When sneaking past a deep-sea cookiecutter shark mermaid possessed by a demonic slime girl, the real key was being light on one’s feet.
Snatch, known as Alrek to his nonexistent friends, was not light on his feet.
Loweina shot him a dirty look that had nothing to do with suggestiveness as he again nearly stumbled on a bit of coral. Somehow, even Mylio, half-unconscious from continuous fucking and brainwashing, was being more stealthy than Snatch.
They were back in the gardens now, and the Goo Queen was straight up ahead. Currently between them and the Goo Queen were three possessed Deep Merfolk they didn’t want to tangle with. The merfolk would be gone soon enough, but they needed to get close to the Goo Queen before they were noticed. They wouldn’t have many shots at this—Loweina was no warrior, and Snatch was still exhausted and weak from the jelly maid’s sucking, even after his unwanted rest in the jail cell.
He nearly tripped again, and this time Loweina just rolled her eyes. He chewed on his upper lip. Snatch had never been the “delicate steps” sort of thief, back when he’d been a thief. He was a lockpicker—the sort of burglar who preferred to sneak when nobody was home to critique his performance with, say, calls for the Night Watch. And in his defense, it was not easy to sneak here. The Garden was a cluttered place, and they were keeping to the most densely-populated parts of it to avoid being spotted.
“Right,” Loweina whispered softly, and Snatch and Mylio came to a halt. “We’re close. Wait here.”
Snatch didn’t argue. He rather wanted to listen to whatever it was the Goo Queen was saying. It was about someone he owed a debt to.
“...find that landwhore eventually,” the Goo Queen said, sounding irritated.
“Of course, my queen!” gushed all three lesser merfolk in unison.
“We need that druid. Need her power.” The Goo Queen pinched her nipples, letting out a slight moan. “Need her under me. F-fuck.” Her eyes closed, but she continued to speak. “Do you think she’ll come back?”
“We have her partner captive,” said one deep mermaid—the same gulper maid who had swallowed Snatch earlier. “Humans are sentimental.”
“She’d better come back,” the Goo Queen growled. “Without her, we’ll have to … have to start from scratch. Find a different druid. Damn it, why aren’t there any merfolk druids in the area? It would make everything so much simpler!“
Snatch was so concentrated on the conversation, he almost didn’t notice the pink tendril arcing towards him in the water.
But he did notice. Barely holding in a curse, he fell backwards into a crablike position as a madly-proportioned pink slime girl appeared above him. She giggled, straddling his waist. “I keep running into you like this, don’t I?” she whispered.
Snatch exchanged a look with Loweina, then with Mylio. They both looked unsure. He looked back at the slime girl through narrowing eyes, ignoring his rising erection—though with him underneath the slime girl’s slick body, it was not easy to ignore. “So you caught us. Go ahead and sound the alarm—we’ll kill you if you try.”
The slime girl—Alless, that was her name—only beamed. “Silly boy. You can’t hurt me! Nothing can!” She sounded quite proud.
“Not even a geyser stick?” Loweina asked, holding one of the little rune-inscribed twigs up in her pale hand.
The pink slime girl glanced at it, scoffed, then did a double-take. She cocked her head. “Ooh. We’ve been naughty, haven’t we, Loweina?”
“Oh, so very naughty,” Loweina said with a smirk. “And if you up the jig, we will burn you.” Snatch had never seen her truly try to look menacing before. It was a rather disturbing sight. Loweina was far from unattractive, but when she wanted to, her baggy pale eyes looked sunken—positively skeletal.
The goo girl seemed to stick her tongue into her cheek, though with a form that amorphous, she could just as easily be sticking her tongue through her cheek. “Okay, then,” she said at last. “No alarm.” She rose up off of Snatch, to his relief, and jiggled closer to Loweina, smirking. “Why don’t we have some fun, cutie? What do you think? Want more?“
Snatch saw Loweina trembling slightly. “N-no,” she muttered. “We will—”
“Aw, see, here’s the thing!” The goo girl poked Loweina’s breast. Snatch watched the slime of her finger seem to swirl around the nipple, eliciting a soft gasp. “Geyser sticks are pretty noisy. I don’t think you’ll use one unless you have to. So let’s just keep this between us girls, huh?”
“Always say yes,” the slime girl breathed, leaning close for a kiss. She stopped short, however, as Mylio grabbed her ankle—or tried to, anyways. She looked down and blinked wide eyes. “Ooh, what have we here?”
Snatch saw a look enter Loweina’s eye, and knew exactly what it meant. His mind and heart raced.
“You know,” the deep mermaid said, her voice suddenly silky again, “why keep it just between us girls?“
“Hm?” Aless seemed distracted by Mylio, who had pushed himself up into the water. Swimming was clearly still a challenge for him, and he wavered even from this slight exertion.
“Leave my Mistress alone,” Mylio said, eyes narrowed.
“Mmyes,” Loweina said, grinning sharp teeth. She gave Snatch a look that made his blood go cold, and understanding just in time, he averted his gaze. A moment later, he caught the familiar glow as her hair began to light up. “Have you tasted this one yet, Allessiantha?”
“Mm. I’m gonna taste all of you.” Alless licked her lips. “Don’t think you can trade off a boytoy to keep me entertained.”
“But who to taste first?” Loweina said, her voice low and sibilant. “Who to hold within you, tormenting, pleasuring to madness?”
“Mistress,” Mylio began, “I—”
“Who to submit to you?” Loweina whispered. “Look at him. So proud, once. Now desperate to be a loving pet. Maybe … your pet.“
“Mm. You … can’t fool me.” But the slime girl’s voice sounded slightly dreamy now. “I, like, know your li’l tricks, Loweina. Us slime girls are immune to that sort of … that sort of thing. You can’t hypno … uh, hyp … no ...” Her voice trailed off like a sail without wind. Snatch waited for what felt like a minute.
“...uh, me,” she finished, sounding confused.
“You’re getting so hot imagining it,” Loweina cooed. “You can take us later.”
“Later …” Alless repeated, in an almost singsong tone. She appeared to snap back to focus. “Hey, no, I gotta—”
“You could take all of him inside you. That tight, muscular body...”
“Please, Mistress.” But Mylio’s voice sounded unsteady, confused. Betrayed by his dominator. Snatch almost felt sorry for the asshole, but what was he supposed to do? It was all he could do to tune out Loweina’s melodic voice. The last thing he needed was to get himself brainwashed now.
“Feel every one of his muscles. Feel him spasm in you. Your writhing pet, enslaved to your pleasure.” The words came out like thick syrup, as though Loweina savored every one.
“Yeah ...” The slime girl’s voice was barely a murmur now. “That does sound … sweet.”
“Sweet domination,” Loweina hissed. ”Sweet surrender.“
“Um, but, I’m supposed to ...”
“Later,” the mermaid soothed. Snatch caught the lights flashing slightly brighter, and had to cover his eyes. Her voice was almost inescapable, even when not directed at him.
“Need to feel him now.”
“Need … feel ...” Snatch heard the slime girl moving.
“Mistress!” Mylio cried. “Please! I love you!“
“Feels so good to submit, Myley. So good to any mistress.”
“What does obedience bring?”
“P-pleasu—mmf!” Mylio’s voice was cut off as Aless’s body consumed him entirely.
Loweina kept talking for a while. Snatch plugged his ears as best he could, but bits and pieces—how good it felt to take it slow, how good it felt to control, how good it felt to be controlled—sifted through. It felt like a full minute had passed when he at last felt a tap on his shoulder. His eyes opened.
Loweuina smirked down at him. Nearby, Mylio lay twitching within the softly moaning slime girl. They looked almost asleep, but every now and then, he would jerk, or she would cry out in ecstasy. Her eyes were screwed shut in bliss. “That aughta keep ’em for a bit.”
Snatch stared at her a moment. “You’re a real piece, you know that?”
“Thanks.” She winked. “I’ve worked hard to become so.”
He rose back up partway and looked around. The Goo Queen was now alone in the garden. It was perfect. But ...
He hated that he had to ask it.
“What about Mylio?” he asked.
Loweina gave a lazy shrug. “We can’t kill the slime without being noticed. He keeps her busy.”
“Can’t you just, I dunno ...” Snatch thought back to incidents involving Larya and a particular toy-using sorceress. “Have her do herself?”
“Slime girls can’t masturbate.” She beckoned as she began to swim ahead again, moving into position. “Fun science lesson.”
* * *
They were only about four meters away, now. The Goo Queen was lazily rubbing her breasts, staring up into the darkened...above. Giant anemones and those strange tubeworm things surrounded her.
Loweina did not dare speak now, even with the queen so distracted. She just looked at Snatch and nodded, and he understood: They would never have a better shot.
She gestured for Snatch to linger behind as she crept up. He had to admit, considering his stealth track record, that was fair. He clenched his fists, wishing for all the world he had his scythe right now as the mermaid swam forward.
Loweina’s form shimmered in the dim light of a nearby luminescent slime of some sort—thankfully of the non-sentient variety. Hopefully, anyways. Snatch had never seen a place so overrun with demonic energy. It reminded of another, distant time. Of somber stone walls and somberer instructors. He knew how dangerous this place was. How powerful a force of temptation it could become, if allowed to spread.
Shit, he thought, looking around him, Larya was right. I guess that means I’m about to die.
Of course she had been. He’d been a coward earlier—trying to convince her to just abandon the merfolk. He was always a coward, and fairly proud of it, but he knew there was no way to really justify it this time. If they didn’t do something now, a lot of people were going to die. Or worse.
And despite years of training, that did, on some level, bother him. Larya really was starting to get to him.
Had been starting to get to him.
Snatch returned his attention back to Loweina. The deep mermaid was on the very edge of the tubeworms, now, staring at the Goo Queen mere meters away. It was nervewracking to watch. She was staying almost perfectly still—save the odd twitch or shifting—likely trying to get into position. Snatch squinted. It was tricky to see her through the forest of tubeworms. She was completely surrounded by them.
Immersed in them.
A thought struck Snatch. A terrible, terrible thought that could not possibly be true. His heart lurched. Very cautiously, he stepped forward and reached his arm out into the little forest.
The phallic tubeworms did not react at first. Then they started to coalesce around his arm, brushing by it in slow, feathery strokes. It was almost unnoticeable, but Snatch was looking for it.
Dragonshit. Snatch screwed up his willpower, took a deep, meaningless breath, and stepped forward. The tubeworms gathered around his whole body in light little caresses. It was like being, well, immersed in phalli. Snatch tried not to think about it like that.
It wasn’t altogether unpleasant, was the problem. The touches were slight, and not especially bothersome—though the tubeworms grazing his cock were a little more affecting, and he had to keep his ass tightly clenched to dissuade curious worms from trying to enter there. But they became more repetitive, more insistent, more flat-out numerous the further in he got. They were petting him with deliberate strokes now.
Luckily, they didn’t appear to be designed to bother human men overmuch. The touches on his chest and back were somewhat pleasant—like a light massage—but not by any means overpowering. He was able to withstand their attentions long enough to reach Loweina.
Merfolk, he guessed, had a very different response.
The mermaid stood stock-still in the deep waters, her tail twitching slightly. Her eyes were wide, her mouth clenched tightly shut. The worms were probing at it, appearing eager to enter, but could only stroke along her lips. It seemed even that was having an effect. The tubeworms ran over her back, her belly, over and between her breasts, stroking her incessantly. A mermaid’s whole human body was erogenous, and it was very obvious to Snatch that these tubeworms were designed to capture merfolk in particular. It seemed Loweina had never lain with these particular garden pets, or perhaps had forgotten. Or had thought herself strong enough to resist.
Snatch winced as he felt the tubeworms running over his cock more firmly. The repeated attentions were having an effect. There were too many to ward away, and the little knife he had couldn’t cut them all.
Loweina let out a little moan. Snatch gave a start, eyes wide. He frantically gestured for her to remain quiet, or to get out of the worms, but she could only shake her head slightly. Her eyes sank downward, and he realized that the smaller tubeworms had wrapped around her tail, holding her in place.
She moaned again, louder, despite her obvious efforts to contain herself. Snatch ducked down onto his hands and knees and raised the dagger, frantically sawing at the smaller tubeworms. He knew that they were massing around his own ankles now, but that wouldn’t matter if Loweina could get free. The knife didn’t make much sound, but the little squeaking sound of the sawing was still much more than they could afford.
Loweina started to whimper—not singular moans, but a steady stream of whines and grunts. It sounded like her mouth was starting to open. Snatch furiously hacked away. He was almost halfway through.
Loweina’s mouth opened to let out a cry.
Mercifully, she was cut off midway as a phallic tubeworm shot inside, reducing the rest of her cry to a choked moan. But it was too late. Snatch heard the Goo Queen’s self-pleasuring come to a halt.
“Hm?” The Queen sounded more amused than anything else. “Oooh. Just in time.”
Snatch struggled to rise, but found he could not—the tendrils had wrapped around both his ankles, rooting him to the ground. He put all his energy into the knife, drawing it across the last of Loweina’s bindings in one furious motion. Loweina’s tail whipped free!
He looked up, and his heart sank.
Loweina hovered above the sand, her chin held in the supple fingers of the Goo Queen. Her mouth was full of the tentacle as it moved in and out of her, mercilessly stimulating her sensitive lips. She was completely immersed from the neck down in long, soft tentacles that ran over her whole body, stroking it like willing lovers. Her eyes were wide open and staring at
Snatch stared at the spot right above the Goo Queen’s breast. The dark tattoos ran around her neck like an ornament of jewelry, writhing in place, writhing in so many beautiful spirals. He felt his jaw going slack. At the same time, he felt the strategy of the tubeworms change—they began to approach him not as phalli, but as tendrils, becoming softer, looser, leaner as they wrapped around his cock. He gasped as they began to stroke.
“Silly,” scolded the Goo Queen, giving a soft, tinkling laugh. “Silly.”
Snatch heard Loweina moan, her desperation clear. It was obvious she was getting close to orgasm. But he couldn’t look. It was so, so important, somehow to watch the patterns on the Goo Queen’s neck. They would make everything right. He was sure of it.
“I’ve always dreamed of breaking you, Loweina,” said the Goo Queen. “Stubborn little vagabond that you were. I’ve dreamed of mastering you, the last of the free-willed Deep Ones. Who knew all it would take would be a nice big dick between those sweet lips of yours?
“And you?” Alrek instinctively sensed he was being addressed. He smiled vacantly. The stroking on his cock felt so ... right. It felt so right to have pleasure, as the spirals wished him to. The designs twisted and writhed, and he didn’t even bother trying to follow them. It was easier to let himself drown in their complexity. The tentacles stroked along his shaft, covering it in soft, velvet pleasure, and his hips bucked into them eagerly. He was so close ... “You disappointed me earlier. I’m sure you’ll have more stamina soon enough, though, once you have drunk your fill.” She paused, appearing to notice the vacant look in his eyes. “Oh. Already broken? Poor little dear. Did we enjoy Chrysa?“
“Chrysa,” he whispered, remembering stinging tentacles, unbearable tickling. And then he was at the edge, and as those thoughts filled his empty mind, he went over. He felt all the joy rush through him at once as he came, and the ecstasy sent his mind spinning deeper into the Goo Queen’s wonderful power. It felt so good to serve her, to let her give him pleasure.
No! He tried to wrest his gaze away, but for every band of black he looked away from, there was another spiral to become lost in. “No ...” he managed.
“Always say yes.” The voice was not mocking or giggly now. This was a command. The tendril around his cock seemed to vibrate, drawing out his orgasm longer.
“Yes,” he heard himself say. He heard Loweina moan something that might have been similar, had her mouth not been full.
“Good boy!” the Goo Queen cooed, and he shuddered at the praise. “Finally, you’re seeing sense. And you, Loweina?” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Goo Queen lean close. “Come, now. What have we learned? Oh, yes, out with the worm. I want to hear you say it.”
With a loud popping sound, the worm in Loweina’s mouth came out. It fell by Snatch’s head, then snaked back up to join the mass surrounding her tormented body. Her cries came out loud and clear, now.
“Now, then, slut,” hissed the Goo Queen. “Say it. Say you submit. Say you want more. Say you are ours. Say you can’t resist. Say yes, you stubborn little bitch.“
There was a moment when Loweina had to struggle to speak, clearly. She was gasping and crying out as the orgasm took her body and mind alike. The Goo Queen waited. Snatch, a captive to the patterns, a slave to the stroking of his long, sensitive cock, waited with her. It would be so nice if Loweina submitted to his Queen, he knew. Then she could master him again, and he could submit to even more mistresses. How perfect that would be.
The energy had left him for resistance. He just wanted to give in. They had lost, and it had never felt so good to lose. He wanted to lose himself here, alone and in the darkness, to sink into the pleasure and never emerge. It seemed fair. It felt right.
Then Loweina spoke.
“H-H—Haukadalur,” she whispered. And something snapped.
Snatch felt the ground shake. The Goo Queen stepped back, and as the tattoo vanished behind the sea of tubeworms, his mind fragmented for a moment.
It returned to a deafening roar and the sensation of scalding heat. He tried to scream, but no sound came out. Then a hand gripped his arm and yanked him backwards. His mind struggled to make sense of this—he had been so ready to surrender, and then ...
“Damn you! screeched a shrill voice. Snatch blinked. He struggled to his feet, suddenly finding that the tubeworms had been almost completely burned away. Loweina lay beside him, gasping for breath.
“Gotcha,” she rasped, giving him a feral grin. Snatch looked over, the fog slowly clearing, toward the Goo Queen. He realized just what had happened.
Loweina had activated one of the geyser sticks, and the Goo Queen had been hit almost directly in the chest. Her human body was covered in hideous burns, and most distinctly, the strange tattoo of hers had been partially seared away, replaced by ugly red boils. Snatch felt his arousal fading quickly. He stooped and retrieved the knife, not taking his eyes off the Queen.
The possessed mermaid looked at him with eyes of burning hatred. “Damn you all!” she cried. “Look what you’ve done to my Rubripie—to me!” She gestured all over her scorched body. “She was perfect! She was—she was mine!” Her tone was less one of compassion and more one of a child whose favorite toy had been damaged.
Snatch leaned over, helping Loweina to right herself. “I’ll cover her six from left,” he said, rushing forward. Adrenaline was giving him strength—he could tell he had been burned, as had Loweina, but the tubeworms had ironically shielded them from most of the real damage. Pain gave him energy.
“Right by me,” Loweina said back, streaking off through the water.
Snatch leaped onto the Goo Queen’s right side, brandishing the little knife. She snarled and lurched away. Snatch realized just how badly hurt she was. Her fish half looked almost raw. She was vulnerable in this body. They needed to kill her before she could exit.
Loweina appeared on the Goo Queen’s left side, twirling the second of the four geyser sticks in her fingers. She had been burned across her face, but it was superficial. Hopefully. She winked at the Queen. “Want another, your majesty?”
Snatch started to edge around the Queen, moving into position to flank. He had to cut off her escape if Loweina broke another stick. He’d probably get burned in the process—Loweina wouldn’t hesitate for his sake—but he was ready to take that chance.
Then, Snatch felt something … bend.
For a moment, it was difficult to make sense of what was happening. At first, things just felt slightly .. wetter. But then he realized what that meant, and why every step suddenly felt a hundred times more difficult.
The spell—Larya’s spell—was beginning to break.
“Shit,” he muttered, and speaking the single word felt like he was blowing into a balloon made of lead. Feeling suddenly very queasy, he managed another step to the right.
So this really was a one-way trip. Well, best to make it last. He moved to cover the Goo Queen’s flank as Loweina raised the stick to her eye level. “Any last words, Your Majesty?” she asked, her voice full of poisonous honey.
The Goo Queen stared at her a moment, a sprite in the wisplights.
A small smile appeared on her face. “You know something funny, you little urchin?“
Loweina’s own smile didn’t drop. “What’s that, then?”
Snatch swallowed. Oh, great. Here I am with … I dunno how long left, and she’s setting her up for one-liners.
“I thought it was very cute that you didn’t know about the tubeworms,” the Goo Queen said, her smile widening. “And now I think you really weren’t allowed in these gardens often.”
“I … dabble,” Loweina said. She sounded less sure, now. Snatch half-wondered if it was a sore spot with her and half-wondered if she could hurry it up a little.
“Well, tell me this, dabbler,” the Goo Queen said, borrowing Loweina’s poison-honey voice. “Did you never bother to learn that we slime girls have many ways to communicate with each other?“
She and Snatch barely turned. They barely even glanced. They were professionals, after all, and there was the main target to focus on.
But they saw the six mermaids and two slime girls hovering in the water before them. Snatch particularly recognized the two angler maids from before, as well as—he swallowed—Chrysa. Chrysa giggled and waved her fingers at him.
“Take her,” the Goo Queen commanded. “Confiscate those hateful twigs and bring her to me screaming.“
Loweina looked at Snatch. It wasn’t so much a look of sympathy as of measurement. Acknowledgment, maybe. Snatch supposed he appreciated the thought.
Then she turned and bolted, her tail flicking in the water like a frantic propeller.
“Stop her!” the Goo Queen screamed. “Capture her alive and do not let her burn that pretty face!” The possessed mermaids were already taking off, followed by the slime girls. “I want to see her beg to drink me,” the Queen hissed. “Beg to replace this damaged vessel. Ah!” She pointed a long painted nail at Snatch as he started to edge back. “Chrysa, you stay.“
“Oh, boy!” Chrysa squirmed happily, the jelly maid’s lower half spiraling around like a spinning skirt.
Snatch felt his breaths getting heavier. At this rate, he guessed he had a minute, at most.
The Goo Queen turned to Snatch and gave a sly smile, either not noticing or not caring about his impending death. “You didn’t think I’d forget about you, did you?”
He took one more step back before Chrysa struck. Panicking, he swung the knife at her. It was a fatal mistake he instantly regretted. He should have stabbed with it. Swinging in this dense water was like pushing through pudding. Chrysa easily grabbed his arm, knocked the knife from his shivering fingers, and pushed him—almost gently—into the sand.
And then she was on top of him, giggling. “Together again,” she cooed.
Snatch said nothing. He was no longer sure if he could breathe, so he kept his mouth tightly shut and did not try. He could feel the pressure slowly increasing, but almost nothing was as unbearable as the sudden cold he felt.
The whole world seemed to be twisting and collapsing. Pain from the burn hissed through his breaking body, but it paled before the sheer cold, the sheer wrongness. He was not supposed to be here.
“Poor boy,” Chrysa murmured, tickling his chest with a finger. “Poor, meddlesome boy. If only I could have made you happy.”
“If only he didn’t have to fight,” the Goo Queen said, giving a mock-sigh. She chuckled. “We could have given him such pleasure, if only he’d have asked. Well, I guess ...” The rest of what she said was lost as the total din of silent oceans took over. Snatch could no longer hear.
Unable to stop himself, Snatch’s mouth opened. He began to choke. His whole world was going pitch black, and it suddenly struck him that the last thing he was going to see in this life would be a naked jellyfish mermaid and a scarred queen laughing at his pain. What a sight.
Then, a cool, clear voice broke through the gloom. “Wow. I’m gone for three hours—“
For a moment, pure song tore through Snatch like a whirlwind of noise and sensation. He cried out, and suddenly found that he could cry out. The World Base surged through him, and pulled him back from the edge screaming. He sucked in a deep breath of clean ocean air.
“—and look at all the fun I miss.” Larya floated there, about ten feet above them. She was completely naked, and her dark hair had become knotted and messy from too much time swimming, but her eyes smoldered with authority and purpose. Her arms were crossed over her breasts. Beside her floated two mermaids—normal mermaids—holding her up by the waist. They looked familiar to Snatch—redheads with green-scaled fish tails, peachy skin, and clear blue eyes. Each had a pair of starfish attached to her breasts.
The guides, he remembered, though this explained next to nothing. Hadn’t they been too afraid to come along?
The Goo Queen was staring at Larya, too, he noticed, and her expression was one of rapture. “The druidess,” she said. “Finally.”
“Hi. Goo Queen, right?” Larya raised an eyebrow. “Boy, either my memory’s played tricks or you have not aged well.” She raised her hand.
“You can me mine!” the Goo Queen enthused. “My—you can replace this shell, little girl! Surrender! Embrace endless pleasure! Submit to me! Drink from me!”
“Burn,” Larya replied.
Chrysa shrieked and ducked her head against Snatch’s chest. The Goo Queen darted away as a blast of boiling bubbles surged through the space she had been in, arcing straight from Larya’s hand.
Snatch was still recovering when Chrysa straightened, staring at him with bright pink eyes.
He tried to rise, but the slime girl just smiled and pushed him back down. “Oh, no,” she cooed. “You’d better stay here while—ooh!” She turned too late to dodge as two redheaded mermaids barreled into her, knocking her from Snatch’s chest and bearing her down into the sand. Snatch heard her shrieking and squealing in surprise, but he didn’t look. He’d just spotted something much more important.
There was something right by his feet. Something Loweina had dropped—perhaps on purpose, but likely not.
He thrust his fingers into the sand.
“Larya!” he yelled. Larya glanced toward him. Her arms, too, were immersed in sand, and she was using this to animate the ocean floor into some sort of attacker. The Goo Queen staggered back as the earth itself struck at her.
He held up the geyser stick. She blinked in confusion. “Clear me!” he called.
Larya blinked again.
She didn’t know what it was, but the Goo Queen did. The Goo Queen whirled, seeing him holding the stick. Her eyes bulged, and she dove at him—a good deal faster than he’d expected. “You petty fucking—“
Just before she reached him, he snapped the stick.
As she bore him down, her eyes registered this. Snatch wondered if she’d expected him to go through with it. Maybe she’d hoped he wouldn’t have the nerve. Or maybe she really had panicked.
It didn’t matter. He closed his eyes.
Suddenly, he was surrounded by cool, soft mud. Up above, he heard the dull roar of the geyser, and a shrill, inhuman scream that seemed to crawl into his ears and grow spines.
After a moment, he was lifted back out of the mud. Larya stared at him, looking rather cross. “’Clear me’?” she snapped at him. “Was I supposed to know what that meant, Alrek?”
Snatch looked around, and swallowed. Despite all his years, the sight of a scalded humanoid corpse never failed to disturb him. At least the spell didn’t appear to convey the smell—oh, no, good, there it was. What a nice odor. What a handy spell. He grimaced and looked away. “Apparently you did, seeing as I’m not that.“
“Uh-huh.” Larya scowled. “Since when do you go in for heroics?”
He shrugged. “It’s not heroics if there’s someone there to save you.”
There were a thousand more things he wanted and needed to say. There was also no way he could say about nine hundred ninety-seven of them.
So he just looked her in the eyes and gave a small grimacing smile. “It wasn’t shitty of you to come back, druid.”
“Hm.” Larya tilted her head, looking a bit uncomfortable. “Well, we’ve both done a lot of shitty things today. It’s good that we managed to do something right.” She extended a hand. “Look, you weren’t all wrong. This was … a fucked up situation. I wish we’d had more time to talk things out. But from now on, we trust each other, alright? We don’t leave each other. Not unless we have a plan, which, by the way, I did.“
Snatch took the hand and shook it. “Well, this is probably the last mission I do with a partner, anyways, but—” He stopped as a loud moan cut him off. “Shit, they’re still at it, aren’t they?”
They both turned to look at Chrysa, who was now immersed in the nubile bodies of the two mermaids. “I can’t tell who’s winning,” he muttered. “How’d you get them to come down, anyways?”
Larya gave a little smile. “Well, funny you should phrase it like—”
The ground gave a lurch, and she staggered. So did Snatch. They heard a low rumble.
A loud hissing sound hit their ears. Snatch clutched his head, squeezing his eyes shut. “Shit!” he cried, as the needling pain struck again.
“Alrek?” Larya sounded nervous. “Are you—”
“Can you hear that?“
His eyes opened. His hands were shaking from stress. The sound tore through his ears like a razor. “It’s not over,” he whispered.
At that moment, the ground exploded.
* * *
Larya spun in time to see the creature emerge from beneath the sands. Her stomach dropped at the sight.
The woman had pale gray skin, breasts almost the size of a holstaur’s, and long, red hair. Her eyes were large and solid, pale pink. Her lips were a deep turquoise. She had a large, statuesque build—if she’d had legs, she would surely stand close to seven feet tall.
Her lower body, though, was a mass of tentacles. Long, thick tentacles, with two extra-long arms. Her lower body was that of a giant squid.
The mermaid glared at them, hellfire dancing in her eyes. “Do you think me a fool?” she hissed, and it was the voice of the Goo Queen. “Did you think I wouldn’t save her? My first conquest?“
“What the fuck ...” Snatch breathed. “We killed you.”
“You annoyed me.” The giant squid maid’s eyes narrowed to slits. “I will deal with you later. Perhaps we will have time to make you beg after all.“
Larya barely had time to process this before the Goo Queen’s two tentacle arms shot out. She yelped as they snaked around her torso, yanking her off her feet and away from the ground.
“And you,” the Goo Queen said, grinning sadistically, “are mine!“
Larya felt the water suddenly rush around her, faster than she could think, and Snatch vanished from sight. The water roared against her face, sending her hair streaking back behind her head as she looked ahead. They were moving, she realized. Jetting. Not since the encounter with the sirens had she been moved with such blinding speed, and it made her eyes hurt to try to recognize the streaks of color they were swimming past as real three-dimensional objects.
She tested her constraints as they swam. No good. The tentacle arms were thick and tough. She might as well be trying to break steel cables.
She wondered if the smaller tentacles were softer.
When the world slowed back down, Larya found that they were no longer in the open. It was some kind of cave. The walls sparkled with glittering gemstones, and the ground was made of the same strange slick sand as the floors of the garden. We must still be in the garden, Larya thought.
She looked up, uncomprehending, at the Goo Queen’s smug face.
“You like?” she said silkily. “I hope so. You’re going to be spending a few nights here, at least.”
Larya glared at the squid maid. “Why? Why do you want me?” As she spoke, she tried to concentrate. She had to slip into the World Base, and quick, but what could she do? This woman was too nimble. Maybe if she was closer, she could fire off a blast of boiling water again. She needed to be close, though. Too close to dodge.
“Oh.” The Goo Queen tapped her lips with a finger. “Oh, that’s too delicious. You still haven’t guessed? What a little bimbo you are!“
“So tell me,” Larya said. She tried to make her tone less confrontational. I have to make her want to talk to me, she thought desperately. She tried to put a little naiveté into her voice. She wants a bimbo? Give her a bimbo. “What do you want with me?” She pouted. “I’m not that sexy, am I?“
“Oh. Oh, my darling.” The Goo Queen beamed. “You are that, and more. But that’s not why.” She pulled Larya a little closer. Now Larya was only about two meters away from the Goo Queen’s perfect face. She really was beautiful, Larya thought. Thank goodness she hasn’t got hypnosis anymore, or I’d really be screwed. “I need a vessel, you see. A druidess. One who can work magic, who can bring me to the world above.“
“S-so that’s it?” Larya said. “I don’t understand. Why a druidess?” She wriggled slightly in her constraints, more for the effect. “If you just want my help getting to the surface, I-I could cast some spells for you! Pretty please?”
“Oh, no.” The Goo Queen pulled her closer still. So close. Just a bit nearer ... “My dear little ditz, I want you.” Her eyes glimmered with demonic light. “I want your hot little body. I want those plush lips, that shining hair. I want to be inside you. I want to wear you and … and … oh, fuck.” The tentacles started to pull Larya closer. Larya squirmed slightly. Here it comes ... “You will be my vessel as we conquer the earth.“
“O-oh yeah?” Larya gave a little vapid giggle. “You and what army?” I’m so close. So close!
The Goo Queen pulled Larya up until Larya was just a foot away. “When I possess you,” she whispered, “we’ll breed one.”
Larya closed her eyes and entered the World Base. That was it. It was time to tell the water to heat up and ...
… and ...
She wriggled slightly and frowned. Something was distracting her. Her legs were held tightly closed by the tentacle arms, but something soft and slippery was tickling around her groin. Distracting her. Teasing her, almost.
She wriggled more fiercely. It wouldn’t be distracting her so much if it would just get inside her, she was sure, but it was driving her mad on the outside. She groaned and tried to spread her legs, but the tentacle arms were holding them shut. “F-fuck!“
It didn’t matter. None of it mattered. She was in the World Base. She could feel the presence of fey, could taste the overwhelming weight of millions of tons of seawa—
“Aah!” Her eyes flew open as the tentacle slipped into her. They widened. “F-fuck!”
“Is there a problem, my little harlot?” the Goo Queen asked sweetly.
Larya’s eyes hummed with the intensity as she felt her connection to the World Base … shift. Wriggle. Tickle. Writhe. “Oh!” she cried, feeling the tentacle squirm inside her. “Oh, f-fuck! S-stop!”
The World Base—the mass of grays and blues and greens that showed her this place’s true connection to nature, that captured utterly her every physical sense—was changing before her eyes. Its music began to take a different tempo. The smell turned harsh and saccharine. Something felt wrong.
She tried to close her legs, but they had opened, and now the tentacle arms were holding them open, just a bit. The Goo Queen’s tentacles were sliding up around her, now, immersing her lower body in their soft touches.
Larya shuddered. The worst part was, she was in the World Base. Every sensation—every touch of the tentacles along her clit, every tickle along her thigh—was magnified. The presence of this fey woman intoxicated her, as the fey always did, and the richness of the nature around her held her spirit in longing. But there was more. Something … foul, something wonderful. Her spirit quailed at it. Her spirit begged for it.
The World Base was changing, morphing, as some new presence started to seep into it. She hadn’t noticed at first—it must have started the moment she’d entered—but now it was rising up to her ankles. The World Base seemed to be filling with poisonous honey. Sweet and acrid, sunset-orange, a lilting and disturbing song. Spiders danced on her treacherous skin.
More tentacles were slipping into her pussy now, and Larya jumped as she felt more snaking around her backside, trying to slip into her rear. She moaned in fear, but the World Base would not allow her to tighten. Indeed, it urged her to spread further. The sensuous invasion spread higher, and she could taste the sweet, spicy essence on her tongue. It was the taste of a will. And even from that little taste, she could sense just how much greater that will was than her own.
She bucked slightly as a slender little tentacle slipped inside her ass.
“Little bimbo … what have you gotten yourself into?”
Now the stimulation was becoming dangerous. She started to buck and moan as the tentacles worked their will within her from both ends, stimulating her labia, her clit, making her cry out and … and ...
“OH!” Larya screamed. She bucked into the tentacles’ attention, spreading her legs wider. “Oh, fuck!”
Her mind was in ecstasy. Her spirit was in heaven. And her entire body was immersed in the sticky, spidery touches of the World Base. Something about it was so perverse, and yet she felt a smile spreading across her face. Some part of her simply didn’t care. And it terrified her beyond all reasonable thought. She leaned into the tentacles, finding her arms free, allowing them to run over her breasts with their wet, slippery embrace.
“I will make you beg for this,” the Goo Queen cooed. “Would you like that, bimbo?”
Larya was caught by the World Base’s two forms—the strange new will, and her old, dwindling supply of whatever it had been before. One guided her towards lust and submission, the other towards pure, irrational terror, a panicked rabbit fleeing without any reason in its miniscule head. She stared up at the Goo Queen, her eyes full of equal parts fear and desire, and forced out a defiant cry. Or what was intended as one.
“... naaaaghfuckfuckFUCK ...”
“Such spirit,” her lover enthused. “And such lust. I will teach you to always say yes.” The tentacles surged upwards into Larya, making her vision turn spotty. “I will teach you to always want more.” They surged in again, and Larya’s eyelids fluttered. They were so gentle, and yet so much.
“P-plea—” Larya’s whole body shook and spasmed in its constraints. The World Base flooded with discordant music. Her body flooded with sinful bliss. Her mind was drowning in maddened, instinctual lust, and she screamed in hoarse despair and euphoria as she came. The Goo Queen only cackled.
Larya’s whole self was immersed. She had been sucked in—she knew that now. She had never been a match for this … this thing, this elemental of pure lust. It had been a trap. And she had fallen for it. And a growing part of her was so, so glad that she had.
“And only then,” the Goo Queen hissed, leaning close, “only then will I allow you to beg to drink from me.“
“Pl-ple-please!” Larya cried. She leaned forward and grabbed the Goo Queen in a kiss. It was a messy, wet, slobbery kiss, as Larya had no mind to spare for more. If only she could pleasure the Mistress—could take control—
But even as their lips touched, Larya knew her error. And she rejoiced. She rejoiced in a second shaking orgasm as the demon’s tongue snaked in, as the demonic power raged through her body like fire through a straw doll. She was nothing before it. Nothing but the Mistress’s vessel. The Mistress grabbed her by the back of the head and kissed her passionately, devouring Larya’s will to resist.
Thoughts of resistance fled her. Larya embraced her corrupted World Base, embraced her new lover, her new Mistress, her new owner, her new self. She wrapped her arms around the Goo Queen and kissed eagerly, desperately. Desperate to submit.
The second orgasm took her body and mind, and she felt her entire self spinning out of control. The poisoned sunsets of her World Base consumed her mind. She didn’t want to fight anymore. She wanted to come and come and come, to feel more and more and—
The Goo Queen pulled away from the kiss. Larya felt the tentacles restrain her from leaning back into it. The mermaid regarded her with a smug smile. “Not so cocky now, hm?” she cooed.
Larya could only whimper and whine as the tentacles thrust into her, bringing her closer and closer to her fourth climax. “… pleasepleasefuckfuckyesyespleasemore—”
“It can always be like this,” the Goo Queen whispered. She looked down and lifted one breast up. Larya’s mouth watered as she saw a bead of pink moisture appear at the tip of the erect nipple. “All you need do is drink.“
“Yes!” Larya cried. She leaned closer, her mouth opening wide—
And a tentacle thrust in. She moaned against the tentacle, struggling as it snaked down her throat, choked her. The Goo Queen was laughing. Larya felt tears coursing down her throat. She could see the nipple—could see the wondrous ambrosia—could almost taste its wickedness as it slid down her throat—
The Goo Queen reached down with one finger and flicked the nipple, sticking the droplet to her finger. Larya watched, moaning against the tentacle as it slimed around her lips, as the Goo Queen stuck the finger into her mouth and slowly sucked it, staring at her with smoldering lust. For a long moment, Larya saw herself reflected in the Goo Queen’s eyes—a moaning slut, a tentacle thrust into each of her holes, begging wordlessly to be brainwashed.
At last, the Goo Queen pulled back out, and the tentacle left her mouth. But that image did not.
Larya liked it. Her mind, immersed in the strange, wonderful, tingling will of demons, loved it. “P-please—” she managed, “f-fuck me, hu-hu-humiliate—oh, yes-yes-yes—make me your f-f-f-fucking bimbo slut—“
The Goo Queen slowly smiled. It was a smile of ultimate triumph, and Larya knew it. She had won. Larya had fallen for her terrible trap, and she had won.
And so surely Larya had won too. Larya smiled widely. She closed her eyes and lay back as the tentacles began to do their work with a newfound gusto. She knew the Goo Queen watched her, reveling in this submission just as Larya did.
Larya lay like that for what felt like hours as orgasm after orgasm was pounded out of her from both her ass and her cunt. The energy had left her to even beg—at least for now—and all she could do was accept the almost painful bliss. The Goo Queen would do more later, Larya was sure. Larya could see it now: Slime girls, mermaids, pretty pretty lights and nice, tasty tubeworms. She would immerse Larya in it all, drown her in rapture.
And then she would take it all away, and tease Larya out of her mind. Tease her until Larya would say anything. Do anything. Become anything.
And then she’d do it all over again. For days. Weeks, maybe. Larya loved it. Larya—the new Larya—loved all of this. She smiled blissfully, looking forward to her next existence. An existence with a new World Base. A new sort of life.
But something was wrong.
Inwardly, Larya frowned. She was drowning in the World Base, but now there was something else in there. More than the sand, and the rock, and the fey, and the wonderful tingling will that had fucked her mind to pieces.
There was a honeycomb in the ocean of honey. Larya felt it plainly, and knew, instinctively, that it was Alrek.
So he had followed her. She had never seen him in the World Base before, though. Why now?
“Mmmistress,” she managed. “He’s—he’s—”
“Oh?” She heard the Goo Queen giggle. “Then let him come. I will see to him. Do not fear, my darling empty-headed vessel. We will break him soon enough, and then he will be like you.” Her lips brushed Larya’s earlobe, and Larya shuddered from the feeling of her Mistress so close to her. “Empty. Ours.”
The strange thing was, though, he wasn’t broken. Larya shifted slightly, feeling unease boiling from beneath. She sang and swim in the ocean of the World Base, and there, plain as day, was a human totally alien to her new World Base.
Alrek was like a stone. The demonic ocean did not touch him.
Larya writhed and moaned like a lust sprite as the tentacles writhed inside her, wringing out another orgasm, but her mind drifted in the World Base, and she saw before her something totally alien. Something totally absent of demonic will.
Through all the lust and need and submission and evil, Larya’s curiosity lingered, the last semblance of Larya left to her. She drifted toward the stone.
She had never seen Alrek in the World Base before—not save as a small lump of humanity, totally empty of druidic power or fey allure. And yet here he was. Standing still.
Was he … meditating?
Tentatively, she reached out a h
* * *
Gibberish existence surged through her mind and invaded her World Base like a vast battering ram of chaotic memory. Stone walls. Rough burlap robes. Green gardens. Sanding the road in the rain and mud. Cold mud staining her clothes. Sleeping on a hard bed. Cold, clear voices. Denial. Hunger. Bland, stale meals. Stone walls. Bitterness. Knees pressed against cold brickwork. Hours spent scrubbing dishes. Raw, sore fingers. Sparring. Losing. Stone walls. A black eye. A bloody fist. Cold, clear voices. Sleeping on a hard bed. Denial. Bland, stale meals. A rope digging into the shoulder. Pulling something along. The hot sun overhead. Stone walls.
The existence poured into her world of burning honey. Cold seared the boiling sweetness away. Stone walls surrounded her, cut her off from the toxic air. Everything changed. Everything solidified. Larya clung to it out of pure instinct, and
* * *
“Oh,” she whispered. “So that’s why.“
Her eyes were open. She could still feel the corruption in her World Base—could still feel the pleasure below, threatening to overwhelm her—but she fought it. Because it could be fought. She clung to cold, stone walls, reached out to the clear, cold waters above. She reached out to nature, begging it to help her, to burn away the evil. She searched for fire.
There was hot water below.
Her eyes widened. She stared up at the Goo Queen, her vision fluttering for a second as she recovered from yet another orgasm.
“N-no,” she whispered, her voice barely above a whisper. “We’re n-not yours.”
She threw herself beneath the earth, and awoke the Trench.
* * *
Stone walls. Cold, clear voices. Working in the mud. The world shaking. Hunger. Bitterness. A bruised knee. Cracking earth, shrill screams. The hiss of boiling water striking cold water.
Exhaustion. Hard, stiff beds. Droning lessons.
A world of geysers.
A demonic scream.
* * *
Larya’s eyes fluttered open. She was lying on something soft and squishy. Directly above her, a large orange starfish made little sucking motions as it pulsated against a large, peach-skinned breast.
Bright blue eyes came into view. “Oh! You’re awake!”
“Uh?” she managed.
Orange swam backwards, giggling. “We were worried!” she said, clasping her hands together. “Your friend still hasn’t woken up, you know!”
“Oh, he’s fine.” Orange gestured. “I think some rocks hit him. He wasn’t the one we were really worried about.“
Larya looked around. She was lying in what appeared to be a massive open oyster. The ground beneath her was soft, pink, and porous. She looked up at the oyster’s upper jaws with trepidation.
“Oh, don’t worry!” Orange tittered, covering her mouth with both hands. “It won’t close or anything! And see?” She pointed, and Larya saw a similar massive oyster nearby which was closed. “It doesn’t hurt to be inside it! That’s where your grumpy friend is sleeping!“
“… How.” Larya rubbed her eyes. She looked down. Still totally naked, of course. “We were … I was ...”
Her eyes widened. Heart pounding, she balled her fists together, closed her eyes, and thrust herself into the World Base with desperate, panicked abandoned.
Cold water greeted her. The little heartbeat beneath her signaled the life of her ‘host’. The sea swam with life. And the fey … Larya smiled widely with relief.
It was back. Her World Base was back to normal, and it filled her with a pure joy beyond measure. Her nipples tingled from the renewed contact.
“Where are we?” she asked suddenly, pulling back out before things got prematurely erotic.
“Our apartment,” Orange chirped. “Well, where Blue and I’ve been staying, anyways. Though since the Slick Trench is back to normal now ...”
“Are your names really Orange and Blue?”
“Trust me.” The redhead winked. “It’s easier this way. So I think you were wondering, ‘How’d we make it out?’”
“Blue and I caught up with you!” Orange grinned. “That jelly maid … uh, got away, so we decided to track you guys down. We saw the cave come down.”
“You came in to save us?” Larya blinked, half-disbelieving. “You could have been killed!”
“Yeah, well ...” Orange blushed. “The way we saw it, us merfolk hadn’t been treating you right. We sent you to handle our mess, and Mylio and Nerka didn’t even tell you everything. And you were still ...” She shrugged. “And, I mean, if we didn’t save you, who would?”
Larya blinked. She weighed this for a moment. “Remember what I promised to pay you? I’m doubling it.”
“Yay!” Orange clapped her hands excitedly. “But that’s not why we did it. Anyways, we got in there. You were pretty badly burned. He was unconscious already with a big bump on his head. We thought you were both dead. Especially you.“
Now, that … that was disturbing. Larya frowned, considering her memories. “Why didn’t I die?“
“Well ...” Orange shrugged. “You got lucky.”
“No.” Larya shook her head. “I called up the vents. I was beneath her. If she died—” She paused, looking questioningly to Orange.
“Oh, yeah.” Orange nodded. “She’s dead alright. Nasty little stuff left over. Not even a body, just ... goo.”
Larya sighed with relief. But this did not assuage her concern. “How did I survive?“
Orange bit her lip. “I don’t know. Maybe you aren’t finished in this world. Maybe there’s more you have to do.”
“I can’t imagine what,” Larya muttered.
An uncomfortable silence lingered between them.
The loud series of curses and muffled bangings from the inside of the other oyster was enough to alert them to the fact that Alrek had just awoken. Orange glanced over. “Oh, dear. Your friend is awake.”
Larya smiled faintly. “Oh, good. So where’s—“
The door in the two mermaid prostitutes’ apartment suddenly opened, and Blue swam in. She glanced at the oyster, then smiled and gave the shell a little tap.
The oyster popped open. Snatch lay inside, also naked. Larya quickly looked away. She noticed the mermaids didn’t, and Orange in particular seemed quite taken with him. “Ooh,” she whispered, squeezing Larya’s hand, “He’s … muscular.“
“What the … what the f ...” Snatch took the blanket Blue offered him, restoring some of his perpetually affronted dignity. Orange let out a sad little sigh.
“You okay, Alrek?” Larya asked. She noticed Blue offered her no blanket, and seemed quite content to keep ogling her. Larya had to go up and get her own. “Blue and Orange here got us out of that place. We owe them our lives. So please don’t yell at them for putting you in an oyster.
“They put me in a clam!“
“Oyster, Alrek.” Larya caught Alrek’s eye. For a moment, they scowled at each other.
She was surprised when Alrek was the first to crack up in a small smile. “Shit, druidess. Shit.”
“Never smile again,” she said, only half-joking. “You okay, though?”
“Eh.” Alrek shrugged. He glanced at the two mermaids and gave a grudging nod. “Thanks for the rescue.”
“Don’t mention it!” Orange said, grinning ear-to-ear.
“Was I naked when you found me?”
“Well ...” Orange shrugged sheepishly. “Your clothes were torn.” She was going red.
“Orange,” Blue scolded.
“Oh, like you didn’t like it when she was naked!” Orange snapped, gesturing at Larya.
Blue went bright red. “You are getting punished tonight, Orange.” She turned to Larya and Alrek. “Listen, I actually just got a message for you two.“
“For us?” Larya and Alrek said together. They exchanged confused looks.
“Yeah.” Blue checked her hand, where Larya saw she had written something. “A weird little skittergoblin calling himself ‘Yillit’.”
“Huh.” Alrek frowned, apparently seeing Larya’s equal confusion. “Never heard of him. And how’d he know to come here?”
“He, uh, didn’t.” Blue shrugged. “He’s using some sort of spell. Wants you to meet him at the Sparkling Waterfall. It’s actually on the way to the payment Mylio promised you.”
“Did he say what he wants?” Larya asked. Skittergoblins (they called themselves springers, but nobody else did) were a strange species that rarely dealt with humans or elves when they didn’t have to. They mostly just hung out around dopterine nests, or worked in the service of their eccentric queen.
“He says he has a job.” Blue looked between Snatch and Larya. “He says he wants both of you.”
“Eh.” Alrek tipped his hand from side to side. “We aren’t a team. We really just did this last mission to pay off some … debts.” He stole a scowl at Larya, who scowled right back. They’d both racked up those debts.
“Well, he wants the two of you or nothing.” Blue checked her wrist again. “And he says he’ll pay … a hundred.” Her voice dropped. “In Old Coin.”
Snatch froze. So did Larya.
After a moment, he cleared his throat. “Guess we’ll think about it.” He gestured. “C’mon, Larya. We should get moving either way. We’ve got our payment to collect.”
Larya got up, but hesitated. “You go on ahead. I’ll meet you at the Waterfall.”
“What?” He frowned at her. “Why?”
From behind, Larya felt a hand start to slip underneath her blanket. She felt her face heating up. “Well … see, in exchange for helping us, I may have promised—”
“Ugh.” Snatch rolled his eyes. “Last time I work with a druidess. Meet you at the Waterfall.” He swung open the door and hurried out.
As the door closed, Larya met Blue’s now very eager eyes. She smiled nervously. From behind, she heard Orange coo, “Alone at last.”
* * *
Mylio grabbed at the rocky outcropping. The sharp edges of the ledge scratched his hands, but he ignored the pain and struggled to pull himself up. His every muscle seemed to cry out in grief as he did so. He was still drained from earlier that day, and it was all he could do to keep from going limp and slipping back into the abyss below. It was an exhausting effort. After he’d finally landed flat on the ledge, he lay still for a moment, gasping for breath.
He had done it.
He had survived it all. He’d outlived two of his mates. He’d … withstood the slime girls’ attentions three times, now. And now they were finally out of his system. The demons were gone, and Mylio had survived.
He allowed himself a little smirk. It had taken nearly a day to get up here. The pressure had been nearly unbearable, but he knew enough magic to get by in the depths. Now he was back in the middle reaches of the Slick Trench, and he could breathe again without his chest aching.
It would take him a while still, he knew, to reach the top again. Perhaps even a day.
But when he did … oh, were things going to change. The treasures down in the Deep Merfolk’s former home were surely grand and wondrous. Ancient magics. Spells of control, of hypnosis, of mastery. They fired his imagination like coals beneath a kettle. When combined with the magics of his people, what could they not accomplish? His magic was already versatile, but he needed more. He wanted more.
And hadn’t he earned some share of glory? He had survived it all. He had endured ungrateful wives, treacherous landwhores, demons, royals, thieves … It hadn’t been easy, but he had done it. He couldn’t believe he had—
Mylio froze as he heard something move behind him. It sounded like falling falls. He tried to turn, but he was too tired, too weak. Perhaps it’s nothing, he thought desperately.
“Oh, Myley,” crooned a soft, babyish voice. His heart plummeted.
He felt supple arms wrap around his upper body. “Thought you could get away from me, did you?” Loweina cooed in his ear.
“No,” he whispered, struggling in her grip. His eyes closed tight, but she was just too strong. He was just … just ...
“Too weak,” Loweina soothed, running her hands over his sensitive body. He jerked and thrashed helplessly in her arms. “And it feels too goooood.“
“N-no,” he gasped.
“Oh, Myley ...” He felt Loweina dragging him backwards, back down, back towards the realm of the Deep Mermaids. “Don’t you see? It’s so perfect.”
“O-oh—” He jerked as she started to kiss along his neck. Oh, fuck. oh, fuck. Oh, fuck oh fuck oh fuck—
“You can be mine,” she sang, turning his face towards hers and kissing his lips in a massive barrage of sensation. “Forever! More pleasure than you can bear. Endless pleasure. Endless submission. Doesn’t that sound nice?”
He did not consciously open his eyes. But he became aware of the flickering hair in his field of vision, and those two beautiful, pale eyes.
“Myley?” she whispered, leaning in for one final kiss—a kiss that would bring him to orgasm, that would seal his fate with hers, that he couldn’t wait to beg for—“It’s okay to scream now, pet.”