Aaron still hardly believe he had let Valerie rope him into taking on Franklin’s request – even when he was staring one of the old fart’s cows in the face. It mooed like it was trying to shoo the human and hound away, trying to enjoy it’s meal of grass in peace.
“Yeesh. I think I know where that lost cow I saw a few days ago wandered off from…”
“Oh! You mean the one that was hangin’ in front of Oakville?”
“Its Oakvale , actually.”
“Doesn’t really matter to me~ cuz I ate her anyway.”
Aaron and Valerie stood in the middle of a long, grassy field, watching distant cows and the occasional bull mill about from every direction. They each had the same simple family crest branded on their hindquarters, all clearly having escaped from the same ranch at the end of the trail they were on.
There was no doubt in either of their minds- it was Franklin’s Family Ranch. The idyllic scenery was just as the old man described it. It was sitting right before a cluster of thick woods, fences stretching on and on to hold as many farm animals as they needed. Fields of wheat and oats flanked the path at either side, which fed right into the mouth of the two-storied estate crowning the ranch.
With the setting sun casting the entire land in orange, it was quite a sight to behold, even in its current state. But the ranch had obviously seen better days – the picturesque scene slowly peeled away as they inched closer. Both the estate and barn were in clear disarray, and the livestock pranced wild and unrestrained through the fields surrounding their home.
“Can you see ‘em yet?”
“No- but I can smell ‘em.”
Aaron looked back towards the ranch, starting to see one or two stout, pink figures patrolling the perimeter. The ones responsible for the mess. The ones that swarmed the ranch in the dead of night, driving away all the Franklin’s employees and separating him from his nephew.
“Orcs.” they said at once.
The iron-haired man inwardly grumbled even then. He didn’t have time to waste sticking his neck out for some wrinkled farmer he didn’t know from the next random fucker on the street, but Aaron was cautious. Not by nature, but a need for his brother’s survival.
It would be a long road. He and Valerie had scraped up nothing but a few silver pieces, around twenty coppers, and the ruby ring Aaron had tossed her in the forest. Everything else had gone to fund Douglas’s care and medicine.
He couldn’t dally around, but he also couldn’t rush forward with empty pockets.
Val, on the other hand, seemed almost a bit too excited in taking the mission. It was almost as if she had totally forgotten the bigotry the callous villagers had shown her. She crawled forward gingerly on her paws, but her tail wagged with such speeds that it appeared as little more than a jittering black crescent.
Franklin’s mission was simple; remove the orcs from the premises by any means necessary and find out what happened to his nephew. They would be rewarded with five silver pieces, a place to stay for the night, a hot dinner, and as many foodstuffs as they could carry.
“Hey, babe? Why do you think he picked us to do this?”
“What do you mean? You’re a monster, those orcs are monsters. Maybe he wants to fight fire with fire.” Aaron responded, “Or have a hog roast…”
“No, I mean, why us? Why didn’t he go tell some soldiers?”
“Graeme ain’t exactly known for its military, Val. Besides, I couldn’t even tell ya how far away any proper fighters are stationed – far enough that his ranch would probably be nothing but a pile of burned sticks by the time they showed up. And there isn’t any mercenary worth his salt out here, either. Too peaceful: No war, no cash.”
The hellhound chortled, “Well, lucky us, I guess.”
Aaron grumbled in agreement. They crept ever towards the ranch, using the uncollected bounty of the long fields as cover. They snuck closer and closer, until finally, Aaron managed to get a clear look at one.
Holding his breath, the highwayman brushed away a stalk of wheat and narrowed his eyes at her. Just like all the stories he had been told, just as all the ones he spotted in the distance, the orc seemed to be an alluring hybrid of a girl and a pig. The ears, pink skin, and curly tail seemed to match. And like a swine, she bore a short, stout figure – full hips and wobbling breasts shamelessly displayed by skimpy leather armor that looked to provide defense by drawing the foe’s lustful gaze instead of deflecting his blows.
This particular orc was onlya meter or two away. She was seated atop an abandoned cart, kicking out her chubby legs and munching on whatever foodstuffs that been left behind within it.
Making sure to keep his voice down, Aaron turned to Valerie, “I’ve seen plenty of orcs from a good bit away, but I’ve never gotten this close. What are they like?”
“Should be a piece o’ cake, babe. Orcs are real wimpy for monsters, so they have to gang up and use surprise attacks on their victims. I’m only smelling about thirty of ‘em too, counting that one.”
“Thirty?” Aaron mouthed, “I ain’t liking those odds, Val. Are you sure they’re that weak?”
“I mean, they’re not too strong, yeah.” Val whispered, her ears wiggling, “And they’re preeeeetty slow and stupid… and they can’t take a hit, either. But they are sly! Just make sure you don’t let one bonk you on the head or corner you, and we’ll be gravy!”
“Right… lets knock her out and see if we can find their leader. If not, we’ll just keep picking them off one-by-one.”
“Ah… c’mon, babe! We can take ‘em all on~”
The only reason Aaron didn’t slap his forehead was because the orc had a good chance of hearing them. He did appreciate her help, but she seemed to have a tendency of being needlessly rebellious and hard headed just for stubbornness own sake.
“Val… please? I… I…” he began, stammering as he scrounged for whatever excuse he could to have her follow his lead, “I’ll… I’d rather just take things slow and steady, alright? Please? I know it’s tempting to just rush in there- my brother’s life is on the life. I want to get this trip over with as soon as possible too. But we can’t just charge head first into enemy turf without a plan.”
The hound grumbled, her ears folding down, “Don’t make me feel guilty, babe.”
“I mean… just think for a second. What would your dad do in this situation?”
“He’d ask me to bring him a beer so he could relax and think.” she cheered, the aghast Aaron not entirely sure if she was being cheeky or serious, “Then I’d be all like, ‘Get your own, old man!’ then we’d wrestle around for a little, then we’d-”
“I mean, before he retired. Starkard was a crafty fucker in his heyday, right? We should try to be too.”
Val pouted, but bobbed her head up and down, “Fiiineee~ but only for you, babe. Just make a bit of noise here, and I’ll take care of the rest.”
Like a wolf stalking livestock, Val crept out of the wheat stalks and circled around to the behind of the cart, crouched right behind it. Letting Aaron admire her fanged smirk, she shot him a thumbs-up and nodded to the orc.
Aaron nodded back, returning the gesture. He scooted further back into the stalks, grabbing two handfuls and violently shaking them back and forth. It instantly caught the attention of the orc, who dropped the dried jerky in her hands and oinked in confusion. Wiping the crumbs from her lips, she hopped to the ground and picked up a wooden club leaning on the cart’s side.
The instant the orc stepped towards the stalks, Val sprung into action. She leapt out, slapping one paw over the pig girl’s mouth and the other seizing her squishy arm. The orc squealed in surprise, but none of her expletives escaped past the hellhound’s paw.
A spark of fire burst from Val’s eyes. She jerked the orc back, connecting her head with the cart she was previously seated on. The pig’s soft body contorted for a few short moments before slumping over entirely, out like a light.
“Hehehe~ told you they were wimps.” Val chuckled, placing one of her bottom paws against the orc’s wide butt and pushing her and her club under the cart.
Aaron had half a mind to tell Valerie that he probably wouldn’t have been able to withstand that either, but he stayed quiet.
With her unconscious body hidden, the human and hellhound continued down the path. As they neared, they saw more and more orcs hanging around their stolen territory.
In the pig’s pen, two orcs sat on the fence, laughing down at another riding around atop of a fat hog like it was a fine destrier and she a fierce knight. She certainly laughed victoriously and brandished her crude spear like one, despite the hog’s incessant whines of protest and the copious amounts of mud she was launching in every direction. The human and hound crawled under the shattered fence and went on their way before any of the three noticed.
It seemed the orcs had created a makeshift lookout out of the barn’s solitary window- the orc stationed there gave a performance just as shoddy as her lookout. The pig woman had her sandaled feet propped up on the windowsill, leaning back in a chair and snoring away.
Aaron and Val hustled past her cone of vision before she awoke. As they passed, Aaron heard the telltale sounds of wet skin slapping together. His ears pricked up, and he heard the animalistic sounds of men grunting in pleasure a moment later.
Acting on a whim, Aaron pressed his eye up against a hole in the barn door. His eye took a bit of time to adjust to the dark, but when it did, his cheeks flushed hot from what he saw.
A lean youth had an orc leaned up against one of the support beams. Both were as naked as the day they were born. The man relentlessly hammered his cock into the pig girl’s cunt, slowing occasionally to slap her jiggly ass and leave a red handprint across her pink cheeks.
Another fellow was seated at the other end of the barn atop a bail of hay. The pig gripped his trousers as she greedily slurped at his cock, leaving her chin a sticky mess of spit and cum. The man moaned and groaned like he was trying to cling to his fleeting life, his fingers curled around the floppy ears atop his mate’s head.
Grimacing from embarrassment, Aaron pulled away. It wasn’t until he took a step back did the question of who those men even were hit him.
Mates complicit with their banditry, quite possibly. Likely just random brigands or vagabonds the orcs ran into, not too unlike himself. But another possibility crossed his mind not a moment later.
Old Man Franklin had mentioned that some of his ranch hands had been left behind when the property had been seized by the orcs. The three farmers that confronted them were actually three that had escaped- it was no wonder they were so aggressive to the strange new monster in town.
Aaron’s pulse ticked faster. He peered over his shoulder, back to the barn.
‘Were those guys some of the ranch hands…?’
He quickly tried to write the idea off as ridiculous. Thinking on it a bit more, he found it so silly he broke out into a stupid grin.
‘No… no, what were they, raping them? Nah. Those bastards were clearly on top. They wouldn’t be fucking monsters that attacked them like that. That can’t be-’
He paused. His heart rate slowed, but seemed to thump all the stronger. He looked forward, towards Valerie, remembering that fateful night in the forest. Where he pulled her from a watery death, only for her to repay him by forcing herself on him.
He remembered all those stern, judgmental adults from when he could barely reach up to their chests. All their warnings rushed back to him, crashing down and slamming against his eardrums. The entire world seemed to throb like a salted wound and the hound’s vulnerable back became the center of it all.
‘Monsters are evil! They may look like pretty girls nowadays, but they’ve been our enemies since the dawn of time!’
‘They try to sucker you in for sex, but that’s only so they can slip past your guard and eat you!’
‘A darkness surrounds them all like a miasma. You may not be able to see it, but if you wander too close, it can flood your mind, melt your will, and leave you like wet clay in their demented hands…’
Aaron had always taken them with a large pinch of salt, but now those warnings rang with a deafening clarity.
That strange draw he felt towards her returned. Like some freakish parasite defending a host it hadn’t had its fill of quite yet. Being with her felt indescribably incredible, but he couldn’t deny it scorched his bearings away like dry leaves before an inferno. Aaron began to panic, torn at two extremes.
He burned a hate-filled glare into the back of her head. Had she truly robbed him of his free will? He wanted to deny it. He truly did want to trust her, if only because he had no else in the world to trust at the moment besides the friend and brother he had left far behind.
One part of him wanted to slash at her back, demand answers as she writhed in the mud. It didn’t matter how resilient she was; now being part of the mortal coil could walk away from four feet of iron being rammed between their shoulders. Another begged him to reconsider, to put faith in her. He found his fingers sliding around the hilt of his claymore, squeezing with enough force to turn his knuckles bone-white.
He gently tugged at his weapon. But when just the tiniest bit of iron exited the sheath, it tripped the floodgates in his head. Her happy, wild grin, proudly displaying a set of glittering fangs. Her gently caring for his brother, who clung to her like she was a guardian angel. Her overwhelming warmth, that gently blanketed him against the cold.
Her midnight hair, slick with water, framed around her gentle smile.
‘I don’t think you’re evil.’
Aaron exhaled, sliding the sword back into its rightful place. She trusted him; the least he could do was trust her. Even if he really did want to confront her, an orc encampment was hardly the place to do so.
Besides, he had set his life up for forfeit long ago. His brother was all that mattered; if she really was some sort of wicked manipulator using him for her own pleasure and amusement, it wouldn’t stop him so long as Douglas was cured.
After all, he was a great many things, but he took some modicum of pride in the fact he wasn’t a hypocrite. He was ready to take life for Doug’s sake. What kind of man would he be of he didn’t lay down his life in turn?
Even if that meant spending the rest of his life as a plaything, he’d do so without a single regret.
“Babe? What’s wrong?”
“Nothin’. Let’s get movin’.”
Her happy, unflappable smile melted away the ice gripping his heart. Crouching together, they slipped further into the ranch, towards the desolate estate.
A few orcs were guarding the entrance to the estate, sitting on the steps leading up to the two story home and looking bored out of their skulls. The home was more than three times as wide as it was long, and the white paint coating it’s surface looked chipped and cracked beyond repair.
“Babe… I’m smellin’ someone… now that we’re closer, it’s way stronger than what it was before.”
“Who is it?”
“Smells like another orc, but… I dunno. Stronger. Like really musky, I guess. Like, as musky as wet, sweaty socks or old cheese, but… not too bad. It’s just overpowering.”
“Must be the boss.” Aaron figured, “I knew she’d be hanging around in the estate. What’s the point of taking a castle if you don’t get to sit on the throne, right?”
“Guess so. Let’s show her we mean business!”
With absent minds, the orcs stared out towards the fields, completely ignoring their peripherals. Aaron’s lips curled into a wicked crescent. Moving with all the tense caution he’d gathered from his frugal career in highway robbery, he started creeping towards the orcs.
But before he got even remotely near them, a heavy breeze assailed his back. It carried his scent forward, making the bored orc’s nostrils twitch. They snapped to full attention, trails of drool leaking from their mouths.
‘Do they have sensitive noses too?’
Obviously not as strong as Val’s, but enough that his odor garnered their focus. Silently cursing, he sprung back around to the estate’s side, out of sight. But his scent was already locked in the pig women’s button noses. Grabbing their heavy hammers, he heard them giggle and trot towards his position.
He heard the popping of knuckles, and felt a surge of heat at his back.
“Don’t worry babe. I got this.”
Positively glowing, the pig girl’s skipped over to Aaron, expecting an easy lay. But all they found were two black, fuzzy fists crashing into their noggins. As Val pulled back her outstretched claws, she watched the two piggish women collapse to her bottom paws with a smug, half-cocked smile.
Aaron shifted around her, dragging the pig women behind a collection of empty barrels and out of sight of any prying eyes. As he returned to her side, Val stuck her nose through the half-opened window to the kitchen and sniffed.
“How many of them are in the house?”
“Hmm… not sure, but they’ve got one helluva shepherd’s pie baking~”
Aaron pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned as loud as he dared into his palm, “I don’t think the fuckin’ pie should be on our list of priorities right now.”
“Yeah yeah. I know…” the hound muttered. She sniffed again, tuning out the vast array of scents gathered in the kitchen. Baking meat, spices, garlic cloves and overly-ripe fruits and veggies all faded away as she honed into the musky scent of sweat and pheromones. It nearly made her head swim.
“Ugh… it’s… too smelly…”
“Too smelly? Urgh… what the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“I mean it’s too musty!” she complained, pinching her nose shut, “It’s like that one orc’s scent is coming from everywhere at once!”
“Whatever. I’m sure we’ll find her sooner or later.”
They climbed through the window, carefully navigating around the massive collection of pots and pans the orcs had carelessly left scattered about. Aaron carefully cracked the door open a smidgen, peering out into the sitting room of Old Man Franklin’s home.
He found it devoid of any orcs, at the very least. From what he could see, a torn couch lay askew across the floor and the mounted head of a buck had fallen from it’s spot on the wall. Daring to peer out a bit further, he found nothing but more upturned furniture scattered about.
“Alright, Val. Let’s-”
The sound of gnashing broke him from his thoughts. He spun around to find Val digging through the pantry, sucking up a link of smoked sausages with the effort a human would use on a particularly long spaghetti noodle.
“Wut? I wuz ‘ungry.” she grumbled through a mouthful of hot shepard’s pie and pickled eggs, then swallowed, “Old Man Frank said we could have as much food as we could eat, right? I don’t think he’ll mind if we have a little snack early…”
“Whatever. Whatever.” He spat under his breath, hardly believing anyone had the nerve to gorge themselves in the middle of enemy territory, “Just c’mere and let’s get going. We need to watch each other’s backs.”
“Right, right. Yeesh.”
The two stood together. Choking down a small lump of nerves that had collected in his throat, the highwayman pushed open the door and stepped into the sitting room. It carried the same sort of humble, down-to-earth atmosphere as a hunter’s cabin. And yet, sprawled out like the hallway of a baron’s summer home. He’d imagined it’d be very relaxing to kick his feet up in the sitting room with a cold brew after a hard day of farm work – if it was brought back from the sorry state of disarray the orcs had left it in, of course.
“Ohh… talk about a pig sty!” Valerie mused with a giggle.
“Valerie… please don’t pun again.” Aaron groaned, “Ever.”
“No promises~” she chuckled tauntingly.
“Well, well, well… now lookie what we have here.”
Thick and gruff, a voice like a stone grinding against iron reached their ears. Aaron’s heart leapt in his chest. A door leading further into the estate flew open, and out came a rather imposing man.
He was a goliath of a fellow. Aaron had an impressive frame, but the newcomer was entire head taller, his chest like a barrel and his arms like cannons. His platinum-blond hair and bronzed skin had obviously been a result of numerous hours under the sun.
The large man’s thin lips and thick brow narrowed into a sneer. Despite the wry tone in his booming voice, both Aaron and Valerie could tell he was far from bemused.
“What are ya doin’ on my property, stranger?”
Soon stepped forward, “Your property? This place belongs to-”
He paused, eyes going wide. The hulking man’s face was far more squared and chiseled, but the familial resemblance was unmistakable.
“You’re… you’re Franklin’s nephew, aren’t you? Richter?”
A hearty chuckle shook his chest. He shrugged his broad shoulders, not a hint of shame anywhere near him, “Guilty as charged.”
“And you buddied up with the orcs?” Aaron growled in acquisition.
“Well… I’d say I’ve done more than ‘buddy up’ with some of ‘em…”
Some of the orc’s pink skin flushed red. They wiggled their hips about, shameless and lusty expressions on each of their faces. The other orcs each portrayed a look of absolute anguish, envy, and fury, some even going as far as to angrily gnaw on the wood of their crude weaponry.
Aaron grit his teeth and clenched his jaw, his hand already gripping the handle of his claymore, “So what? Why’d you betray your uncle? Just for some quick pussy?”
“I don’t think you have any right to judge me on that front, pally.” Richter grunted, jerking his thumb towards the scowling Valerie.
“Then why? Why would you betray your own uncle?” the hellhound snapped, “Jeez! You humans don’t have a lick of loyalty at all do ya?!”
After giving Richter a tongue-lashing, she turned her attention to the orcs.
“And you porkers…” she barked, the first row of the pig girls shrinking away at her snapping jaws, “What kind of girls drive away good boys?! If you want a man, get some guts and take care of him! Be a monster!”
The iron-haired highwayman blew out a long puff of breath. He didn’t quite understand Valerie’s moral stances, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to. But just as she had no right to pass judgement on the orcs, he had none to pass to her.
Aaron slowly dragged his claymore out from it’s sheath, flashing the finely polished iron to all in the room. This would purely be a business transaction- one faction driving out the other. There wasn’t any room for heroics, nor a need for them.
A deep sneer wrinkled Richter’s face. Puffing out his chest, he planted his meaty fists on his hips, “Do you really want to know why I joined sides with the orcs? The sex is a nice bonus, but that ain’t what I was after to begin with.”
“What? You just wanted the ranch to yourself and didn’t want to wait until the old man croaked?” Aaron spat towards the man, their angry cries starting to echo through the spacious room.
“No. That ain’t the case, bud. See, I was just plum tired of slaving away in the fields for nothin’ in return.”
“The hell are you on about?”
A look of absolute disgust and bitterness made Richter’s scrunched face furrow ever deeper. He lifted a clenched fist, as though brandishing his fury with enough vigor would crush whatever was irking him by sheer force of will.
“Our local lord? The greedy fuck had started taxin’ this ranch like it was wartime, and didn’t even have the fuckin’ decency provide us protection from the brigands that attack our westward shipments. The bastard was bleedin’ my uncle dry, even after the five generations of back-breaking labor my family did for his!”
Val blinked in shock, actually looking quite understanding for a moment. Aaron, on the other hand, kept his face still as a scowling statue.
Richter waved his large hands through the air, raving on, “Uncle Franklin is a damn fool. He wanted to just buckle down and weather the storm… he kept sayin’ the kingdom must’ve had a good reason for all of it, and things would be back to normal in a jiffy. Feh! The way we were heading, we wouldn’t have made it till the end of the year.”
Ever so slightly, the corner of Aaron’s mouth twitched. Some small part of him burned with guilt- he knew the brigand problem of Graeme’s west well, and he recognized it was a large issue for the people, especially merchants. He had taken full advantage of that confusion, attacking the eastern highway Graeme just couldn’t waste time focusing on for a single man.
Like a vulture, picking the remains of a carcass that two dueling predators had left in their wake.
“You think I care? He hired me to find you and send these piggies packing. And I’m plannin’ on finishing this job, even if that means breaking your legs and dragging you back to him!”
Richter’s face had fully twisted into an angry and bitter knot. But something about his swaggering demeanor told Aaron and Valerie that he accepted the challenge.
“Yer certainly welcome to try, friend… that is, if one of the free girls doesn’t make a drooling bitch outta ya first.” Richter snarled sourly. Lifting one calloused finger into the air, he twirled it in a circle, garnering the attention of the surrounding orcs. With all eyes on him, Richter aimed that same outstretched finger on Aaron and Valerie.
Upon his order, the orcs charged. The beady little eyes locked on Valerie burned with a vitriolic combo of fury and envy. Aaron, on the other hand, found himself assailed by amorous gazes of hunger and lust- and they were quickly surrounding him at all sides.
Aaron spat, as if to rid himself of the reality of the bitter predicament. He swung the bulky weight of his claymore around, settling into a stance with the blade pointed forward. But the glinting of orange flame off the cold iron told Aaron someone was watching with wide eyes.
“Wait, Aaron! Don’t kill ‘em…” Val pleaded with him.
The frustrated Aaron grit his teeth together. The advancing enemies were the only reason he didn’t spin around and start screaming in the hound’s face, “What? Why the hell not? Franklin said to remove them by any means!”
“They were just looking for a little love… even if they are jerks, they don’t deserve to be offed for it.”
“So were you!”
“I know! And you had every right to kill me!” Aaron snapped, “In fact, you’re an idiot for not doing it! I could’ve slit your throat in the middle of the night for all you had known!”
“Babe…” Val mouthed, barely a whisper, “D-don’t worry. I’ll protect you!”
They were so busy yelling at each other that Aaron didn’t notice the curly-haired orc in front of him before she was rearing back her stone-tipped spear.
Grunting in surprise, he answered her attack with a parry in the nick of time. Unfortunately for the orc, stone tied to a cypress branch with a frazzled length of rope wasn’t a match for a thick slab of reinforced iron. The spear snapped at the middle upon impact.
The aghast orc hardly even had a second to stare at the shattered shaft of her crude weapon. Aaron, with his blade still in a prime position from his parry, brought the pommel down on her curly-haired head with full force. Like a fierce wind slicing through a flickering candle flame, he put the orc’s lights out. She plopped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
Doubling back at the advancing wave of foes, Aaron spared a passing glance at Val. Far more of the orcs had targeted her, but that tactic hadn’t seemed to sway the tide of battle in their favor even a bit.
The hellhound dove into large crowd of them, sending them sprawling over with ease. The piggies squealed and cried, very few even brave enough to even approach the hellbeast as she sent both them and their pitiful weaponry soaring through the air.
One particularly pudgy orc dove towards Valerie, slicing at her back with a dull carving knife. The air was too thick with musk to differentiate any of their scents, but Val’s sharp hearing picked up the heavyset orc’s footfalls before she neared.
Side-stepping the porker’s wild swing, Val snickered as a wicked idea came to her. She pinched down on the orc’s corkscrew tail, pulling it back as far as it would go, then raised up her free paw.
A hard, heavy spank hit the chubby orc’s bottom the instant her tail snapped back. Squealing from the pain and humiliation, the orc grabbed her behind and scurried off to parts unknown.
‘Well… looks like she won’t be needing my help.’ Aaron thought bitterly, somewhat disheartened to find a woman having a far easier time throwing fists than he. His heart was thumping like a drum, but she was treating the orcs no differently than a girl play-wrestling with younger children.
He returned his focus to the foes in front of him. Three orcs from the crowd stepped forward. One equipped with a rusty hunter’s axe, one armed with a hammer made with a head of stone, and one bearing a repurposed farming hoe.
“Come on.” he snarled at the trio, “Lets see if you bleed out like real piggies…”
Unperturbed, the three orcs giggled and formed into a crescent in front of him. They threateningly brandished their barbaric excuses for weaponry at him, expecting him to drop his sword and surrender.
Despite himself, he found a chuckle or two rising from out of his chest. They wouldn’t be finding it that easy.
They sprang at him, but he was ready. A chop aimed at his thigh. A wild swing at his knee. An overhead swipe, intended to cripple his sword arm. Every blow thrown his way, Aaron answered in turn with a block or parry.
With each strike, they were aiming for a nonlethal area. They meant to cripple him, send him writhing on the ground, injured but alive. He didn’t have to ponder why that was.
They wanted to claim him as their own. Richter himself had said so. He glanced over to the muscular rancher, who chortled at his predicament.
Grimacing, Aaron found himself quickly losing ground. His cheeks lit up, realizing he was being beaten by girls… and if he found himself under their subjection…
‘What, are you some kind of village girl that needs rescuing?’ he heard a small voice ringing from the back of his skull chide him, ‘First the hound, and now the orcs! You’re pathetic!’
He deflected another blow from the axe, feeling bits of rock chip off from the blade. They bounced off the deeply furrowed lines of his scowled face, unflinching in his explosive rage.
Unleashing a beastily scream like the marauder he was, Aaron threw his leg forward, sinking his boot into the soft stomach of the axe-wielding orc. She coughed and cried, dropping her weapon and writhing to the ground to join her sisters. The ground was quickly becoming littered with orcs groaning and moaning in pain.
He then swung his claymore in a wild half- arc, smashing through the other orc’s farming hoe. With a small squeak, the horrified orc retreated behind an upturned couch at the couch of the corner of the room.
Unrelenting, spurred by a cocktail of fear and fury, Aaron turned to the last orc. The trembling girl couldn’t stop the blade colliding with her hammer, and he nearly knocked it from her hands. As she was left reeling from the blow, the bandit raised his claymore skyward.
But at the pivotal moment, Aaron found himself unable to bring his sword down. His hands felt numb, his wrists weighed back by lead. He felt his lips go dry as he stared down at the teary-eyed girl. No matter what he cried at his arms, they refused to budge.
They refused to take the girl’s life.
After being granted mercy, the orc’s attitude took such a rapid whirl it nearly made Aaron’s head spin. The piggish woman sniffled away the last of her tears only to break into a mad smile. She tightened her grip around her hammer, swinging it at Aaron’s side with all her might.
The human saw the attack coming nearly too late. He hopped back, feeling the disturbed air push against his stomach as the blunt weapon swung by.
Growling at himself for his foolishness, he lashed out the flat of his blade and slammed it against the orc’s temple. Stumbling back with stars swirling in her eyes, the orc crumbled like dried clay, beaten but alive.
Aaron let the tip of his sword hit the ground. Valerie wasn’t but a yard behind him, pulling an orc into a wicked headlock. His icy eyes darted around the wrecked sitting room, the only few orcs left standing were paralyzed with terror, weapons dropping to the floor and knees clattering together.
The bandit slowly craned his neck around, glaring at the last orc standing behind him. A one who was a bit slimmer than average, with dark-blue hair and a fearful expression on her cute face. He slung his blade over one shoulder, carefully stepping around the twitching bodies of the unconscious pig girls between them, right until he was looming over her.
“Well? Give up?” he spat down at her, motioning over to the hellhound chasing after the last squealing porker on her side of the room, “Or do you wanna taste the dirt like your friends?”
The pig girl froze, no longer shaking with fear. Her eyes didn’t jitter as she stared at them, but they did mist over with something Aaron couldn’t quite piece together- that is, until she let her rusty sword hit the floorboards, and used her freed hands to undo the top of her skimpy armor.
Lust. Her eyes were glazed over with desire.
Aaron’s lips twisted up, confused and shocked that anyone would have the gall to yank out their tits in the middle of a battle, “The hell do you think you’re doing?!”
“We don’t have to fight, big boy…” she whispered, wiggling around her naked breasts, “I can be your slutty little breeding sow… anytime time you want, all day everyday… if you’d just give up and let me~”
Aaron tried to force out a ‘hell no, you insane whore’, but the lump in his throat blocked it’s way. The curse sunk back into his body just as the tip of his sword clinked against the wood. It seemed monsters all had a sort of seductive aura about them. The sobering rage faded from his body, replaced by thoughts of the orc’s wobbly pink breasts wrapped around his shaft, among other perverse images he couldn’t stop his mind from conjuring.
In the endless haze of his thoughts, one of the very few he could pick out was that he very much wanted to take the orc up on her offer. Like a slap to a hungover drunkard, the realization stung, yet seemed to be just the thing to force open his half-lidded eyes.
‘The hell am I thinking!?’
Someone had already made the decision for him by the time he collected himself. A flying pig girl zipped past his head, crashing head first into the one attempting to seduce him. Aghast, Aaron turned to see Valerie, her both paws outstretched and balanced on a single foot.
“Hehehe! Didja see that throw, babe?!”
Aaron blinked, still aloof. He checked the small orc pile, finding both the half-naked one and the one Valerie chucked with large goose eggs growing on their noggins.
“Uh… yeah. Good job, Val.” he praised her, shooting the beaming hellbeast a thumbs-up.
With all his goons downed or cowering away, Aaron turned his focus to Richter, expecting the burly rancher to be snarling with anger and shaking with fear. To his surprise, Richter did neither- in fact, a smug smirk was fit snugly above his square jaw.
“Not bad. Ya’ll ain’t too shabby after all.”
“Not too shabby?” Val spat, her expression clearly perturbed after her frenzy failed to intimidate the farmer, “Guess not, huh? So, are ya gonna give up or not? Beating on humans leaves a sour taste in my mouth… even when it’s the stupid jerks like you!”
“Heh. Well, why don’t you tell that to my lady friend?”
“Lady friend? What are you-”
A stomp rung out through the estate, emanating from the door behind Richter’s back. The entire manor seemed to shake. Feeling the rumbling vibrations, the orcs began to hobble back to their feet. Stupid grins spread across all of their pink faces, and even the ones who cowered away from combat seemed to shake in their sandals with excitement. They reacted with all the stupefied amazement a human would use in the presence of their preferred god, pumping their fists, bending their knees, and chanting to the heavens.
“Boss… boss… BOSS!”
Val’s nostrils twitched, an opposing rhythm to the heavy stomps. She quickly grabbed at it, sealing her nose shut. A few moments later, the musky scent all around them intensified to a dizzying level- even for Aaron. He couldn’t tell how badly Valerie was affected, but he could take a good guess as he watched her dizzily pad around in a circle.
Then, the door was kicked clean off its hinges. Aaron and Valerie were forced to split, as the splintered wood slammed into their previous spot and exploded into tiny fragments. As the brass knob went rolling away, the two came back together and glared at the woman stepping forward.
She was an orc, but a different breed. One more powerful, to be certain. She stood at over seven feet tall, surpassing both Aaron and Richter in height. Her armor was just as skimpy as the lesser orcs- if not more so- as it was a simple collage of fur, leather, and animal bone, doing well to show every inch of her smooth, dark-brown skin. The ashy skull of a boar topped her ivory hair like a crown, cementing her status as the leader of the pack.
“Well, well… and just who do you runts think you are? Barging into my home?” the mountain of an orc spat. A tail far longer and tipped with a fluffy tuft of dull beige hair flailed wildly behind her. Her single eye – having lost the other at some point, if the eyepatch was any indication – narrowed in on the claymore wielding human and hellhound at his side.
“Screw you, bitch.” Aaron spat venomously, not feeling up to trading quips and insults.
A puff of steam shot from the huge orc’s nostrils. She slung her weapon- an iron battle-axe retrofitted with more animal bones and fur as decoration before her, easily balancing the great weight and aiming it at Aaron’s chest.
“Watch that tongue! I’m a high orc, ya little punk!” she hollered, chubby cheeks twisted into an enraged snarling frown, “I eat little shits like your girlfriend for breakfast, and I’ve headed more raids than you can count!”
“More than you can count, maybe. But then that wouldn’t be a very impressive number, would it?” Aaron replied suddenly feeling a bit more willing to flex his biting tongue as the orc set herself up for an insult.
“Grrr! Screw you, asshole!” the high orc cried. She stomped up to the sneering Richter, and his face nearly went a deep shade of purple as the boar monster protectively wrapped a meaty arm around his neck and hugged him close, “I swear, if you hurt one little hair on his precious head…”
“They diddin’! They diddin’!” Richter cried out in desperation, kicking out his feet and trying vainly to pry her arm from his windpipe.
Seeing she was hurting him far more than her intruders, the high orc released a laugh that was both boisterous and awkward and let Richter loose. The farmer gasped for breath and rubbed his sore esophagus, still looking a bit bluish around the gills.
“Oh. Harharhar~ sorry, love.” the high orc laughed, scratching at the back of her head.
“I-it’s okay, Urzul.” Richter wheezed, “Just.. try’n be more careful, a’right?”
Two wispy flames danced from the corners of Val’s eyes. She held up a padded palm to her lips to stifle a haughty laugh, “Hehehe~ typical orc. Can’t take care of their man without pillaging, and can’t even go one day without squishing ‘em either!”
The high orc snorted again and again, sending more and more hot steam between she and the hound. Another puff of steam billowed from Urzul’s nostrils. She angrily banged her axe against the floorboards, “Grrr! You’re one to talk, puppy! I’ve seen the way you little furballs treat your men!”
“Hey! We may not become bootlickers like you porkers, but we’d do anything to make sure our man is happy!”
The monsters stood only a few feet away, snarling and snapping at each other. Val’s reddish claws were fully extended from her fingers, and the orc threateningly thumbed the handle of her axe. Their insults, however, started to devolve into simple name-calling.
“Big, fat piggie!”
“Ain’t you a little shrimpy to be a hellhound?”
Val’s angry march halted, her bottom-paws stuck to the spot. Her eyes widened in alarm, her ears, tail, and flames jutting into the air.
The high orc heartily chucked as she realized she struck a nerve. Running a thick finger from between the valley of her breasts and up to her neck, the orc further goaded her, “And where is exactly is that skull collar you mutts are always-”A bright orange burst. That was all Aaron saw, before his eyes followed the twin trails of hellfire where Val was previously standing right up to the high orc- the high orc which had a balled up paw of a fist sunken into her stomach.
No more insults left Val’s lips. Only guttural snaps and snarls hissed past her fangs. The orc, with cruel black eyes twisted open wide, raised a fist of her own overhead.
The punch came down faster than Val could retreat. Caught on the side of the head, the hound stumbled backwards, flames continuing to jettison around her clenched eyes. But in just a moment, the hound recovered and sprung back at Urzul.
Aaron was no stranger to combat. He had never worked as a mercenary or soldier, but he dabbled in both fist fighting and wild swordplay. But even to him, a duel between monsters was a sight to behold. There was a sort of savage beauty in all monsters, but any semblance of grace or allure they had was drown out by the fierceness of their blows. Each one rang out like cannonfire against the other’s flesh, the two’s arms becoming little more than chocolate-brown and ebony blurs caught in a mad flurry.
The highwayman had previously thought his eyes keen, but the two beastly woman proved him wrong. He could barely keep track of the battle unfolding. A knee to the gut courtesy of Valerie. An elbow to the jaw from Urzul. The hellhound threw a spinning roundhouse at the high orc’s head, which was promptly halted by the larger woman’s raised forearm.
Springing back, Val aimed her claws at Urzul’s stomach and raced forward, flames exploding from her eyes. The boar woman slid back just as the hound’s claws ripped by, leaving a series of deep scratches across her stomach.
Snarling, slobbering, and snorting steam, the orc threw the axe down. Val narrowly avoided the deadly blow. As the floorboards crumbled under Urzul’s blade the hound flipped to safety just out of the weapon’s reach.
Aaron stared aghast, eyes almost bulging out of his skull. Perspiration shot off from the orc’s body like she was a spitting tea kettle. Her already overpowering scent became nearly suffocating, but Val seemed too wrapped up in battle to notice it.
The orcs, however, had a different reaction.
From their spots on the ground to the wrecked furniture the more cowardly had taken refuge behind, they all sauntered forward with smiles nearly too wide for their faces. Their pink little button noses scrunched up, eagerly huffing the scent of their bosses musky, sweaty scent. Adrenaline raced through their veins, saliva dripping from her lips and their skin flushing red.
And, with a sinking heart, Aaron realized they turned their attention from their bosses’ battle to him. He went rigid, wishing to be anywhere else at the moment.
“Harharhar! Looks like honeys got the girls all excited!”
Aaron took a moment to shoot a cold, hate-filled glare at Richter before squaring himself for the incoming wave of orcs. They heaved and laughed, and he could almost feel their hungry gazes undressing him. That, or thinking on how they would skin him for daring to come after Richter.
The first one charged him, squealing and crying like she had just been stuck with a knife. With her wooden club cocked back, Aaron was quick on the defensive. He had his claymore reared back and was ready to swing it at a moment’s notice.
The moment the orc brought her club down, Aaron mirrored her swing. His claymore easily bit through the thick layer of wood. The pig was left bringing nothing back from her swing than a splintered handle.
That didn’t deter her. In fact, in her frenzied rush, she hardly seemed to notice. She windmilled her hammy arms, pounding into the highwayman’s chest with enough force to rob him of breath.
“Ow! Fuck! Hey- cut that out!” Aaron cried, raising his sword up to deflect her blows. Even as her fists bounced off the flat of his iron blade, she refused to relent.
The highwayman was nearly stunned to stillness. He had previously thought the orcs physically weak and cowardly, having constitutions weak to both physical and mental stress. But the orc before him attacked like a mad berserker, relentlessly peppering him with wild punches.
When Aaron finally managed to right himself and kick the orc away, two more immediately took their sister’s place. He was stuck deflecting blows from a rusty pitchfork and dented shortsword before he even had a moment to catch his breath.
“Babe! GET AWAY FROM HIM!”
Hearing Valerie’s desperate cry somewhat lightened Aaron’s spirit. The hound dashing to his side and knocking the orcs assaulting him to the ground, even more so.
“Thanks, Val. I was-”
The hellhound seized his shoulders and studied him up and down, searching for wounds. She broke out into a fanged grin when she found he had no injuries that required immediate attention.
“You alright, babe?!”
“Fine, but we need to focus on-”
It was too late, he realized with a sinking heart. The floorboards whined and creaked as they were rattled, but that didn’t stop Urzul’s frenzied charge. Val’s ears quivered, but she turned long after she could react properly.
The orcs split apart, not wanting to be bowled over by their boss. The high orc had abandoned her axe, and without it’s weight shackling her, she dashed forward with a shocking amount of speed. She crashed right into the hellhound, sending her totally airborne.
Unable to right herself midair, Val crashed right into Aaron, who similarly was thrown to the wind. With the human’s back slamming against the cracked window of the sitting room, both he and the hellhound burst out and rolled down the small hill the estate was crowning.
On the short trip down, all the bandit could pick up was the cacophony of laughter Richter, Urzul, and their bandit tribe of orcs.
“And don’t come back… unless it’s just you, handsome~!” he heard one pig call as he laid prone, the world seeming to jitter and the mocking words sounding like they had bounced through a long funnel.
Aaron simply laid in the grass for a long moment, letting Valerie reside atop his chest. If her rising heat and low snarls were any indication, she was steaming mad. Breathing out his nose, the bandit looked up towards the night sky- it was bleak, coated with a thick layer of dark clouds.
Still, a few stars shone through here and there.
“C’mon, Val. We can’t leave until we get our food and money from Franklin… we’ve already wasted too much time coming out here to turn back now.”
“Took the words outta my mouth…” the hellhound snapped, hopping to her hind paws. Already, she was licking a wound covering her forearm and marching back towards the manor.
“Whoa, whoa. Hold on a second.” Aaron pleaded, trotting after her, “We can’t just rush back in expecting to win. That high orc is just as strong as you- but she has her entire tribe backing her, and it looks like they get excited when they smell her sweat.”
“Fine then.” Val grumbled, throwing her paws up, “What’s your plan, smart guy?”
A small smirk crossed Aaron’s face, “Well, how’d I beat you?”
“You know, I totally would have crawled back up on my own.” Val replied back, sticking out her tongue at him.
“Sure you would’ve…”
“Yeah! I totally could’ve! I would’ve crawled back up! And I still would’ve revenge fucked you!”
“Revenge raped me,” Aaron sighed, “Anyway… I was able to beat you because I took advantage of the environment, right? I used the trees to trip you up, and that gave me enough time to get to the cliffside where I knocked you over the edge.”
“Right!” Valerie cheered, smashing one paw into the other, “We’ll just get some branches and smash the orcs with ‘em!”
“That’s… not exactly what I meant…”
The highwayman watched the hellhound dive into the woods behind the property, already hunting down the thickest sticks she could fit between her jaws. With a heavy sigh, Aaron looked over to a clothesline, seeing a whole row of dried tunics, trousers and socks fluttering in the cool night breeze.
Walking over, he clipped off the clothespins and let the laundry fall to the dirt. A plan was already boiling in his head, and he could already feel his lips curling upward. It was faint, but he could already taste the sickeningly sweet flavor of victory on his tongue.