El Culebrón

Chapter 2: In Which A Plant Fights the Apex Predator of Nebon-3

by CicadaSeance

Tags: #cw:noncon #biting #CryptidHorny #Human_Domestication_Guide #petplay #training #transgender_characters #bondage #broken_english #D/s #dom:female #exhibitionism #f/f #furry #humiliation #scifi #sub:female #Unfiltered_Monsterfucker

Sorry it took me so long. Blame Elden Ring

          Lyceldra’s vines ruffled for the eighth time that morning, running absently over the row of xenodrug flowers grafted to her arm. As a fungal Affini, Lyceldra could only host xenodrug blooms on some small few of the vines that twisted up to make her composite body. These were plant-based grafts designed to interface with her mostly fungal body As a result, Lyceldra had long learned how to maximize her own surface area, leading to rainbow streaks of flowers in her otherwise pale white form like some sort of gay alien cinnamon roll. Currently, these were the flower grafts she felt would most suit hunting a beast.
 
          El Culebrón, or ‘Cal’ as she had started secretly calling them in her head, was a formidable prey to be certain, but Lyceldra felt confident in her abilities. After all, she specialized in subduing the most dangerous and volatile of sophonts. To be honest, she hadn’t had many assignments that interested her since coming to the Terran system, so the thought of such a worthy assignment had her mycelia rippling. Still, the low thrum that buzzed through her body when she watched Cal dismbowel a robot suggested something more complex in her feelings towards the Terran than merely respect and worry.
 
          Lyceldra couldn’t keep the excited silver flashes from spiraling in her pale yellow eyes in her excitement. She couldn’t deny it, she was itching for the hunt. In nature, the fungus she had bloomed from hunted host insects to infect and control, and while Lyse was thankful she had avoided some of the more unsavory aspects of her progenitor bloom (or spore, as it were,) she still felt a primal desire to find a darling floret to pin down, spore, implant, and control. Deep inside the coil of her form, she felt one of her cordyceps twitch hungrily, and blushed at herself. Cal wasn’t some cute little ant drone succumbing to its new fungal queen, they were to be treated as a free sophont despite their ferocity. Lyceldra couldn’t just take them as her own by force, as much as the feral Cal captured her imagination. Still, Cal’s nature was unknown to her. If the Affini ethics committee decided that little Cal would need someone to look after them, she would be first in line to volunteer, she admitted quietly to herself, eyes still swirling with silver.
 
          Cal certainly seemed a danger enough to others, judging from some of the stories she had heard, though she took those with a grain of sodium chloride. Terrans had the strangest habit of exaggerating and embellishing exciting stories in their lives. It made them pretty ineffectual as witnesses, but pretty entertaining storytellers. If she had believed everything she was told, Cal had the ability to spit acid, turn invisible, and even travel through shadows as though they were doors. The stories were obviously heavily fictionalized, but if the Terran displayed even half the aggression witnesses claimed they did, there could be trouble.
 
          There was no danger to Lyce of course. Though the Terran’s cute little daggers could certainly cleave through mycelia and vine just fine, Lyceldra doubted that Cal could keep up with her natural regeneration before their poor little Terran muscles get tired. The larger danger was that Cal would hurt themselves in the struggle. To that end, Lyceldra had prepared a row of grafts designed to subdue the Terran; a Class-E and Z , of course, to get the rabid Terran nice and subdued, a Class-H to help them stay calm and well behaved after capture, and a Class-A to show the dear that Affini touches could feel quite nice, which might be important after the inevitable tussle. More than anything, she wanted to make the poor lost soul feel safe, something she worried the Terran didn't get to experience often in its seclusion. Lyce sighed and settled anxiously into a rough pile on the bottom of her speeding jump ship, as it whizzed noiselessly across the desert of Nebon-3, nearing closer and closer to the mountain range looming in the distance.
 
——————
 
          By the time the ship touched down, the sun had already begun to set, sending streaks of technicolor through the alien atmosphere above her. Lyce had tried to time her arrival time for dusk to perhaps surprise the Terran as they returned to their den to settle down for the night. It wasn't as though the Terran's den was hard to find, it had been well marked. Lyce pulled closer to the splotches of vivid red painted over the dark grey rocks of the cliff and cave ahead of her, initially worried that it could be painted in blood. Lyceldra felt no small relief in discovering that the markings were merely red paint, likely stolen from some nearby settlement.
 
          Almost every patch of smooth stone surface surrounding and retreating within this cave entrance hosted a splash of red, either in formless slashes of paint or depicting crude shapes and figures. Lyceldra pulled forward into the cave in deep fascination, following the art deeper into the depths. Lyceldra could recognize the rudimentary shapes quite easily, little Cal had quite the artistic eye for someone with no training, or any visible socialization. For the most part the shapes stayed humanoid, depicting villages and towns full of people with an external vision, as if painted from the outside looking in. The occasional quadrapedal herd of cattle would creep into the murals, likely witnessed or even hunted by Cal from nearby ranches. Lyce would say “poached”, but of course her little Cal was entitled to any meat they needed.
 
          Lyceldra stopped herself for a moment with a frown. 'Her little Cal'? She was getting ahead of herself again. Still, she couldn't help but imagine a future with such a good artist living in her hab unit! She emerged into a central cavern chamber as her luminescent eyes peered through the dark. A fire pit laid dark and cold in the center of the large room, surrounded by rough straw mats, patches of ripped carpet, and even rubber flooring peeled away from wherever it could be found into a sort of makeshift seating. Narrow cave passages forked away from the room deeper into the tunnel into presumably yet more rooms carved out by the Terran to live in. She was impressed at Cal's industrious, but even more impressed with the murals painted all over the domed walls and ceiling of the room in a rainbow of colors. It was obvious the Terran had saved their most precious of colored paints for their inner sanctum. White moons and stars dotted the ceilings in rough curled stripes of galaxy swirls, and human shapes of all colors, shapes, and sizes congregated in a city of rainbow light. The painted city was beautiful, and cold, and alien, all of the shapes and dimensions of the buildings and houses just misshapen enough to show the artist's unfamiliarity with their shapes. The painted building's crooked forms were steeped in the dark shadows of a pitch black night, barely staved off by technicolor lights. THIS was how Cal saw the human world they were left apart from? Lyceldra felt a twist of emotion in her core as she gazed at the beautiful outsider art.
 
          Wait, she noticed something else, a recurring character hidden all over the work like Waldo, someone similar in shape to the humans that surrounded it, but distinctly different. At first, she had simply taken it for another of the multicolored crowds that flooded the rainbow streets of the mural, but it was always apart from the rest, tucked into a shadow or hidden behind a building. It had a hunched shape, like a predator stalking through the crowds lazily, and its arms were hooked into scythes almost like a praying mantis. Where the humans around were all sorts of colors, this recurring shape was always painted a dark blue, blending into shadows. Where humans were drawn universally blocky, almost gormless looking, this figure was sleek and curvy, almost feminine in a weird, bestial way. Like some apex predator in human form. Was this... little Cal? Was this how that poor dear Terran sees itself? Some sort of monster on the edge of society, preying on the weak...
 
          Lyce shuddered again, more violently, sending a worried ripple through her flowers, face pressed into a determined expression. She wouldn't let this Terran feel like an outcast, not for long, not if she had anything to say about it. She still wasn't sure how or who left this poor Terran in the desert unattended, but nothing a little tender loving care couldn't fix!
 
          Lyceldra was so consumed with her thoughts that she didn't realize she was being watched until a heavy mass slammed into her back. Lyce hissed with surprise as the Terran slammed into her, feeling the little feral creature’s daggers sink into her mycelia vines like they were rubber; resistant to impact, but oh so cuttable. It pressed savagely into her, trying to bring her to the ground under its weight. A biting growling ball of Terran hit the floor, already moving in a tight roll to end up back on their feet behind the reeling mass of plants. Lyce spun to meet it, eyes filled with captivating silver spirals, and waves of yellow spores coming off her body in a display of Affini ferality. Lyce could feel the figure’s killing intent, the aggression behind its blows, and felt any hope for a diplomatic solution dissolving. Still, she had to try. “Now now, darling…!” The plant started, but Cal seemed unimpressed, bouncing backward on their toes away as if afraid of reprisal, “I am Lyceldra Mycota, Second Bloom, and I am here to help,” as her wooden face reshaped into her most disarming smile.
 
          “Graaaoooo!!” The Terran snarled in retort. Ah roots, did the poor thing speak Terran? The dear needed more help than she thought.

          “Fear not, little Terran, I will save you” Lyceldra sang with infinite grace, as her branching alien mycelia opened like a steel trap, to catch the poor defenseless sophont in her grasp, to hold it safe and keep it from harm.

——————

          The beast was fighting for its life.

          The sun had just set when the Apex predator of Nebon-3 had awoken. It knew it did not need to hunt this evening (after all, its larders were still bursting from the raid the week prior) but it had every intention of hunting for something to take from the silly humans camped too close to its den. That was the privilege of the Alpha, and it was happy to hold that position. Finally, finally it was peerless within its territory, the stalking predator that little pack bonded humans feared in their big walls and bright rooms.

          That was when it heard the sound of rustling across the stone floors of it’s den. At first, it reminded the beast of the rustling of leaves, but it knew there wasn’t any green to rustle outside of its cave. Besides, trees didn’t move, and whatever this was was approaching quickly, and it was BIG. The beast tried to track the footsteps of this animal, but it was unlike any creature it had heard of before. It almost seemed to move like a sand snake, in slithering motions, but as it drew closer it sounded larger and larger.

          The beast stood for only a moment in mute shock. This thing was something new, something big, something, perhaps, attempting to steal its spot as the apex predator of this desert. The beast’s eyes narrowed to slits, as it lowered itself to the ground, readying a silent pounce. Whatever this thing was, the beast was going to get the drop on it. Surely its first strike would be powerful enough to strike the interloper low, no matter HOW big it was. The hunter knew how to aim for the vitals.

——————

          The beast was mistaken. When it saw the pale, hulking shape, it lunged for the kill, but as its claws sank into the meat of the creature, it felt only squishy, bloodless flesh, like the creature was made of some sort of sponge, or perhaps plant matter? It flinched and even hissed its displeasure, proof that its blow had harmed the interloper, but rather than fall to the floor, bloodied, weakened or dead, the shape just spun, bringing into view a faux human face craved from wood balanced atop. The intruder spoke in some flowery, musical tone, but the beast knew they were lies, and couldn’t really hear over the blood pounding in the its ears anyway. Life, as always, was kill or be killed.

          It roared in challenge as a response, claws clutched in its white knuckles. The pale yellow eyes of the plant thing seemed to glow from the center of its pale mass as it unfurled itself, lunging towards the beast. The beast grinned, canines digging into its lower lip hard enough to draw blood as they lunged forward, moving toward the center of the mass where the vines converged. The thing’s eyes shone there, crowning its wooden face. The hunter knew every creature in existence was weak there, where the squishy salty orbs sat in front of the brain. If the beast were to get a claw through that wooden face, surely the creature would fall dead.

          The alpha of Nebon-3 bared down at that smiling wooden face, off-put by the serene expression carved into it. Still, it couldn’t hesitate, it had to follow though, or it would lose. It would do anything to prove its dominance over its place in the world. Its claw was inches away from victory when it felt a vine grab its arm. It screamed in frustration, pulling forward as hard as it could, tearing the tendons and connective tissues of its shoulder as it desperately yanked its arm out of the plant’s hold. Its adversary made a displeasured sound, though the beast didn’t know exactly why, and the vines loosened under the Alpha’s strength.

          This lapse gave the beast what it needed to pull forward, one of its arms dangling uselessly at its side, one of its claws left to clatter to the ground from its now useless hand. The face, surely the core of the plant’s being, was directly before the beast as it stumbled one step, another, away from the grasp of the vines, which suddenly seemed hesitant to touch it. Perhaps the pull had wounded its adversary as well? It didn’t matter, it only mattered that the Alpha had won.

          Time seemed to slow as the beast’s good arm bore down, driving its claw toward the face of its foe, surrounded on all sides by encroaching vines curling inward to trap and grasp. It was a master stroke, a single Pyrrhic strike at the cost of its own body, but it was a victory all the same, it felt it in its bones. The wooden face was twisted into one of sorrow and fear as the dagger sank into the knotted plant matter of its face, right between those four sorrowful pale yellow eyes centered there.
 
          The mass of plant matter jerked and twisted for a moment beneath the Alpha, the eyes seeming to sink within the flesh as the wood splintered and fell to the sides, leaving behind a writhing, *dying* bundle of pale white vines, streaked with green and rainbow flowers. It was only now, standing above its defeated rival, its dear foe, that the desert Alpha recognized the beauty of its colors. As it clutched its arm to its side, it wondered if it would be able to perfectly capture the colors of this new prey on the walls surrounding it. Surely such magnificent prey deserved a spot of prominence on the Alpha’s history wall.

          So consumed with its victory, it didn’t notice the mass shifting, swelling, *growing* around it until it felt the sting in its lower thigh. It lurched and spun as it felt the injection and saw the flowering vine sneak away, but its body felt heavy and slow to respond. It felt a dull pang in its heart as it realized what had happened, its fear suppressed by the warmth flooding its body. Venom, of course the prey was venomous, its rainbow pigment practically screamed it. And perhaps prey was the wrong word.
 
          The pale fungal creature before the beast lurched and coiled like an ocean of mushrooms swelling and sprouting over one another in their effort to stretch toward and hold the stumbling ex-Alpha. There was no denying it, the once Alpha of Nebon-3 had been bested by the colorful interloper that had invaded its den. It realized now that what it had thought of as a humanoid plant thing had been merely a disguise, a thin veneer of humanity over a flooding swell of bestial, rot-eating predators. The mycelia wove together into a rough, bestial face, a gaping worm-like mouth filled with row after row of rainbow flower, like the maw of some terrible flowering beast. Slotting into it’s pale woven eye holes were those 4 pale eyes, the same ones, stored away somewhere up inside its body. The victor gazed down at its prey with a look of utter control, utter dominance, that had the prey shivering. It could only hope that the thing would kill it before that colorful mouth devoured it, and that the new owner of this den treated it well. As the once-Alpha drifted off into oblivion, it stared at the painted stars above it, until those too went black.

—————

          Cal awoke in a soft warm place, with pale light like moonlight filling the room, and painted stars shining above in luminescent ink. It didn’t yet know that its name was Cal, but while it had slept, the cogs of the Affini government had moved and swept the sleeping, healing Terran along with them. DNA had been taken, along with finger prints and retinal scans, and facial recognition software had been run. By all accounts, this Terran had been unknown by any Terran central or corporate database as anything more than a threat to profitability prior to the Compact’s arrival. A caretaker Affini had been assigned, one Lyceldra Mycota, Second Bloom, and stopgap name had been assigned, Cal, as suggested by Lyceldra, in the case that the Terran didn’t already have something they preferred to go by. Judging by its severe lack of any kind of socialization, Lyceldra seriously doubted it.

          As it was, the beast now known as Cal gently stirred, decades of hunter instinct struggling against an overpowering blanket of xenodrugs keeping them sedate. They wildly flopped one of its arms above itself, blinking repeatedly at the way it briefly shadowed its eyes. Where was its other arm? Oh, it was right there, bandaged to it’s stomach in a sling and…flowering? It blinked owlishly at the arm, mind mulling over this information slowly like the thought was moving through molasses. Flowers, like on a corpse. Was it dead? Or maybe just its arm was dead, and the arm had begun to flower without waiting on the rest of it. In either case, it had to admit the flowers were pretty, a gentle red with white around the edges.

          Cal’s consciousness faded in and out for the next few hours, until the sun rose! Or, wait, the bulb above’s light turned from a gentle blue to a bright orange, bright enough to warm its skin. Cal squinted its eyes in annoyance, there was no dark cold place to hide! Its annoyance was broken, however, as the wall slid open, the once featureless surface revealing a seamless door and entryway. And standing there, Cal’s rival, the massive fungal monster who tried to eat Cal. Even through the xenodrugs, they felt their heart begin to pound. It was here to finish the job, surely. Like a spider, the fungus had paralyzed Cal so that it could eat them later. It couldn’t help but imagine the creature’s giant flowering mouth crushing Cal to nothingness. Except…the thing didn’t look like a monster anymore. It looked kinda…pretty, like a nice human lady but made out of nature.

          Her ‘hair’ looked poofy, which was understandable, considering it seemed to be formed from big white puff cap mushrooms held into a loose bundle that curled around her face and shoulders. An exceptionally large puff rested on her forehead like a swoop of hair, covering only one of her four eyes. This left 3 of those pale corpse-like yellow orbs glowing within a newly carved wooden face, regarding Cal with a strange mix of pride and worry that Cal was fully unused to. The face, just like her previous, was an image of historical beauty, like some old statue in a museum Cal barely remembers, but now Cal knew that this face was just as carved as the museum statue’s was, a false face over the monster beneath. The face curls into a smile.

          “Hello, little one. My name is Lyceldra Mycota, Second Bloom. I have been assigned as your temporary caretaker. Do you understand my words?” The pretty face asked, and the dreamy, tingly Cal nodded its head before they even realized they had done it. Cal was rewarded with a radiant grin. “I am glad. We were unsure of exactly how much education you had received. Do you have a name you prefer?” She asked, her tone still soft and warm like Cal’s blanket cave. Cal missed its blanket cave. Cal shook its head on purpose now. No. No name. Not anymore.

          The smile got a little sadder, as the plant woman nodded. “That’s okay, little one. Would you like one? I’ve been calling you ‘Cal’ in your paperwork, but we can always change it.” Cal shrugged, it was good as any. At least it wasn’t *that* name. Lyceldra’s smile warmed again, giving an excited nod. “Excellent. It’s nice to meet you, Cal.” Cal finally opened their mouth, their undeveloped voice scratchy and feral.

          “Care…taker?” they hiss softly, mulling over the words. “Care” and “Take” were both words Cal understood, but put together they didn’t paint the kindest scene. They were on edge, even through the chemical wave of calm, and Lyce could see that.

          “Don’t worry, darling, it’s okay! A caretaker is someone who will keep you safe, who will feed and cloth you and give you a safe place to nest.” Lyce tried to explain. Cal tilted their head, eyes narrowing further.

          She wanted to…give it food? Shelter? Warmth? Cal was right, the plant DID want to be Alpha, but she didn’t conquer Cal to devour. She conquered Cal to force the beast into her pack. Maybe even as a mate? Cal’s head spun, unsure how to handle this change of events. Surely being forced into a pack was better than death, and yet…Cal stared up at Lyce with its most defiant expression. It hadn’t fought for so long to give up its position. If this strange plant lady wanted to be in a pack with Cal, then sure. Surely the lady had proven her strength. But Cal would show her, Cal would show her who the real Alpha was. Surely this large plant would be submissive to the true Alpha by the end of the week, Cal thought to itself. Cal would show them what a scary hunter it was!

          Lyce cooed at Cal’s grumpy expression, and brought a strand of mycelia down to gently ruffle their hair. Perhaps, it considered to itself, this might be harder than it thought.

Surely Cal will rocket to their rightful place on top of the Affini's hierarchy, just like they expect. They're such a strong hunter, after all.

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