Umbra, Chapter 1

Crunch, crunch.

A man with cold blue eyes marched through a small stretch of woods, the gravel path underneath his feet shifting ever so slightly each time the sole of one of his thick leather boots met it. Leaving a print in its wake with every step, he continued with a single-minded determination down the trail.

Crunch, crunch.

A black, hooded cloak covered his body. The black cloth billowed with each gust of wind from the east. That strong breeze carried with it the scent of the sea, and for the cloaked man, nothing but foul memories.

Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch!

The man stopped in his tracks. Those weren’t the sounds of his footsteps. Something was rapidly approaching from behind. Something that ran on four legs yet was far lighter than a horse.

Turning to meet the attacker, he saw an ebony blur speed around the corner barreling towards him. A mess of black fur with eyes an even deeper shade, it’s crimson pupils glowed like two fiery coals in a miasma of darkness.

Looking a bit closer, the man realized that the creature wasn’t running on four legs but four fuzzy, padded paws.

Oh, that’s just perfect.”

The wind was knocked out of his chest as the canine tackled him, carrying him with such force he flew through the air for a good few feet before falling back to the gravel path and skidding to a halt.

Hissing in pain and prying his eyes open, he found nothing but the face of a beautiful girl staring back at him. Long ebony hair ran down to her shoulders, two fuzzy dog ears extended from the top of her head, and her razor-sharp canines were displayed in a wry grin. Immaculately smooth, her skin was the same deep ebony as her hair and fur. Those two fiery eyes, previously burning with the ferocity of a raging inferno, now simply flickered with a soft warmth, like a soothing campfire.

She wasn’t a mindless beast but she was far from human. A monster. A ferocious, snarling devil called a hellhound. That’s what he was told she was, at the very least.

Hi~” she cooed, barely stifling a giggle.

Hi.” the man responded with a heavy sigh, finding breathing and speaking suddenly rather difficult with the hellhound seated upon his diaphragm.

She was leaning over to the point where the very tips of their noses touched, holding his arms down with two fuzzy paws. Shifting uncomfortably, the man could do nothing but stare back up at her, his icy blue eyes locking with her blazing red ones.

You’re not going to fight back?”

What’s the point in that?”

Well, you have a sword. And not just the one in your pants~” she giggled, wriggling her inner thigh against the shortsword hung at his side, “Even with that dinky little blade, if you managed to stab through my brain or heart, you’d kill me.”

“Maybe. But I highly doubt you’d just sit still and let me. Not to mention…” the man struggled in vain against the hellhound’s iron grip, “That’s assuming I could overpower you.”

Mm… so, you see how pointless struggling is, huh?”

I wouldn’t say that.” the man sighed, settling against the gravel beneath his body, “I still have something that needs to be done before I’m ready to just give up on life.”

Then why aren’t you fighting back~?”

I just told you. You’re way too strong for me. No point in wasting my strength struggling… but don’t you worry. I’m not just going to sit back and resign myself to be your little sex slave. I’ll find a way to escape you.” snarled the cloaked fellow.

Tail wagging back and forth, the hellhound rubbed one of her smooth cheeks against his unshaven ones, “Mmhm… good luck with that~”

Thanks. I’ll try not to hurt you too bad.”

Oh, don’t worry about me, babe. I know I look pretty scary already, but I’m even tougher than I look~”

Good to hear. Now I won’t feel as bad about this.”

The hellhound cocked an eyebrow. What was he…?

The human swung one leg above her tail, stomping it down and grinding it into the gravel path beneath them. Her ears shot up and she went as stiff as a board. She was far from hurt, but it stung enough to make her reach around and grab her tail on reaction.

Grabbing two handfuls of gravel and dirt from below, the cloaked man sat up and tossed them right into the hellhound’s eyes. As she bent back, the man seized the opportunity by shoving the hellhound off his torso. He scrambled to his feet as the monster fell to the ground, rubbing the refuse out from her eyes with her two fuzzy paws.

The man’s cloak flapped behind him as he took off, gravel flying out from under his boots with each step. Sitting back up, tears ran down from the hellhound’s bloodshot eyes as she watched the cape of the man’s cloak round a corner at a turn in the path, disappearing behind the trees.

Her tail and eyes stung but she wasn’t hurt or angry. On the contrary, she hadn’t been this excited in a long while. Her eyes blazed like an uncontrollable wildfire, her tail waggling back and forth.

Her nose twitched, remembering his musky scent. She wanted him. A fire burned in her core, aching for the man’s love. Sitting back up on all four paws, she couldn’t help but start laughing. A playful, joyous giggle. Whoever he was, he was unpredictable. She hadn’t had this much fun with a human in a long, long while.


Fuck, fuck…” the cloaked man panted, continuing to speed down the gravel path. “How did a monster like that even get this deep into Legion territory? Why didn’t the border guards stop her!?”

Coming to another sharp turn in the path, the man skid to a halt and spun on his heel, changing direction as he kept stomping forward to put distance between him and the hellhound, ‘Alright, calm down… where she came from doesn’t matter, getting away from her does… I can’t try to cut through the woods, I’d be easy to track and the overgrowth would slow me down more than it would her. Is there a pond or something nearby? I don’t know if hellhounds can swim, but it’d at least throw her off my trail and mask my scent. I don’t have enough time to reach the coast or any town before she could-‘

From out of the woods in front of him, she burst forth, landing on her hind legs.

-catch up.” the cloaked man sighed in frustration, taking a step back.

All manner of twigs and leaves were caught up in her fur, but that mad glint in her blazing eyes told him that she couldn’t care less about that at the moment. Slamming one fuzzy paw forward, her tongue poked out from her mouth and licked her plump lips. “Not bad, babe. I won’t underestimate you again.”

Doubling back, the man reached into his cloak, pulling out a dull shortsword. It was barely serviceable to skin a deer, much less be a viable weapon in combat.

Oh my~ I thought you said you knew fighting back was pointless? Just give up… or go ahead and fight back. It’s more fun that way!”

I’m sorry.” the man muttered, shaking his head back and forth, “I didn’t want it to have to come to this. I never wanted to kill another monster again… but there’s still something I have to do, and I can’t let you stop me.”

The hellhound had a good chuckle at that, “Sorry, babe. Hate to burst your bubble, but you can’t beat me. Especially not with that little butterknife.”

We’ll see…” the cloaked fellow muttered, grabbing the hilt of the shortsword with both hands and holding it at his side.

The man didn’t budge an inch. Standing perfectly still, with every muscle tensed and breath drawn, he waited patiently for the hellhound to make her move. For all it was worth, the black beast found it rather amusing.

Fine… I’ll bite!”

Pushing off the ground with a single paw, the hellhound burst forward with her claws pulled back, ready to sweep forward and smack the man into the dirt.

Now!’

Grabbing hold of the hem of his cloak, he ripped it from his body and hurled it forward with all his might. The black cloth landed on the hellhound’s face and blocked her view. Stopping in her tracks, the hellhound grabbed hold of the cloak around her head, digging her claws into the fabric and ripping it in half.

But when it was gone, the man had already made his move. Stomping forward and ending up standing right before her, he reared his shortsword back, aiming it at her head. He was ready to thrust it forward, to put an end to his pursuer. Yet he stopped at just the very last moment.

Damnit. What the fuck is wrong with me?’

She was like a kid in a certain kind of way. Playful. Not a care in the whole wide world. Even as he aimed his blade towards her, she still wore a silly grin, beaming at him like he was her best friend.

He’d killed monsters before. What was different now?! Did the monsters before not charm him because they were already mated? Was this girl just a dauntless huntress and natural seductress?

It didn’t matter either way. He just didn’t have the stomach. Not that it would have mattered if he did. The hellhound ripped that cloak off so fast she could have easily broken his ribs before he had a chance to finish her. He was only able to step up to her and rear his sword back because she allowed him to.

Dropping to a single knee, his shortsword soon followed, assuming it’s rightful place in the gravel and dirt next to him, “I… I can’t. I couldn’t. You win. I never even stood a chance. Just do whatever you want with me…”

The man seized up when she grabbed him by the chin, placing one of her razor-sharp claws to his Adam’s apple. She could have easily slit his throat. And staring into those angry infernos she called eyes, he had every reason to believe she just might.

With his cloak gone, his face was now exposed. His hair was a wild mess of iron-gray, the same color an old man would have, but his face showed off his youth. It was a face that sat on the fine line between rugged handsomeness and gnarled. The heavy bags under his eyes showed that he hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in quite awhile. He hadn’t shaved in awhile either, as evidenced by the beginnings of a scraggly gray beard on his cheeks. Passers-by would place him somewhere in his mid-twenties, no doubt.

So… what’s your name, babe?”

A-Aaron. My name is Aaron.”

“Aaron, huh? Aaron… I like that.”

The man’s eyes burst open as the monster dropped to her knees and pulled his chin down in a single swift movement, locking their lips together.

Pleasantly surprised, Aaron could feel his skin tingle and his mind melt as her tongue invaded his mouth, sharing her sickly sweet flavor with him. Just as he could feel himself starting to lose control, she pulled away, a trail of saliva still connecting them.

Nice to meet you, Aaron. My name’s Valerie.” 


What the fuck am I doing?’

Aaron couldn’t help berating himself as he stared down the cave wall in front of him. Valerie had dragged him further down the path then off from it, breaking through the woods and eventually leading him to a small underground cave she called home.

She had been living here a few months apparently. The cave was littered with her various ‘treasures.’ Chewed-up animal bones, a wide range of broken craftsman tools, empty bottles and various other containers, all lined up in a row… basically, all manner of complete junk she had taken an odd interest in.

Aaron was seated next to a fire pit, the soft rays of the setting sun shining through a hole in the cave’s roof. While the stone below him was moist and cold, Valerie graciously provided him a stack of poorly stitched animal furs.

At least they’re dried properly…’ he thought to himself, settling deeper into the bear fur he was seated atop of. Valerie had left him alone, saying she wanted to go hunt some fresh meat for dinner.

Looking back towards the sloped entrance to the cave, he briefly thought about running away… but decided it’d be best not to. He had no idea how deep into the forest she was or how long she’d be hunting. Valerie could have found him missing a minute after he left for all he knew, then when she inevitably hunted him down, she wouldn’t be nearly as gracious as she was the first time.

The hellhound was a tracker by nature, and a horny bitch by nature even more so. She wanted him and she’d hunt him down to the ends of the earth if she had too. That much was abundantly clear to him.

So, he made up his mind. He’d sneak away while she was asleep, wash away his scent in the coast, and reach the nearby town of Tellum before she even awoke. It wasn’t exactly a flawless plan but as long as he managed to put a few hours distance between them, he knew he could make his escape.

But for now, he’d have to just wait until she returned and give her what she wanted. Hopefully he wouldn’t lose sight of his goal in the incoming haze of lust.

Well, at least I’m getting a free meal.’

Having nothing better to do with his free time, Aaron began making sure all his gear and clothing was up to snuff. He sharpened his old shortsword the best he could with his whetstone, relaced his boots, patched up several small holes on the back of his shirt and the knees of his pants, but there wasn’t anything he could do for his cloak. It’d been torn clean in half and had five large holes punched in each side.

Grunting in frustration, he tossed it to the side. He’d just have to buy a new one at Tellum.

A few idle minutes later, Aaron was startled when several dead rabbits landed at his feet. They were all flayed and mangled, their fur ripped up and gushing blood all over.

From his seated position, Aaron’s eyes met Valerie’s long, toned thighs. Looking her up and down, he saw that both her fur and skin were caked in a filthy, sticky mixture of blood and dirt… and she still had a rabbit twitching between her jaws.

She spit the poor creature atop the rest of its brethren. The bunny convulsed a few more times before slumping over and dying.

What? I had to dig down in their hole to get ’em.” she said, blood still running freely from her mouth and dripping from her chin.

While the scent of the forest and sweat still stuck to her, she smelled almost overwhelmingly like a slaughterhouse, the stench being so strong that it clung to the back of Aaron’s throat. He could taste the bitter iron flavor of it.

To the young man’s surprise, however, he wasn’t repulsed. In fact, under the stench of all that grime, the aroma of fresh burning hickory tickled his nostrils. Was that her natural scent? He would’ve thought a hellhound would smell like sulfur or something, not this pleasant and smooth

No. I’ve got to stay focused. Give her what she wants, then I’m out of here. Just one night.’

“Bon appetite.” she laughed, kicking the dead bunnies into a pile.

It’s going to be harder to skin these after you mangled them like this…” the unamused Aaron sighed, picking up one of the dead creature’s by its floppy ear, the appendage only barely still attached to its scalp.

Oh. I’m sorry, babe… you’re not mad at me, are you?”

No. I’m not mad.” Aaron assured her, taking his gaze from the rabbits to the fire-pit in front of him, “You want to go gather some wood to get the fire going while I’m skinning the rabbits, or do you want to-”

Are you kidding? I’m a monster, but I still have some manners. We’re both wayyy too dirty and smelly to have supper together…”

Blinking in surprise, Aaron lifted up his arm, sniffed under his pit, then retched in disgust. He smelled absolutely awful. But that shouldn’t have been much of a surprise, after all that running and sweating he did… not to mention he hadn’t had a good wash in awhile.

Grabbing his wrist with her padded paw, Valerie yanked Aaron to his feet, dragging him back towards the sloped entrance to the cave.

H-hey! Where are you taking me?!”

We’re going to take a bath~!”

Oh gods. It was really coming to this, wasn’t it? 

You’ll help me wash my back, won’t you, babe~?”

O-of course, Valerie.” Aaron responded with a nervous stutter. Hellhounds were ferocious creatures, and while Aaron was unlucky to have run into one in the middle of Holy Legion territory of all places, he could at least try to look at the positives of the situation. Most of her kin would’ve pinned him down and raped him on the spot. She, for whatever reason, was attempting to seduce him, albeit quickly and unsubtly.

Valerie had brought him to a nearby brook, and the instant he saw the gentle, still waters reflecting the rays of the setting sun, somehow he knew this was the place she’d make her move. It wasn’t very deep at all, only about three feet.

Valerie wore practically next to nothing in the first place. Some sort of odd iron bra and a simple pair of black underwear… they didn’t do a good job of keeping her modesty, but Aaron could still feel his loins stir as she undressed.

Especially when he got an eyeful of her plump, naked behind. Unfortunately, his view was soon blocked by a dark and fluffy tail.

“Such a naughty boy… do you want to go ahead and start with me all covered in guts and mud?”

“U-uh… no! Of course not!” Aaron stuttered, his face turning red the instant he was caught. Looking around, he found them and only them for as far as the eye could see… nothing but grass for miles around and the woods behind them, “Uh… Valerie? Nightfall is coming soon. Don’t you have a tub and spot to heat up the water around? I’ll catch a cold bathing outside, you know.”

“Don’t worry about that, babe.” she snickered, stepping into the water, “I’ll keep you warm… I promise.”

At that, two small streams of flame appeared at the corners of her eyes. Aaron’s own eyes went wide as he doubled back from the spectacle.

“Whats wrong? Are you scared of fire or something?”

“N-no… I’m fine. J-just hold on a second, alright?”

Aaron had undressed in front of a few women in his life, but never in front of one of such otherworldly beauty and power. It made him almost feel like a stuttering virgin all over again.

“C’mon, show me some skin, babe!” Valerie snickered.

“Alright, alright…” Aaron muttered, first taking off his white, long-sleeved tunic. Underneath that lay a collection of various scars from what appeared to be a variety of different bladed weapons… but they all paled in comparison to the large, white scar across his abdomen. He must have taken a stab from a sword at some point or another. 

The scar may have been nasty, but what really drew Valerie’s eyes was the thing wrapped around Aaron’s neck.

Oh, is that a seashell necklace? It’s so pretty…” Valerie muttered, laying eyes on the trinket.

The necklace’s frame was nothing but a thin leather strap, but it held an assortment of shells, each one immaculately shaped and gorgeously colored. 

A gift from my niece.” he explained, removing it and setting it atop his tunic. He unlaced his boots and kicked them off, then removed his wool socks.

Next to go were his plain brown trousers, leaving him in nothing but his loincloth.

“Woohoo, take it all off!” the hellhound cheered with a wolf whistle.

“I’m not  a showgirl…” Aaron grumbled indignantly, removing them and tossing them into the pile. Now naked as the day he was born, Aaron’s face lit up as he felt Valerie’s gaze home in on his manhood.

All pretenses of modesty had vanished. The deep blush still on his face, Aaron picked up his washcloth and soap and strode forward, shivering as a cold breeze blew by and sent a shiver down his spine.

“Hurry up, babe. Like you said, you’ll catch a cold out here!”

Valerie moved to the side as Aaron settled down into the water, immediately regretting stepping in as the stream washed ice-cold water all over his body.  

Cold, cold, too fucking cold…’ Aaron mentally screamed at himself, ready to spring out of the freezing water. But just as he was about to evacuate, two paws wrapped around his chest, keeping him firmly locked in place.

The deep chill freezing Aaron to the core was soon driven out, replaced a soft warmth. Valerie’s body was hot enough to the point where it even heated up the frigid water around them.

“See? I told you I could keep you warm.” she smirked, pulling him in even closer. Aaron went rigid as he felt her soft breasts and hardened nipples poke against his back.

The gray-haired man couldn’t help but sigh in relief as he felt her soft heat flow into his core, then travel outwards to from his head to the very tips of his toes. The hellhound ran her padded paws up and down his chest, sliding from under his arm and up to his shoulders. 

“Babe, you’re so pent up!” she cried in mock surprise, rubbing the knotted muscles on his shoulders. “Just relax and soak with me for a little bit…”

Valerie was the first to rinse off, taking the soapy cloth from him and scrubbing the grime from her wet, matted fur. The vile mixture of soap, blood and mud broke off and formed clumps that drifted further down the stream.

Aaron’s hot breath steamed the otherwise chilly air as he watched Valerie. Watched her generous chest lightly jiggle as she took her sweet, sweet time washing her breasts. Watched her dark little nipples harden and peek out from the layer of suds surrounding her fleshy mounds.Watched as she rubbed the soapy cloth down between her tits, along her navel, below the water line.The soft jerking motions of her shoulder and rippling water alerted Aaron to what she was doing down there.

Suddenly, a sharp, mind-numbing pleasure consumed him as he felt a soft, fluffy pad latch onto his erection. The last of his doubts shattered as the hellhound began stroking him up and down.

“Dammit…” groaned Aaron, securing himself by latching onto Valerie’s shoulders. A small giggle bubbling up from her chest, Valerie grabbed hold of Aaron’s hip with other paw.

Valerie kept on stroking him off, biting her bottom lip as she watched Aaron’s face contort with each slow, deliberate movement. The pads on her palm and fingers were soft, warm, and seemed to shape around his cock, giving the man a unique pleasure he’d never had the privilege of feeling.

“Babe… are you going to fuck me, or not?”

That was all Aaron’s lust-addled mind needed to hear.

Too far gone to worry about the repercussions of his actions, he grabbed hold of Valerie’s tail, using the other hand to rub against the hot lips of her pussy.

“Ah… ah…”

Grabbing a handful of his hair, Valerie yanked Aaron’s head down, smashing their lips together to force their second kiss. 

With his strained thoughts, doubts, and reservations all scattered to the wind, Aaron was finally free to let himself go wild. With one hand still tightly clutching the base of her tail, he rubbed her pussy lips with his middle and ring fingers, feeling her hot, warm flesh opening up as he played with her sex.

Valerie broke away from their kiss, a heavy blush on both their faces. While Valerie had stopped stroking him for a moment, Aaron took his ministrations and stuck the very tip of his finger up inside her cunt.

“Eek! S-stop teasing me, babe! Or I’ll have to show you how we hellhounds fuck when we’re on to-top-… EEEK!”

Aaron shoved two whole fingers up her pussy, her tight walls immediately gripping down and contracting around the prodding digits.

“Ah~! Babe, babe… you’re so dirty…” she cooed, grabbing hold of his cock with her other paw in return. 

The human shivered in delight as he felt the second paw join in to please him, the first one running up and down along his length with even greater vigor while the second wrapped around his head, surrounding his sensitive tip in her warm pads. Seeing his reaction, she began rubbing her palm against it in small circles.

While he was swiftly losing both his mind and body to lust and pleasure,  Aaron did his very best to keep up. He thrust his fingers into her sex even faster, the walls of her pussy responding in kind by clamping down on his fingers with renewed strength.

“Ha… ha… is that all you got, babe?”

Going until his wrist was sore, Aaron fought through the pain and rubbed his thumb against her clit. 

“Eek!” she squealed, splashing him in the face with water as her hands left his dick and shot up in reaction. Val’s face was twisted in delight, her deep blush glowing even hotter.

Now with an evil smirk on his face, Aaron continued to pump his fingers in and out of her cunt, now rubbing against her engorged clit with his thumb. With each pump in and out, her own pace on his cock slowed down, her grip slackened.

As soon as her paws left his cock, Aaron went in for the kill. Pulling out his two fingers until everything but the tips were in, he added his ring finger to the bunch, then shoved them all back in.

“Ah~!”

The gouts of fire shooting from Valerie’s eyes flared up. With a lewd moan, her tongue hung from her mouth. Her knees buckled and her toes curled up. And it was hard to tell with his hand submerged in water, but with her pussy wildly contracting around his fingers with an even greater fervor, he was fairly certain she had just cum.

Aaron didn’t know if his sudden confidence boost was from making a woman cum with some finger play or the fact he had made such a powerful, exotic beast of a woman cum in the first place, but either way, it still put a big, stupid grin on his face.

Valerie didn’t like that. 

“Y-you think you’re so good just because you made me cum?! I-I’ll show you, you stupid little human!”

Aaron nearly fell over in the water as Valerie placed two palms on his chest, pushing him over to the edge of the stream. Scrambling in reverse, he fell on his back and ended up laying down in the grass, legs still dipped in the cold water.

Valerie jumped on his midsection just as she had a few hours prior. Only this time, Aaron’s heart was racing in anticipation, not fear. His erection pressed up against her ass, dripping with pre and pulsing with excitement.

“Now it’s my turn.” she chuckled, rubbing her slick lips up and down his cock. Her disposition had changed dramatically, from playfully jovial to frighteningly aggressive.

Grabbing hold of his cock with one paw, she lifted her hips up, placing his head right up to the lips of her pussy. Pressing it in with a small grunt of exertion, she slowly brought her hips down, taking in his thick erection.

“Ha… ha… you like that, human? Well, you better keep it in until I’m finished! Got that?!”

Aaron wanted to make a snide remark with all his heart. Maybe ‘But you’ve already cum before me!’ or ‘Speak for yourself, puppy.’ But the paw laying above his windpipe that could’ve easily crushed his whole throat and leave him gurgling on his own blood told him that was a bad idea.

“Y-yes ma’am.” he stammered out.

This was the true nature of the hellhounds. The wild, uninhibited side that would ride him until he was bone dry and she was filled with cum.

“C-c’mon, give it to me, you bastard!” she grunted, spreading her legs out further, not breaking her stride in the process.

Answering in kind, the human grabbed hold of the monster’s hips, now thrusting up whenever she slammed down. But their tempo soon broke when the hellhound changed up the pace, gyrating her hips around.

Aaron was in absolute heaven. He hadn’t a good orgasm in weeks and no proper sex in almost a year. His pent up balls finally churning, his vision went blank as his orgasm rapidly approached.

“C-cumming…” he managed to stutter, releasing his grip on Valerie’s hips.

“Fill me up, babe…” she pleaded, biting her bottom lip and placing her hands on his chest, hilting his cock deep in her pussy.

His seed shot into her womb in large, thick wads, quickly piling up and filling her. Valerie cried out in bliss, feeling the hot, sticky load paint her womb white. Aaron, whose eyes were nearly rolled to the back of his head, could only give a few final pants and moans as he pulled his wet, softening member out from her pussy.

Both of their bodies gave out in exhaustion, Aaron’s arms falling to the side as Valerie collapsed atop his chest. The girl rose and fell to each of the human’s breaths as his chest lifted her up and down.

“T-that was… different than human women.” Aaron finally said, breaking the silence.

“Better?”

“Oh, definitely. Not even a contest.”

Funny. The first joke he’d cracked in a few months, and it was too a monster that more or less coerced him into sex. Pleased at his answer, Valerie smirked and nestled into his moist, naked chest, “Let’s go home, babe. I’m starving.”


Crackle, crackle.

Aaron always felt uncomfortable around raging fires, now more than ever due to recent events… but he supposed he could still handle it in small, controlled settings. At least the two jets of flame that appeared next to Valerie’s eyes didn’t set him off.

Returning to the cave, Aaron had quickly skinned the rabbits while Valerie set up a spit roast and ignited her little indoor firepit, the smoke rising up and exiting through the hole in the roof.

Averting his gaze up from the crackling flames, Aaron watched the red flesh of the rabbits, sizzling as they turned a delicious golden brown. The gray-haired man hadn’t eaten all day, and his stomach grumbled as the sweet aroma of the cooking meat wafted up into his nostrils.

“NRAGHF!” 

His appetite, however, was somewhat dulled as he watched Valerie from across the fire, ripping into raw, bloody rabbits with a predator’s fervor, munching up and swallowing their organs and bones along with their flesh. The only thing she left behind was bloody fur.

“What’s the point of having a fire-pit if you can warm yourself naturally and eat all your meat raw?”  Aaron asked, half curious and half sick at the gory sight.

Stuffing the last bit of raw rabbit into her mouth,  a series of loud crunches and squishes sounded as she chewed it up  and swallowed. Letting out a content sigh and tapping her full belly, she answered, “Whew… I keep a firepit in here because sometimes I like to cook my meat for the taste.”

“So you were just too hungry to wait?” Aaron asked, rotating his rabbit around so the other side could finish roasting.

“Yup.” she replied, licking the blood from her fingers and palms.

As Valerie went to wipe herself clean, Aaron removed his share of the roasted rabbit from the fire. Three of them, all not nearly as large as he would like, but serviceable for a meal. 

Tearing into the hot meat, he was nearly scalded by their juices, but he didn’t care. He was absolutely starving and probably wouldn’t have a hot, full meal in a while. So he continued to tear in, staining his tunic in the process until there was nothing but bones left.

“Damn, babe. I sure wore you out, didn’t I? You must’ve been pretty hungry after cumming so hard.”

Aaron looked back over to his right, seeing Valerie squatted down next to him, her arms wrapped around her knees and her tail merrily wagging.

“Welllllll, that and all the walking.” Aaron grunted in response, rearing back his right hand as he prepared to toss the bones into the fire.

“NO! Let me have ’em.” Valerie cried, snatching the bones from his hand, “Jeez, humans are so wasteful…”

“Yeah. In some ways, I guess we are.” Aaron agreed, watching Valerie’s tail increase its pace as she nibbled along one of the rabbit’s ribs, “Although I don’t see the practicality of chewing on bones…”

While Aaron had found himself far more untrusting of his own species than what was healthy in these past few months, he was still wary of Valerie, although not as nearly as he should have been. Despite how ferocious hellhounds were acclaimed to be, she had treated him quite kindly, especially considering he attempted to kill her. 

What the fuck am I talking about?! She attacked me! I was just defending myself… and I only had sex with her because she would’ve raped me if I hadn’t agreed.’ Aaron screamed at himself, his face contorting with inward confusion and rage.

“Babe? Is there something wrong?”

“W-what?” 

Broken from his thoughts, Aaron found himself staring at Val’s breasts. Blushing and tearing his gaze away, the man asked, “Valerie? Why didn’t you just rape me? Out of all the stories of monsters I’ve heard, hellhounds are supposed to be both the fiercest and care the least about a man’s consent.”

Valerie chewed on a rabbit femur in thought, “Well, that’s just not true. Dark elves, amazons, ogres… yeah, we’re up there with the most forceful, but I wouldn’t say we care the least about the guy’s consent. But the reason I didn’t just rape you on sight is because you were sad.”

I was sad? Was it that obvious?” 

Yeah. I could smell it on you. Sweat, tears, and alcohol.”

You can smell tears…?”

“Yup! Err, in a way, I mean. My village elder said that humans emit certain pherecones when they’re upset, usually to the point of crying.”

I think the word is pheromones. Don’t quote me on that, though. My old neighbor Gale told me something along those lines too, but I could be remembering it wrong.”

Whatever they were, I could smell ’em on you. But even under that hood, I could tell just from looking… your eyes were so puffy and baggy, like you hadn’t gotten a good nights rest in a month… they still are.”

So? What’s your point?”

My point is that I thought you might cheer up if I let you initiate.” she responded, crawling up behind him and snuggling into his back, “So? Do you feel better now?”

No. I’m sorry. I appreciate the thought, though. But I really don’t feel like- UFF!”

The hellhound wrapped her fuzzy paws around Aaron’s chest, lifting him high into the air. It was almost a comical sight. The tall, muscular man being lifted into the air by the lean girl a whole head shorter than him, his back creaking as she squeezed him like a fruit.

W-what are you doing?!”

I’m hugging you.” she said simply, grinning up at him, “And I’m not letting go until you tell me what’s bothering you!”

Alright… alright… I’ll tell you…” Aaron wheezed, struggling to get free before Valerie dropped him. Stretching out his sore back, he fell to his rump on the bearskin.

With her tail merrily wagging behind her, the hellhound plopped down on the bear fur next to Aaron, but didn’t stay there. She deftly snuggled up to his chest before he had a chance to protest.

Figuring his chances of prying her off were little to none, Aaron accustomed himself to her tight grip and settled into her warm body.

“Alright… well, I have a brother named Douglas… h-had, a brother named Douglas, I mean…”

I’m sorry… what happened to him?”

He was killed. Murdered by a man named Lucero.”

So that’s what you needed to do. You’re trying to track him down and avenge your brother.”

More or less…” Aaron confirmed with a heavy sigh, “But it’s not that simple. Lucero’s not an ordinary man…”

Why? What’s so special about him? Tell me, babe.”

I’d rather not. I’ve already said more than I would’ve liked.” Aaron murmured, staring blankly into the flickering campfire before them.

Pleeeeaseee?”

Aaron looked up from the campfire, their deep crimson flames replaced by the eyes of the hellhound. She was listening quite intently, her eyes sparkling with both empathy and curiosity, her ears perked up to listen, and a small smile urging him to continue.

She really was concerned, wasn’t she?

Alright, alright, fine… heh… it’s funny, you’re the first person I’ve told this to… well, it all started because our father had recently passed away from an illness. If that wasn’t bad enough, our family fishing boat had been damaged not long after in a storm, so Douglas and I were hurting real badly for some money…”

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