Author's note: I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has been reading The Twilight Dragon series. I had a lot of fun writing this story and I appreciate everyone's patience. I plan to write a few shorter stories in the future so I hope you will look forward to those as well. Happy reading!)
Climbing the hill wasn't as grueling a task as I had expected since the path was wide and well paved for carriages. It was unnerving to see the drawbridge lowered and the courtyard seemingly devoid of life when normally there would be so many people about, loudly selling wares and services.
"Stop." Duke held out an arm to block our path as we neared. "It's too quiet, I don't like it."
"You could fly us to one of the towers." I suggested, pointing high up above us at the small tower with its red roof and flag.
Duke let out a rumble of concern. "We'll stay out of sight." Donya promised.
He grabbed me and flew up into the tower. While I leaned against the stone edge to catch my breath from the sharp ascent, he flew back down and picked Donya up, dropping her off too. Donya leaned against the edge too, eyes wide. "Oh my." She gasped.
Suddenly Duke pushed past me and I heard a large 'thunk'. He was clutching the cultist that he had just knocked out. He gave us a pointed look as he set the man down but didn't say anything else. We hurried down the walkway and into the main castle.
It was strange to be wandering through a place where it looked like everyone had just dropped what they were doing and left. The bedroom we had walked into had disheveled blankets and a hairbrush lay forgotten on the ground. A towel sat soaking in a basin of bathing water, its water long since cooled. I realized I was holding a breath and finally let it go with a shuddery sigh. I felt Duke's hand on my shoulder reassuringly. l patted his hand as we left the room and walked down the hallway.
As we headed down the stairs we could hear chanting in the distance. Duke stopped us with his arm again and I bumped into it. I looked ahead to see a cultist patrolling, staff in hand. His back was facing us and we slowly approached him. I took off my headband and made a motion to show that we should stuff it in his mouth to silence him. Duke nodded and grabbed the guy, covering his mouth and pulling him off his feet. The cultist let out a cry that was muffled by the gag Duke stuffed into his mouth. We moved into a room and tied him up with blankets and curtain ropes. He struggled, yelling out. He was a dark-haired man, and his eyes were jet black and had dark veins spreading out from them.
"Eww..." I complained. "What happened to you..."
He glared at me and struggled to speak. Probably to mutter out expletives, I guessed.
"Shut it." Donya said to him as she straightened her tunic.
The outer ring of guards was easy enough to eliminate, they were sparse and not expecting a group to ambush them. In fact, given how we were not spotted from outside either, I was guessing that they had assumed that they had driven out most of the force from the town and could relax now. As we shoved two more into a well-furnished bathroom, I was feeling a lot bolder. However, as the chanting grew louder the lower we went, I started to become anxious again. We headed into the dining hall where the chanting was loudest.
"Intruders!" The guards were on high alert and spotted us creeping down the stairs. We ducked our heads behind a pillar to avoid blue blasts of energy. I could hear loud crackling as pieces of stone broke off the pillar and fell onto the floor. Duke grabbed a piece and threw it at one of the cultists. A howl of pain emitted from the unfortunate recipient. I peeked through the spaces in the banister and saw the doors fly open and more cultists streamed out. Before the doors shut again I could see cultists chanting around a large glowing fire in the center of the room. The crackling continued and I knew we couldn't hide forever. Duke grabbed the helmet from a knight in armor set and flung it at the cultists.
The air felt strange with all the magic blasts all around us. My hair seemed to stand on end and my teeth felt strange. We hid amongst the columns, slowly backing away from the onslaught. "Dead end here." Duke said with gritted teeth as we came to a corner.
"There!" Donya pointed to the stairs that led downwards into the basement area. I wasn't looking forward to going down here but did so reluctantly, as we had no other choice. We turned and ran down the stairs. I put my hand to the rough stone wall as we fled.
The torches on the wall were the only source of light down the hallways and once we found a turn, we took it, eager to rid ourselves of our magic followers. I could hear them talking in harsh voices. We delved deeper into our hiding spot. My heart was pounding hard and I felt like I was breathing so hard everyone could hear. Duke stood in front of us, hiding us behind his large wings. He shifted uneasily. Now it was quiet again, too quiet. I peeked underneath his wing. All of a sudden, I saw Duke leap forward and straighten up again. I could hear soft struggling noises as Duke clutched one of the cultists in his arms. Finally, Duke relaxed his arms and slowly lowered the man to the floor. We shuffled past the unconscious body and back into the main hallway. I felt like our feet were scraping loudly against the stone floor despite all my efforts to tip toe.
I started to head over back to the stairs but Duke grabbed me. He nodded in the other direction. He wanted to finish off the other cultists! I nodded and we followed him as we headed back to the next hallway. The end opened up to a wide cellar with large, dark wooden barrels on racks. Unfortunately, one of the cultists was in the room and had decided at that moment to turn around. "I see them!" He shot a blast of magic at us and we ducked.
The blast hit a barrel and it exploded, pieces of wood flying in every direction and liquid splashed out and onto the ground. We leapt onto the cultist, overpowering him. He had been yelling for help and Duke punched him hard in the head. His head hit the ground with an uncomfortably loud smack.
We ducked behind corners as the cultists ran into the cellar, shouting angrily and firing magic blasts. Duke picked up a barrel and brought it down on both of them with a powerful heave. He took two blasts in the chest in the process, but the cultists went down. Ale splashed onto all of us, and my eyes burned. I wiped at them with my dry sleeve.
"Are you alright?" Donya asked Duke.
He clutched his chest but nodded. "These blasts aren't as bad as before...they are getting tired."
One of the cultists twitched and he kicked him in the head with one clawed foot. "I don't think you two should take any hits though."
I nodded in agreement. "Is that all of them?"
"I guess we'll find out." Duke said as we back towards the stairs. Once at the main floor we surveyed the area. Nothing. With a determined frown I started to head towards the main hall.
As we neared we saw that two more cultists blocked the doorway. I ducked behind a bronze statue while Donya and Duke ducked down onto their bellies to hide behind a short corner.
I heard Duke curse loudly. I peeked underneath the arm of the statue and I could see the two cultists waving their hands in the air. There was a loud rumbling from the ground as the stone floor cracked and broke apart, rising up into the air beside them. I stared on in absolute horror as the grey stones started to press together to form arms, legs, and a bumpy head, a humanoid shape. I had only seen this thing in old myth books before.
"Golem! They made a golem!" I shouted to Duke, who gaped at me before peering over.
"What?" He growled in disbelief. I grabbed Donya's hand and pulled her to the exit of the castle. There was no way we were going to be able to fight a stone golem! In the courtyard we might have a better chance. I could hear the loud crushing sounds of stone on stone as the golem followed us.
I ran towards the stalls where the horses were kept and scrambled over the wooden fence with Donya close behind. Duke turned around to face the oncoming threat. "Duke!" I tossed him a pitchfork. He clutched it in his claws. We ran to hide under bales of hay while I looked around to decide how to help. There was a lot of stuff on the ground, tools strewn all over the place in the people's haste to leave.
I grabbed a short sword and ran back over. "Stay back, Lianne!" Duke hissed as he thrust the pitchfork into the head of the golem. The motion made a loud screech that we all winced from but the golem continued to advance and held up its large rock arms. It swung at Duke, who ducked just in time. Duke thrust again with the pitchfork, and this time I saw a chip of a rock fly away from them. The golem continued to try and knock him down. "Over here!" I pointed to the bridge and the large moat. "The moat!"
Duke looked back at me for a second and nodded. He nodded and started to run over. One of the cultists had followed the golem out of the castle and was casting spells at us again. Donya had grabbed a shield from somewhere and ran to me. WHOMP WHOMP. Thankfully the spells couldn't penetrate the metal shield, though I could see Donya's arms strain from blocking them.
"Let's get rid of him." She said to me. I nodded. We started to move back to the stables where we could hide from view.
"Come out, cowards!" He shouted as we ducked behind a hay barrel. I responded by throwing a metal hammer at him. I knew I didn't hit him, but the blasts stopped. I heard his steps as he started to walk towards us. I could hear the blood rushing through my ears. started to shuffle over to the other edge of the hay barrel with Donya going to the other side. I gripped the sword in my hand. He was breathing hard, exhausted from all the magic he had used, and when I could hear him close I leaped up and swung my sword. He balked and fell backwards and my swing missed. He sneered as he held up his hands to summon the magic again just as I saw Donya come up behind him and thrust something into the back of his head. His eyes rolled up and she shoved him onto the ground. From outside the castle we heard the loud thumps of rocks hitting the ground. Leaving the cultist's body, we ran to the outside to see. Duke looked like he had taken a few hits from the large golem, he was limping. He still gripped the pitchfork as he stared down at the stones, confused.
"We killed the cultist that had summoned him." Donya explained.
"Ah, that will do it." He said with a nod as he stuck the pitchfork into the ground. He coughed roughly. I noticed the deep lines in his face and I could feel my adrenaline starting to wear off, leaving me exhausted.
"How many are left?" I wondered out loud as I handed Duke a cloth to wipe the blood from his cut eyebrow.
"That might have been one of the last." He growled, baring his teeth. I saw Donya shift slightly further away from him.
We cautiously returned to the castle and headed towards the closed doors. At last no more black clothed cultists were standing in the way. Pushing them open revealed the great hall and a single cultist stood at the end, where a large shrine was set. Several large candles illuminated the various objects. There were many strange plants, bowels of dark colored liquid and even a human skull. I shivered involuntarily.
"You're too late." He sneered as he turned to see us. I would've called his bluff had I not noticed that the candles were growing brighter and brighter, creating light far beyond their capabilities. It felt like the air was getting sucked out of the room, and we all took a step back. I gasped for air. A large crackling noise ensued and a bright flash made me cover my eyes. There was a whoosh as the air came back and blew my hair into my face. I opened my eyes.
A glowing gold figure had appeared on the table beside the shrine. It looked...like a woman! A naked woman. I wasn't sure whether or not to keep looking at her but I couldn't tear my eyes away. She had fair, perfect skin and golden hair that reached her breasts, which were large and perky despite their size. She had a lean waist, and her hips were nicely curved. I found my gaze travel down to between her legs despite my best efforts. I marveled at the soft looking gold hair there. I had never seen a more perfect woman.
I was finally interrupted from my daze when Duke walked forward determinedly, turning the pitchfork over in his hands.
"My queen!" The cultist fell to his feet, bowing. She acknowledged him by turning her head slightly and lowering her eyes almost dismissively. "I am your humble servant." He said as he raised his head up to look at her.
"And apparently, the only one." She said with a displeased frown as she looked around. She noticed us. " And who are they?"
"Heretics!" He leapt back up to his feet as he pushed back his sleeves. "I will destroy them for you."
"No need." She said with a confident smirk. "I will do that myself." A flicker, and suddenly she was standing on the floor next to the table.
I looked over to see alarm on Duke's face. What could would a pitchfork be against an enemy that could teleport? "Run." He said with me through gritted teeth. I hesitated before I bolted towards the exit. I didn't want to leave him behind but my presence was most likely going to distract him. Donya and I ran out the door. "We have to help him!" I said to her. She nodded.
"We need to look for weapons." She looked at my sword. "Damn it, why didn't I keep my weapon? So stupid." She pointed to the kitchen. "A knife! Let's go." We ran to it. I grabbed a large cleaver that had been resting on a counter and gave it to Donya. We were both panting from running full speed. I looked around for other things we could use. "How about this?" I grabbed a small sack of flour that was on the table. "We can toss it in her eyes."
It all seemed so surreal, and very ridiculous to be fighting a goddess with these items, but we would have to try.
"Hey." Donya put her cleaver down and touched her hands to my head, pulling me closer. "We can do this. At the very least we can distract her so we can help Duke escape."
I nodded. That seemed like a more realistic solution "Okay."
We ran back to the great hall, already we could hear large blast noises. We ran into the great hall again to see Duke flying near one of the large windows, a limp cultist clutched in his claws. The goddess was shooting rays of light from her hands at him. It didn't look too bad until one of the rays stuck the large window, shattering it and sending shards of glass at Duke's form.
"No!" I shouted and in one motion the goddess turned and blasted me with one of the light rays. She hit the table right in front of me and it lit with a strange golden flame. "Shit!" I missed the shield already, but I hadn't thought to bring it back inside, it had been extremely heavy. Duke tossed the cultist out the now open window and swooped down at the goddess when she was distracted by us. Crash! One part of the table flew out and hit the wall as they fought. A flash and then she was on the other side of the hall and casting light rays again. I moved towards the wall and near a large statue. A flash again, and then to my horror, she was standing right beside me! I instinctively threw the flour onto her.
"Gah!" She spat out the flour and backhanded me. The force was so powerful that I was thrown back and landed in the fallen curtains near the wall.
I gaped as I struggled to get the air back into my lungs as little dots clouded my vision. The pain was unlike anything I had felt before. I lay there in a daze for a few moments until the pain subsided enough for me to sit up. Duke was fighting her again, this time with his flame breath. He shot a long blast of fire at her and she dodged it, the fire set the carpet on fire and she zipped around it. Wait...around...I looked down at the flour and noticed that instead of one footprint, there was a streak leading back to the center of the room. So…she wasn't teleporting, she was moving fast. and maybe...bending the light somehow so we couldn't see her?
From the other side, partially hidden, I could see Donya waving her hands at me frantically. What was she doing that? Such a strange lady, I thought to myself. Then my rational mind kicked in again. I looked at where she was pointing. The curtains! They were long enough that if we could get her underneath them, she would be trapped. We would have to get Duke's attention, but first Donya needed to distract the goddess. I got Donya's attention again, pointed to Duke, then the curtain, then to her and mimed a hacking motion. She squinted her eyes and tried to understand. I made the motions again and this time she nodded grimly. "Wow, you still haven't killed us yet? What a terrible goddess, no wonder you only had one follower!" She shouted loudly. With an angry snarl the goddess ran over to her.
"Duke!" I shouted to Duke, who had landed on the floor. "The curtains!" He gave me a confused look and I mimed throwing them on someone. Recognition appeared on his face and he nodded. He ran over to the base of the curtains and pulled, hard. The bar at the top snapped and Duke flew up to catch it. I looked over at Donya and to my horror, the goddess had her hands around Donya neck, holding up her up with two hands. I saw her legs kick against the goddess uselessly. I gripped my sword and ran towards them, intent on ramming the goddess with it. Suddenly I was shoved to the side as Duke flew towards them straight into the goddess. Donya fell, choking. They tumbled around on the ground and Duke was fighting her, punching with fists and biting. I ran over and pulled Donya away from them. She was still weak and leaned heavily on me, we fell onto the floor. I looked back to see Duke take a deep breath and blast fire onto the carpeted mound, a seemingly endless stream of fire. I heard pain filled shrieks as she burned. I covered my ears.
Finally the fire stopped. A steaming black mound lay on the ground.
Duke prodded the mound with a foot and nodded grimly. "Let's get out of here." Duke said to us as he walked over to us. I left eagerly, leading the way.
So it was over. Finally over. I was still coming to grips with that fact when I tripped over a pile of robes and fell onto the floor. "Lianne!" Donya helped me up. I picked up the robes, confused. "Where'd the cultist go?"
Duke took the robes from me and rifled through them like he was figuring out some sort of magic trick. "Huh. I guess...the portal took them back?" He dropped the robes. We went back to the basement to double check. It was the same in the basement as well as upstairs, the cultists were gone, leaving only the clothes behind. "Oh. Well that makes things simple." Duke said, though he looked bewildered.
"Well…at least we don't have to…deal with them." I said. I remembered Donya had killed one of the cultists, and the other ones…were they knocked out? I asked Duke and he confirmed that some of them were only unconscious. I exchanged looks with Donya, not really sure of how to feel.
"So the portal just…" I made a sucking noise. "Even the unconscious ones?"
"I guess so." Duke said.
"And you're sure she's…dead?"
"Definitely dead." Duke said.
"Well…I guess that's it then." I said finally. We were silent for a while, processing the new information. Someone's stomach growled, I wasn't sure whose.
"Let's eat." Donya decided for everyone. We followed her obediently back to the kitchen.
Although the kitchen was a bit of a mess, it wasn't too hard to find the larder. Duke brought out a large leg of salted game meat and a block of cheese. I put a pot with water to boil as Duke sliced the meat and cheese. Donya waved a light brown bun in my face and I took it, biting into the soft crust. Mmm it was good. I had never had bread like this before, it wasn't like the rough grain from the village bakery. Despite being stale, the bread had very fine, delicate inside, and I devoured it quickly. Donya fed me bits of bread as I added the sliced meat to the water.
"It's a shame someone wasted all the ale." Donya said. Duke smirked and poured her some wine from a nearby bottle.
"I'm going to look for some vegetables for our soup." I said, passing Duke the stirring spoon.
I held back my excitement as I pushed opened the door to the larder, not knowing what to expect. I gasped.
On the shelves, a multitude of dried game meat and fish, cheeses and spices. Open baskets containing fresh vegetables, plump and juicy looking. I grabbed a few that I recognized and resisting the urge to try everything, went back outside.
"Here." Duke held out his hand for the vegetables and began chopping them. I eagerly helped myself to some ale, quenching my parched throat.
"Try this, it goes great with the bread." Donya said, handing me a piece of cheese. I eagerly put it in my mouth.
"Delicous." I said, letting the richness coat my tongue. "I could get used to this."
We ate continuously, and when the soup was done Duke ladled big bowlfuls for all of us. Donya was sitting on the counter as she drank from her bowl, kicking her legs happily. I used the last bit of bread to soak up the soup.
"I think we should stay here tonight, and head out tomorrow morning." Duke said after we had all finished.
What time was it? I looked out the window and saw only darkness. Nighttime already. I yawned and agreed. We went upstairs and found the largest room to stay in for the night. Maybe it was the day's events but it only made sense for all of us to share a room. Duke started to make a fire for the fireplace and Donya and I hurried over to hide under the covers. I hadn't realized how cold it was in the castle, it had a damp chill that seemed to coat my skin. Maybe that was why the rich lords were always wearing large heavy coats. I watched as Duke breathed fire onto the logs until a large roaring fire was made.
Duke settled down onto the rug to the side of the fireplace, putting a hand under his head. He turned down the offer for him to join us on the bed.
"Too crowded." He said. "And I can stay warm without blankets."
It was quiet after that, the three of us content to stay silent and watch the fire. I thought of the day's events, the cultists and the goddess. We were safe. I thought about the cultists and their powers. Were there more people like that? Would there be more rituals? How long would we be safe for? Until the next group decided to summon something again? And what would they summon next time? Demons? More monsters. The thought was a little troubling. I finally pulled myself out of my thoughts and looked around. Donya had already fallen asleep beside me in the bed. I looked over and Duke was already snoring. Something worry about tomorrow, I thought as I closed my eyes.
I slept restlessly, although the bed was soft and comfortable, the feeling of being in an unfamiliar place prevented my sub-conscious from fully relaxing. It was only when I could feel the sun's rays sneaking in through the curtains that I actually fell asleep. I woke when I heard the sounds of movement, I opened my eyes sleepily to see Donya packing up her bag. "Ah, you're awake." She said with a grin. "Wash up and let's go downstairs. I think Duke is making breakfast."
I took a seat near the kitchen counter as Duke fried up thick slices of bacon. We ate them with bread and butter. "Do you want to take anything?" Donya asked me as she put a jar of spice into her backpack.
"Can we?" I asked hesitantly.
"I don't see why not." Duke said, rolling up the rest of the bacon slab in a cloth and putting it in his sack.
"Well, alright." I said eagerly, snatching the wine bottle off the table. I went to the larder to take a few more things.
The trip back was peaceful, we snacked on the items we had taken from the castle and talked about what we were going to do once we were home. "Swim in the lake for a bit, pick some berries. I wonder if we could plant some near our place." I wondered thoughtfully.
"Sleep." Duke said. We all agreed to that.
We had bacon sandwiches by the river for lunch, and some fresh trout for dinner. I fell asleep under the stars and slept better than when I had at the castle. In what seemed like no time at all, we were nearing home.
"Do you think…the cultists will come back?" I asked. No one had an answer. "I think…we might need to be prepared." I said cautiously.
"Oh? How so?"
"Well I was thinking…maybe I could learn to fight, and shoot a bow and arrow."
"That sounds like an excellent idea, and might I remind you, Duke, that we were the ones that rescued you?" Donya waved her finger at the large dragon.
"My rescuers." He admitted with a grin. "Fine, but as a precaution. We don't go looking for trouble."
I looked at the sky with its beautiful blue hues and fluffy clouds, the red streaks completely gone like it had never existed.
"Of course not, we just have to be…prepared."
Life had returned to normal after we had gotten rid of the cultists, and we settled comfortably back into village life. No one knew that we were the ones that have saved everyone, but I was fine with that. It would have been way too difficult to stick with a consistent story anyways. The important thing was that I had my boyfriend, and my best friend back. With some persuasion, one of the villagers who was trained in archery started to teach us how to shoot. It was slow learning but Donya and I had fun with our hobby, and it brought us closer.
It had been a nice evening today and Duke and I were spending it in the usual way. In bed. Duke stroked my back as I rubbed my nipple indolently. My cheeks were flush from my first orgasm, my clit still twitching from the effects of Duke's strong tongue. "Wait." I said as I moved off the bed to the side table. The candle should have warmed it up enough by now.
"What? Why do you look so smug?" He raised a brow as I walked over with the vase.
"I want to try something." I said as I settled between his legs. I tested the temperature of the oil before dripping it from the vase onto his semi-erect cock. He rumbled happily.
"I like where this is going." He said as I ran my hands up and down his shaft, covering it in the warm oil. He laid back on the pillow and shut his eyes. Pretty soon he was completely hard. I wrapped a large, warm soaked towel around his cock, tying it at the bottom. He opened his eyes, "What's this?" He asked.
"Something a friend told me about." I said. He looked dubious until I climbed on top of him, spreading my pussy lips and slowly letting him enter me. Just one short orgasm was just enough to make me crave his cock. He gripped the blankets hard, watching his cock disappear into me. We had never fucked before, but with the towel, I didn't have to take all of him. Oh god, he felt so good. I could feel every inch of him inside, stretching me. It felt so right, his enormous cock inside of me, me barely able to hold him inside. From the moment I felt him inside I knew that I would never be satisfied with another cock again. I started to move up and down his cock and we both let out a simultaneous groan of ecstasy.
"I don't believe this." Duke said in awe as we continued to fuck.
"I've been practicing." I said with a wink.
"Fuck…you feel good." He groaned. He caressed my thighs, inviting me to go faster. And so I did. I could feel my orgasm building already, my pussy clenching down on his cock. He let out a moan and I felt him come inside of me in strong bursts, his cock flexing each time. I gripped him tightly as I came too. I lost myself in the moment, and he seemed to come for a very long time.
"Oh, wow." Duke gasped. I got off him and I could feel him pop out of me, and the large gush of his cum that followed immediately afterwards. There was so much! The feeling of his cum oozing out of me was enough for me to want my third orgasm. From the look of his eyes Duke had the same idea.
"Do you like the trick that Donya taught me?" I asked teasingly even though I knew the answer.
"Oh yes, but I think you need to show me again." Duke said, pulling me underneath him and smothering me with a deep kiss.
Oh yes, I was definitely fine with that.