Chapter Thirty-Six: Control
“Arianna? Arianna!” I shook the wounded woman, my heart pounding in my throat.
She was covered in so much blood despite the heavy rains. At first I had thought… I had thought that the Elder pierced her heart once more. Once closer, I was able to see that she had managed to deflect the strike. The bastard had missed her heart, but he had still landed a fatal blow. I had to stop the bleeding.
I placed my hand over the wound and bared my teeth in a snarl. Of course the bastard had summoned light against her, the fucking coward. I shelved my rage, for the moment, and sent my darkness coursing through Arianna’s body. Before anything else, that blasted light had to be purged. I felt it moving through her veins in search of something. It sent chills down my spine, made me sick to my stomach.
That “light” was so very, very wrong.
‘Can’t stay here!’ Alala yelped from the bush she’d hidden beneath. ‘Where can we go? Bad things looking for us. Stinky man wasn’t alone! Is Ari going to be okay? I can keep playing with her right?’
‘We…will have to go to my domain.’ I growled and then shook my head. ‘Let me work. She is badly wounded. Go to my domain and warn the Vulin—have them prepare my rooms and then seal the wing.’
‘Seal the wing? Humph, fine!’ Alala scampered through the portal I summoned for her.
Once the fox was gone I shut my eyes and concentrated on Arianna’s wound. It was no wonder she had passed out. Not only had the blade severed much of her trapezius muscle, but it had even gouged into bone. While the bastard hard missed her heart and arteries, he had hit enough. Without someone there to heal her wounds, she would have…
‘I can’t think about that right now.’
Healing Arianna’s wound proved challenging but I was able to stop the bleeding. Once that was out of the way, I focused my efforts on repairing everything else the elder had damaged. I scoffed to myself—“Elder”.
There was nothing I could do about her blood loss while in the middle of a forest. I would have to hope that my efforts were enough to last until we arrived in my domain.
Finally, satisfied that I had done all that I could, I let the collar around Arianna’s throat disappear into darkness and then scooped her into my arms. I straightened and cradled her against my chest, taking care not to disturb her wound. As much as I adored seeing her collared, we didn’t need such a thing in my domain and I hadn’t ‘earned’ the right to collar her yet.
Leaving it on her, especially under such circumstances, seemed inappropriate.
The portal to my domain shimmered and grew while I surveyed our surroundings. I wanted to make certain nothing was charging us—or the portal. Whatever Alala had smelled or sensed it must have been a long way off. There wasn’t a trace of anything other than us and the Elder’s corpse.
The moment I stepped through the portal I closed it behind me and then took flight. Walking through the palace grounds and up six flights of stairs was far too time consuming. I had to get Arianna somewhere safe—somewhere sealed off from the outside world entirely.
I felt as if my heart had stopped when Arianna shifted in my arms. She turned her face into my chest and rested one of her hands against me. I glanced at her in concerned before refocusing on where I was flying.
‘Arianna, are you awake?’ I managed to ask. Relief washed over me when she nodded into my chest.
‘Nali… I’m hungry,’ Arianna muttered. She rubbed her cheek against me and then inhaled deeply.
‘I’m sure the Vulin can find you something…’ I trailed off when she shook her head.
‘I…I’m not that kind of hungry.’ Arianna hesitated and clenched a fistful of my clothing in one hand. I froze in response to the intense, stifling bloodlust she directed at me.
‘But, Arianna, you’re…’ I frowned and landed on the balcony of my rooms. While I wanted to say that she was still mostly Human and couldn’t feed from me…my instincts told me otherwise. The power she channeled at me had changed in some subtle, indescribable, way.
“Arianna, hold on! You shouldn’t be moving!” I protested when she pulled herself up my robes. Her soft, full lips pressed against the side of my throat, making me shudder.
“But…I want a taste…” Arianna purred into my skin, pulling at my robes as if to guide me somewhere. Her bloodlust spiraled out of control and filled the room, making it difficult to focus.
Something about her nearly made me give in. Arianna seemed to sense my hesitation and took the opportunity to slowly run her tongue up my throat. A shaky sigh escaped her lips, her breath teased along my skin. She…was truly difficult to deal with. I attempted to pry her off of me and deposit her on the bed, but it proved more challenging than it should have been. I wasn’t certain if it was because of her seductive power luring me, or because of my own foolishness.
“H-hey! Don’t…don’t go!” Arianna panicked when I turned to move away from her. I had to grit my teeth and steel myself when her bloodlust enveloped me again, this time stronger. “Nali, where—”
I caught Arianna when she nearly fell off the edge of the bed her in her haste to chase after me. She was far too weak from blood loss to support herself, yet she seemed oblivious to it. Her heart was racing but, at this moment, it was because of fear. Her fear of being left alone.
“Someone has to make sure your wound is healed properly,” I stated quietly, setting her on the edge of the bed again. Her pleading expression made it difficult for me to turn away. “For the moment, you are still Human. As much as you may want a taste of me, it won’t heal your wounds…probably.
“I’m going to get some supplies from the adjacent room so I can tend to your wounds.”
“Okay…” Arianna muttered, disappointed. She looked away from me and gnawed on one of her knuckles. She seemed as if she was contemplating saying something else but, whatever it was, she chose to remain silent.
I hurried into my rooms and grabbed every healing focus and bandage kit I could find. When the doors to my suite slid open, I summoned my spear and brandished it with a snarl. The two Adinvyr women standing on the other side of it were the last people I expected to see in my domain.
Rylda and Rymia were women I knew well from my childhood, and had been the healers I assigned to overseeing Arianna’s physical examinations in Dauthrmir weeks prior. They had both served as nannies for my family once, and in more recent years had become healers for the imperial military.
What they were doing in my domain, however, was another question.
“That bad then is it, boy?” Rylda arched an eyebrow at me.
“Djialkan and Alala sent for us,” Rymia offered. “The fluffy one said something about the princess ‘changing’.”
“You’re going to need healers in the right state of mind to help her,” Rylda added, pointing a finger at me. “You’re a mess, and I ain’t talking about the blood.”
“She rather wants to take a bite out of me and, if she keeps assaulting me with her power like…that…” I shook my head hard when they shot me questioning looks. “Arianna has lost a great deal of blood. If Alala mentioned something about change, then it is likely the blood loss started her shift.”
“You may have to let her take a bite out of you if that’s the case!” Rylda snorted as the both of them shoved past me.
I sighed heavily and then followed them to the bedroom. I leaned on the doorframe and watched the two Adinvyr women approach Arianna. Both began cursing the moment they saw her. Arianna was much paler than normal, and had slipped into unconsciousness yet again.
“If you must stand so close, turn your back at least!” Rymia snapped at me. “We’re going to take off her clothing and neither of us plans to be on the receiving end of her fury if you see her in the nude!”
‘As if I haven’t seen her nude before.’ I bit back the smart remark and shifted so that my back was to the bedroom.
“Boy, you’re going to want to strengthen that barrier more,” Rylda muttered. “Rymia, close and lock the balcony doors, just in case.
“Nalithor, put her to sleep and then focus your efforts on the barrier.”
“Girl is damned powerful!” Rymia added. “If you don’t do something, her power is going to leak out of your domain and stir up Elders only know what!
“Her Highness is…very hungry. If your blood doesn’t sate her we will have to find more willing donors.”
“More willing…” I grimaced when my tail slammed into the wall at the thought.
“Hurts…” Arianna’s voice startled me almost as much as the spike of power that made me turn.
The healers both looked at me expectantly. I hurried to Arianna’s side and brought my hands up to her face, summoning darkness to lull her into a deep sleep.
“Wait in the other room,” Rylda demanded, pointing at the door. “Collect yourself. Get the blood off. Something. Watching Arianna’s transformation will just—”
I shot Rylda a thoroughly irritated look and then stalked out of the bedroom and into the sitting room. Slumping back on the sofa, I raised the fingers of my left hand to my temples and tried to clear my mind enough to strengthen the barrier around my domain. If Arianna could push my buttons like that without even trying, I wasn’t certain if I would be able to keep my sanity if she started trying.
The rippling power of Rylda and Rymia drew my concern when I sensed their power rising to greater and greater heights in an effort to subdue and contain Arianna’s transformation. I could smell Arianna’s blood, worrying amounts of it, and it took all of my self-control not to intrude. Despite my concern, her scent, her power, and the smell of her blood was intoxicating. I wanted to taste her, I wanted to wrap myself in her scent, and I wanted to…
I shook my head hard and covered my face with one hand. Arianna seemed to be the one thing that could make my thoughts spiral out of control. Although I couldn’t read her desires as well as I would have liked, it was still potent enough to lure me in. Her interest in me seemed genuine even if she was bashful or hesitant at times.
“She’s going to wake up, and soon,” Rymia informed me as she and Rylda hurried past me. “We’re going to wait outside the wing’s barrier. The Vulin and Arianna’s Guardians will maintain it. If you two rip each other to shreds, we’ll be here to patch you up.
“Djialkan assures us that he’ll sense if we need to find replacements for you.”
“Replacements?” I snarled, glaring at the laughing women. “Tch.”
I scowled at the door as they shut it behind them, then rose to my feet and wandered back to my bedroom to check on Arianna. They must have used their magic to return whatever blood she’d lost during her transformation. Though the scent remained, there wasn’t a visible trace in the room or on the princess herself.
The sight of the unconscious woman on my bed, however, was startling.
Her long, obsidian-scaled tail hung limp off the side of the bed and dragged on the floor. A pair of platinum horns twisted back from above her temples, the shape almost identical to that of her father’s. The claws on her hands and feet now matched the color of her horns. I couldn’t spot any other changes—Arianna still looked like Arianna, even if the horns and tail were…a blast from the past, so to speak.
It was strange to see her in Devillian form after so long, especially since as a child she had hidden it to the best of her ability.
Arianna let out a groggy grumble but paused partway through the movement. I felt her bloodlust settle on me in an instant. In a movement faster than my eyes could follow, she had leapt out of bed and rushed me. Instinctively, I caught her by the throat and lifted her off the ground before striding toward the bed.
“Impatient, aren’t you?” I asked, curious, as I took a seat on the edge of the bed. I studied her as she struggled in my grip. She was so blind in her hunger that, in a way, I wondered if she was even truly conscious.
A small whimper escaped her when my hand squeezed around her throat, even as she continued to struggle. Her claws sliced open my forearm in her attempts to free herself. I watched, fascinated, as she grew still in response to the scent of my blood. I found myself captivated as I watched Arianna bring her fingers up to her mouth, oh so carefully, and begin lapping my blood off her claws.
Her throat rumbled with a contented purr and she bit her lower lip. I could practically see her mind attempting to work out how she could taste more.
“You want more?” I inquired, giving her throat another squeeze and watching with interest when she shivered in response. “Oh…? Have you been hiding a bit of a masochistic streak from me, my dear?
‘Or at least trying—and failing—to. I suppose she is quite obvious, at times… The collar suddenly became even more fitting, regardless.’
I tilted my head to the side and studied her while debating whether or not to let her go, or if I should toy with her more. The small whimper that escaped her when I wrapped my tail around her thigh startled me. Her heart began racing again but this time it was with anticipation. If she was going to make sounds like that… I shook my head in disbelief and then brought her down so that her face was level with mine.
“You’re so hungry that you can’t even beg me properly, aren’t you?” I remarked, watching her lips part as she grabbed me by the front of my robes and attempted to pull me close. “If you have the venom of an Adinvyr… We are both going to be in trouble for days…”
Resigned, I released Arianna’s throat. She wasted no time in pinning me to the bed beneath her and straddled me, nuzzling into the crook of my neck. Her breath was shaky as her lips brushed against my skin. Just when I began to think she was hesitating, she sunk her fangs deep into my throat. I gasped, startled. I had expected to feel pain from fangs, not the intense pleasure that threatened to consume me.
‘Is this what she feels when I…’
Her hands crept down my torso as she drank greedily from me. Her claws teased over my skin, her hands slipping inside my robes. I had to catch her wrists when her hands threatened to wander lower. I found it extremely difficult to maintain my grip when she began to make the most incredible little moans and whimpers while feeding from me.
“A-Arianna… That’s enough.” I groaned as she retrieved her hands from my grip and pulled open the top of my robes. “Gods, if you keep making those noises, I’m…”
A startled, gasping moan escaped me when her tail wrapped tight around the length of my own and warmth spread from her fangs, through my body. ‘Dehsul! Venom. I should have—’
I grew hopelessly aroused as her tail massaged along mine. I was almost completely oblivious to her wandering hands. Her venom threatened to consume my mind or even make it blank entirely. My pleasured moans and writing only served to spur her on, and I was almost beyond caring.
Her little moans while she drank my blood were such a godsdamned tease. It was maddening. I wanted to slip a collar and leash around that dainty little throat of hers and bury myself inside her to the hilt so that I could rip full, proper moans from that plush mouth. She should have been beneath me, begging for me to give her orgasm after orgasm…
“Arianna. Stop.” I growled, firm, when I felt my consciousness starting to slip. “You’re taking too much, and you’re… Ahhh… Dehsul, if you keep doing that with your tail I will lose my mind!”
She was beyond hearing me. I writhed beneath her in ecstasy, unable to fathom how she knew how to use her tail like that to bring me to climax. It didn’t matter anymore. Her tail wasn’t finished with me yet, and her hands had dislodged my trousers long ago. She seemed hells-bent on bringing me to climax again and I was too far-gone to care. Her soft hands wrapped around my thick shaft the best they could, stroking…
I couldn’t resist her anymore.