Princess-Cut Diamond Thief pt. 5

Eli continues to pursue his plans to build his wealth, while a new and dramatic change causes some pain and a lot of pleasure.

Eli set his teacup on its saucer, the gentle tinkle of the porcelain filling the uneasy silence. "I understand you are a busy man, Lord Sellig, so I shall dispense of the pleasantries, for now. I do not wish to take more of your precious time than is necessary."

Lord Sellig chuckled and sipped delicately at his tea. It was a fragrant, spiced variety from the lord’s home province of Ledwyth. Eli rather liked it, compared to the swill that had come from Lord Brever’s Althay.

From the moment he’d walked into the sitting room adjacent to Eli’s chambers at the palace, Lord Sellig had acted rather dismissively. Quite understandable as what had been suitable for Lord Brever, a mere count, hardly counted for much in the eyes of Lord Sellig, a proper duke.

Eli saw the façade for what it was, however. He was well aware that underneath the mask of impassivity, Lord Sellig was taking stock of him, of whether he would make a challenging foe, a good ally, or a useful pawn.

It was only natural. Such was the game of houses. It pervaded every aspect of life—even something as innocuous as tea with a virtual nobody.

"I do find it rather pleasing when one man respects another’s time," said Lord Sellig, with a small smile. "What is it you wish to discuss, Sir Blackblade?"

Eli returned Lord Sellig’s smile. He shifted in his seat, deliberately making himself out to be more uncomfortable than he was. "It is a rather delicate matter, Lord Sellig," he said.

Two days ago, Eli had sent a letter to Lord Brever to set his plans for Althay in motion. It had said:

My dear, esteemed friend,

It filled me with no small amount of joy to have partaken in your company the other day. The distinctive taste of brussroot lingers on my tongue still and inspires fond memory of our time together.

I sincerely believe that, should the opportunity present itself, we ought to make plans to do the same. However, I write with a different purpose in mind.

Our conversation about your dear Lukas the other day rather inspired a recollection of my own sordid past. As you may well know, my friend, I did not have the easiest childhood. In many ways, I believe you and my father would have rather found common ground with regard to your recalcitrant children.

I tell you this because I seem to recall one particular tactic that my father was wont to use when I was younger. You see, my friend, I oft obsessed over certain toys, much like your dear Lukas has been doing so.

I would neglect my duties just so I could spend more time with my newest obsession and it drove my father mad. He tried every which way to discipline me and found that it did not work.

Not, at least, until he decided that each time I obsessed over a toy to the exclusion of my duties, he would take it from me, and sell it to another family for a pittance. Naturally, it had precisely the effect he’d hoped for. I could not obsess over something if it was not there for me to obsess over, after all.

I was none too pleased at the time but I appreciate what he did for me, now. After all, I learned to focus on my responsibilities as a result.

All that is to say that there is always hope, my friend. Perhaps you might learn something from my story that will help you with your son.

To your good health and the continued prosperity of Althay,

Your dear friend, Sir Kaspar Blackblade

Eli pursed his lips, looked at Lord Sellig, and said, "I should not like to impose on your time, my lord, but I could not think of anyone more suited to speak to about it."

Lord Sellig did not seem in the least bit interested in what Eli had to say, but he waved his hand as if to tell Eli to go on, anyway. At least he had the courtesy to hear Eli out.

"As a master thief, I have not had the luxury of staying in any one place for too long, as you might imagine," said Eli.

The comment, at the very least, managed to elicit a chuckle from the duke.

Eli smiled and continued. "However, I have grown rather fond of the kingdom and would like to set down roots, if I am able." He’d laid the bait and all that remained was to see if the prey would bite.

The change in Lord Sellig’s expression was all Eli needed to know that the play had worked. He’d made no small secret of his desire to move on from the kingdom, before. Now that he had expressed an interest in staying, he was suddenly useful.

Though Eli was almost nobody, he did have the recognition of the queen. The fact that he had returned the Stars to the kingdom made him something of a hero and the love of the people was invaluable to nobles like Lord Sellig.

Lord Sellig nodded. "Ah, of course," he said. "I can understand the desire, Sir Blackblade. There is something to be said about the freedom of traveling the world with nothing to tie one down, but it must become rather lonely, in the end."

Eli was pleasantly surprised. "Indeed, my lord," he said.

"Surprised?" said Lord Sellig, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "My ancestors were traveling merchants before they came to this kingdom. For generations they wandered this land, traveling from one settlement to the next, making trades and peddling their wares."

Eli nodded. "I did not know this, my lord," he said.

Lord Sellig laughed. "It is all ancient history, I’m afraid," he said. "According to our family story, it was Queen Tessia, daughter of Queen Bælladaria, who welcomed our ancestors, even as they were strangers, to this kingdom during the great famine of their times. We have been here, since."

Eli pretended at surprise. "If I am not mistaken, my lord, that makes your House Sellig nearly as old as the Kingdom of Bællad itself."

"Give or take a few years, Sir Blackblade," said Lord Sellig, with a chuckle. "All that is to say that Bællad is a welcoming kingdom. I am certain that you can find a place here. You are well-loved by the people, after all, and I am sure that her majesty looks upon you fondly for returning the Stars to our kingdom. I shall be more than happy to help in any way you need."

"Ah, well, I should appreciate that, Lord Sellig," said Eli, with a small smile. "And I suppose that brings us back to my present conundrum."

Ledwyth was one of the largest provinces in the kingdom. It also happened to be right next to Althay. There was one reason, and one reason alone that Eli had invited Lord Sellig for tea.

"You see, Lord Sellig, just the other day I had the privilege of speaking to Lord Brever…" he said, trailing off to watch for the duke’s reaction.

Lord Sellig’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly. Eli would have missed it if not for his improved senses. A masterful player of the great game, indeed.

Having properly caught Lord Sellig’s attention, Eli continued. No doubt, the duke was very interested in every little scrap of information he could get about Althay. "The count expressed some interest in selling off Althay’s mines," said Eli.

"What?" said Lord Sellig, eyes widening as he failed to mask his surprise. He mumbled something unintelligible, even to Eli’s augmented hearing, under his breath.

Half a heartbeat later, Lord Sellig’s expression had returned to its schooled impassivity. It was rather impressive to see. Little wonder that the duke had managed to grow his territory and influence despite the hardships of the kingdom. "Did Lord Brever say why?" he said.

Eli nodded, pretending to not have noticed the sudden change in the duke’s demeanor. "Yes, he did," he said. "It seems that Lord Brever is under the impression that his son is obsessed with the mines to the detriment of the province’s future."

Lord Sellig blinked.

Eli continued. "He expressed that he believes it wise to remove the object of young Lukas’ fixation so that he might turn his attention and effort to more productive endeavors."

Lord Sellig’s expression hardened. His glare could have punched through solid steel. There was no small amount of disbelief in his eyes.

Eli couldn’t blame Lord Sellig. It was an outrageous statement to make. Had he been talking about any other lord, no one would have believed him, but because he was talking about Lord Brever, Lord Sellig had to look closely to puzzle out whether he was lying or telling the truth.

"I suppose that makes sense, on some level," said Lord Sellig, after a short pause. If he had judged that Eli was telling the truth, he didn’t show it. Eli didn’t much care to know, either way.

Eli scratched his cheek and pretended not to have noticed anything out of the ordinary. "I had thought that the mines were the reason for Althay’s current prosperity," said Eli. "However, Lord Brever was rather insistent that the province’s agricultural strength was its greatest asset."

Lord Sellig took a breath. He tried to hide it but he seemed irritated. It wasn’t difficult to imagine why. He had probably had to deal with Lord Brever for decades.

For the Count of Althay to constantly boast about the abundant farms and rich fields of his territory when it was right next to Lord Sellig’s Ledwyth, the actual agricultural powerhouse of the kingdom, must have been grating.

"Yes," said Lord Sellig, unable to help the hint of exasperation that crept into his voice. "Lord Brever is rather proud of the rich soils of Althay."

No doubt because of the sheer amount of horse shit that spews from Lord Brever’s mouth on the regular, Eli thought to himself. He had to fight down the chuckle that threatened to spill out at his own joke. Fortunately, Lord Sellig pulled him back into the rather more serious conversation.

"Am I to understand that, Sir Blackblade, you have an interest in purchasing these mines?" said Lord Sellig.

Eli nodded. "Yes, my lord," he said. "I have conducted some research and from what I gather they seem to be a reasonable investment.

"However, I should like to get a more personal sort of opinion on the matter. Though it may be presumptive of me, I had assumed that Lord Sellig would be rather familiar with the mines in question."

"Not at all," said Lord Sellig. "And yes, I am familiar with the mines. Much of the ore they produce pass through Ledwyth and are refined in our foundries."

Eli nodded and smiled. "Then I shall have to trouble my lord for your opinion on this investment. Lord Brever said that he was looking to sell the rights to the mines for no more than a thousand gold."

Lord Sellig set his teacup down. He was the picture of composure but Eli did not miss the slight tremor in his fingers as he released the handle of the cup. The figure Eli had spoken seemed to have thrown him off.

Eli continued as if he hadn’t noticed. "Though I do not doubt that this amount is rather small for a pair of productive mines, it is still a significant sum for one such as I who does not have much to my name. I shall have to secure loans if I wish to purchase these mines and I should rather like to know as much as I can about them before I make such an important choice."

Lord Sellig nodded. His expression went right back to being unreadable as he seemed to ponder his next words. "I think that the gods show you great favor, Sir Blackblade," said Lord Sellig. "You are right to have come to me."

Eli nodded. "I find that very reassuring, Lord Sellig," he said. "Thank you."

Lord Sellig shook his head. "I do not think you should be thanking me, Sir Blackblade," he said. "I understand that the deal, on the face of it, is rather attractive. However, I do not think I can, in good conscience, counsel you to take this opportunity."

Eli pretended at surprise. "Why do you say that, my lord?" he said. "I had judged Lord Brever to be sincere."

Lord Sellig chuckled. His tone was just on the cusp of patronizing. He shook his head again and said, "Sir Blackblade, as I understand it, you are something of a newcomer to this great game of houses, no?"

Eli raised his hands. "I admit, my lord, I am rather wet behind the ears when it comes to matters of the nobility," he said.

While it was true that Eli was new to the upper echelons of society, he wasn’t exactly ignorant of the games they played. He wasn’t about to say so, though. It suited his goals if Lord Sellig continued to believe he was little more than a country bumpkin reaching beyond his means.

"So I thought," said Lord Sellig. "Then I shall give you some advice, from a member of the old guard to a hopeful member of the new: that which seems too good to be true is likely to be just so."

Eli nodded. "I see…" he said, trailing off. "I shall take your words to heart, my lord. Thank you. Am I to understand you believe Lord Brever’s intentions to be impure?"

"Just so, Sir Blackblade. As you have discerned for yourself, a thousand gold for the rights of two productive mines is rather… generous," said Lord Sellig.

Generous. Eli resisted the urge to chuckle. Nobles and their euphemisms.

"I do not wish to cast aspersions on the character of our esteemed friend, Sir Blackblade, but there is a saying in these parts about the nature of business: a man who scrapes the last dreg of honey from the bottom of the pot will soon seek to sell air inside," said Lord Sellig.

It wasn’t an expression that Eli had heard before, but he got the gist of it. It was pretty amusing and sounded much kinder than what it implied.

Fortunately, it seemed that Lord Sellig had taken the bait. He didn’t seem to doubt Eli’s story. It must have seemed plausible enough, especially given how long Lord Sellig must have been dealing with Lord Brever.

"Though he may often act rather jovial, and free-spirited…"

Oblivious and careless, you mean, Eli thought to himself.

"One cannot underestimate Lord Brever. He has shown himself to be an intelligent and cunning man underneath his personable exterior," Lord Sellig said.

Once, perhaps, but the years had not been kind to Lord Brever. Then again, Lord Sellig had not made mention of when, exactly, Lord Brever had demonstrated such qualities.

Eli had to wonder how the duke had managed to say as much with a straight face. He wasn’t sure he could have. He’d always thought himself an accomplished liar but Lord Sellig seemed on another level, entirely.

"Lord Brever is one of our most decorated military officers. He once led a group of a hundred men to victory against an invading force of nearly two thousand," said Lord Sellig.

It might have been true, but it had been almost half a century since. Lord Brever had been a much younger and, indeed, more intelligent man at the time.

It was hard to imagine that the current Count of Althay could be capable of anything even remotely similar. Though Eli supposed it was a useful anecdote to illustrate a point.

"The province of Althay is now one of the kingdom’s most prosperous, and you are not mistaken to think that this is owed to its mines," said Lord Sellig.

Eli leaned forward in his seat, frowning. "Why would Lord Brever say otherwise, if I might ask, my lord? I had thought him sincere but perhaps I am too ignorant as to the rules of this game. I should have to trouble you to enlighten me"

Lord Sellig waved his hand. "It is no matter at all," he said, flashing a smile so warm Eli could have believed it was genuine if it wasn’t on the face of a veritable shark.

"As I said before, Sir Blackblade, I have no desire to cast aspersions on our esteemed friend," said Lord Sellig.

Bullshit, Eli thought. It seemed to him that Lord Sellig had jumped at every opportunity to do just that. Not that he had any intention to call attention to it.

Lord Sellig smiled and sipped from his cup. "I am certain that Lord Brever simply wished to express his earnest pride in the agricultural strength of Althay.

"All Lord Brever may have intended was to allay concerns you might have. It is not every day when a lord seeks to part with an important cornerstone of his power. Lord Brever may have only sought to assuage any concerns you might have that the sale of the mines would harm Althay" Lord Sellig continued.

Eli nodded. "I see," he said. It took him a moment to parse the meaning behind Lord Sellig’s words, but he got the gist. "To put it plainly, my lord, am I to understand you believe this to be a misdirection?"

Lord Sellig’s eyes gleamed. He shook his head and pursed his lips. "I would not dare to accuse an esteemed peer of such a thing," he said.

Not directly, anyway, Eli thought to himself. Indirectly, on the other hand, Lord Sellig was more than willing to do.

The peek Eli got into the mind of a noble was rather compelling. Not a single word coming out of Lord Sellig’s mouth was strictly true, but the speed with which he fabricated a plausible explanation to cast doubt on Lord Brever’s intentions was fascinating.

"Then could there be something wrong with the mines, my lord?" said Eli. "Could it be that they are worthless now?"

Lord Sellig grinned. "I cannot presume to say so, Sir Blackblade, without having seen them for myself. However, I must admit, your aptitude for the game is rather impressive."

"Thank you, Lord Sellig. I am grateful for your confidence in my abilities," said Eli. Compliments, of course, were a standard part of the nobleman’s toolkit. They might have worked, had Eli actually been as ignorant as he was pretending to be.

"Any number of things could impact a mine’s worth, Sir Blackblade," said Lord Sellig. "That it has run dry is but one explanation. Equally likely is that there is a monster infestation, making it impossible to mine safely."

That a mine could be infested with monsters was uncommon, but not so outlandish as to be unbelievable. The suggestion was clearly meant to plant a seed, to dissuade Eli from pursuing the mines. At least, on his own.

Eli was certain that Lord Sellig would come in for the kill, soon enough. "I see," he said. "Thank you, Lord Sellig. This has been quite enlightening. I had not thought to examine the matter from that perspective. Perhaps I shall have to rethink my willingness to make fast friends with Lord Brever if he is so willing to take advantage of my ignorance."

"It is no matter, Sir Blackblade," said Lord Sellig. "No matter, at all. I am honored that you thought so highly of me as to seek my advice. Should you have further need of me, I shall be more than happy to at least lend an ear."

"Perhaps I shall take advantage of your generous offer in the future, Lord Sellig," said Eli. "I must admit, I am rather disappointed in myself. I had thought myself a rather fine judge of character."

Lord Sellig shook his head. "The great game is a difficult one. Trust me, Sir Blackblade, I have been playing it for perhaps longer than you have been alive.

"Besides, there is no reason to suspect dishonesty on Lord Brever’s side. He is known to be a generous man. Perhaps he saw this as an opportunity to present you with the sort of challenge that you shall face in the future, once you fully invest in the great game."

"Perhaps," said Eli, pretending to be deep in thought. "It is rather a shame that I shall have to look elsewhere for an opportunity to grow my wealth and set down roots in Bællad," he continued.

"Perhaps not, Sir Blackblade," said Lord Sellig. "You need not surrender so quickly."

Eli suppressed his smile. Here it was, the Duke of Ledwyth on the offensive.

"With your consent, I could send my men to investigate the matter more thoroughly," said Lord Sellig.

"You would do this for me, my lord?" said Eli, doing his best to sound both genuinely grateful and hopeful.

The more ignorant and naïve Lord Sellig thought Eli was, the better it suited his plans. If Lord Sellig even came to view him as a second Lord Brever, then he would welcome it.

The arrogant and overconfident were the easiest to manipulate. If Eli managed to convincingly show that he was no threat but instead a potentially-useful tool, Lord Sellig was sure to let his guard down around him.

"Not for free, of course, Sir Blackblade," said Lord Sellig, with a small smile.

"I should not expect anything less, my lord," said Eli, with a laugh. "My father always taught me, ‘A man is not so prideful that he refuses one whit of help, but not so shameless that he shall take it for nothing in exchange.’"

"Should I find that Lord Brever’s intentions are pure, that he is indeed willing to sell his mines, intact, for the price that you have mentioned to me, I shall make sure to send word. I should only hope that you would be willing to allow me to make this investment alongside you."

"O-of course, my lord," said Eli, feigning shock and amazement. "I-I should be honored to share ownership of the mines with an esteemed gentleman such as yourself!"

Eli pulled back and took a deep breath, playing up his attempt to regain the composure he’d never truly lost in the first place. "Of course, I would not presume, but it would be a privilege if my lord would mentor me on how to run a successful mine."

Lord Sellig laughed. "Ah, I should be more than happy to impart my wisdom upon you, Sir Blackblade, but I am afraid my other duties leave me little time to spend paying close attention to such projects, myself," he said.

"O-of course," said Eli, pretending to deflate from his earlier faux-enthusiasm. "I understand, my lord. Forgive me. It seems I have allowed myself to get carried away."

"Nonsense, my boy," said Lord Sellig, reaching across to pat Eli on the shoulder. "You had mentioned that you would need a loan to secure the title to these mines, yes? I would be happy to provide what you lack in exchange for a stake in the proceeds."

"These conditions are more acceptable, my lord," said Eli, almost breathlessly. "And far more generous than I daresay I deserve!"

Lord Sellig waved his hand. "I shall leave the running of the mines in your capable hands. Of course, I shall not leave you to flounder aimlessly. I shall make available to you the breadth of my knowledge, and the counsel of some of my most trusted friends."

Eli had expected as much from Lord Sellig’s proposal. The way things stood, Eli was likely to shoulder all of the risks and costs of running the mine, while Lord Sellig was safe to skim off all the profit from the top.

On any other occasion, Eli might have rejected such a one-sided deal, but he wasn’t supposed to be smart, in the role he was playing. "I am most humbled by your trust, my lord," said Eli. "I shall cherish it always, and I swear on my mother’s grave that I shall do my best not to disappoint you."

Lord Sellig smiled. "I am sure you will impress me, Sir Blackblade," said the duke.

The deal was unlikely to materialize, anyway. Eli intended to gain control of the mines through other means. The point was to have Lord Sellig sniffing around to apply pressure on the young Lord Lukas Brever.

Eli stood up, ramrod straight, and bowed before Lord Sellig. "You honor me more than I deserve, my lord. I shall endeavor to meet your expectations."

"Sit, sit," Lord Sellig motioned. "First, you must pray that the deal is as presented by Lord Brever. If it is, then I have faith that you and I can become the wealthiest men in all of Bællad."

Eli was sprawled lazily on the couch by the time that Alric returned from having shown Lord Sellig out. He was exhausted and perhaps a little feverish.

While Eli had the mind and the aptitude for it, he didn’t think he was particularly well-suited to politics. He preferred the quiet. The nobles he’d dealt with so far were draining, and not in a good way.

At least Lord Sellig hadn’t been boring. Eli didn’t think the old him would have ever been able to stomach the amount of double-speak and dishonesty couched in pleasant euphemism in the conversation.

Fortunately, Eli’s insight had improved by leaps and bounds, just like all his other mental faculties. His mind pierced Lord Sellig’s honeyed words with ease, and the meanings and intentions underneath had been laid bare for him to see at his leisure.

That said, Eli was not prescient. Though he wished he could simply peer into the minds of the nobles he needed to make use of, such power was yet beyond him.

For now, however, Eli focused on something that he’d been putting off since Lord Sellig came for tea. There had been a peculiar heat in the pit of his stomach ever since Alric filled him up that morning. He had managed to largely ignore it during his conversation with the Duke of Ledwyth but no longer.

Eli whined, rubbing his stomach as the heat bubbled inside of him. It was the likely culprit for why he was feeling feverish, but knowing that wasn’t helping. To make matters worse, the plug in his ass was just as hot.

Alric rushed over to Eli’s side, brushing the sweaty locks of hair that had fallen over his eyes out of the way. "Are you alright, my lord?" he said, pressing a palm to Eli’s brow. He hissed and pulled his hand back. "You are burning up," he said.

The light brush of Alric’s fingers across Eli’s forehead had sent such an intense shock of electric pleasure through his body that he’d frozen up. Not even a moan escaped him as his whole body buzzed with the sensation.

Eli’s insides churned. He felt empty and oversensitive. It was almost as if he could feel every single scale on the metal plug scraping his insides.

The heat inside Eli only intensified. He pawed at the couch and mewled, unsure of where Alric had gone. He had been there one moment and was gone the next. He was too out of it to see whether the door to the room was even open.

For what felt like an eternity, Eli suffered the heat that gradually built inside of his body until he felt like he was burning up from the inside out. His ass was on fire, just like his stomach, and a strange hunger gnawed at his guts.

"Alric," Eli groaned, one hand rubbing up and down the ridges of his hard stomach while the other clutched at the upholstery of the couch, sharp talons catching in the tight-woven threads. "Please…"

Eli was surprised at how quickly the fever had overtaken him. The edges of his vision were blurred, the middle covered with a strange haze of heat. A low rumbling growl escaped him as he forced himself onto his hands and knees on the couch for a moment before the lack of strength in his limbs brought him crashing back down.

The creak of the door hinges signaled that Alric had returned. He had in one hand a wooden bowl, in the other a pitcher, and a small cloth draped over his shoulder. "My Lord!" he exclaimed, upon entering the room.

Alric hurried over to Eli’s side and set his basin and pitcher down on the table. "Let us get you to bed, my love," Alric whispered, tenderly, scooping Eli up into his arms with ease. He carried Eli to the bedroom with haste and laid him on top of the sheets.

Almost as soon as his back hit the bed, the faint discomfort that Eli had been feeling at the base of his tailbone all day flared into an intense, mind-numbing pain. All the heat that had been building in his body surged to that singular spot.

There was pleasure in the sensation, but it was also profoundly unpleasant. Eli had been branded before, when he was a younger and less competent thief. This was a pain several orders of magnitude worse. "A-Alric!" he gasped, mid-scream. He felt as if every nerve in the vicinity of his tailbone was being burned to ash, repeatedly.

In the blink of an eye, Alric was at Eli’s side. With a grunt, he heaved Eli onto his stomach. The effect was immediate. The worst of the pain subsided. Eli no longer felt paralyzed by the agony.

Sucking in shuddering gasps of air, Eli whimpered. though the heat had concentrated near his tailbone, the rest of his body still felt hot. The air around him felt muggy and thick. Every breath felt like sludge dripping down the back of his throat and filling his lungs.

"I will be back posthaste, my lord," said Alric. Just like that, he was gone. Fortunately, he returned before Eli truly noticed.

The damp washcloth that Alric held to Eli’s head was divine. It was cool and refreshing, sending a tingle down his spine. The pain subsided, somewhat, except at the base of Eli’s tailbone. The discomfort remained, but the cool water helped.

Once Eli’s breathing had evened out, Alric spoke again. "Perhaps it would be best if you did not have to suffer those restrictive clothes, my lord," he said.

All Eli could do was grunt in response. Alric was swift and efficient as he stripped off Eli’s tunic and breeches. With each article of clothing removed, Eli’s discomfort also subsided—if not the pain at the base of his tailbone.

It was not until Alric tugged on Eli’s under breeches that Eli felt any relief. He felt them slide halfway down his thighs before he heard a gasp from Alric. "M-My lord, y-you," stammered the young footman.

As soon as Alric had pulled Eli’s under breeches off, the pain had faded to a dull ache. He could not imagine why, though he supposed Alric had a better idea. "What is it?" he mumbled, too exhausted to raise his voice.

Alric didn’t answer. There was silence, for a heartbeat, and then Eli felt something akin to a lightning bolt of pleasure shoot up his spine.

Eli’s eyes grew wide. His cock, hard against the smooth silken bedcovers, exploded. He came, with just one touch, splattering the bed with thick, hot cum that made the sheets stick to his stomach.

"W-what was that?" Eli murmured, unsteadily, as the intense, unexpected orgasm subsided. He felt the answer to his own question soon thereafter. It twitched of its own accord, sprouting from the base of his spine. He had a tail. A small one, granted, but he had a tail.

Yes, it was little more than a nub, at the moment, but there was no reason to believe it wouldn’t grow. Eli felt a shiver of excitement at the prospect.

"Fuck," said Alric.

The discovery that he had somehow grown a tail did not cause Eli any sort of alarm. Instead, he felt more aroused than he had ever been. "Alric…" he breathed.

"Yes, my lord?" said Alric, in a voice equally-thick with lust.

"I need you," Eli whimpered. Gone was the pain, replaced with a heat, and a need that clawed at his insides.

"And you shall have me," Alric moaned, hunching his crotch into one of Eli’s spread legs. He was rigid as a steel rod in his pants and the feeling of his cock poking into Eli’s thigh only served to drive Eli’s lust to new heights.

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