(Author’s note: This is a sequel to the story “Understanding.” Please read that story first.)
He knew what he had to do. He was highly trained, celebrated even by his superiors. His skills lead him to complete multiple missions and his iron-will kept his mind unclouded by the temptations of his targets. Be it Demon, Hellhound, or even Minotaur, he had slain them all in the name of the Chief God and the Order. There were few as accomplished as he, and for that very purpose he sent for this most critical mission.
A little less than a year ago the Order became aware of a small, remote section of woodland where good and taxes stopped coming in. While unimportant in the grand scheme, eventually someone needed to check on them, and when they did they found something astonishing. A new demon realm was forming, the once peaceful people turned into horrific Monstergirls, or Mamono, spending their once productive days fornicating and devolving into lust. This roiling energy of sex, the Mamono mana as the scholars called it, began to twist the land as well, shaping it into the playground of demons.
Though it was dangerous work, Order spies managed to learn that at the heart of this cancer was a Succubus of enormous power. While none of the spies had actually seen her, there were enough stories of the white haired, red-eyed Mamono to corroborate the fears of the Order superiors. When one of their kind showed themselves something very serious was bound to happen. Given the slow, but inevitable growth of this demon realm however, his superiors assumed she must be weak for her kind, or young. A perfect opportunity to rid the world of one these spawn before they could mature.
All his life had he trained for such a mission. Despite this, nothing, he was told, was as dangerous as this task for these Mamono had power beyond comprehension. He was confident, however, that he could perform the kill before she had any chance to stop him. To believe otherwise would be an affront to the Order and the Chief God himself.
Vaulting over the low wall of a countryside manor, he dropped and hid in the nearby bushes as he heard voices nearby. Scanning about in the dim moonlight, he saw off in the corner of the grounds a large man grunting as he thrust his hips into the prone shape of a woman moaning in ecstasy. Narrowing his eyes, he noticed that it was not just a woman, but one of these Mamono, some kind of rabbit breed. As her species would imply, the way she shook her hips to drive him further into her, she clearly wished to BE bred like a rabbit.
This sort of thing was common and not worth his time or ruining his mission to end these sinners. There would be time for that later when the paladins came. Watching with disgust, he made sure their attention was focused on their own carnal desires, before making his way into the manor through an unlocked window.
Crouching low, he made his way through the halls, finding it odd that there were no lamps lit. Was this because the creatures didn’t require light to see? Some of them could see perfectly fine in the dark, like the Werecat breeds, but he didn’t think the Succubi could. This was actually a benefit, for with his black clothing and the dim light, he was nigh invisible. Creeping on silent feet, he was as a ghost in these dark halls.
The hallway led to a central room, and he paused around the corner as he noticed a faint light flickering from the room, the only one he had seen so far. He prepared to move when distinctly feminine sigh came from the room. He paused, feeling his heart beat faster in his chest. It must be his adrenaline, preparing him to fight. With his quarry so close, he took a few moments to recite some prayers and calm himself down. Feeling calmer, he slid into the room, drawing the wicked dagger from his belt
In the center of the room sat the source of the light, a small candle sitting on a stand next to a throne where the most beautiful woman he had ever seen was sitting. She was a little under average height but had a lithe body and medium length pale hair. That was where her humanity ended however, for the curling horns atop her head, the long, thin spade tail, and the large, lilac wings that encircled her spoke of her heritage as a Succubus.
No… not just a Succubus, but the most powerful of Succubi- A Lilim, daughter of the Demon Lord herself.
The Lilim let out another long, drawn out sigh and he felt his heart racing in his chest again. He had already slipped in and found a vantage point to watch her, yet with that sigh he found he could do little else. Though his hands began to shake and his fingers grew sweaty, he silently mouthed his prayers to the Chief God and waited, body growing tense as he studied his prey.
As he watched, what struck him the most was that where all other Lilim were said to be graceful creatures full of vibrant emotions, this one just sat on her makeshift throne, eyes staring off at nothing. Her clothing consisted of a disheveled, if recently cleaned, black tunic that hung low to expose some of her modest bust while revealing portions of her black, tight-fitting bottoms that barely covered any thigh. Licking his lips, he took this all in and found that he felt hot, though he could not place why.
He broke out in a cold sweat as he realized that she must be using this as a distraction! Using her accursed magicks, she must be casting a spell to addle his mind before she did depraved things to him! He must not let this continue…
The Lilim stirred then and said in a bored voice, “Are you come to kill me?”
His breath caught his in this throat and he went utterly silent, doing his best not to reveal his position. She sighed again, not shifting her posture or even looking at him. “I can hear your heartbeats, smell the sweat tricking down your brow. End this charade and reveal yourself.”
Gritting his teeth, he rose out of hiding and slinked into the faint candlelight, questioning why he didn’t just appear behind her and finish this. The Lilim looked at him with eyes so tired it was as if she had not slept soundly for a year. She blinked slowly and said, “Do it.”
Surprised, he looked at her with confusion, not entirely certain he heard her right. Licking his lips, he asked in a strained voice, “You… want me to kill you?”
“Yes. Take your dagger and plunge it into me.”
At her choice of words his felt his heart skip a beat and he felt a little faint. He… he had to kill this wretched creature! She was doing something to him, this was all just some kind of trick! Despite himself, he began to pant as he walked up to her, dagger shaking in his hand as he placed it against her throat.
She didn’t so much as flinch, and instead looked into his eyes, her expression unwavering. It was as if she already knew how this was going to turn out and was disappointed by the results. If she was about to die though, shouldn’t she show fear? Regret? Anything at all except this God forsaken emptiness?
“Don’t hesitate. Listen to your teachings and reject me. End my life and in doing so, free your people from my corrupting influence.”
He was trembling now, eyes straining as he fought a conflicted battle in his mind. She was the enemy of humanity and needed to die! But… she was also the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. To ruin such an ivory skinned Goddess would be the worst crime he could think of, worse than even letting her go. He found himself wanting to please her, wanting to do whatever he could to be of service to her.
The Lilim looked at him with those red, exhausted eyes and whispered two words,
The dagger fell from the assassin’s hand as he dropped to the floor, all traces of his predatory grace gone. On his knees, tears streaming down his face, he held his hands up as he wept before the Lilim. “M-Mistress, please! Forgive me for what I had tried to do!”
Closing her eyes, the Lilim picked up a small bell from beside her throne and rang it. A moment later, a Werecat in a maid’s outfit appeared, her clothing disheveled, goofy grin plastered on her face. Realizing this, she hurriedly fixed herself up, curtsied and said, “How may I help you Mistress Vanessa?”
Vanessa waved a hand at the former Order assassin. “Take this man with you and let him spend some time with one of the new girls. I think one of the Arachnae will appreciate him or something.”
“Nya-ha! Your wish is my command, Mistress!” The Werecat said, helping the crying man up and out of the room, all traces of fight gone from him.
Vanessa watched the cat-like Mamono leave the room before closing her eyes and sighing again. She always did so whenever she looked at Felicia, remembering something from what seemed a different life. Her gaze drifted downward and she noticed the discarded dagger, it’s blade shining in the light of the candle. Using her tail, she picked the weapon up and brought it to her face, inspecting the master worked metal.
It would be so easy to do what the assassin could not. It wasn’t his fault, she had assumed they’d try to assassinate her eventually and to be honest he did his part well. The only thing he couldn’t have imagined was what it was to lay eyes upon a Lilim such as herself, to behold the embodiment of carnal desires. Almost no human, man or woman, could avoid being consumed by the merest glance at her or her sisters. Just as her physical presence being anywhere for an extended period of time would corrupt the land, so too did she corrupt their hearts. Soon enough this pious man would be shouting prayers to her, just the same as all the others.
She could end it, she supposed. Slit her own throat, bleed to death. She hadn’t heard of one of her sisters dying before, but it had to happen eventually, why not be the first? The more she turned the dagger over in her hands though, the more disgusted with herself she became, until eventually she tossed it across the room, the blade bouncing before sliding to a rest against the far wall.
She was too much of a coward to even do that.
The candle beside her guttered out, the wax spent, wick eaten by the flames. Darkness pressed in on her from all sides, but she didn’t much mind it, feeling somewhat calmed by the oppressive shadows. Sighing again, she stood from her throne and mussed her unkempt hair that had grown long due to neglect. True, it would have been much longer, but Felicia and the other Mamano who decided to serve her demanded that she cut it. Much as they demanded she at least wear a clean shirt every day for the petitioners who came to her, she allowed this of them rather than fight it. It was the least she could do after she had stolen their old lives.
Thinking of this, Vanessa grit her teeth and stalked off to her bed chamber on the second floor. As soon as she reached the stairs however, she heard the sound of rough, heavy sex- an all too familiar sound these days. Cocking her head, she determined that these particular moans belonged to Felicia, clearly having dispensed of her charge rather fast so she could return to her Husband. Vanessa was told they were trying for kittens.
Rolling her eyes, she climbed up the steps and entered her bedchamber to find the linens freshly laundered, the pillows fluffed and inviting. Barely taking the time to strip her thigh-high boots off, she leapt onto the bed head first and buried her face into the pillow as she extended her wings in frustration. Settling down, she turned from her head to the side, eyes downcast as she speculated what tomorrow’s petitions would be. Honestly it was like just be another day, same as the last, with more and more people praising her for changing their lives- literally. Another day of smiling faces and the sounds and smells of sex all around her as the corruption of the land grew.
Another day of knowing what had happened to make this possible.
Frustration soon made way to exhaustion and Vanessa drifted off to sleep.
“Mistress? It’s time to wake up.”
Vanessa’s eyes fluttered open at the words and she took a moment to organize her thoughts before groaning and looking about. She frowned at the sheets of the bed drawn over her, as well as the nightgown she was wearing. Cocking her head, her gaze caught the eye of Felicia who smiled at her with that feline grin. How someone with paws that large and a lack of opposable thumbs any longer could dress someone without waking them she still could not figure out. Even more confusing, how did Felicia get it on past her wings?
“Ah, you’re awake. Breakfast has been prepared for you, oh and you have a guest.”
“Mrmph.” Vanessa mumbled, rubbing at her eyes. “Tell them to come back later.”
Felicia put her paws together, looking nervous as she said. “Well… I’m not certain that would be a good idea, he seems kind of insistent on seeing you.”
“I really don’t want to see anyone today.” The Lilim said, flopping back down onto bed and drawing the covers over her head. She stuck out a hand and waved a dismissal, “Tell him that he should go back to fucking his wife or whatever. If he is insistent, then say I have a cold or that I’m not fit to see anyone today.”
Well, she thought, That last one wasn’t really a lie. She made to close her eyes and just ignore her maid when a masculine voice called from the doorway,
“I’ve changed your soiled clothing, I think I can handle seeing you with bed head.”
Vanessa snapped up from under the covers, her eyes going wide as she beheld the speaker. Standing at the threshold of her bedroom was, if words could describe it appropriately, the picture of masculinity. Tall, well muscled, and with a handsome face, he stood wearing a light tunic and trousers, an elaborate sword hanging at his belt. The man smiled at her, showing teeth so white they almost blinded her. The smile was genuine and reached his eyes which were filled with equal measures strength and kindness.
“D-Daddy?” Vanessa stuttered, her mind not quite piecing this all together.
“Ah, she remembers her Father, good! I had thought that you’d been away for so long that you’d have forgotten your dear old Dad.”
“B-But what are, I don’t…” The Lilim trailed off before her eyes snapped to Felicia. Fumbling to maintain some decorum, she waved and said, “Please bring our guest some refreshment.”
Felicia blinked in surprise, uttering a small meow as she took her eyes off Vanessa’s Father. She blushed deeply and bowed her head before quitting the room with surprising speed, closing the door behind her. With her gone, an uneasy silence settled upon the room making Vanessa look about in embarrassment.
“Are you going to offer me a seat?” Her Father said, the words making the Lilim look at him with surprise.
“A seat? I… yes, of course, but-” Cutting herself off, Vanessa shook her head and slapped the bed covers, “Daddy! What are you doing here? I thought you were balls deep inside Mother!”
“I’m wounded! Is that all my daughters see me as? Continually joined at the groin with your Mother?”
He stroked his chin and then shrugged. “Well, you wouldn’t be wrong, but every now and then she has to do some ruling and some of your other sisters were home, so I suppose she’s safe enough.”
Vanessa frowned, “Which sisters?”
“Laila, for one.” He said, shrugging. “I honestly don’t know where we went wrong with her. I blame all that Demon Realm liquor your Mother was drinking at the time.”
“I… I see.” Vanessa said, frowning. “That would cause more trouble than it would help though. Isn’t Viccy at least there to keep her in line?”
“No, you know she doesn’t acknowledge her existence.” He sighed, “She’s also been so fixated on this hat of hers recently. There’s some rumors that it’s actually controlling her somehow.”
“That would explain a lot actually.”
“Haha, perhaps.” Her Father said, taking a nearby chair and pulling it up to the bed before flopping down in it, crossing his boots, and putting them up on the covers. Vanessa looked down at the boots and saw they were encrusted in fresh mud. When she frowned at him he chuckled, “Has my little tomboy become too proper now?”
“Daddy please…” She muttered, looking away embarrassed.
“You know, I’d heard from one of your sisters that you had made a nice little place for yourself here, that the people were happy and life was fairly idyllic. I’d heard this place was well governed by a benevolent, if a little reclusive, Lady who made this all possible.” He smiled. “From what I hear, you’re fairly well loved by the couples here, and because they’re loving each other, this happiness is spreading through the land.”
“Way I see it.” He said, his voice growing softer, “The only person here who isn’t happy, is you.”
Vanessa turned her head to him and looked into his eyes. Where there was once warmth there was now only a cool, calculating stare. It was the look of a man used to centuries of conflict, a born leader, and a father of many children. Not even she could keep herself from feeling familiar the fear of a child about to be scolded, under that gaze.
“I…” Vanessa began before closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. She held it for a few moments before letting out a long exhalation. There were so many things she could say but one thought came to her mind, “What were you like before you met Mother?”
He narrowed his eyes and squared his jaw, feeling the seriousness of the question. “That was quite some time ago, I’m not certain I remember.”
She frowned and asked in a different way. “Alright then… before you met her though, how did you feel about Mamano?”
“Hmmm.” He mused, rubbing at his chin. “To say I hated them would be a lie. I didn’t like how they preyed upon people, thought that it was wrong. It occurred to me at the time that the only way to stop it was to cut it off at its source.”
She didn’t say anything so he continued. “I thought of her as a creature of great evil, a being who transformed the Monsters of the land to her whims and who was an affront to the Chief God. With my sword in hand, I fought through countless Mamano until I reached her, ready to slay her and…”
“And?” Vanessa asked, voice quiet.
He sighed and rubbed the back of his head. “I decided to listen to what she had to say. She was so persuasive and, frankly, beautiful that I eventually gave in to her crazy little plot and well, here we are.” He shrugged and said, “Did that answer your question?”
“In a way.” She murmured, looking down, still feeling conflicted. “How do you feel when you see women become Mamano?”
“Happy, I suppose, to know that we’re one step closer to our dream. I’m also happy because that woman will now find joy and happiness.”
“But what if she was already happy?”
He frowned at this and was about to reply when a knock came at the door. A moment later Felicia entered with a tray of breakfast foods and some tea. She bowed and walked over to the bed, staring at the mud with a look of disgust before placing the tray on the bed and pouring a cup of tea for each of them. She bowed again and asked, “Is there anything else I can do?”
“No.” Vanessa said, a deep melancholy in her voice, “Thank you.”
Felicia gave her a concerned look before nodding her head and walking out of the room once more. Her Father studied Vanessa’s gaze as she watched the Werecat leave and when the door clicked shut, he asked in a low voice, “Is that what this is about?”
Vanessa was silent for a few moments before speaking in a low voice. “I didn’t know her for very long, the woman she used to be, but her words at that time… they still haunt me. Every time I look into her eyes, I see that joy and that happiness, but it all feels so damn hollow. Like I sucked the soul from her and made her wear this mask!”
Gritting her teeth, she continued. “They’re all like this, I see it in the eyes of every last Mamano, even some of the men. I see that singular lust, that hunger within them all that wasn’t there before and I know that it’s my fault that it happened.”
Tears began to form at the corners of her eyes as the emotion builds within her. Vanessa dragged her knees up to her body, wrapping her arms around them as her wings enfold her.
Her father watched her with a stern expression, his only movement to lower his mud covered boots from the bed. Making no action, he waited as Vanessa wept, the Lilim caught up in her own troubles. It was a long, painful few minutes until he spoke in a slow, contemplative voice, “Sometimes I wonder the same thing.”
Vanessa blinked and looked at him, her brow furrowing as if she had forgotten he was there. He cleared his throat and continued.
“I suppose it was worse earlier on, when I hadn’t seen it happen often. I remember watching over a group of Succubi as they toyed with a young maiden who probably couldn’t have been more than sixteen years. She shouted for them to stop, begged and pleaded with fear in her eyes. I wanted to intervene, but I had promised your Mother I wouldn’t, that I would only watch. Later on I suspected that she may have sent me there intentionally to see this, but at the time I had difficulty understanding what was happening.”
A dark chuckle escaped his lips. “Here I was, thinking we were changing this world for the better when before me a poor girl was screaming for someone to save her… until she didn’t. Those Succubi knew their art well and soon she was moaning in pleasure, her body aching for me. I watched as her eyes glazed over, the spark of panic fading into a dull stupor as a giddy grin split her face. Soon she began to beg for more and the transformation took her, becoming a Succubi like them, ready to repeat the process.”
Vanessa looked at her Father in a way she never had before. He was always so strong, so powerful, the rigid pillar upon which her Mother stood to look out over the world. What she saw before her though was a tired warrior, his shoulders slumped from the fatigue of carrying the world on his back. In that instant she saw within her Father a reflection of her own feelings.
“Eventually it got easier, I suppose.” He said, not noticing her wide eyes.”I think… I think what allows me to bear it was the first time I saw your eldest sister’s face. I realized then that though those women had been changed, had been torn away from the life they once led, their children are innocent. The only life they will ever know is their own, and the more I saw man and Mamano mating, the more I realized I wanted to protect those smiles. I want to give them a chance to live life to the fullest, to have a future where they can be free of war, of famine, and of hardship.”
Smiling, he looked up at her with eyes on the brink of tears. “If that makes me a monster, then so be it. You and I bear the misfortune of living in these times before your Mother’s dream can be realized. That you have taken on the same pain I feel saddens me more than you can know.” He folded his hands together in his lap and said, voice choked up, “In the end, all I want is to see my all daughters’ smiling faces.”
Unbidden, tears formed at the corners of Vanessa’s eyes again and she began to shake as she became overcome with emotion. “Daddy!” She cried, pushing herself up from the bed, spilling the food tray everywhere as she leapt onto her father, pulling him into a tight embrace.
“W-woah, hey!” He cried as the chair toppled over backward and he two of them spilled out onto the floor. Despite this, Vanessa clung tight, tears streaming down her face as she outright bawled into his tunic like a small child. Her Father lay there and ran his hand through her hair, whispering, “My sweet little girl…”
“Well, I think I better be going.” The Great Hero said, adjusting the sword at his waist. He lifted his hand up to the sky and looked out at the cloudless sky, sun hanging high over head. “Good weather for flying though.”
“I suppose Mother’s crotch must be quite itchy as of now.” Vanessa said, voice entirely serious. She put a hand to her hair as the wind rushed past, rustling the fresh sundress she wore.
“Hopefully not that itchy, she’s already pregnant again.”
“Ah, what does that make it, twenty-eight? Eighty-four?”
“It feels like there’s another one of you tykes around every week or so. I’ll have to check over my notes and get back to you on that.” He chuckled and ran a hand through his hair. “Ah well, at least you’re all cute.”
Vanessa smirked and shook her head. “Safe trip then, Father. I hear the Order has been around these parts and I would hate to see you harmed.”
“You keep safe yourself, you hear?” He said, taking a whistle out of his pocket and blowing it, the shrill sound piercing the forests. Putting the whistle away, he nodded and then pulled in close to Vanessa, whispering in her ear, “Remember, just because it’s your Mother and I’s dream doesn’t mean it has to be yours. You live your life the way you want to live it, and if it means traveling the land or making some fight club like your sisters, then know that I will always support you.”
“Thanks, Daddy.” Vanessa said, standing up and planting a kiss on his cheek. She smiled at him as he backed away and lifted up his arm. A moment later, something swooped in from the sky and grabed his hand, taking him up and away from the countryside manor.
Vanessa watched as the Dragon, or Wyvern or whatever Mamano that was, took her father away and she sighed again, feeling a pang of homesickness already. Shaking her head, she turned as Felicia walked up, hand over her belly, smile plastered on her face. A strong looking man, or well, just barely a man, stood beside her, goofy smile on his face changing to embarassment at seeing Vanessa.
“Ah, Mistress, er, Lady, ah…” He said, looking a little confused.
“Oh, don’t mind him, he’s just surprised to see you outside is all. It’s been quite some time.” Felicia said, nudging him.
“Ah, yes.” Vanessa said, her drifting mind coming into focus. “Sorry about that, I was just thinking and, Oh-” She began, blushing, “Sorry about the mess in the bedroom.”
“Oh that’s no worry, I’ll fix it right up, nya!” The Werecat said, giggling. “I’m in a good mood anyway!”
“Oh? What for?” Vanessa asked, cocking her head.
“Well, you see, ah, Mistress… er, Lady…” Her husband started, fumbling his words again.
“Oh hush.” Felicia said, nudging him again. “He’s a little bewildered, but I’ll say it!” Her smile somehow got wider as she exclaimed, “We’re going to have kittens, nyahaha!”
“That…” Vanessa began, trailing off as she saw the pure joy in the couple’s eyes. She took a deep breath, looked up at the sun filled sky, and smiled.