?”

“Grabbing your ass the whole way. I’m with you, and I’ll always be with you. Somewhere in this world is the key to breaking your curse, and I would give up my life to save yours just so that you don’t lose your chance at freedom.” Moments later, a soft tap on the door made Valia smile. “And if I can’t make you feel better, I know someone who can.”

She opened the door to reveal Shannon, fresh from the bath and wearing a thin nightgown, bashful and gorgeous. Her ears were twitching with excitement, with her tail swishing behind her. Seeing her, Noah smiled. “Come on in.”

Valia brought Shannon in, closed the door, then moved behind and rubbed her arms. “I think she’s ready to go all the way. What about you?”

Noah lifted Shannon’s chin. “She definitely looks ready to me. What about you, Shannon?”

“I’m ready to give everything to you both; body, mind, and soul. I want to be with you for the rest of my life, Noah! Valia!”

“Then you’re with us, and we’ll be with you,” Noah said before kissing her.

He held her slender frame in his arms, just as she had always wished, and she melted in his embrace as their lips and tongues got acquainted. Shannon had orally pleasured Noah numerous times already, but this was the first time he’d ever kissed her. It was more wonderful than she imagined.

Valia watched them while biting her lip, her arousal growing with each passing moment. She removed her robe and pulled Shannon’s nightgown down from around her shoulders, the two of them standing naked with Valia’s ample breasts pushed to her back and her lips running along Shannon’s neck.

Without any words needing to be said, the three separated, knowing it was time to advance to the next step. Holding hands, Valia and Shannon moved to the bed while Noah removed his clothes. Valia sat by the headboard with Shannon lying back against her. As Noah climbed onto the bed, Shannon nervously spread her legs for him.

“God, you’re beautiful,” he said, making her smile.

He lowered his head, running kisses up her smooth legs, then put his tongue to work, priming her like a pump and drinking deep from the wellspring of her arousal. Shannon moaned and writhed as he tickled every nerve ending, her virgin slit receiving his ancient skill and endless experience. She had seen how Noah would make Valia arch her back using his tongue, listened to her moans of bliss as he savored her sweetness, and had ached to experience it herself.

“Is he doing that thing where he writes letters and numbers with his tongue?” Valia asked with a giggle while massaging Shannon’s breasts. Shannon couldn’t answer, unable to find a pattern in the flicks and strokes of Noah’s tongue. The sensations were so overwhelming that trying to read his movements was like grabbing eels with her bare hands.

“Don’t go giving away my secrets,” Noah replied.

“Take is as a compliment from your biggest fan.” She then whispered in Shannon’s ear, “he likes to see how high he can count before he makes a woman cum. I wonder how high you’ll get.”

She needn’t wait long, as Shannon soon arched her back, crying out in bliss as Noah pushed her over the edge. Noah drank deep from the cup of her lust, and once her euphoric spasms faded, he moved up, running his lips and tongue across her flat belly, then giving her breasts the attention they deserved. After cumming, Shannon’s sensitivity was at its limit, and every swirl of Noah’s tongue against her areolas made her hum in bliss. After a minute, he relinquished her breasts and gave her a deep kiss on the lips.

“Are you ready for this?” he asked.

“Yes, My Lord.”

“From now on, you belong to me.”

Noah worked his member inside Shannon’s, deflowering her and staining the sheets red. Shannon whimpered from the penetration, but Valia held her close for comfort, and Noah was slow and steady. After all the times she had seen Noah and Valia make love, Shannon had been preparing herself to be subjected to Noah’s lust, to be dominated and have her mind broken by power and pleasure. After how he trained her throat to receive him without gagging, she expected to be fucked brutally, turned into a piece of meat for him to use and abuse, to be left lying in a puddle of their combined fluids in a most disgraceful state.

She had anticipated it, fearing and desiring his powerful technique, ready to be broken in and ridden hard like a rebellious colt. Instead, he was slow and gentle, his thrusts were easy, like the lapping of waves on a beach. He made love to her tenderly with his arms wrapped around her, and their kiss eternal and passionate. She couldn’t remember the last time she felt so safe, so cared for. Held by Noah and Valia, her naked body sandwiched between theirs, she was calm and at ease, never wanting the moment to end or to be without their warmth. Wherever they were, that was her home.

“Shannon, I’m going to cum,” Noah grunted.

She wrapped her legs around his waist. “I’m ready. I don’t want to waste a single drop.”

Three deep thrusts and Noah suddenly stopped, shuddering as he released himself inside her. Shannon purred in bliss, feeling his hot seed filling her up and flowing into her depths. After all of the oral service she had provided since leaving Carthace’s prison, to be marked with her lord’s scent was a supreme pleasure, but never before had it been this intense.

Noah pulled out with his rigidity failing. Shannon was about to get up and restore him to full glory, but Valia stopped her. “Tonight, I’m playing the support role.” She moved out from behind Shannon and leaned over, imbibing in Noah’s cock and thoroughly cleansing him.

Once he had regained his erection, Noah sat back cross-legged and beckoned Shannon over. “Come here, honey.”

She eagerly climbed into his lap, cooing as she lowered herself onto his cock. Valia came up from behind and embraced her, lifting and dropping her on Noah’s lap. She was setting the pace, taking pleasure in her control over Shannon, and Shannon relished it as well, especially when the dark elf began nibbling on her ears. As this happened, Noah kissed her neck, collarbone, and breasts while his hands kneaded her ass, and his dick stirred up his seed inside her.

This continued for several minutes, Shannon riding Noah like she was bouncing on a horse saddle. Every time she climaxed, she’d hold onto his shoulders and cry out blissfully, then collapse against him like a ragdoll. Still, even when she couldn’t move, Noah and Valia wouldn’t let her quit. They kept fucking her, Valia continuing to lift and drop her on Noah’s cock, using her to jack him off. As their servant, she understood. She belonged to them, to be used however they wished, her body a possession of pleasure. That knowledge and acceptance nearly brought tears of joy to her eyes.

After Noah's second climax, he moved away to catch his breath. Valia lay back, holding Shannon tightly, their naked bodies intertwined.

“My Lady,” Shannon whispered happily.

Valia giggled. “You are so cute.”

Before Shannon could respond, Noah moved her tail to the side, grabbed her by the waist, and drove deep into her, pushing a moan past her lips, which Valia stole, kissing her just as Noah had. The two women sucked each other’s tongues as long as they could, but as Noah picked up the pace, that soon became impossible. He had been gentle with her until now, but it was time to move past making love and start fucking.

It amazed Shannon how Noah could move so fast and thrust so hard without hurting her. The intensity was beyond words, breaking her down to nothing. Every time Noah slammed into her, she felt the force move through her flesh and bones, threatening to turn her to jelly. She enjoyed it even when it got painful, like eating spicy food.

“You should see the look on your face,” Valia teased.

Shannon knew what she was talking about, having seen the same lewd, disheveled expression on Valia’s face numerous times. Finally, she understood what it felt like.

The three of them went at it all night, with Noah and Valia vigorously initiating Shannon. Shannon was forced against and atop every surface and piece of furniture in the room, each giving Noah a new angle to stir her up. Noah’s stamina left her in awe, and his fearsome technique pushed her to her limits, only to rewrite them and push her even farther.

There were numerous moments when she thought her body would fall apart from being subjected to his lust, when despite all the pleasure assailing her, she was sure something inside her would break, whether it was her body or her mind. Regardless, Noah was thorough in teaching her what she could endure.

This being her first time, her strength repeatedly gave out before Noah’s. Fatigued to immobility, she would lie beside them with glazed eyes, watching Noah turn his attention to Valia. Despite her exhaustion, she had a duty to fulfill to her Lord and Lady and would use what little strength she could gather to add to Valia’s pleasure.

When Valia was on her back, Shannon would nibble on her ears, play with her breasts, and stroke her clit, taking pride in satisfying her. When Noah took Valia from behind, she would be underneath them, using her tongue to please them both and ready to catch any spillover from their shared climaxes. After each ejaculation, she’d perform her loyal duties, switching back and forth between deep-throating Noah and licking every last drop of cum out of Valia. As soon as Noah was ready, he’d grab Shannon and again fuck her like he was trying to split her in half.

Finally, Noah’s stamina reached its limit, and he sat back, gasping for air. “Whew, I’m done. If I try to get hard again, my thing will just snap off.”

“That was a good one,” Valia panted, her naked body glistening with sweat, saliva, and other fluids. “So, Shannon, what did you think?”

Shannon lay beside her, thoroughly defiled and left sticky with her Lord and Lady’s combined seed and nectar. Their companion was undoubtedly fun to play with. “That was everything I’d dreamed of,” she murmured with a weary smile.

“I’m glad,” said Noah, lying down beside her. “Now you know what’s expected of you, what your responsibilities as our companion are.”

“Yes, every part of me belongs to you two, and I will love and serve you always.”

Valia snuggled up against her. “Welcome home.”

----------

Prince Lupin’s declaration swept through the city, and for the next three days, everyone was abuzz, excited for the fight. Finally, things would be settled once and for all. If Kaisen won, Welindar would be free of Uther’s control and once more fall under beastman leadership, but if Lupin won, Welindar’s position as Uther’s territory would be set in stone. The preferred outcome could not be easily determined, as the people were surprisingly divided. Most of the public was sick of the fighting and tension, and were ready to accept any leader that would provide a sense of normality.

Lupin was an invader, and his recent heavy policing in response to the Pack had cost him support, but his policies had earned him some respect and shown him to be a surprising man of the people. Kaisen, on the other hand, while a legendary beastman warrior, had little to offer beyond strength, and his only leadership experience was in running a terrorist group. However this ended, the city was desperate for peace.

The day arrived, and the weather was perfect. Though there was an autumn chill, the sun shined unchallenged, with no cloud daring to dim the spotlight. A stage had been erected in the town square where the fight would occur. Citizens flooded the square to see the action, and while some tiered seats were put out for spectators, a line of soldiers maintained a solid perimeter, keeping everyone back, with most of the citizens forming a sea outside of the square. Lupin stood upon the stage, shirtless and barefoot, just as Kaisen had arrived during the harvest festival, but wore a robe to keep warm. He waited patiently, sharpening his focus like a knife on a whetstone.

Soon enough, cheering could be heard from the back of the crowd, with the citizens parting to let their champion pass. Kaisen arrived with his fists raised like a boxer, dressed in the same manner as Lupin was. Everyone was excited to see him, but Lupin’s demeanor didn’t change.

“So, you’ve finally found your courage and you’re ready to die,” Kaisen said with a smirk.

“Choose your weapon and get up here.”

Several armaments were laid next to the stage, including a sword, axe, spear, and others, but Kaisen scoffed. “The only weapon I need is my own claws.”

Lupin tossed his robe aside. “Quit wasting time and pick a weapon. You’re going to regret it if you don’t.”

Behind the stage, under the palace balcony, Noah, Valia, Shannon, and Nell watched the build-up. “You really think the prince can win? That man is huge,” Shannon muttered.

“You didn’t see what he did during the harvest festival. He’s a true monster,” said Nell anxiously.

Valia turned to Noah. “Shouldn’t you be getting into position? I thought your plan was to shoot Kaisen from a distance and distract him during the fight.”

“That’s Plan B. As for Plan A, Lupin and I came up with something a little more eloquent and dignified, something to even the playing field without tainting the match.”

Humoring Lupin, Kaisen ***********ed a sword and climbed up onto the stage, only to immediately realize something was wrong. He groaned as his animal traits forcefully receded, and he took on his human form. “What’s going on? Why am I losing my strength?!”

“Underneath this stage is a circle that disables all magic and makes it impossible to gather mana. With this, we don’t have to worry about any bystanders getting hurt by wayward spells.”

“Cheater! Deceiver!”

“I’m no such thing. This magic circle affects me as well. I’m just as weak as you are.” Lupin began spinning his chain, and while usually, it should have started glowing, within the magic circle, it was rendered powerless and inert. “If you want to fight like a mindless beast, go frolic in the wild like one. We’re here to fight like men. Only a man can be king.”

“You bastard!”

“Feel free to turn around and leave if you’re scared, just don’t ever show your face in my city again.”

Kaisen growled and stood up straight, pointing his sword at Lupin. “Fine, we’ll do things your way. It’ll be all the more satisfying when I crush you.”

Noah then climbed up on stage. “This match is to determine the true and rightful ruler of Welindar! If Kaisen should win, then Prince Lupin and the forces of Uther must relinquish control of this city! If Prince Lupin wins, then the Pack will disband, and everyone in this city and the surrounding territories will accept Uther rule and citizenship! The fight continues until one participant dies, submits, or falls off the stage. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” both Lupin and Kaisen said.

“Then let the king of Welindar be decided! Begin!”

Noah jumped off the stage, and Kaisen charged towards Lupin. The beastman had not received any training in swordsmanship, but his wealth of combat experience would help compensate. Still, when he tried to slash Lupin, the prince rolled to the side while swinging his chain and whipped Kaisen across the back. Kaisen snarled in pain, but then began to laugh.

“Do you see the scar your subordinate left when he shot me in the back? It still hurts sometimes. I don’t see him anywhere, I hope nothing bad happened to him.”

“I’m going to kill you, Kaisen, not in my name or Uther’s, but in his.”

Kaisen once more rocketed towards Lupin, but unlike their first confrontation in the harvest festival, Lupin could counter. A flurry of slashes and hacks were sent his way, and using both ends of his whip, he blocked and deflected them all. Despite his inexperience with a blade, Kaisen was fast, pulling his sword away before Lupin could try to seize it. Lupin opened up some space and unleashed his own series of attacks, spinning and twisting his body to keep the chain moving at all times.

The twin tips of the chain were like writhing snakes, trying to sink their teeth into Kaisen with every whiplash, while the chain itself was like an impenetrable wall, shirking off every sword swing and barring Kaisen’s movements. If he tried to roll under or jump over the swinging coil and get in close, the opening would snap shut, and he’d end up bruised or bleeding. Without his beastman powers, he was forced to follow Lupin’s rhythm, but still, he sneered.

“You weaklings try to control the world with your rules, thinking that nature will bow before you because you have a scrap of paper telling people what you can and can’t do. You pave over the grass to make your roads, rip out the forests to raise your farms, gouge the mountains to quarry your stone and gather your ore, all so that you can deny who you really are. We are animals. The only armor we need is our own skin. The only weapons we should carry are our claws. If that isn’t enough, then it means nature wants you to die!”

Finally, Kaisen managed to get past Lupin’s defenses and raised his sword above his head. Lupin sidestepped to avoid the mighty swing but took the backhand strike that immediately followed. Even without his beast enhancements, Kaisen’s stature and physical strength allowed him to send Lupin flying. The prince rolled across the stage, barely stopping himself from completely falling off. He regained enough of his senses to dodge Kaisen’s next slash, but as he tried to get to his feet, Kaisen stepped on the chain and stopped him, then delivered a solid punch to the jaw.

“You think you can beat me because you took my magic?!” He grabbed Lupin’s hair and kneed him in the face. “The rule of nature is survival of the fittest, where the strong dominate the weak, and the spirits themselves decided that I am the one to rule!” Lupin staggered back, dripping blood, and Kaisen knocked him down with a kick to the stomach. “I was born with the power to crush all those who get in my way, destined to stand at the summit of the world and reign supreme!”

Lupin’s pace was broken, and he couldn’t reform his stance or even catch his breath. Kaisen wouldn’t let him off easy and continued raining blows. Nell cried and turned away, unable to watch the savage beating.

“He’s not going to make it,” Shannon murmured.

“Noah, if you’re going to do something, now’s the time,” said Valia.

“Come on, Lupin. You know what to do,” Noah hissed with his hand resting on the hilt of his sword.

Kaisen extended his arm, holding Lupin off the ground by his throat. His face was bruised and bloody, and every breath was a wheeze. “I suppose I should thank you for putting all this together. Everyone will get to see me end your life, and no one will ever question my supremacy. You expect me to put on a fancy silk shirt and deal with paperwork? I’m going to tear down this city brick by brick and return these cowards to the one true life, free of these delusions of order.

There will be only one law: I take what I want. I don’t need the people of Welindar to respect or love me, all I need is their fear. I need them to know that the only fate that awaits those who defy me is death. They will cower when they hear my name, and worship me as both king and god as they wallow in the dirt like they’re supposed to. Even the Profane will bow before my might. First, I’ll rule Welindar, then the world.”

“That’s the difference between us, Kaisen,” said Lupin, spitting blood with every word. “You want to rule; I want to lead.” He then jabbed Kaisen in the elbow, forcing him to drop Lupin as his hand went numb.

Lupin landed shakily on his feet but didn’t have time to catch his breath. He struck a pressure point under Kaisen’s ear, disorienting him, and when he turned away, boxed his other ear. Kaisen staggered to the side, and the moment he flashed his gaze back to Lupin, Lupin poked him in the eyes. Kaisen raised his head and screamed in pain, and Lupin silenced him with a solid blow to the Adam’s Apple.

For the last three days, Noah had been coaching Lupin to target pressure points, weak spots, and every vulnerability that could not be hidden by height and bulk. Lupin kept the assault going, hitting Kaisen in every vital area and leaving him unable to fight back. Fueled by pain and desperation, Kaisen tried to slash Lupin just as he would with his claws, but Lupin grabbed his wrist and pulled him off balance. He did as Noah taught him, swinging Kaisen onto the ground in an arm lock, finishing with a severe break.

“Hey Kaisen,” said Lupin, getting on top of him. “You’re going to die today. What say you?”

Before Kaisen could answer, Lupin rained punches down upon him, hammering Kaisen’s face to the point of disfigurement. Blood splattered across the stage from Kaisen’s face and Lupin’s knuckles, with both men soaked in sweat. It was primal savagery in its purest form. The beating ended when Lupin ran out of breath, but even then, he was too driven by fury and bloodlust to show mercy.

He retrieved his chain, raising the handle above his head like a dagger. However, before the finishing blow could be delivered, Kaisen grabbed his wrist, stopping Lupin with the tip of the handle hovering just above his eye. The two foes roared at each other like savage beasts, using every last bit of strength in their bodies. Lupin pushed down with all his weight, stabbing Kaisen in the eye.

Kaisen roared at the top of his lungs, and several snarls answered his call within the crowd of spectators as numerous fiends ripped off their disguises and took on monstrous forms. Unlike all other fiends encountered, their bodies were stable and robust. Their muscles, skeletons, and skin were highly augmented without cancerous mutations or asymmetrical features. Their parasites were merged with their spines and were much larger than the typical worms usually applied. These were the elite that Lupin had warned of.

They smashed their way through the crowd, indifferent to the innocent people they trampled, and the soldiers in their way fared no better. They rushed to the stage, but Valia reached it first. She was about to raise her sword and execute Kaisen, but the fiends grabbed the stage and flipped it off the ground. In midair, she caught the prince and jumped to safety. Kaisen was launched into the air, but now freed of the magic circle, he adorned his semi-transformed state and landed with perfect feline grace.

“I’m coming for you, prince!” he snarled, blood pouring from his missing eye. The other wasn’t faring much better, nearly swollen shut from the barrage of punches he received.

While most of the fiends were dealing with the soldiers, three gathered around him. “Sir, we’re getting you out of here,” a man with the head and legs of a goat said.

“I’m not leaving! Not until I’ve ripped his head off!”

“You’re in no condition to fight! You can barely see!” a man covered with scales said.

“All I need is to smell his fear, to hear his frantic heart. I’m not going anywhere.”

“That’s right, you’re not going anywhere.” Kaisen and the fiends turned to a voice that chilled the air with bloodlust. “You have crimes to answer for,” said Noah, approaching with his sword drawn. “Do not expect me to be as kind to you as Lupin was. He only took your eye. I’m going to take everything else.”

“Tallos, deal with him,” the goat-headed man said.

The third fiend, bearing the augmented form of a jackal, turned to Noah and charged with super speed, ready to slash him to ribbons with his claws. However, before reaching Noah, he collapsed as if tripping and hit the ground with his severed head rolling to the side. The fiends were shocked, unable to believe what had just happened. They never even saw Noah’s attack. How was it possible for someone to move that fast?

“Rait, get Kaisen out of here!” the scaled fiend shouted. On cue, a beastman with massive black wings descended. Kaisen tried to resist but was seized and pulled into the sky. Noah took aim with an illusory pistol and fired several rounds at the beastman, making him stagger in the air.

“Bastard!” the scaled fiend roared as he charged towards Noah. Like his cohort, he didn’t see Noah’s attack; he only felt the blade cut through his neck. However, his tough scales slowed the blade, leaving Noah’s sword stuck halfway through. The fiend grabbed the sword and held on tight. “I’ve got you now, and I’m not letting go, no matter—” A dagger through the eye socket, though failing to kill him, did render him silent and break his hold. Noah pulled his sword free and delivered a second slash to the throat, succeeding in beheading the fiend.

He turned around, but the winged fiend had already carried Kaisen off, and all the other fiends were slipping away in the chaos. The people were in a panic, with several dead and countless others wounded, most of which were soldiers. However, that soon changed.

“People of Welindar!” Lupin shouted from the balcony overhead, bruised and bloody all over. His voice drew all eyes to him and silenced the wailing voices. “What you just witnessed were the acts of a coward, someone who not only shamed himself, but sacrificed others to save his own life. I swear, I will never show you such disgrace. For the rest of my life, I’ll put your needs and lives above mine. All I ask in return is that you trust me, and let Uther be your home. You are my people, let me be your leader. Let me fight for you.”

All was silent for a few moments, then someone began to chant. “Lupin! Lupin! Lupin!” It spread among the crowd, people raising their hands and chanting his name. Soon, everyone was cheering for him, soldiers and civilians alike. Until now, the people of Welindar had grudgingly put up with him, tolerating this outsider, but now, he had proven his character. He had put his life on the line and fought with his two fists for the right to rule. Regardless of his faith or origins, he had earned their respect.

The night after the battle, Lupin walked down the palace corridors towards his chambers, but was stopped by a peculiar smell. Following his nose, he stepped out onto a veranda overlooking the city. There was a row of chairs, and sitting in one was Noah, smoking a pipe.

“Lord Noah, what are you doing out here?”

“Ah, Your Highness, please join me. I thought I would unwind a bit before bed. Take a seat.” Lupin sat down next to him and sighed. “How do you feel?”

“Quite sore. Nell healed me as best she could and even used that trick you taught her, but not all aspects of recovery can be augmented with magic. Sometimes the pain just wants to stick around until it’s said all it needs to.”

Noah handed him his pipe. “Here, take a hit off this.”

“It smells like gonlief.”

“It is, mixed with something that’s great for relieving pain, anxiety, and a whole host of other problems.”

“I don’t smoke, but considering the stress-reliever you taught Nell, I’m willing to trust you.”

Lupin took the pipe and breathed deeply, brightening the pit of embers. “Hold it in,” said Noah. Lupin held his breath and then exhaled, releasing a long stream of smoke with a few coughs.

“Hmmm, that’s not half-bad.”

“Take another.”

Lupin repeated the action, put out a second cloud of smoke, and passed it back to Noah, who took a hit of his own. The two men sat in silence for several moments before Lupin spoke. “By the gods, what is in that pipe?” he asked, making Noah snort.

“Good stuff.”

“Good indeed. Very good. The goodest good.”

“The very best. You want some more?”

“I think I do.” Both men took a turn imbibing the smoke and sat silently for a brief span once more. “So you were in Sylphtoria, right? How was it?”

“Breathtaking. The elves live in these colossal trees all woven together and shape their homes into the wood. At night, they have these priestesses that sing a beautiful aria that makes you shiver. You’ve never been?”

“I met with Chancellor Lour in the home of a local lord near the outskirts, but I’ve never been to the actual city. The elves didn’t want me and my men anywhere near Sylphtoria.”

“If it wasn’t for Valia, they would have killed me the moment I set foot in their woods. I had to avert a plague just to get them to warm up to me.”

“But you got to meet the queen, right? I heard she is a divine beauty.”

“Meet her? I got her pregnant.”

Lupin broke into a fit of THC-induced laughter. “That’s funny.”

“Oh, you have no idea. I plan to return there after I break my curse, but unfortunately, that’s a long way off. What about you? Have you been back home since the gala?”

“I’ve been too busy. But hopefully, once everything calms down and the city is more stable, then I can check in. It would be nice to see my father and brothers again. Hopefully, whatever you did to them stuck, and they’ve reformed themselves into better people.”

“There is still hope for Seraph, but Galvin is a lost cause, and I think you know that. He was born rotten and raised to be even worse. Trust me, I’ve spent a lot of time around people like him. I know the look, the aura.”

“I hope not. He may be a smug little cretin, but he’s still family. I’d like to think that there is some good in him that can grow to overcome the bad.”

“Speaking of knowing the look, how are things between you and Nell?”

“It’s that obvious, is it?”

“I can smell the tension between you two.”

“I am engaged to the princess of Vandheim. I can’t jeopardize that, even for Nell. There are times when I truly wish I wasn’t a prince, but my duty comes first.”

“Understandable, and unfortunate. So strange, that human beings, who lead such short lives, maintain a system that forces them to spend what time they have with someone they don’t love, and why? Because it’s so hard to get along without an arranged wedding? People invite so much unnecessary struggle and pain into their lives because they have no sense of perspective. Even the dwarves, who live twice as long, make the same mistake.”

“Yes, well, we can’t all live forever like you. We’re just fumbling in the dark, trying to do the best with what we have. I’m doing this for my people, for the future of my country. I’m willing to make that sacrifice.”

“It’s not the living that changes you, it’s the dying. So much of human endeavor and experience is utterly pointless. Really, all of it is, but certain aspects are more pointless than others. I’ve spent a long time trying to teach that to people, trying to get them to see beyond themselves for the sake of a better future, but whether I do it with a gentle palm or iron fist, I can’t get the lesson to stick. In the end, people act out of their own self-interest, not realizing they’re acting AGAINST their own self-interest. Your sacrifice is a noble one, but it’s only necessary because of the short-sightedness of others.”

“It’s what I have to do to prevent chaos and instill order.”

Noah chuckled. “Chaos? There is no such thing. Regardless of species or ideology, everyone searches for order in life, even if how they define order differs. Fascists believe that order comes from the centralization of power. Anarchists believe that order comes from the even dispersal of power. Naturalists believe that order comes from the authority of power. They all believe in and strive for a world where people get what they deserve.

I’ve seen countless societies, large and small, break down with the loss of law and governance, but everyone, even looters and marauders, seeks out what they believe to be balance. Everything we destroy, we do so because we think they intrude on the fairness of the world we each envision. Everything we take, we do so because we believe ourselves justified in our actions and worthy of our needs and desires being fulfilled. Chaos doesn’t exist. Chaos is merely a definition of order that we disagree with.

Even Kaisen believes in fairness and opposes chaos. He clings to the belief that might makes right, that the strong should rule over the weak, because that is the only thing that makes sense to him. To him, survival of the fittest ensures everyone gets what they deserve. He envisions a world where we live as animals, free of rules and technology, because to him, societal laws interfere with nature’s balance and sabotage destiny’s distribution of fairness. He sees man’s attempt to instill order as interfering with the natural edict and inciting chaos. The question is, what will he do now? Kaisen can’t show his face around this city after your win.”

“He’s still out there, and he’ll keep gathering supporters until he’s strong enough to try another coup. For now, what we really need to worry about is the Profane. They must be exterminated.”

“I’ve gone over everything I gathered from Carthace’s prison, and they apparently have some kind of mobile base where most of the parasite research is happening. They can move to new areas to avoid detection and gather victims for experimentation. We’d have to find it before it moves again and infiltrate it, but I don’t know where to begin looking.”

“We’ll find it. Maybe it’s because those punches I took knocked by brain around, or maybe it’s whatever is in that pipe, but I have hope for the future. I think things are looking up.”

And thus, the two men sat and continued to enjoy the night air.

----------

Roaring in fury, Kaisen slashed the fiend before him with his claws, ripping open the monster’s skill and leaving nothing behind but a lower jaw and exposed spinal column. Turning around, he opened his mouth and fired a Lion’s Roar blast at another fiend, shredding flesh and crushing bone, but failing to kill the creature. Barely a second later, Kaisen remedied that failure with his claws, separating head from neck.

A winged fiend tried to attack him from behind, leaping with his feet outstretched, ready to sink his talons into Kaisen’s flesh. Kaisen grabbed the fiend by the throat, slammed him into the ground with enough force to shatter his spine, and then finished him off with several stomps to the head. All around him lay dead fiends, used to vent his anger and frustration, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy him. Though his wounds had healed, his ego was still bruised black and blue.

“That bastard cheated me out of my throne! I’ll make him suffer for this indignity!”

“Are you done yet?”

Kaisen looked up to a catwalk spanning the room where Curcio stood. He had returned to the Profane base after his loss, and neither time nor violence could calm him. “Send more minions! I still haven’t had my fill of death. Satiating me is the best these small-fry can ever hope to accomplish.”

“You are no different from they are. Not only did you fail to kill the prince, but the people of Welindar are now cheering his name.”

“He got the best of me with trickery and cheats, but it won’t happen again. I’ll grind him into dust.”

“And what about the Wandering Spirit and the Sword Goddess? What do you think will happen when you face them? Two of your subordinates were already slain as if they were nothing.”

“What of it?! I’ll kill them both!”

“They’ve already slain Carthace, who was far superior to you. The way you are now, you’ll just end up another nameless corpse.”

“Come down here and say that to my face!”

Curcio cracked a maniacal grin. “That’s why you need to become better than what you are now, far better. The time has come for you to become part of the Profane, to reach the pinnacle of strength.”

“My custom parasite has been finished?”

“You could say that. Your case will be quite different from these peons you’ve been butchering. Of course, to gain great power requires great pain. If you aren’t afraid of such things, follow me.”

Kaisen leaped up onto the catwalk. “Lead the way,” he growled.

Curcio led him through the dark corridors of the base to a surgical chamber. A table with straps sat underneath sterile white light, with a tray of tools and drug-filled syringes nearby.

“If you’re ready, hop on the table. But know that this is your last chance to reconsider.”

“There is nothing to consider. The ultimate goal of all life is supremacy, to maximize our strengths and attributes so that we might dominate the world around us and everyone in it. Survival of the fittest! There is so sin or crime too terrible as long as it leads to greater power. I was born from the unity of two powerful clans, the perfect beast warrior with the mightiest blood. Combining the lion and tiger made me what I am, and to combine the liger with the Profane will make me even greater. That is all that matters.”

Kaisen lay back on the operating table and was strapped in. Curcio stood over him with a scalpel and syringe. “Since your parasite it unique, certain steps must first be taken to make you more… compatible. I can promise you that it will be the most excruciating pain imaginable. You will scream and beg for death. However, when I’m done, you won’t be a mere host. You will be a genuine Profane, and the mightiest fiend to ever live. I’m going to make you beautiful.”

“Enough jabbering. I don’t have all day.”

“Believe me, until I’m finished, a day will feel like a lifetime.”

Curcio then went to work, and try as he might, not even Kaisen could endure the agony silently.

Please comment! Tell me your thoughts!
2 comments

cameraman12035Report 

2024-03-23 23:11:49
I have followed your books from the beginning, it is a great series, and you are a very talented author.

oldFReport 

2024-03-22 13:48:02
the suspence, i can hardly wait to continue reading, we can only hope noah has more tricks up his sleeve to dish out with eternal wrath upon the destroyers of his lab.

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