The Brewmaster

Like a thief in the night, clutching a black cloak about my person, I crept as silently as a cat… well, as silently as a cat who had one of those jingling little bells that chimed annoyingly with every step. The clinking of glass seemed to herald every twitch of my muscles until they ached from me trying to hold them still while at the same time attempting to slink through the alleyways and dark corridors of the city.

The guards of course looked at me like I had suddenly decided to grow two more heads and bellow a chorus of a song about daisies to the moon. While what I was doing wasn’t technically illegal, it certainly looked suspicious enough that as I approached the gate, looking behind to ensure that I wasn’t followed, I plowed right into the guard that had moved to intercept me. I looked up at what appeared to be a wall made of meat and metal, considering the guard had not budged while my organs apparently did their best to keep going of their own accord when the rest of me had stopped.

“State your business.” the guard said in a gruff voice that reminded me of gravel. Slight of frame as I was, I did my best to draw myself up to full height and look him in the eye, then gave up once I realized that I would have been staring at his chest at about nipple height. “I’m only out to see a friend.”

“Likely story.” the other guard said in a voice only half as gravelly, but twice as bitter. “Sneaking around like that, you’re up to no good. What have you got there?” the wall of meat said to me. Luckily, I was prepared for this.

I brought out two small wine skins and offered them up. “Just visiting a friend for a drink, but a couple of fine soldiers like you look like you could use a bit of warming up. Winter is on the air, after all.” Walls of meat covered in steel wielding sharp implements were more than enough to stop a man like me, but only the sternest of soldiers would be able to turn down a free skin of wine on a quiet fall night guarding the world’s most boring gate. Their eyes brightened as they saw my gift, and I let them have it, “I’ll bring you two more tonight if you don’t let anyone else pass this gate.” I offered, an idea coming to me.

I left the soldiers there, cheering each other and drinking deeply of some cheap base wine. Let them have it. Even with four skins lost, it was a small price to pay for slipping out from the walls of the city into the countryside with the assurance that no one was following me. I made my way down a familiar, but little-traveled path, until I came to a house. THE house.

It was simplistic, barely a cottage. Made of wood and thatch, it was the sort of place that the obscenely rich would call “quaint.” I rapped gently on the door, with a vague sense of anxiety that told me to turn and run as far away as I could as my survival instincts told me to flee back to the safety of my hovel, climb under the blanket and not come out until the sun did. I heard movement inside, and heavy footsteps. I reached into my cloak and removed a flask, then summarily made the contents disappear so quickly that scholars are still debating it in an attempt to drown my survival instincts or at least render myself incapable of running. I would have been happy with either, or both.

My heart skipped a beat as I heard the lock on the door click, and the wood started to creak open. She stood there in a black night gown, standing a full head taller than me, and I was once again forced to crane my neck merely to meet her gaze. She was looking down, rubbing her eyes, as if trying to either wake herself from her sleep, or discern whether I was real or not. Probably both.
“W-What? A human?” she asked through a yawn, then blinked a lot.
“T-Terribly sorry, milady.” I stammered, drooling a bit of my flask contents before I reined in most of my sensibilities. “I didn’t mean to wake you…” I said, then felt immediately foolish. To my surprise, a smile crept across her red-skinned features. “You didn’t mean to wake me in the middle of the night?” she said with a bemused smile. “I don’t think I’m nearly buzzed enough to just fuck a man who turns up on my doorstep in the middle of the night… but come back in about an hour, I think I’ve got a bottle or two lying around.” she said, then laughed. Her voice was hard, but sweet, like a hard candy you would savor for a time.

“Actually,” I said, gaining more confidence now that the demonic creature in front of me gave no signs of eating me. “I was wondering if I could ask you a favor, in return for a gift.” Her eyes seemed to flutter with curiosity, her horns almost grazing the doorway as she tilted her head. “A gift?” she said, “What kind of gift?”

With a flourish that made me almost drop the damned bottle, I produced said bottle and held it up in front of her. “Sake, made for tomorrow’s brewing competition, my lady.” I saw her eyes light up, any vestiges of sleep flew from her face like lightning. “Sake? For the competition?” she said incredulously. She then eyed me suspiciously, “…You know I’m not a judge, right?”

I nodded frantically, the last thing I wanted was for her to think me some sort of cheat. “No no no, nothing like that, milady. I just… wanted to see if I could trouble you to taste it. They say no one has a taste for sake like an oni, and I figured if anyone could tell me if I had a chance, it would be you.”

She reached out a hand, and took the bottle from me, eyeing me over. “And you thought the best time to do this was the middle of the night?” I nodded, “I wanted to be sure no one saw me, lest I incur some sabotage.”
“Sabotage? Who would sabotage a drinking contest?” she asked, looking at the bottle.
“Anyone who had an eye for the five hundred gold piece prize money, milady.” I answered. The Havenport Brewing Competition was the biggest brewing competition on the continent. Many different people would be premiering their finest work, and the contest held its fair share of intrigue.

“Well,” she said at length, “I suppose I could give it my thoughts… under one condition.” My heart skipped a beat. She smiled at me, “A drink should be shared.” I nodded so fast I feared my neck would snap, “Of course, of course, milady.”

“Please,” she said, beckoning me to follow her in. I stepped in and closed the door behind me, “Call me Zylla.” she continued, sitting down at the table after proffering two glasses. I sat down opposite of her, and held my hands in my lap. “What’s your name?” she asked, putting the bottle on the table. “Tristane.” I answered respectfully. Zylla grinned, “Relax, you really shouldn’t be so stiff. A drink is best when shared between friends, no?” she said. Something about her affable air made me relax a little, she was nothing like the stories that said red demons ate people on a regular basis. A part of me was worried that she was merely lulling me into a false sense of security, or maybe she did eat people, but only people that didn’t bring her sake. If that was the case, I sincerely hoped my brew met with her approval. “Why don’t you pour?” she said in a voice as sweet as honey.

With hands almost shaking, I poured her glass first. “I-I mixed the koji into the rice by hand.” I said, hoping to sound impressive in my knowledge of sake. “It’s a daiginjo, made with only the most polished rice I could find.” I continued, Zylla was looking at me in a peculiar way. A way that made me think of large cats lurking in the bushes and staring at various things made of meat. “I was meticulous in adding koji rice to the moto to keep the yeast active.”

I passed the now filled cup to her, and she lifted it to her lips with both hands. “I was extremely careful to monitor the temperature. There were some nights I didn’t sleep, and even when I did, it was by the fermenting vats…” I trailed off as Zylla closed her eyes, rolling the flavors over in her mouth. She set the glass down, and pushed it away. My heart sank.

“You love what you do.” she said, opening her eyes and affixing me with a stare that stopped my breath. I didn’t quite understand. “I can taste it.” she said at length, “Your hard work, your love for your craft, your dedication.” she smiled and her face seemed to give a glow of approval that made my heart want to leap out of my chest and dance a jig on the table. Her hand moved out to touch mine, “I can tell a lot about you from it’s taste.”

“Thank you.” I said. Then I said it again. I took her hand and leaned low to kiss it, spouting my thanks over and over again. Surely if an oni liked my sake, I had a good chance in the competition. I stood up. “Keep the bottle, milady. For your troubles.” I gave a bow, then turned to leave. “Where do you think you’re going?” she said as my hand was on the door. My heart then felt like a lump of ice in my chest. I swallowed the lump in my throat back down.

“I thought it best not to disturb you any more, milady.” I gave a stiff pull on the door, and it opened just a creak. The darkness of the outside evening, and my salvation, peeked in through the door before a soft hand reached out and pushed it closed again. “It’s awfully rude to go so soon. Besides, it’d be rather impossible for a friend to disturb me.” she said, her voice still had the consistency of honey, except now it sounded like there was a mix of something else in it. Poison probably.

“A friend? But we only just met.” I said, thinking that maybe if I could keep her talking, she might hold off on eating me in a while. She seemed to have a different thought process, because I felt her hand, while soft and feminine, it moved with the strength of a rather angry mountain. She grasped my shoulder, and spun me around, pushing me back against the door and pinning me only with the strength of her fingers. She didn’t even have the decency to use her whole palm, a display I felt was rather unnecessary. She looked at me, with eyes half glazed, the bottle in her other hand.

“Not many people are brave enough to come knocking on an oni’s door… let alone in the dead of night… some might think you mad.” she said, her gaze boring into mine. I had only just noticed, which I supposed was reasonable since my mind was on other things, that her eyes were the starkest color of bright lavender. They burned with a fiery intensity as they looked at me, a fire I could only assume was hunger.

“Desperate.” I answered, hoping to appeal to her humanity, if she had any at all. “My shop is losing money. With the Competition around the corner, the market is flooded with exotic and fine brews, and my one-man shop just can’t compete with the bigger names. I put everything I had into this one batch, hoping to win and pay off my debt…. though I suppose if you kill me, I won’t have to worry about all that, now would I? I guess it would be a kindness.”

She gave a laugh, “Kill you?” her fingers stopped trying to push me into the door, and instead danced across my chest, though with her strength, they were some very bottom heavy dancers. “No, I don’t kill… well, anyone really. Those silly children’s stories are completely wrong.” she laughed again, shaking her head and pressing herself against me. I was suddenly aware of three things. First, that her hair smelled faintly of pine. Two, that her breasts only looked modest under her night gown and were now pressing against me in a way that caused my body to spring to action in pressing back, though at a slightly lower altitude. And third, that her tongue was rather warm as it dragged across my neck. “W-What!?” I stammered, completely taken aback at these revelations. She pulled back and laughed again, a laugh that said she was enjoying exactly how taken aback I was.

“What’s the matter? You’re a scrawny little scarecrow, but I’ve decided I like you.” she said, still pressing herself against me. “But you don’t even know me!” I said back, rather more harshly than I intended, given that despite my level of taken back, she did feel rather nice pressed against me as she was. She leaned close and kissed my neck, “I don’t need to. I know your sake. And that is enough for me.” she said with a grin. “…And it looks like it’s enough for you, too.” she said, moving her hip to press against my stiffening length almost painfully. I gave an involuntary groan, and she laughed again. She had been doing a lot of that, laughing. She seemed to find the entire situation amusing. “W-W-Well…” I stammered again. I had been doing almost as much stammering as she had been doing laughing. “You are rather pretty.” I said. She seemed to like that.

“A toast, then!” she said, holding up the bottle of my financial salvation, and upended it over my lips. I tried to drink it down, if only for the sake that I didn’t want my hard work ending up all over the floor, then she turned the bottle on herself and drank the rest. I could only note how glossy the candlelight played off of the spilled sake on her breasts. She finished with a deep sigh, and looked at me with eyes that were now glossed over. “See something you like?” she said sultrily.

“I do…” I said before my mouth could stop it, my bottle of extremely potent sake working its magic in mere moments. My head started to swim, and I felt myself being led across the room. “Hah! Only half a bottle and you’re already stumbling?” Zylla teased, though there was no ridicule in her voice, only a playful mirth. “It’s okay, I’ll take the lead on this one. You’ve given me a nice gift, so I’ll do all the work~”

By the time my brain had finished processing exactly what she had said, I was lying on my back with my clothes being removed and my cock deciding to take matters into its own hands, saying my brain could go fuck off somewhere for all it was concerned. Several more bottles of liquid that only promised to be more alcohol, suddenly appeared around the bedside and in the oni’s hands. Zylla’s night gown was open, revealing her pert nipples, soft womanly curves, and glistening red skin. Only after a few moments did my brain realized that she was only glistening because of the sake dripping down as she gulped down a few more bottles with some rather lascivious noises that I wasn’t sure were entirely necessary. She was so covered she seemed as if she’d dumped all the sake over her head, or jumped into a small lake of the stuff.

“Don’t you have any cups?” I asked, my brain wresting control of my speech facilties while my cock screamed at it to shut up. I felt the red oni climb on top of me, her eyes so bloodshot they almost seemed red. She poured more sake into my mouth. It wasn’t my sake, but I could barely taste it anyway. I leaned up and wrapped my lips around one of her breasts to suckle the drink from it. She gave a soft sigh as she straddled me, throwing her head back and enjoying the sensation. “Well, at least you’re not acting so shy anymore.” she cooed, reaching down to align my aching member. She sank her hips down, and I couldn’t help but let out a groan as I felt myself enveloped by a slick, silken tightness that seemed to glide down my shaft, coming to rest as my cock head delved deep into the crimson skinned demon that straddled me. She placed her hands on my chest, and I could feel her press down on me and the silken vice that encompassed my cock retreated a bit. I groaned, almost in protest, before I felt her sink back down, the oni giving the groan this time. She rode me like that for what seemed like an eternity, the alcohol bending time into a haze of pleasure. The world spun around me, the pleasure the only thing cohesive enough to register. There was only her body, and the pleasure. A wonderful pleasure that grew even as the alcohol drowned everything else out.

I don’t know how long I had lasted. Minutes, hours, days, seconds. All I knew was that the pleasure had eventually built to a point even in my alcohol dazed state that it cut through my mind like a knife made of white, agonizing bliss. I gripped her hips and held her down as I felt my cock twitch before shooting my load deep into Zylla’s ruby folds. I collapsed back to the bed, my arms having decided to go limp. I tried to move them, but they did not respond, much like the rest of my body.

Zylla, the red blur I had come to know as the source of my pleasure, rolled off of me and collapsed beside me. Drunkenly fumbling, she managed to get her arms around me and clutch me to her. She was soft, and her pillowy breasts kept my head warm. A single word cut through the haze before the encroaching blackness of sleep claimed me into unconsciousness.

“Mine.” she had said.

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