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The Rogue’s Harem
Book Three: The Rogue’s Passionate Harem
Part Thirteen: The Ruby’s Secret
Note: Thanks to WRC264 for beta reading this.
Chapter Thirty-Seven: The Altar of Souls
Kora Falk – Princedom of Kivoneth, The Strifelands of Zeutch
I gripped the ruby amulet as we climbed the small hill revealed behind the massive illusion. At the top, something glinted. Something crystal. The Altar of Souls. My heart beat faster and faster. A hot thrill built and built in me, it grew with every step.
I could almost feel the soul of the Biomancer pulsing and quivering inside the ruby. Did he know that his phylactery’s destruction neared? That as soon as we reached the summit, Ava would destroy the vessel and cast his soul back to the Astral Realm? There he would spend eternity in whatever punishment that he deserved for his crimes.
I was ready to be done with wearing this necklace.
The faceted angles of the gem bit into my hand. It felt so familiar. I hated that I had grown used to wearing it. To having this evil thing around my neck. It was almost over. The gem twitched again in my hand.
I smiled. “You’re about to die,” I whispered. “For good.”
A tremble raced through my body. Despite the strength my new armor gave me, lead weighted my feet, my boots filled with it. My heart labored. I stared at the crystal altar at the summit of the hill. It was all about to end. My deal with Rithi was about to be completed.
I’d have to give up my sister soon.
My breath quickened. I was almost gulping air. I have to be ready for this. Hard for this. I couldn’t be weak. I had to hurt my sister. I had to end our relationship to save her. To save all of my women. I needed to rip out my own heart.
I didn’t want to.
My teeth ground together. What choice did I have? Rithi would undo her miracle that saved my wives. All my women but Ealaín, Ava, Greta, and Carsina would die. I trudged against the weight in my boots. My heart beat faster and faster. It ached. I wanted to clutch it.
Zanyia, padding beside me, looked up at me. Her ears twitched. Her tail swished and swayed, brushing my leg. How would she take it? She was the reason that Kora and I had taken that final step into our incestuous relationship. Would Zanyia hate me? Would Nathalie? Ava?
Would I lose them all by breaking Kora’s heart?
I stared at her striding ahead. She stepped with such confidence up the hill in her pink robe. Her twin braids of blonde hair swayed down her back. She marched with such eagerness. She had no idea the pain that awaited us.
My steps slowed. I wanted to do anything to stop this. I wanted to find some excuse not to get up there. To be selfish. If we didn’t destroy the Biomancer’s soul, then we wouldn’t have to be parted because of my deal with Rithi.
I rubbed at the back of my neck. It prickled. I shifted, slowed. Was I just being selfish now? Could I stop this? It would mean letting the evil bastard’s soul survive. It would mean allowing him the chance of having a new body, of living again. He would continue his experiments. He would keep making more and more monstrosities. The Paragon would continue to hunt us.
Maybe we could just hunt her down and kill her…
No. Rithi would see this as a breaking of our deal. No choice. Better for Kora and my women to live hating me than to die today.
Kora and Ava reached the summit. They were at the altar. It was about to be over. It was all going to change. I couldn’t believe it. I only had to walk up the last dozen or so feet and witness the end of my harem.
“Gods damn it all,” I muttered, rubbing at my neck.
“Master?” Zanyia asked as I stopped. “What’s wrong?”
“I…” I turned around, looking down the slope of the hill, desperate for anything to stop this. My eyes slid out to the plain we crossed and…
Riders galloped towards the hill. Metal glinted off their armor. Twenty or more soldiers with a black-robed figure charged behind two figures running on foot. One was a massive thing, as big as the ogre we fought, its features indistinct, looking almost patchwork even at this distance. Beside the hulk was a leaner figure, skin looking gray and waxy, almost like an insect.
Price Meinard’s soldiers and the monsters raced toward us.
My shadowy rapier formed.
I shuddered as I reached the altar. My imbuer senses responded to it. My soul quivered as I stared at the crystal altar resting on the top of the perfect cone of the hill. The Altar of Souls was more than this small part of thrusting out of the grass. It was the entire hill. It was all one machine, an arcane device created by the God Krab. I could feel the power it contained. It gathered energy, pulling it out of the air, building it up in vast batteries deep in the earth.
I trembled in awe at the potential for work it contained.
Kora pulled the amulet off her neck. The flash of ruby light playing across its faceted surface almost broke my senses from the machine. From what it could do. It left me dizzy what I could do with it. My hands clenched on the diamond hammer. It was a key to activating it.
Kora set the amulet on the altar. She let out a gasp and stepped back. “I haven’t taken that off—”
“Ava, destroy the amulet. Now!” roared Sven.
His shout jerked my attention from the crystal altar and the blood red amulet. I looked down the hill and gasped. Armored men had reached the base. Two monsters were at the lead. A jolt of fear shot through me as my husband’s black armor grew shadowy. His rapier clutched in his hand, almost bleeding umbral vapor.
“Destroy it, Ava, we’ll hold them off,” Sven growled.
I blinked as Sven moved down the hill. Greta, Nathalie, and Ealaín surged with him, Zanyia stalking after while Aingeal winged into the air, her pink wings fluttering. I swallowed. My family wore the armor they gained from the vault. An aura of wavering heat rippled around Nathalie as her flaming sword appeared. Light burst from Ealaín’s armor, her duel weapons radiating in her hands. My own bedmaid, my busty Greta, held out her gauntleted hand. Her watery blade appeared in a splash of mist, the vapor blown away from the shiny blade.
“That has to be the paragon,” Kora said beside me, her voice tight.
The soldiers spread out, Shevoin, my father’s master mage, riding in the center. I didn’t see him, but his captain Gunther leading the soldiers. At the lead, the hulking monster and the gray, insect thing now worked up the hill, moving fast towards us. My eyes fell on the man-bug. It was… There was something familiar about the shape of the figure, the way it moved. I pushed past the waxy look of its segmented skin to…
“Father?” I gasped.
A wave of fear shot through me. I trembled, staring at the figure. I didn’t know how I could know it was my father, but it was. He marched beside the mismatch hulk, the Paragon of the Biomancer. My father was transformed. He had become a monster himself, molting away his human exterior.
A nauseated wave washed through me. My stomach clenched as I remembered the lust the spell generated in me for him. I no longer felt it, but just the things I did with my father, letting him debase my body, made me feel so dirty. So soiled. In my mind, I saw him now as this insectoid thing. On me. Pumping away at me.
I whimpered. My hands tightened on the crystal hammer.
Carsina placed a hand on my shoulder, squeezed. “Mistress, you have to work the Altar. Do you feel it? Does your soul want to sink into it?”
I glanced over at her. She stared at me with those ruby eyes. She gave me a comforting smile, nodding her head. She was right. I had to destroy it. I had to ignore my family’s plight and focus my thoughts on the altar.
On activating the power and destroying the amulet.
A great, almost feminine roar, echoed up the hill.
As we descended the hill, we spread out from each other. My tail swished as the Paragon and the bug-thing moved up the hill faster. The soldiers formed up at the base, gripping reins, their armor flashing. The robed man at the center lifted something to his mouth, tilting his head back like he was drinking something.
Aingeal, flying above us, asked “What is that bug thing?”
I shuddered and formed my twin katars out of the leather straps of my armor wrapped around my body. “It’s ugly.”
“It’s Prince Meinard,” Sven growled. I could hear the hatred in his words.
I hissed, staring down at the man who had tried to turn his daughter into his whore, to breed her. He put that spell on her, inflamed her lusts until she couldn’t resist surrendering her body to him and fucking him.
“I will take the Paragon, Sven,” Ealaín said.
Master nodded, his eyes focused on the transformed prince scurrying up the hill. I could feel his eagerness to fight the thing. To kill it. This was the man who murdered his parents, his sister, who turned his betrothed into a whore.
“Gut him, Master,” I said. “So I’ll take on all the soldiers. It seems fair.” I grinned, my tail swishing faster. With Silence, I felt so strong. So swift. I had reflexes as keen as—
The ground beneath my feet became liquid. I sank into it. Gasping in shock, bayan escort gaziantep I leaped immediately, ripping out of the muck as Sven, Ealaín, Nathalie, and Greta gasped. My jump soared me out over the cliff. I looked behind me to see them sunk to their ankles, their balance disrupted as the ground gripped them, holding them in place.
The Paragon and Prince Meinard charged closer.
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Skittering Monster
“Cernere’s black fingers!” I hissed. “Master mage! We’re in trouble!”
Zanyia sprang past me. Her jump carried her over the Paragon and the Monster, her tail swishing behind her. She threw a look over her shoulder at me, her eyes twitching, an excited glint in her cat-slitted eyes.
“Deal with him!” she hissed. “I got the soldiers!”
I summoned abjuration spirits. The blue balls of ethereal energy, the tangible forces of creation, surged around me. They danced around me before diving for the feet of Sven and my wives trapped by the hill’s soil. Wreathed in the purple energy, the manifestation of my will, the abjuration spirits slammed into the ground, disrupting the earth magic.
Sven burst free as Prince Meinard and the Paragon closed the distance. Blurring like shadows, my husband didn’t so much as charge down the hill at Meinard but flowed. Umbral vapor poured off of Sven. He roared, a sound of pure hatred distilled into a physical rage. Light exploded from Ealaín as she rushed at the Paragon. Water and flames swept from Greta and Nathalie.
The wave crashed into the Paragon. The hulking, mismatch monstrosity battered through it with no effort. The muscles of her thick, corded limbs flexed as she kept barreling up the hill, her strange, misshapen face twisted with a clash of emotions, forming a riotous, brutal expression of pure drive, her hands forming massive fists. Prince Meinard ducked beneath the wave, scuttling on his belly like a four-legged centipede, his limbs looking oddly jointed.
He rose upright in time to meet Sven’s attack.
At the base of the hill, Greta’s wave swept into the soldiers on their horses. Some were thrown down, their horses screaming and kicking. Others gripped the reins. The water flowed around the mage, channeled by the force of his magic.
I focused on him, gathering my spirits, my wings fluttering. Did I have the strength to battle a master mage?
I pointed my finger and fired a beam of evocation spirits at him.
A beam of purple energy lanced over the air as I closed in on the Paragon. Water dripped from the patchwork thing. She was hideous. The Biomancer had formed this thing from a dozen different humanoid creatures. I could see human, dwarf, orc, elf, goblin, ogre, halfling, and more in her features. She had breasts and a cock bouncing before her. A nauseating writhe rippled through my stomach.
Vebrin had fashioned her by despoiling a dozen different works of art, living creatures all, and stitching them together. It horrified me. It was like he’d taken a dozen priceless statues carved with exquisite care, hacked them to pieces, then stuck them together and declared that he had created something better. That he’d distilled the very essence of art.
My hammer and ax blazed with light. My armor strengthened my limbs. I would slay this thing for my divine mother. This thing was an affront to all Rithi stood for. I howled as I raised my weapons, Greta charging at my side.
The Paragon grinned, the mongrel features of her face twisting as the mismatched features clashed with each other. Her pace slowed. Her muscles bulged in her arm as she flexed her fist. I reached her, swinging with my hammer, my momentum impelling force into it.
She raised her arm and took my blow. Light burst from my hammer. It surged around the Paragon, illuminating every wrinkle and crag of her features. The handle shook in my hand as she swept her arm before her, knocking back my weapon, her fist flying at my armor.
Droplets shimmered before me. A shield of water sprang up. The Paragon’s fist slammed into it. Waves rippled across the disc. It faded into mist as I swung my ax. My blow hacked through the dissipating defense. The Paragon pivoted and deflected my swing with her other forearm, sending my blow slashing into the hill.
The Paragon laughed, her fist blurring down at my head.
Light burst from armor. A great flash of sunlight striking Paragon in the face. She cursed, flinching, her blow going wide. It missed my head by inches. A rush of air rippled over me. A nervous twinge ran through me. I felt the power of her blow.
Did I have the strength to fight her?
Greta shouted beside me, stabbing with her watery blade. I couldn’t afford doubts. I would beat her.
“Did you think turning into a monster would get your daughter wet for you instead of me?” I demanded as I thrust my shadowy rapier at the carapaces chest of Meinard.
He scuttled to my right, scurrying sideways with speed. His skin had an oily sheen about it, rippling in the sunlight. I could see his cold features in the twisted face. He had mandibles thrusting out of his mouth, his eyes almost all black. Segmented plates covered his entire body. It ripped out of his skin. Small bits of it could be seen at the joints, pale flesh clinging to his new body. He had a knot in his central chest, a round bulge dug into this thorax.
What had he done to himself?
I followed his scuttle. He dropped to all four, his mandibles clicking. My skin crawled. This thing touched my wife. He used her. He tried to make her into his whore. I pivoted as he circled me, drawing in the shadows to enhance my speed.
He twisted his body out of the way. My sword buried into the ground. He swiped at me. I leaped back as the claws slashed before me. From the other side, Nathalie’s fiery sword swept down at him, the young girl’s face twisted in revulsion as she let out a loud screech.
Her crackling blade slammed into the ground, missing Prince Meinard. Grass crisped black, smoking from the heat. Her armor wavered and danced, heat bleeding off of her, spilling through the air. She felt like a walking furnace. She ripped up her sword, pivoted and—
Prince Meinard struck her in the chest. She gasped, stumbling back up the hill, her armor rattling. I growled, thrust hard at Prince Meinard’s back. He flattened his body to the ground. My blade hissed over his form.
“Do you think Ava will welcome you to her bed?” I asked. Then I snorted. “Do you even have a cock any longer?”
“I think I’ll just eat her,” Prince Meinard answered, his mandibles clacking as he rose to his feet, his limbs twisted and segmented in strange ways, fingers ending in sharp claws.
“I left her pussy full of my cum,” I said, giving him a mocking grin. “It was a lot of fun cucking you, your Highness.”
Prince Meinard let out a clicking, hissing sound. Laughter. The sound skittered through my ears, my spine shivering. It sounded like a thousand beetles scurrying through dead leaves, a hideous sound. “No, not her pussy. Her flesh. That scrumptious, warm flesh.”
My stomach tightened.
“I’ll pull apart her bit by bit, watching her sinews stretch. I’ll feast on her entrails as they spill out of her torn skin.” His mandibles quivered. A look of almost ecstatic lust rippled across his insectoid face. “My little sweetling will be so salty and rich.”
I wanted to vomit. Just picturing this thing ripping into my Ava with those mandibles, tearing into her flesh, ripping her apart punched me in the guts. My stomach acids churned and boiled. I hated this man, but now… Now he disgusted me. Made me feel dirty just standing by him.
He glanced at Nathalie. My blood chilled.
“Maybe I’ll eat her first,” he said. “She smells… succulent.”
He pivoted and lunged at her. Nathalie squeaked. She swung her sword. He battered her clumsy blow aside and seized her. I cursed and charged at his back. His mandibles spread wide as he lunged his head down for the rune-carved breastplate, heat dancing around the pair.
“Master!” Nathalie screamed.
Rage surged through me. Flashes of the monster ripping into my sweet Nathalie blazed through my mind. They galvanized my limbs. I aimed my needle-sharp blade at that things back, right for his heart. I would skewer him.
Fire exploded before me.
Fire exploded from Nathalie.
I screamed as the flames rippled over that foul insect-thing and went for my brother. Sven threw up his arms before him. Shadows rippled, an inky cloud burst before him as the tongues of fire rippled around the hill.
“Brother mine!” I gasped, my hand going to my breasts, clutching at nothing as I trembled by the altar.
Nathalie burst out of the inferno. Her blonde pigtails blazed with flames, burning behind her as she scrambled clear. The fire didn’t consume her hair, but danced on them as she whirled around to face the dying bonfire. As she did, I could see the crumpled impressions in her breastplate, the mark of the monster’s maw biting into her chest.
The insectoid thing rose out of the flames, his gray, waxy carapace absorbing the heat. He stalked out after Nathalie. She raised her blazing sword before her, a tremble racing through her body. His mandibles clicked.
I had to help them. I thrust my hand between my thighs and swiped up my pussy juices. I shuddered, my cream coating them as I opened my will to my Goddess. I called upon her power: “Rithi, bless my sexual juices and let them paint new beauty in the world.”
I had to make those solid illusions again like I did fighting the ooze. I needed it. My family needed it. Light flashed from Ealaín dueling the Paragon. Aingeal flew in the air, beams of purple energy flashing from her. And Zanyia…
Zanyia was all alone.
I landed amid the soldiers recovering from the wave. Their horses sodden coats dripped. Some of the guards lay on the ground, struggling to stand in their waterlogged armor. I grinned at them as their horses whinnied in surprise at my appearance.
“Get the bitch!” snarled a man in full armor, a rich cloak of blue spilling off his shoulders.
“Bitch!” I hissed as a sword swiped at me.
I jumped with ease to my right. My tail twisted behind me, guiding me. The soldier I flew at cursed. He thrust his sword out before him, the chiseled-sharp point lancing right for my chest. I purred as the exhilaration filled my veins and twisted my body. The blade lunged past my stomach.
I punched my left fist forward. My katar took him in the throat, finding the gap between breastplate and helm. My feet twisted up before me. A heartbeat later, I crashed into his armor. I planted my feet and leaped off the dying man’s plate, the steel flexing.
I soared from him, my blade ripped free. Droplets of blood sprayed out before me, my tail swishing to provide counterbalance. My ears twitched as I landed on the back of another soldier’s mount. He cursed, twisting as I punched my right fist at his neck, katar jutting before my attack, a thick, triangular claw.
He gurgled as he died.
“I’m not a bitch!” I howled. “Do I look at all like a dog?”
The soldiers roared, scrambling to face me.
“I’m a cute, sexy kitten!” I hissed and leaped from the dying man’s mount. I would keep the soldiers distracted while Master took care of the monsters.
Kora’s fingers wiggled as she conjured an illusion. I shuddered, trying to focus. I needed to use the Altar. It begged me to sink my soul into it, but the sounds… Flames crackled, water rushed, people screamed and died. My family was in danger. I could help them. I had my proxy. I could become the feyhound and join the fight.
I stared down at the amulet. Even the hammer could be more useful in the fight. Carsina knew how to wield it. What should I do? How long would it take me to destroy the amulet? I could feel the vast machinery beneath me, the great engine which gathered and channeled all that energy. I would have to focus it on the phylactery, bring it all to bear before I could destroy it.
Could I do it fast? Would anyone I love die while I manipulated this vast machine?
“Where are you, my sweetling?” a hideous voice called, rising above the sounds of fighting. “I’m here for you. I’m so hungry for you.”
“You WON’T touch her!” bellowed my husband.
I wrenched my gaze from the altar. I shuddered, witnessing Sven thrusting his blade at Prince Meinard through the flames burning on the hills. It distorted their forms, made them look bleary, ephemeral. A fear seized my heart.
What if Sven died?
“Princess, you need to activate the altar,” Carsina said, her hand gripping the shoulder. “Focus.”
But how could I? Light flashed. Greta screamed, knocked back by a blow from the Paragon. Water sprayed around her as she crashed against the slope. My family was in danger.
I had to act.
Magic crackled in the air. I couldn’t see the mage’s power, but I could feel it coursing through the world. He manipulated the elements—air, earth, water, fire, and life—with his will. He wasn’t like the assassin, binding the spiritual essences of the world and channeling them at me. This was something different. Something powerful. My mind focused as I hovered about the fighting. Heat rippled from below. Water splashed the bottom of my feet.
I fended off slicing blades of unseen air. They struck my shield of abjuration spirits. I whirled those around me while the evocation spirits surged down in tight beams of destruction. Powerful energy to hit him. Shields of rocks, the mighty bowels of the earth, rose to defend him. He maneuvered his horse from the chaos Zanyia crated, leaving the ground in his wake covered in broken boulders he ripped out of the ground.
He downed more energy from a vial while his magic seized water from the ground. Liquid lances shot up at me, hardening into icy death. I fluttered to the right, shaping my abjuration spirits to block them. The thin lances slipped through their protection, the death reaching up at me.
I shifted transmutation spirits into the lances penetrating my defenses. I changed the incoming spears into harmless mist that washed over my body and hugged me in a clammy cloud before it dissipated.
He grinned. This time, the lances that shot up at me were made of hardened stone, granite he ripped out of the hill. Air propelled them at blurring speed. He found a weakness in my defense and exploited it.
I shifted my spirits. I formed a layers of abjurations spirits in an eye blink. The stony spears hit them, penetrating deeper and deeper into the stacked shields until they stopped an arms reach from my body. I touched them with transmutation spirit, made them molten, and flung them at the mage.
Hissing droplets of white-hot stone rained down at him. As he sent his magic to meet the threat I fired another beam of evocation spirits at him. Death lanced down at him. My wings fluttered. The liquid stones cooled and broke apart into dust as they fell around him. My lance, however, rushed at him and—
He lifted into the air at the last moment, yanked up by ropes of air. My lance struck his horse, burned through its body. It collapsed in a twitching mound while he settled on the ground behind in a swirl of his black robes.
He faced me, eyes hard, arms folded across his chest as he summoned more elements to—
“No!” I shouted as Ava seized my soul and—
Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Ruby’s Secret
Aingeal’s body fell from the sky. I cursed. “Greta!”
A spout of water burst from Greta, distracting her from the paragon. The fountain caught the falling faerie and cradled her to the ground. I didn’t know what happened to Aingeal. Couldn’t worry about her. I had to stay in front of the Paragon.
My ax glanced off her forearms. Blood dribbled from scrapes and cuts, exposing the iron-hard bone beneath. She didn’t feel my blows. She just parried them with those powerful arms. As hard as I swung, my attacks weren’t strong enough to break her arms. Somehow, I had to get through her guard.
Greta turned back to fight and gasped. The Paragon’s blurring fist caught her hard in the chest. Her armor burst with water. It mitigated some of the blow, but the young girl was sill thrown back. She hit the ground hard, her blonde hair spilling out from beneath her helm. The runes on her blue armor flared sapphire bright for a moment. She groaned, lying stunned.
The Paragon advanced.
“No!” I shouted, rushing around the monster.
The Paragon drew back her fist to slam into the prone Greta. I couldn’t let the young thing die. She was a novice at fighting. Light poured off of me. The armor fed my muscles, propelling me faster than I could normally move. The world blurred around me for a moment.
I appeared before the Paragon, raising my weapons before me, crossing them to catch the Paragon’s punch.
“I’m right here, Father,” Ava purred, appearing around the fire. “You don’t have to do this. I’ll go with you. I’ll be your queen. I love you.”
The sight of Ava arrested me for a moment. I gaped. What was going on? Why would she…? The dress she wore was wrong. It was blue and soft, the type of gown Ava would wear spending a day at her father’s castle, not the clothing she’d worn while traveling. Not the clothing she wore right now as she stood atop the hill.
Kora stood up there, staring down, her pink robe open. Her fingers wiggling, painting.
“My sweetling,” Prince Meinard said, turning to her. “Something seems to be missing from you.”
“Oh, Father?” Ava asked.
I lunged at the monster’s back.
“Your blood. I don’t smell it.” With a casual swipe, he back-handed the illusion. It rippled with rainbow light. Laughing, making that spine-crawling sound, he turned around to face me. My rapier punched into his carapace and…
Scored along the waxy chitin. I left a furrow in the gray thorax, a long line following its concave curve before my blade reached his side and thrust past him beneath his arm. I groaned. First he wore a metal body, and now this.
He punched a clawed hand at me. I shifted my feet, began to retreat, but the attack came so fast. I was too close to him. Each of his five fingers ended in talon like points. They crashed into my chest, cutting through my armor.
Sinking into my skin.
“What did you just do!” Aingeal shouted in my soul.
I groaned as I stood up in the feyhound’s proxy. “Sorry, Aingeal” I said as her body fell to the ground. “I didn’t think. I just…”
Water caught Aingeal’s body and set her on the ground.
“Sven is in trouble,” I protested. “I can fight, too.”
I darted us towards the cliff edge, Carsina shouting behind us. I passed Kora as she shook her head and shouted something in frustration. I had to get to Sven. He would be in trouble. Chaos loomed down the hill. Flames half-obscured him. I heard him shout in pain and—
Energy rippled from us. I couldn’t see exactly what Aingeal was doing. A great thunderclap erupted over the battlefield. A mighty downdraft whipped at the grass. The flames burning around Sven, Nathalie, and my father rippled.
“The mage!” Aingeal shouted, her soul quivering against mine as we filled the feyhound vessel. “I was fighting the mage. He’ll kill us all! We have to get to him!”
“But what about Sven?” As I said that, my husband roared in pain, rising over the crackling of the flames. “He needs us!”
“Master!” screeched Nathalie, such anger in her voice. Flames roared.
“He’ll be fine. But if we don’t counter that mage, his magic will just yank us all up into the air or pin us to the ground.” More energy surged out from her. “We have to kill him. That’s how we protect Sven and our family.”
I whimpered, my soul quivering. I glanced down the hill. Light flared from Ealaín as she battled the Paragon. Greta was down. I wanted to help her, too. But the aoi si was there. She was as skilled a fighter as Sven.
“Okay,” I agreed and ran down the slope, focusing on the mage. I leaped. Energy surged into the body, Aingeal enhancing us. We soared over the chaos.
Wind buffeted us. It hit us from all directions. Power surged from Aingeal. She cursed as I struggled to keep control of the proxy. We spun, the mage attacking us with currents of air. He stared up at us, the hood of his black robes thrown back.
He pulled out a vial and drank the pussy juices, the fuel for his spells. I bet those were Greta’s cream. I gave him access to my bedmaid, letting him harvest as much of her passion from her as he wanted while he enjoyed her body.
It was a payment to discover my father’s foul secrets.
Purple energy burst from us, Aingeal’s magic. The wind drove back from us. We fell towards the base of the hill. I braced us as the ground rushed up. Power seeped into my wicker-braided legs. I landed like a falling star, Aingeal’s magic protecting the proxy’s limbs from breaking.
I stared at Shevoin, his eyes hard. The ground rumbled beneath my feet. I jumped. Magic and spirits clashed before us as Aingeal and the mage battled..
“Princess, no!” Carsina shouted.
The feyhound soared over me. I glanced behind me to see Carsina kneeling over the fallen Ava, the diamond hammer spilled from the princess’s hand. An idea shot through me. “Supercharge my illusions like you did when we fought the ooze.”
Carsina glanced up at me, her ruby-bright hair spilling about her shocked features. “Okay, Mistress.”
She scooped up the diamond hammer and charged at me, her face twisted in fear. Her body trembled. She reached me and held the hammer in her hand. I pointed down at my husband fighting Prince Meinard and…
Sven gripped the insectoid arm of Prince Meinard, his claws sunk into my brother’s flesh. My hands clutched at my breasts, reaching out of reflex for the amulet. My brother fought to keep the claws from sinking deeper into him.
I conjured an illusion of the ogre. That hulking, brutal monster that ripped apart the boarding house we stayed at Az. It was the most powerful thing I could think of. I drew back its fist, my fingers dancing before me as I painted my will, Rithi’s magic bring my art to life.
“Supercharge me!” I howled as my illusion punched at Prince Meinard.
“I… I can’t,” Carsina said.
My illusion’s punch slammed into the prince. Passed through him. In a ripple of rainbow light, the fist barreled through him, the ogres arm sinking into the insectoid things body. It had no substance. Prince Meinard laughed, cruel. The inhuman the sound sending a shiver down my spine. His arm twisted.
Sven grunted in pain.
“Why didn’t that work?” I gasped.
“Your illusions aren’t something constructed,” Carsina said. “I… I didn’t supercharge them when we fought the slime. I don’t know why your illusion had substance then and not now.”
How did this happen? My right hand kept clenching at my tits. I was so used to grabbing the amulet when things were stressed, to feel it in my hand while painting with the fingers of my left. Despite what it contained, it always made me feel… in control. To hold it. To wrap my fingers around…
The Biomancer’s soul…
I was gripping it when we fought the ooze. I squeezed it tight when I made my illusion that suddenly had substance for the Biomancer’s loathsome monster. And I was squeezing the amulet when I shouted for it to stop. When I somehow… controlled it.
My head whipped around. The amulet rested on the altar. Did it have… power over the monsters Biomancer Vebrin created?
I darted for the altar. My robe flared open. I didn’t care about modesty right now. Was this the key? Was this why the Paragon and her forces had used proxies for so long, relying on others to get the amulet, because they knew it was the key to controlling them? Did I wear victory around my neck all this time?
My mind wrenched back to the moment I faced the ooze. How hard I clutched the amulet. The way I thought it pulsed and twitched. The Biomancer remembered his children. It had a kind of will. It… twitched as we were coming up the hill. Right before we got to the altar.
“This is it!” I gasped and scooped up the amulet.
“What is?” Carsina asked. “Are you going to bargain our surrender?”
“I’m going to save the day!” I shouted back, whirling around to face the battlefield. “This is why they use proxies. Why they brought all those soldiers and the master mage. The Paragon knows I can dominate her with this!”
Sven shouted. His cries of pain were so shrill. So sharp. Prince Meinard was killing him. But I could save my brother. I would rescue him like he protected me so many times. His love had saved my soul after our parents’ and sister’s death. He gave me purpose. Following him this last year showed me so much joy and beauty.
I wouldn’t let it end. I would use every ounce of strength I had to save the day.
I stumbled back from the blows. My crossed weapons buckled before me. I stumbled back a few steps. But I didn’t flinch. I didn’t flee from the danger. Greta groaned behind me. I would protect her. I would protect all the people my charge loved. Sven and his harem were Kora’s inspiration for her art.
I had to defend them. I was her muse.
“Rithi!” I screamed and swung my weapons at the Paragon. For a moment, I drove the brute back. She couldn’t block my blows. Her big tits heaved before her as she stumbled back. “Guide my strokes. Let me create such a martial display of art and beauty today! Let me slay your enemy!”
I screamed. Light burst from me. Scintillating halos danced around my swinging weapons. The Paragon snarled, her face twisted into bestial fury. More blood sheeted down her arms. My ax left bloody scores, scraping along her bones. My hammer slammed into those iron limbs, quaking them.
I would defeat her.
“NO!” boomed the Paragon.
Her head shot up the hill. A flash of ruby caught my attention.
Kora stood on the summit. She held the amulet in her hand. She stared down at Prince Meinard, shoving Sven to the ground. Nathalie swung her flaming sword at the prince, her blows bouncing off the transformed man’s carapace.
Fear spread across the Paragon’s face. Kora holding the amulet frightened her. It gave me an opening. I swung both my weapons at the monster’s chest. My ax and hammer fell, crackling with the divine power of my armor. Krab created a work of art when he forged it.
My weapons blazed with radiant beauty.
They landed on the brute’s chest.
The thud of impact shook up my body. My ax sheered through a flabby breast and struck its iron rib cage. My hammer bounced off the sternum. The Paragon grunted. She stumbled back a step, head snapping down to me.
Her lips peeled back, revealing a mouth full of jumbled teeth, all different sizes and shape.
My attack didn’t kill her. I hardly hurt her. Blood sheeted from her severed breast, but her ribs were so strong. How could I hurt her? How could I harm her? How could I protect Greta? My family? How could I keep Kora alive?
The Paragon’s fist blurred at me. I struggled to recover from my attack, but I had put all my strength into my attack. I overextended myself to deliver the lethal blow. Now I was open. I had one option. I gathered the light. It burst from me, blinding sunlight engulfing me.
The Paragon closed her eyes, ready for this tactic.
Her fist slammed into my chest. Nothing blunted her blow. The armor groaned. I felt the metal drive into my flesh. My ribs cracked beneath it. I flew back as pain exploded through my lungs. I hit the ground with a thud.
Blood filled my mouth.
My entire body went numb.
The Paragon stood over me, death painted across her face.
To be continued…
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