Umbra, Chapter 6

“Whaaaat? You can’t just end it there!”

“I think I can, actually. I’m too tired to go on.” Aaron responded, rising from his spot near the campfire. Kicking some dirt to put the dying flames out of their misery, he turned in for the night and crawled through the flap of their tent.

“Fine… but don’t think this is over! I’ll get the full story outta you one day, even if I have to wring it out word by word!” Valerie cried, following right behind him.

“Good luck with that…”

Kicking off his boots next to his already discarded cloak and chainmail vest, Aaron plopped onto his bedroll. With the tent around him and the warm hellhound laying right a few inches to the left, he didn’t even bother tucking himself in for warmth. Folding two hands behind his head and stretching out his tired body, he shut his eyelids, “G’night, Val…”

“Hold on just a second there, mister! You still haven’t paid me back for saving you in Tellum~”

Aaron peeked one eye open, seeing the hellhound squatted down next to him, the bits of metal covering her breasts long gone. The ebony black skin of her cheeks turned all the darker as she blushed. Leaning in closer, she unfurled her crimson scarf as her breasts bounced lightly with each excited breath.

Aaron was suddenly at home with the idea of staying up just a bit longer.

“Ah, I’m sorry Val. I just can’t spare any money right now.” he chuckled, feeling a bit playful. Watching her squeeze her tits together with her forearms, Aaron could already feel his pants tightening.

“I’m sure we can work something else out~”

Grabbing the bulge in his trousers, Valerie sat on her knees and bent over, locking lips with the human below her.

Separating for air, Aaron looked up at her, “Ya know, we really should be getting to bed soon…”

“We’ll manage. After all, what puts you to sleep faster than cumming super hard?” she responded, yanking down the crotch of his pants, freeing his hardened cock.

“Ya got a point there…”

It wasn’t that Aaron didn’t like the sex, but he knew they really did need all the rest they could get. But with a horny hellhound pouncing on him, he supposed he had little choice in the matter.

Oh well. Can’t be helped.

Valerie hopped atop his waist, locking her paws behind his head and smashing their lips together. Aaron could only sit back and grip his bedroll as Valerie’s tongue forcefully shoved its way into his mouth.

Wrestling down his own tongue with her own, Val ran it up and down Aaron’s, making him moan and squirm in place. An all-encompassing heat spread throughout each of them, the streams of flame from Val’s eyes bursting out. Nibbling along his bottom lip as she pulled away, the hellhound licked his nose before sitting back up.

She let out a haughty giggle as she rubbed her clothed behind against his erection. It was already leaking with pre, throbbing and ready for penetration.

Pushing the side of her panties away, she sank down onto his crotch. The wet, fleshy walls of her pussy swallowed up his cock, basking it in radiant heat.

Grinding his teeth together, Aaron’s head rolled back as he suppressed a long groan. Seeing his reaction, the beaming hellhound rolled her hips around, her face contorting in pleasure as his cock pulsed and rubbed around her sensitive cunt.

“Ah… ah… ah…”

Placing her claws on his chest, Valerie placed herself into a squat, slowly gyrating her hips around before slamming his dick deep into her core.

Not to be outdone, Aaron grabbed hold of her waist, helping her thrust right onto his dick. As he sat up, Valerie suddenly found herself with her paws wrapped around his neck, her legs around his waist, and seated right in his lap, his hard cock still jammed in her cunt.

“H-hey… I wanted to be on top…” she whined rather weakly, doing nothing to stop Aaron from continuing.

Slowly but surely, Aaron began thrusting once again, a loud, wet squelch sounding off with each impact as he increased his tempo. Spreading out his legs to give her more space, he placed his hands under her armpits, leaning her back and giving him access to her plump breasts.

“Oh gods…”

Latching his lips onto one of her nipples, he hungrily sucked on it, tweaked it between two teeth, and slid his tongue access her hardening peak. Letting go of the breast with a pop, the human moved over to the other tit and began the process anew, all while her dripping sex threatened to suck him in with each hard thrust.

Sensing he was close, Valerie clamped onto him once again, squishing her tits up against his own muscled chest as the two climaxed together. Squeezing her in return, Aaron’s hips pivoted and launched up on his own with each sticky shot of his seed.

“Ah… wow… ” Valerie laughed, sitting up from his cock. Keeping her underwear pushed to the side with one claw, she spread her lips out with the other hand, droplets of cum seeping out from between her folds.

Shooting him a cocky grin, Valerie blinked in surprise when she saw his wet cock was still standing erect, a droplet of semen leaking out from the head.

Aaron wasn’t through yet. Pushing her onto her hands and knees, he pulled down her panties all the way to her knees and shimmying them underneath, slipping them past her bottom paws, and tossing them to the side.

Valerie’s tail unconsciously raised up and wagged to and fro, showing off her leaking cunt and the tight pucker of her anus.

“Have I ever told ya you’ve got the best ass I’ve ever seen?” chuckled the human, scooting up to her and giving one of her perfect cheeks a squeeze. His fingers immediately sunk into the perfect mix of taut muscle and fat.

Still groping her behind, Aaron leaned over, using his other hand to stick two fingers into her cum-filled pussy. The hellhound let out a sweet moan, the human behind her smirking as he continued thrusting in.

Her perked ears fell back down as she felt Aaron remove his two sticky, soaked fingers from her pussy, running it up the crack of her behind and pressing against her asshole.

“Ah~ I… I didn’t say you could use that hole…” the hellhound whined.

“Doesn’t sound like you’re having a bad time up there…” he teased, pulling his fingertips out of her behind. Val’s shoulders slumped, but quickly shot up once more, along with her eyes, ears, and tail.

She could feel a coarse and slimy appendage stick up against her rear.

“A-Aaron… n-no… don’t…”

And yet, he did.

Slipping his tongue into her anus, Valerie smothered a loud gasp and moan with a single paw, her crimson eyes shimmering and rolling back from the sharp and sudden pleasure of the intrusion.

Securing one muscled arm around her thigh, Aaron squeezed onto her ass with the other hand, thrusting his tongue in and out of her tight sphincter. Her rapid panting and wagging tail quickly gave away the lie that she found the lewd act distasteful.

“You… filthy pervert…” she squealed between moans.

Pulling his tongue out, Aaron hopped to his knees, rubbing his cockhead up against her wet folds. But he didn’t press it in. Instead, the human moved his wet dick and pressed it up against her asshole.

“Aaron… please…”

“Stop~?” the human asked teasingly, pulling away for a moment.

“Just fuck me!” she cried out rather desperately, pushing her rear back up against his hardening groin, rubbing it up and down as her tail rose, brushing up and tickling his pectorals, “Please…”

Relining his member and pushing forward, the head of Aaron’s cock slipped into her anus. The hellhound gave a small whine of pleasure-pain.

It was tight. Almost too tight. The burning, squeezing tunnel immediately clamped down on his member with enough force to make it feel like it was being suffocated.

The hellhound’s tongue lolled out of her mouth, leaking drool onto the bedroll beneath her. Her inner walls wildly contracted each time the human above her pounded into her backdoor, gradually picking up speed as she was left a moaning, lusty mess below.

A loud slap rang out with each time Aaron’s pelvis slapped against her jiggling ass. With each strong pump into her anus, Valerie’s spunk filled pussy dripped more and more, a large splotch of their mixed releases forming below her.

Valerie gripped the bedroll below, both her face and body heating up like a furnace as she had her ass pounded from behind. The two flames near her eyes flickered and danced wildly, and it took all her concentration not to burn down their tent.

With a final thrust into her anus, Aaron shot out another thick, stringy load of cum. After a small grunt, he pulled his sensitive cock from her behind with a pop, immediately collapsing to the side in exhaustion.

“Ah… ah… babe, that was…”

Rolling over to face him, she stopped when she saw Aaron was fast asleep. With a small giggle, the hellhound leaned over, licking his cheek and snuggling up to his naked body. She wrapped her paws around his chest, her legs around his thigh.

“Goodnight, Aaron.”

A man in scarlet robes paced down a long marble hallway. The sunlight filtering in through a domed skylight above basked the crimson-garbed man in a soft, white light.

Lifting his matching wide-brimmed hat, the man wiped the sweat from his brow while holding a small stack of papers in the same arm. With each ragged gasp, the fetish of a golden hawk that hung from his neck clinked. That clinking and his footsteps echoed throughout the hall every moment he lingered within it.

Putting his hat back on over his short and neat brown hair, the man readjusted the necklace and paced forward.

“Deep breaths.” he consoled himself, trying to calm down. “His Holiness knows better than to shoot the messenger…”

As he pressed forward, he found an ivory statue depicting a god or goddess sitting on either side of the hallway. Their name and position were chiseled into the square base on which the finely carved work of art stood. At the end, the largest statue yet was set into a cavity in the wall, right above a large set of double oaken doors.

The statue depicted a heavily muscled man with fine, long hair, a bushy beard, and nothing but a toga to keep his modesty. Squatting down to a single mighty knee, he hammered a curved sword against an anvil. That fierce hammer looked more attuned to crushing skulls than forging blades.

‘Ganymede, the Sacred Smith and King of Gods’. Simply reading that name set on the statue’s base bolstered the messenger’s resolve, reminding him that he too had a duty to fulfil. Inhaling one last deep breath, the robed man strode forward, lifting up a single fist and gently tapping it against the right door.

After a moment of silence, a voice from beyond the doors answered him, “Enter.”

Tugging at his collar, the robed man did as the voice commanded, the oaken door creaking as it swung open.

It was an office, nothing but fine paintings of saints hanging on the walls. At the center of the room, sitting between two large windows, was a finely crafted wooden desk with another man.

He was dressed in similarly scarlet robes jotting something down with a black quill pen. Under a scarlet zucchetto, his hair, aside from a single strand of silver-white, was pitch black. That, along with his beady little eyes and sharp nose, gave off the impression he was an old crow trapped in the body of a holy man.

“Your Holiness… High Inquisition Officer Brennan.” the man greeted, removing his large hat and holding it up to his heart in a sign of respect.

“Speak, Fredrick,” Brennan said, not even bothering to look up from his paperwork.

“Well… I have some terrible news, your holiness.” Fredrick gulped as he placed his hat back atop his head, planting the papers he toted in front of his superior.

At this, the old crow dropped his pen. Looking up to his assistant, he tapped his fingernails against his desk and posed a question, “And what exactly would that bad news be, Fredrick?”

Gulping down his fear, Fredrick continued, “Err… well, for starters, a group of monsters has taken refuge at Angel’s Peak. They’re assaulting the town as we speak…”

Looking through the stack of papers, Brennan skimmed over the official report before setting it to the side, “Hmph. That sounds bad, but nothing Major Ryder shouldn’t be able to handle with his own troops. Is he requesting backup from us?”

“N-no sir. In fact, Ryder’s already sent a hundred men, headed by Captain Isaac himself…”

“Then what was the point of bringing this up, Fredrick? I’ve seen Isaac go toe-to-toe with an amazon chieftess and come out on top. With the backing of a hundred men, any monster infestation so small it could slip past our borders should be a breeze for him.”

“W-well, there’s the second thing. A few days after Ryder got reports of the monster infestation, we received two more reports featuring the same man… apparently, some fellow armed with a claymore and traveling with a hellhound is moving south along the east coast. The two of them slaughtered a group of Ryder’s men… out of fifteen, only three survived to report it.”

“And just who is this man?”

“One of our officers interrogated a bartender that used to be an acquaintance of his. His name’s Aaron Axenus, and he apparently just got back from the colonization of the Laris Archipelagos a few months beforehand.”

Flipping through the documents, Brennan’s eyes fell upon a wanted poster that was going to be copied and circulated across the east coast immediately. A man with baggy, ice-blue eyes, wild iron-gray hair, and a shaggy beard. Next to him was an interpretation of what he would look like shaven. Under his pictures, a list of his offenses sat, along with a warning that he was armed, traveling with a monster, and incredibly dangerous.

“…and what does this have to do with the monster infestation?”

“We think he might have something to do with it… b-but even if he doesn’t, t-then… w-we have something else to report about him…”

“Quit stammering and spit it out, Fredrick!”

“A-among the soldiers he killed, one of them… one of them was Leon Grandmore.”

A thick, heavy silence hung between the two men. Glaring down at his desk, the High Inquisitional Officer hung his head between his hands.


“D-dammit… DAMNIT! Out of every soldier that could’ve died, why the hell did it have to be him?!”

Shooting up from his desk, Brennan let out a scream in frustration, ripping the scarlet cap from his head and chucking it across the room.

“Sir, please…”

Ignoring Fredrick, Brennan continued to rave, nearly foaming at the mouth, “I sent that spoiled fucking brat to the boonies specifically so he wouldn’t have to get into any trouble! How the hell did this even happen?”

“M-Major Ryder said that when he was selecting men to go hunt down a slime outside of Tellum, Leon and his friends volunteered… Major Ryder was afraid that Leon would complain to his father if he didn’t allow him to go… M-Major Ryder said that he thought Leon could handle it…”

“FUCK!” the crow swore, slamming his arms against his desk, splattering ink against the polished wood and sending papers flying into the air. Sweeping the remaining papers off in a fit of rage, Brennan sat up and paced to the other side of the room, shoving one hand against the wall and staring daggers at the sky through his window.

“P-please sir, just calm down and…”

Crack, crack


Brennan wasn’t just chewing his fingernails, he was biting into them until they broke. Cracking and spewing blood, the self-inflicted pain was still nothing compared to the despair suffocating his heart.

“Just shut the fuck up for once in your miserable life, Fredrick…” growled Brennan, continuing to gnaw on his fingertips, “I’m thinking about what to do next…”

Tearing himself away from the window and pacing back and forth, the crow wracked his brain for his next move, “That bastard Grandmore still has far more political power than I do in this wasteland of unenlightened hicks… the gods don’t mean anything to them. All they care about is living from harvest to harvest until their worthless deaths… I can’t leverage my way out of this situation when he tosses the blame on my shoulders…”

“W-we could always try to deflect the blame onto Major Ryder… a-after all, didn’t you specifically order him to keep Leon out of harm’s way…?”

“That won’t work.” Brennan grunted, blood running from his lips as he began chewing on his thumb. “Ryder and Grandmore are old friends, and that piece of shit already has it out for me. No doubt he’ll blame my ‘incompetence for allowing a hellhound to roam within the borders’ instead of the fucking border guards for letting the damned beast into the country in the first place…”

“W-well, what should we do, your Holiness?”

“There’s only one thing we can do…” Brennan said, stomping over to his desk and gathering his papers back up, “I want all of our field officers in the area out looking for this Axenus bastard. And make certain that they capture him alive. If we manage to hide what happened to Leon from his father until we capture Axenus, he’ll have someone other than me to point his anger towards. No doubt he’ll still try to rip into me even though his old pal was the one in charge of the brat, but that’s unavoidable at this juncture.”

Hopping back into his chair, Brennan lifted up his right hand, watching his cracked nails drip blood down his fingers. Raising his left hand above it, he chanted a few indecipherable mutterings under his breath, a golden aura leaking out of the left palm and basking his cracked nails in it’s light. Just a few moments later, the damaged nails creaked as they and the damaged flesh underneath pieced themselves back together.

“I’ve got it, your Holiness. I’ll put out the orders. And what of the hellhound, sir?”

Performing the same spell on his opposite hand, Brennan flexed his repaired fingers, “It was Aaron who killed Leon, wasn’t it? What would we need it for? Just treat it as you’d treat any other monster. Torture any information you can out of it, then kill it.”

Angel’s Fall. An odd name for such a quaint town, but it’s name had a far less grim origin then what one would expect. Back in the olden days, no one in Graeme had ever seen a lone mountain, so it was falsely assumed that they form in groups.

So, when the single mountain along the eastern coast was discovered, the folk tales about how it was formed when an angel had fell from paradise began. Of course, it was all malarkey. Still, the mountain had come to take the name ‘Angel’s Peak’, while the town built by it’s base came to be known as ‘Angel’s Fall’.

But unlike the town under siege by monsters as Timothy and his goons described, this town looked the opposite. Serene and unexciting, it was just like all the other towns leading up to it.

“I thought that Timothy guy said this town was being overrun by monsters?” said Valerie, her scarf fluttering in the breeze as she and Aaron looked on towards the community.

“Figures. Asshole was probably just trying to rob us.” grumbled Aaron.

Sniffing the breeze that blew in from the town, Valerie shook her head, “No, it’s not that… it smells like there’s way less people then there should be. And I’m not picking up the scent of any animals or monsters either.”

She was right on that. It was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. At least some people should’ve been milling around down there, but not a single soul was to be found from their vantage point.

“I think you’re on the money, Val. I don’t see any monsters, but there’s definitely something fishy going on down there.”

He had to check. He needed to refill his supplies. Even with Valerie in tow, it would be hard living entirely off the land all the way until Remington. It was the only real city along the coast in Graeme and was crowded enough that Aaron could avoid prying eyes while he picked up whatever they needed.

“We have no idea what’s going on down there, but if anyone saw you it could just make things worse. Just hang out right outside of town. I know you’ll be right with me if things go wrong.”

“Hmph. Was that supposed to be an order?”

Breathing a heavy sigh through his nose, Aaron clasped his eyes shut and slapped his hands together, bowing to her like she was a goddess, “Please, Valerie? I can’t do it without your help…”

“That’s more like it~” she cooed, hopping up and licking his cheek.

It certainly fit the definition of a ghost town. Aaron had walked for almost half an hour, and he still hadn’t found a single trace of any human beings or even monsters, for that matter. The only thing missing was a tumbleweed. 

“Hello? Anybody there?” Aaron had called out, losing track of how many times he had done so before.

Yet again, Aaron was answered only by an echo of his own voice and the empty howl of wind blowing between the boarded up homes.

Taking another step forward, he saw a small young face peek at him through the window. The instant their eyes locked, the child’s enlarged in fear and dropped the curtain he was peering under.

“Wait a second, kid!” Aaron cried, rushing towards the window. He began pounding his fist on the glass, but there was still no response.

“I saw you, kid! C’mon, I just wanted to get some supplies! What the hell is going on here?”

“G-go away! I’ll kill you!” the young boy stammered from inside, trying much too hard to sound tough, especially considering he was choking back tears with each word.

Aaron stepped back, having half a mind to break open the window and force some damned answers from the pipsqueak.

“Hey, dumbass!”

Turning towards the hissing voice, Aaron saw a man peeking at him through a crack in his door at the neighbor’s house, apparently having heard the commotion from outside. Blinking, the eye narrowed in on him and the voice hissed once again, “Are you fucking insane?! Leave that child alone! Harpies have been ransacking this town! Get inside, now!”

What? He hadn’t seen any harpies anywhere. But that would explain why Valerie wouldn’t be able to smell anything. Hard for something to leave a scent midair for very long.

“Now! Before they spot you!” the man repeated, opening his door a bit wider and gesturing for Aaron to come in.

This better not be some kind of trap…‘ Aaron thought, ducking down and running towards the door. He made sure to keep his hand on his claymore’s hilt in the case the man was an agent of the Legion or just some nutjob that was after his head.

Stepping inside of the home, Aaron laid eyes on the shrunken man who invited him in. Hunched over, balding, and wrinkled up, the old raisin of a man was nonetheless unperturbed by Aaron’s grip on the half-drawn claymore.

“Hey, take it easy boy. I ain’t gonna bite ya.”

Sensing no threat from the old timer, Aaron stuck his blade back into its sheath and rested both arms at his sides.

“Alright… just what the hell are you doing here, kid?”

“I’m just a traveler trying to make it to Paxton. I wanted to stop here for some supplies, but you’re the first person I’ve found in this ghost town.” Aaron said truthfully, conveniently leaving out how it was a part of his revenge plot against the Legion’s soon-to-be new hero with a hellhound at his side.

“Mph… that simple, huh? Well, it don’t matter why you’re here. The important thing is that you squat here until night time, pray to your favorite god that those flying demons don’t spot you in the dark, then keep hightailing it south until that blasted mountain they’ve made their nest out of is out of sight. They’ll snatch you up and make off back to Angel’s Peak, just like any other man they take a fancy with. They beat the stuffing out of ya if you try to stop ’em.”

Aaron chuckled a bit, “Don’t worry about me, old timer. I’ve got plenty of experience dealing with monsters… I’ll just buy some supplies and get out of here.”

“Sorry, that ain’t gonna happen. The only food market we have here has already divvied up all of their goods to the rest of the town so we could survive until the Holy Legion arrives. And unless you’re a cannibal, you won’t be finding any fresh meat. Those damned harpies have stolen our cattle, too.”

“Great… well, the whole stop here was a bust, then. Bah… I suppose I have enough food left to make it to Remington if I start rationing.”

Of course, that was a lie. He only had enough supplies to last another meal, and any small town would more than likely be crawling with both inquisitors and local authorities hunting for his head. He would’ve preferred skipping them entirely.

Can we make it to Paxton living entirely off the land? I have a pot to boil my water in, and Valerie can hunt down any food… but we’re getting farther and farther away from where all the game lives.  Dammit all! I’ll just have to keep trying to outrun the search party and hope no one recognizes me in Remington.

“W-wait! Don’t try to go out now! The harpies will spot you! You’re lucky they hadn’t on the way over here!”

“Sorry, old man. I’ve gotta leave soon. I don’t think I can afford to wait around until nightfall.”

Now that was the truth. He had no idea when the Legion would arrive with enough muscle to take out a monster infestation. Had a warrant for his arrest been circulated yet? Would any army official recognize him? Either way, it wasn’t a risk he was willing to take.

Aaron turned back towards the door but the old man hobbled in front of it, spreading his arms out to block the way.

“N-no! My fool son was already kidnapped by those devils! I’m not letting another risk their freedom so brazenly without a good cause. The Legion will arrive here soon, and then everything will be-”


“Sorry, old man. But I can’t hang around here any longer than I have to. If I’m going to outrun the Legion, I should’ve already left this town.” Aaron apologized to the unconscious fellow, rubbing the fist that just knocked him out. Carrying him over to a wooden chair, Aaron propped him up, and set off once again.

The instant he set out of the house, he ducked down and dashed behind the house. Peering towards the sky, there wasn’t a harpy to be seen from town to mountain.

“Alright. Looks like the coast is clear. I better get out of here before shit starts going south.”

Aaron sprung from his cover, running towards the town’s exit. It would take him about ten minutes to get there, but there were no harpies around for miles.

Even so, his drill sergeant always told him there wasn’t such a thing as too careful. Taking cover behind another home, he peeked his gray-haired head out from behind the wall and scanned the area.

Still nothing...’ he thought to himself, looking to the blue sky above and finding nothing but white, wispy clouds and the blinding rays of the sun.

“So, what do you think, sister?”

“Hmph… he’s not too handsome, but he’s well built, sister.”

With a loud gasp, Aaron turned one hundred and eighty degrees and drew his claymore in a single, albeit clumsy, motion. There, with one perched on a trash bin and the other squatted beside her, were two monsters.

Harpies, just as he had been warned. Their feathers, talons, and hair were as black as a starless midnight sky, and they wore practically nothing but breast bindings and skirts from what looked like jet-black leather. Staring at him with red eyes, the two slowly hopped off from their perch and stalked towards him.

“S-stay back!” growled Aaron, raising his sword higher.

The lithe bird girls seemed to stop for a moment, analyzing him with their little red pupils. They turned to one and other, both of them shooting their sister a small nod.

“Yes, he’s definitely marriage material, sister.”

Aaron’s heart sank when he realized that neither of them had said that. No, it had come from above.

A pair of black talons latched onto his shoulders, causing him to drop his claymore from the pain and shock. The third harpy lifted him up into the air, her wings beating with each ascension. The harpies two sisters rose along with her, flanking Aaron on each side.

“P-put me down!” Aaron demanded, flailing against her grip.

“Sisters, would one of you be kind enough to calm him down? He’s struggling far too much for his own safety. I just might drop him if he keeps this up.”

“I’m on it, sister.” one of the harpies declared, zipping away from Aaron.

“W-what is she doing…?”

His question was soon answered. A few yards ahead of Aaron, she looped around and launched herself right at him.

Their foreheads painfully colliding, Aaron’s body went limp as his vision went white.

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