Alrek awoke to the sounds of a man in orgasm.
He reflexively reached for a pillow to cover his ears. There was no pillow to grab. It took him a moment to register that he was still underwater, and a few more moments to register what that meant. When he did, his eyes shot open.
He felt weak. Agonizingly weak. Like he’d just lifted a hundred pounds above his head twenty times without pausing to breathe. But he was alive. And free-willed. And the spell allowing him to, well, survive was still active, so it probably hadn’t been longer than an hour or so since ...
These memories were reluctant to return, but Alrek coaxed them back. Chrysa. Nerka. Abandoning Larya. The angler maids. The anemone. The Goo Queen. Larya abandoning. Even once he’d done so, something still felt out of balance. He felt rawer, somehow. Rawer than he’d felt in a little while. Alrek pushed himself up into a sitting position and looked around.
It was some sort of cell, he guessed. There was a stony ceiling, and the water around him was stagnant and oppressive. He couldn’t imagine how quickly he would be mashed to paste if not for the anti-pressure spell Larya had cast.
Larya. He grimaced. This had been a bad job. He’d always known it. The merfolk weren’t good employers. Underwater wasn’t a good venue. If only he and Larya had left when they’d had the chance. Or had they ever had a chance?
The moaning wasn’t getting any quieter. It wouldn’t. Fey only got hornier with each orgasm, after all. Alrek looked around more closely and noticed small circular holes in the walls next to the ceiling led to two adjoining rooms. He realized that his “cell” was probably actually connected to several others. Easy enough for a swimming mermaid to fit through, though not too convenient for a human who’d never learned to swim. He struggled to his feet and peeked through the closer hole.
It was another cell like his, but empty. Another hole in the wall directly across led to what was probably another cell. Strange that the cells would all be connected like this.
A scream suddenly broke through the moans behind him; a masculine scream that was unpleasantly familiar.
“Naughty, naughty!” chided a second voice that could only be described as … babyish. It was high-pitched and girlish, but with a levity to it that sounded very much worldly. “We already agreed: No screamin’! Or do I gotta hold you still again an’ let you settle?”
“No no no no,” came the frantic whispered response. “Please. I’m sorry. Please, more.”
Alrek gritted his teeth. Part of him would have preferred to stay in the cell and rot rather than engage with this situation. But most of him wanted to live without a bunch of slime in his brain. He felt his way along the wall for support until he came to the hole on the far side of his cell.
In the next cell over lay two merfolk. The one lying on top of the other was a slender and petite mermaid, with a surprisingly average-sized bust—with breasts the size of grapefruit, she was easily the least endowed fey he’d ever encountered. Her entire figure was slight, particularly her silvery-scaled tail. Long glimmering hair flowed down like molten gold from the top of her head, forming an amber curtain around her heart-shaped face.
She had large, big-lashed eyes, like most of the deep merfolk he’d seen thus far. But he realized with a start that her eyes were colorless. She had no pupils or irises, just solid gleaming ivory. There was no sign of possession at all, unless there were some horrid white slime girls he’d been lucky enough to avoid up until now.
Her face was currently split in a wide grin as she stared down at the second merfolk, a manta ray-tailed merman Alrek knew all too well. Mylio’s eyes were screwed shut in tormented bliss as the deep mermaid slowly ran tickling fingers over his chest.
Alrek found his gaze quickly drawn away from Mylio. Instead, he found himself looking at the mermaid—her hair in particular. Her golden locks had a fascinating way of billowing in the water, and their glow had a curious rhythm to its intensity. Every now and then, it would give a little pulse, turning a little bit brighter. It was hypnotic.
Alrek snapped back to reality—more-or-less, anyways, as he still felt rather off-balance—as the mermaid looked up and locked eyes with him. She gave a lax smile. “Oh, ’e’s awake, my sweet.” Mylio’s eyes opened, but then fluttered shut again as she placed one finger on his lips and started to gently stroke. “No, no, don’t trouble yourself. Just remember: Quiet, or the wardens’ll take you away from me.” She leaned down. “’Member my hair, love. ’Member ’ow it glitters, glimmers, shines, sheens. Mm. How’s it feel to watch it?“
“… calming ...” Mylio whispered. He sounded very distant. Alrek found himself thinking the same as he saw her hair seem to positively hum with energy. Was that humming just in his head, or was it ...
“An’ how’s it feel when it’s calming you?”
“… docile ...” Alrek swallowed and quickly wrenched his gaze away. As he did so, the hum began to fade. He sank back behind the wall, trying to erase the thought of the hair, how it shimmered, how it glimmered...
“An’ being docile feels ...”
“… h-hot ...” Alrek felt his cock hardening as Mylio echoed his own thoughts. He clutched his eyes, but the image of the shining, pulsing, humming hair wouldn’t leave his head. It felt so good to think about it, but he couldn’t let himself think about it. Couldn’t. Think. About.
The hair ...
Her eyes suddenly shot into his vision again, and he snapped back to semi-wakefulness. She was sticking her head through the hole and staring down at him. “’Ey, love. Welcome to the clink! May I service ya?” She winked.
“Uh.” Unwanted images shot into his head—those soft lips wrapped around his cock, forcing him to cum as his mind sank into soft, golden locks of glimmering hair ... “No. F-fu...” He couldn’t even muster the energy to swear at her.
“Mm.” Her lips quirked. “Don’t really gotta ask, love, but it’s polite.” She brought her head further through the hole, allowing her hair to pour down around her. His eyes immediately locked on the gentle, drifting glow. “Don’t you want me?” she whispered. “He said yes real quick. Only had to ask him three times, but lookin’ at you, I’d bet I only gotta ask you twice.“
Drifting. Shimmering. Shining. Snatch closed his eyes shut. “No.”
“Hm. I’m impressed.” Her voice sounded closer now, but he didn’t dare open his eyes. “But just think about my hair, love. Drifting. Shining. Shimmyin’. Such a soft glow, innit, baby?”
Such a soft glow. Such a soft, comforting, relaxing glow. “Yes,” he heard himself say. No, damn it! Don’t think about the hair! Don’t think about how it pulsed, glittered, poured around her shoulders like … liquid gold ...
She sounded very close now. “That’s right. So much easier to agree. T’think about my soft, glowy hair, think about your hard, needy dick ... all this is just so much easier when I got you two under me spell, innit?”
Alrek’s hard, needy dick was rising into the air straight towards her, he knew. In contrast to it, his mind felt soft. So easy to agree. “...no,” he whimpered, barely remembering what he was responding to but knowing he had to refuse.
A finger lightly stroked the head of his cock, and he gasped.
“Just driftin’ ’round,” the mermaid cooed, “so shiny, so pretty. Just open your eyes and letcherself sink into it.“
Alrek realized his eyes were starting to open. It would be so easy to just let them drift open, he knew. No more responsibility. He somehow managed to keep them closed, but it was like holding a geyser down with a sheet of plywood. “Don’t,” he muttered. “Don’t.”
But the finger continued to stroke in agonizing little teasing motions. He whimpered. He was at the brink. He was just so tired, and it felt so good to lie there beneath her. “Don’t want this?” she whispered, her hot breath tickling his ear. “Don’t wanna just relax and let me do the thinkin’?”
His eyes were starting to open in spite of himself. His cock was oozing precum. The glow was filling his head, making him weak, pliant, docile. Hadn’t he fought enough?
He found himself looking straight at her beautiful, pure white eyes. A haze of golden light surrounded her. She smiled broadly as he met her gaze.
And then something clicked into place, and he remembered himself. “No,” Snatch heard himself say. It was like throwing off warm blankets and embracing the chill. “Fuck off.”
The mermaid gave a little pout. “Eh, okay.” She took her hand away from his cock and rose up into the cell, her hair abruptly losing its shine. Instantly, a humming Snatch had completely forgotten was there ceased.
He blinked. “Really?”
“Sure.” She shrugged. Settling down to lean against the hard, stony wall, she reached into her hair and pulled out what looked suspiciously like a cigarette. She stuck it between her plump lips and jabbed the end with one long finger, causing it to emit a cyan smoke. “Bein’ honest, kinda bored. I got little Miley over there to screw with. Nice t’have some’un talk to, know what I’m sayin’?”
He managed to sit up, leaning against the wall with the hole in it. “You can’t be serious.”
“Meh. I been fuckin’ Miley for hours, baby.” She took a deep inhale from the strange cigarette. “Mermaids don’t get satisfied, but we do get bored. Why else you think we don’t spend every wakin’ hour screwin’ like bunnies?”
“Heh.” She raised an eyebrow. “You got the look of one in the trade, baby. Thief-type, I mean.” She extended a hand, then realized Snatch couldn’t reach her and withdrew it. “Loweina, lantern maid. Last free deep merfolk in the whole Slick Trench.” She gave a lascivious wink. “Atcher ‘service’.”
* * *
“It all started sweet enough.” Loweina took a deep drag from the cigarette. “Nice little dreams. Mm. Lovey little promises, love. Demons promised us everythin’ we could want. How could we say no?”
“By saying it.” Snatch had his knees up, trying to protect his modesty as best he could. Lowein might not be interested in sex at the moment, but she was not being subtle about looking him over, and it made him very uneasy. “Never listen to demons.”
“Ooh, baby.” She breathed out a large smoke ring that looked almost heart-shaped. “Always say yes. That’s what y’learn in servitude. Always say yes. Always say ‘more’. Oh, they played us, alright. It was a good con. Then they left, an’ the garden took over where they left off.”
“Those slime things.” Snatch remembered the bloody silhouette he’d seen up above. “They’re demons.”
“Hm. More-less.” Loweina arched an eyebrow. “You got an ear for it, baby boy. That’s not a common skill.” She leaned over, resting on her hands, and smiled at him. “I think I’m ready t’get hoppin’ again.”
Snatch’s heart pounded. “Wh-what do you mean, ‘more-or-less’?” he asked quickly, hoping to distract her again. The brief rush of willpower he’d felt had ebbed quickly, and he knew that even with all his stubbornness and training, he would not last long against her in his state. It had been too hard a day.
She giggled. “I mean, my li’l landthruster, they’s more like demonspawn than demon.” She pursed her lips, leaning back again. “They started as toys. Then the toys started talkin’. Said they could give us more, more, always more.” The mermaid made a strange purring sound. “Always say ‘more’. But I didn’t. Was always a step ahead. Always a bit smarter, bit faster.” Her hands started to run over her breasts, grazing repeatedly over her perky little nipples. “Mm ...“
Snatch’s heart sank. Talking about it wasn’t distracting her, it was getting her back in the mood.
“I think I’m gonna ...” Loweina let out a sensuous sigh. “I need you and Myley to be all, like, cooperatin’. Then ... then I can bust out.”
“Hell, I wanna bust out anyways.” Snatch started to edge towards the nearest hole in the wall, though he knew he’d never be able to reach it even if Loweina let him. “Why don’t we just work together?”
“Baby, why’d I be doin’ that when you could be workin’ under me?” Her eyes glittered. “Better if I can control. Feels better, no?“
“No.” Snatch felt his erection growing again. “Fuck no.” The curse sounded weak, even to him.
“But it does,” she cooed, leaning towards him. Her hair began to glow. “I can getcha outta here, baby. You either leave here workin’ for me or not at all. An’ ... don’t you want me? Remember how good it felt?“
Snatch tried to look away, but everywhere his eyes glanced to, the hair was there, in the corner, dragging him back. His heart’s pounding started to recede into a blissful quiet. Her eyes were so wide, and pretty. He was so tired of resisting.
“You ...” Mylio’s voice, from the next cell over, was weak and raspy. Snatch barely recognized it. “... don’t have time.”
Loweina blinked, looking momentarily stunned. Her eyes narrowed. She turned away from Snatch, to his immense relief, and swam up to the hole. “Sweetie baby, do I gotta remind you why you do as I say?“
“... takes too long to break. When they get the landwhore—”
“Larya,” Snatch snapped.
“They’ll make us all drink.” The merman’s voice seemed to clear slightly. ”She will make us all drink. Her power ...“
“You think she can take me, Myley?” There was an unmistakable warning in the mermaid’s voice.
“N-no, Mistress ... b-but yes. When they capture the druidess ...” Snatch saw Loweina suddenly go stiff. “... we will—”
“Druidess?” she asked sharply. “They found a druidess? Aw, horse dick.“
“We didn’t know ...”
“Wait.” Snatch started climbing to his feet. “Didn’t know what? Mylio, you know some of this shit now? What’s so special about a dr—“
Suddenly, like an electric eel from the gloom (a simile he was sure Larya would be proud of), a special sort of understanding struck Snatch. He stood straight. “Why the fuck did you hire us, Mylio?“
“Hm? Oh, you didn’t know?” Loweina turned and looked back at him, fluttering dark eyelashes. “Ain’t nobody escapes the slimes. Too fast. Too darling. Myley here’s been under their influence up ’til a couple hours ago, when I took the reigns.“
Snatch stared at her. “What.”
“When they took my mate.” Mylio’s face appeared in the hole. He looked worn and dazed, and he looked towards Loweina with pathetic adoration bordering on madness. “She ... begged to me, as I said. Begged for more. Begged to be abandoned, to be left to the slimes. I did not heed. She was mine. I would not abandon her.“
Snatch resisted the urge to make a remark.
“So I followed. I swam after, deep into the Trench.”
“Silly boy.” Loweina giggled. “The slimes are stronger deeper down. They hate the low pressure, they does. Up there, they can’t do much else but tease. The lower you go ...”
“They caught me,” Mylio muttered. “Or almost did. I escaped. I thought I escaped.“
“They put you under.” Snatch bit his lip, mind racing toward several unpleasant directions. “Just enough to influence you so you’d bring in ... us.”
“I didn’t know. I didn’t know.”
“Of course you didn’t.” Loweina wrapped her arms around Mylio’s shoulders and pulled him through. “Mermaid milk is a special thing, my little pet. It does all sorts of utterly nasty things to you.“
He whimpered, but did not try to pull away. Not that he would have had the strength to, most likely.
“So it really was a trap,” Snatch muttered. “But why us? Why a druid?”
“That’s the million-year-question, sweetness.” Loweina smiled coyly at him. “Let’s hope we get time to answer it for ya.” She cracked her knuckles. “Meansome, it’s time to break out of this joint. Hey, Snatch. Myley-baby. Let’s go save the world.”
“Do you actually give a shit about the world?” Snatch asked.
She flicked the remnants of the strange cigarette at him. “I gotta live somewhere, babe.”
* * *
The funny thing was, breaking out was almost embarrassingly easy. Loweina, petite as she was, just hadn’t been strong enough to pull a specific lever until now.
Unfortunately, neither were Snatch and Mylio at the moment.
“Yeah...” Loweina muttered. “This’s a left hook, alright.”
Snatch could still barely walk. Mylio wasn’t much better—though he hadn’t had his strength drained by Chrysa, he looked utterly beat to Snatch. Perhaps that was the merfolk stamina Larya had mentioned.
“Perhaps we could ...” Mylio bit his lip as Loweina turned to look at him. “... could find a rope or some such, Mistress?”
“Nah.” She bit the inside of her cheek. “Nah, I got it. We gotta do a six-nine-nine”
Mylio blinked, seeming perplexed. But Snatch cocked his head in thought. “Mylio and I ain’t much up for it.”
“Oh, you don’t have to be.” Loweina smirked. “You’ll be the six.”
He blanched. “Fuck no.” Mustering a bit of humor, he folded his arms. “I ain’t the type.”
“This’s why I wanted to master ya.” Loweina rolled her eyes. “Faster. Listen, baby, there’s two ways this goes. You doc yourself the type, or ...” Her hair gave a little sparkle.
“What are you two talking about?” Mylio asked.
Snatch ignored him, glaring at the mermaid. It was sort of nostalgic to be using Old Cant again, but not in a good way. “Even if you doc me into it, being the six eats a special length of ropes. Have ‘Myley’ do it.” He flicked a hand at the merman. “He’s already your six, really. Knows the ropes.“
“Ah, they’ve already ...” Loweina grimaced. “They’ve had their taste of Myley.”
“What? He’s been here, what, a wink?”
“The clinks cottoned me the first time!” she snapped. “Cottoned what I was doin’, anyways. He’s a bleater.”
“This is why doc’ing us ain’t a good idea, you realize.“
“Look, mermen are old shingles to us anyways. A human, though ...” Her eyes lit up. “Mm. I still wanna doc you into my six, baby. An’ I’m more restrained than they are.“
“I don’t understand any of this,” Mylio protested.
“Y’don’t gotta, honey.” Loweina stooped and ran her fingers through his hair. “The human’s volunteered. Right, baby?”
Snatch gritted his teeth. He knew he was at her mercy. If Loweina wanted to force him, she could, and she probably did. But some part of him wanted to make her do it. He didn’t want to do this willingly. He wanted to be able to say he’d been forced into it.
But maybe it was time to toughen up. After all, he was probably screwed anyways.
“Fine,” he muttered. “So how do I start? Full six, or...” He trailed off, seeing that Loweina was grinning. “Oh, don’t you fucking dare.”
“I’m not gonna do anything lastin’,” she said, and her hand lunged forward. A single long finger tapped his waist. “Just gonna get you into ... heh ... costume.”
Her finger sparked with magic.
* * *
Alrek jumped. “What?”
“Sorry, Alrek, isn’t it?” Larya stepped into view. Alrek was surrounded by darkness, and she seemed wreathed in it, almost like a robe. “Why are you such a piece of horseshit?”
He shrugged. “Ask the horse.”
She giggled. “Didn’t I teach you that one?”
He cracked a little smile. “Probably. Never been as good at those jokes as you.” He looked around. “How’d you get here? Wasn’t I ...”
“Yeah.” She grimaced. “Been nice knowing you. I mean, aside from you being a total asshole and kinda leaving me for dead.“
“Yeah.” He let out a grim laugh. “So why’m I here?”
“You’re not. Your brain just broke because of that spell she used on you.”
“Oh, yeah. That makes sense.” He blinked. “What was the spell?”
It was getting darker. Larya took a step back, and suddenly he could only see her face. “Go find out, you bastard.”
* * *
“Oh, fuck,” Alrek gasped. He tried to open his eyes before realizing that they were already open. He couldn’t see anything for a moment. Just darkness. It took his senses a moment to realize what was interfering with them.
There were two smooth, slick hands running over his cock. There were two—no, three other hands stroking his chest, and hot breath and wet tongues were running over his balls. The darkness rapidly gave way to images.
He saw a familiar raven-haired vampiress leaning over him, a ferocious smile on those bloodred eyes. “Mine,” she hissed, leaning towards his neck and caressing it with sharp fangs. He saw Chrysa settling onto his lap, bouncing with uncontrolled glee. He saw a trio of elves crawling toward him, long pipes in their elegantly-painted hands. Visions flashed into his head—so many women, so many fey and daemons and monsters and demons. So much pleasure.
Gradually, his brain began to adjust, and he became aware that he was loudly moaning. The phantom tongues and lips and fingers ran over his cock, his balls, his chest and nipples, kissing his mouth and licking along his neck, bathing him in glorious sensation. He tried to silence himself, but it felt too good. He was close ... finally, he was so close—
His orgasm built, and built, and ... built. His eyes widened, seeing only the visions of lust and desire, feeling the pleasure continue. He wasn’t cumming. He should have come by now.
But still the sensation continued, savage pleasure assailing his every sense, burying him in agonizing ecstasy. He let out a loud moan.
“Oooooh.” The breathy, girlish whisper came from a short ways above him, not that directions meant anything anymore. Soft fingers ran over his lips, and he whimpered, realizing that this was real, this was physical—and he suddenly realized that whoever it was, they could make him come. Suddenly, that was all that mattered. He felt his hips bucking upwards.
“So tasty,” whispered another female voice.
“So ripe,” whispered the first. It was very close, now, and Snatch felt soft, plush lips attack his own, felt a long, serpentine tongue enter his mouth. He reached up and wrapped his arms around his kisser, feeling silky hair to entwine his fingers into.
Then a real mouth touched his cock, and he screamed into the kiss.
The mouth did not go up and down at first. The lips were wrapped perfectly around the head of his cock, and they just stared there, gently suckling. It was mind-numbing. It was too much. He shook with need. Why couldn’t he come?
The original kiss broke off, and the soft lips began planting more little kisses all over his face, as if devouring him. “Mm. Tastes good. Mm. Not supp—mwah—osed to take—mm—him, though.”
The lips at his cock ignored the voice, continuing to suckle. Snatch tried to buck into them, but a single feminine hand held him in check. They were too strong for him, he realized. They could do whatever they wanted right here. Somehow, that just made him hotter. Everything made him hotter.
Now the kiss broke off completely. “Ambine,” chided the mermaid. “The Queen wants him ri—
“P-please,” Alrek whimpered, reaching up with a hand and caressing what felt like a breast. “M-mistresses.”
There was a long pause.
He felt a nipple gently pressed into his mouth. “Fuck,” breathed the voice, “I can’t fucking resist that. Can you?”
The suckling started to pick up intensity in response. Alrek gasped around the nipple, then obediently started to lick and kiss. Something in his head told him not to, but it was a small, unimportant voice in the face of this bliss.
The lips around the head of his cock were joined by dainty fingers tickling his balls. He whined and moaned, but kept licking.
“Oh, fuck,” gasped his mermaid. “Fuck. F-fuck! Yeah! Drink it! Drink it, you bitch!” Hands wrapped around the back of his head, entwining fingers in his hair just as he had just done and pressing him tightly against the breast. “Let’s do it!”
Then there was a little bead of moisture on her nipple. Alrek paused. Some grain of sense tried to bore into him, to remind him why that was bad. But the lips around his cock were now producing a tongue that was darting at his glans, and the sucking was so intense, so perfect … the mermaids were moaning louder, now, screaming for him to obey ...
Unbidden, his tongue shot out and licked the liquid right off the nipple.
A moment later, a bright light filled the room, and music filled his head again.
“Hey, lovelies,” cooed the voice of Loweina. “Why don’t you look at my silky locks for a second an’ tell me who the prisoners are?”
* * *
“Can’t believe that worked,” Snatch muttered.
“I can,” loweina said, smirking. “I done it before. Fey’re suckers for sucking, y’know. ’S’why our queen used to be a squid maid, ’fore the demons came in.”
Snatch’s head was still abuzz. Luckily, he’d been able to shake off the effects of Loweina’s spell before she’d finished ‘explaining’ to the mermaids that they were the real prisoners, and needed to stay in the cells where they belonged. Otherwise, she would have probably seized control again.
But it was all leaving effects, he knew. His resistance was pretty much gone. If Loweina knew how close he was to breaking … All that stubbornness, lost to a jelly maid and some pretty lights.
He tried to stop from thinking about the lights.
He had to fight, he knew. Had to escape. Had to live. His survival instinct was still strong, but it was mixed with the instinct to ‘survive’ within a bed of loving mistresses. But he had to make it out.
The sweet taste on his tongue reminded him just how hard that would be.
“Where are we going?” he asked Loweina. He was walking behind her, leaning heavily on the cave walls for support. Mylio was slithering after her like a clumsy lamia.
“To the armory,” she replied. “Then, when we’s armed, to the garden. Hope you can set the steps.”
“The g-garden?” Alrek felt his heart pounding as he remembered the slime girl. Remembered the Goo Queen.
“If the Goo Queen dies, the terms of the pact are broken, an’ the slime girls’re ‘free’. Free to go back to Hell. Hopefully.”
“Eh. Never was much of a reader, but I’m pretty sure those’re the terms.” Loweina shrugged. She swam around a corner, and Snatch and Mylio had to struggle to keep her in sight. “Anyways, killin’ her’s easy. Relative-like.” She flashed Snatch a smile. “The slime girls’re nasty, but they got no heat tolerance. I get one of my geyser sticks and we’re good for the day.”
“You have geyser sticks? Weren’t those made illegal, like, three centuries ago?”
“We got ways.” Loweina grinned. She approached a large iron door, then paused, scanning around her. “Should be more guards,” she muttered. She hesitated, then reached for the door.
“Wait!” Snatch said quickly. He shambled forward, nudging Loweina aside with as much rudeness as he could muster. “Could be trapped.”
“Trapped?” Loweina snorted as Snatch started examining the door. “What kinda story you think we’re in, boy? What kind of thief are ya?”
There was a click. Snatch dropped to the ground as three spirals of pink bubbles arced right where his head, chest and waist had been. He looked up at Loweina wearily as the door slid open. “I’m not a thief. I’m an adventurer.”
Loweina swam above him as he climbed to his feet. Handling the trap had awoken some last grain of self-respect in Snatch, and he gritted his teeth, trying to hold onto it.
He was an adventurer.
This was an adventure. Solo, sure, and that wasn’t great. But he’d survived without Larya before. He’d do it again.
And maybe—just maybe—he’d live to apologize to her.