The True Endgame pt. 2

Now that he’s had a taste of just how immersive Ascendancy Online can be, Neil feels a strange mix of anticipation and anxiety as he heads to the manor of Brandt City’s Patriarch.

"Snowbird Stop, huh?" said Neil as he looked up at the sign of an inn overlooking the central plaza of Brandt City.

The place seemed nice enough. It was one of only a handful of two-story buildings he could see in the vicinity.

Like all the rest, the structure was primarily made of wood. The architecture of Brandt City seemed like a mix between modern log cabins and medieval wattle-and-daub houses with Viking elements. The devs certainly weren’t subtle about their inspirations.

Yokha had pointed Neil in the direction of the inn. So he could clean himself up. For the quest.

In all honesty, Neil was still somewhat in shock. His new quest, [Making a Splash] certainly wasn’t your everyday average newcomer tutorial quest, that was for sure.

That the rank of the quest was given as ‘???’ only served to highlight the relative importance of the otherwise innocuous task. Sure, Ascendancy Online wasn’t Valtyria but Neil found it hard to imagine the devs wouldn’t carry at least some familiar elements into the new game.

Quests with unknown rank had been few and far in between on Valtyria but each one had always turned out to be Unique or better in the end. Neil didn’t know whether to feel terrified or elated to have received one so early on in the game.

Either way, he had to do it now. Even if the quest turned out to be just a Unique-rank, it was sure to confer a profound advantage. And since he had every intention of becoming one of Ascendancy Online’s High Rankers this time around, he was going to take what he could get.

For now, he had to focus on cleaning up. His antics had left him something of a mess and if the knowing looks he’d been getting from his fellow zakhar, it was rather obvious what he’d been up to.

He realized something as he considered the quest again. The Patriarch of Brandt City had invited him to his home. Not to his office in the town hall across the central plaza from the Snowbird Stop, his home.

The eminent implication was that the Patriarch had in mind something more than the professional courtesy owed to one of the Goddess’ Chosen. It was a social call as much as a business one.

Furthermore, there was a line in the quest rewards description that bothered Neil:

Rewards will be based on the impression you leave on the Patriarch.

While the text said nothing about the impression needing to be good, he very much doubted leaving a bad impression would be particularly helpful. More importantly, it was a not-so-subtle hint that he needed to make a strong impression more than anything else. He didn’t think short shorts and a crop top would do it.

Brandt City was a port and though it was on the smaller side of what could be considered a ‘city,’ it was certainly large enough to house a Realm Gate, speaking to its importance. Consequently, the man recognized as the Patriarch of such a place was sure to be a person of some significance.

Neil couldn’t very well show up to a lord’s court wearing what he was wearing and expect a warm reception. While the quest implied a social visit of sorts, he still needed to look his best.

First, Neil needed information. About what kind of man the Patriarch was and any preferences he might have. Glancing up again at the sign, of a small bird perched on a snow-covered branch, he figured there was no better place to look for gossip than an inn so close to city hall.

The warm, homey scents of smoke, meat, and mead were the first things that caught Neil’s attention as he entered the inn. He swept his eyes through the common room and couldn’t help but smile. The place was cozy; a low buzz of conversation from the patrons permeated the atmosphere.

A few eyes turned toward Neil as he walked into the warmth of the inn, followed by a burst of cold air as he closed the door behind him. Fortunately, the smells of the inn seemed to mask the sweet scent still lingering on him.

Over in the corner was a khathari bard, a cat-person, playing a lively tune on an instrument reminiscent of a hurdy-gurdy. The upbeat strains of the melody were accompanied by a reed flute and a set of pan pipes courtesy of the bard’s high elf and human companions.

Neil made his way over to the counter. "Good day," he said to the tall, copper-scaled zakhar he could only assume was the innkeeper.

The man behind the counter smiled. "Good day," he said. "You’re the new Chosen, aren’t you?"

Neil scratched the side of his face, cheeks taking on a faint tinge of pink. "Yeah," he said with a light laugh. "News travels that fast here?"

The innkeeper chuckled. "Brandt City’s barely a city, hun. Everyone knows everybody. For the most part, anyway."

Neil laughed. "I should have figured," he said.

"I’m Kohr," said the innkeeper, extending a hand toward Neil. "It’s an honor to meet you, Chosen. What should I call you?"

Neil glanced at the proffered hand and shook it. "Nice to meet you too, Kohr," he said. "Tybalt would suffice, I think."

"Tybalt, huh?" said Kohr. He seemed thoughtful, for a moment.

Neil cocked an eyebrow, the tip of his tail twitching. "Something wrong?" he said, wondering if he’d committed a faux pas, somehow.

"No, not at all!" said Kohr. He raised his hands briefly before lowering them again. "Just curious is all. Tybalt is a very strange name for a zakhar."

Neil’s cheeks warmed. He hadn’t considered the lore of the world when making his character. It was honestly a little embarrassing.

One thing was for sure: the world of Ascendancy Online was infinitely more alive than Valtyria ever had been. He almost felt bad for not having a more appropriate name.

"Is… Is that a bad thing?" he said. More to the point, he wanted to know if having a foreign name would damage the Patriarch’s impression of him.

Kohr smiled and shook his head. "No, not necessarily," he said. "You’re bound to get some strange looks for it but I doubt anyone would hold it against you."

Neil breathed a sigh of relief. "So it’s not unheard of?" he said.

Kohr tapped his chin and shrugged. "The stories all say that the Goddess’ Chosen are people whose souls were called to Eiras from an unimaginably distant realm. I guess it just stands to reason some of them might use foreign names."

While it all made sense, the explanation still came as a bit of a surprise to Neil. He’d never expected the Ascendancy Online devs to include a diegetic explanation for why players might have strange names.

"Anyway, I heard you caused a bit of a commotion earlier," said Kohr with a little smile.

Neil chuckled bashfully and scratched the side of his face. "Y-yeah…" he said. "Sorry about that."

"Oh don’t apologize to me," said Kohr, waving his hand. "It was the best piece of entertainment I’ve had in a week."

Neil laughed. "Glad to be of service, then."

"Seriously though. Everyone’s been so tense ever since the priests got the revelation that the Chosen were going to start arriving on Eiras again. It was priceless seeing their carefully rehearsed song and dance fall apart before they even had a chance to start."

Neil chuckled nervously. "I-I didn’t really mean to cause such a fuss," he said. "T-there was just something I needed to take care of."

Kohr gave Neil a quizzical look, tilting his head to the side. Then, his nostrils flared as he sniffed the air. He laughed. "Oh. So that was you I was scenting," he said.

Neil’s cheeks burned. "Oh, come on! Can everyone and their grandmother seriously tell that I had a tiny little indiscretion?"

Kohr snorted. "Doesn’t smell particularly tiny from over here," he said. "And that’s with everything else in the air, which is saying something."

Neil felt as if his face was going to burst into flames at the slightest provocation. "W-well no one told me how sensitive this fucking—Nnnh—thing was going to be."

A couple of nearby zakhar fell silent and glanced at Neil. He’d made quite the miscalculation, mindlessly grabbing his tail for emphasis halfway through the sentence.

The little noise that had spilled from him at the thrill of pleasure that shot up his spine was mortifying enough, but the sudden feeling of wetness in his behind made it even worse.

Kohr chuckled. "It is true that our bodies are quite sensitive and our libidos fiery but the first thing every young zakhar learns is mastery over his flesh and desires. To an extent, anyway," he said as he licked his lips and looked Neil up and down with a hungry gaze.

Neil could feel Kohr’s eyes raking over his body. It made him hot and his insides knotted with arousal.

Kohr leaned across the counter. "Don’t worry," he said in a low and sultry voice. "Given time you’ll come to learn the same control. Until then, there are plenty of zakhar—and others, besides, no doubt—who would be more than happy to help you with the urges."

"A-are you offering?" Neil stammered. He squirmed in his seat, his hole fluttering and leaking slick into the back of his shorts.

Kohr curled a finger under Neil’s chin. His mouth twitched into a little smirk. "Are you asking, Chosen?" he whispered.

Neil gulped. Was he asking? He had to admit he was sorely tempted but at the same time, he had a quest to do.

The text said nothing about a time limit but he didn’t think it would be wise to keep a big-name like the Patriarch waiting. Maybe he could leave a better impression by coming as soon as he could.

"M-maybe later," he said.

"Aww. And here I was hoping I might be the first to get a taste of you," said Kohr. "Let me guess: you’ve received a quest from the Goddess?"

Neil flushed. It was another first for him: the first time NPCs had ever acknowledged the idea of quests being handed down by the system. "Y-yeah," he said.

"What’s the task, then? Maybe I can help," said Kohr as he pulled back behind the counter.

Neil smiled. "I’d appreciate that," he said. "It’s pretty simple, to be honest. I just… I’m not sure how I should go about doing things."

Kohr chuckled. "Maybe you could start with telling me what you’re actually supposed to do, first," he said.

"Right." Neil laughed. "The Patriarch wants to see me."

Kohr’s eyes widened. "The Patriarch invited you?" Kohr pursed his lips, brow furrowing. "It’s rare for the Patriarch to reach out on his own but I suppose it would make sense for Brandt City’s first Chosen. Did he specify why he wants an audience? Anything about who else might be present?"

Neil shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Well, about that…" he said.

Kohr’s frown deepened. "What’s the matter?" he said.

"I’m not sure if it’s going to be an audience, so to speak," said Neil.

"What do you mean?"

Neil sighed. "The Patriarch invited me to his residence."

Kohr’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. At the same time, someone sitting at one of the nearby tables started choking.

"Wow. I guess it’s a good thing you turned me down," said Kohr, dabbing at the trickle of sweat down the side of his face with his cleaning rag.

"Why’s that?" said Neil. Somewhere deep down he knew the answer but he wanted to hear it confirmed.

"You’re from far away so it stands to reason you’re unaware of our customs but… How do I put this delicately…" Kohr trailed off as he crossed his arms over his chest, face scrunched up in concentration.

"Just give it to me straight," said Neil.

"Alright," said Kohr. "You see, we zakhar place a sense of great importance on the difference between the professional and the personal."

Kohr glanced around the room before he continued. "When we wish to interact with our peers, we usually do so at places of business. Close friends and family are naturally an exception. Special occasions are another."

"Right. Right…" said Neil. "I’m not sure I understand what this has to do with—"

"I was getting there," said Kohr, cutting Neil off. "Absent those pre-existing relations and/or circumstances, personally inviting someone who is essentially a complete stranger to one’s place of residence can only mean one of two things: first, one wishes to become close friends like family, or second, one wishes to convey a carnal interest in the invited."

"Ah," said Neil. It was as he’d expected. Not that he wasn’t flattered but it wasn’t exactly what he’d signed up for when he joined Ascendancy Online. "What are the chances it’s the first thing?" he said.

Kohr chuckled. "Knowing the Patriarch?" he said with a little smirk that told Neil everything he needed to know before the question was ever actually answered. "Next to none."

"What should I do?" said Neil.

"I don’t know," said Kohr. "And I don’t think I have any right to tell you what you should do, Tybalt."

Neil sighed. "I suppose you’re right," he said. Fact of the matter was, he just didn’t know enough.

If all the Patriarch wanted was a little casual sex then he’d have jumped on it. He was horny as fuck already anyway.

What concerned him was the possibility that the Patriarch wanted more than that. He didn’t know what he’d do if the Patriarch wanted a consort.

Neil’s concerns must have been written plain all over his face because Kohr chuckled, shook his head, and said, "Maybe I could tell you what I would do."

"Please," said Neil. Maybe the innkeeper could give him more information he could use to make his decision.

"I’d go," said Kohr. "And not just because I respect and admire the Patriarch, you understand. There’s bound to be benefits to being in the good graces of the Patriarch."

Neil tilted his head. "Like what?" he said.

"Well, I’m not sure, exactly… But everyone knows the Patriarch is very generous with those few people he favors," said Kohr.

Kohr’s copper scales seemed to gleam as he waggled his eyebrows and continued, "I should emphasize that the Patriarch is a wealthy and well-connected man."

Neil nodded. He’d gathered as much. "How wealthy, exactly?" he said.

A quiet laugh bubbled out of Kohr. "I see that got your attention," he said. "No one knows, really. But I will tell you what I do know."

Neil leaned forward. "Please do," he said.

"Brandt City doesn’t just export exotic goods from the north," said Kohr. "There are places out there that haven’t been touched in thousands of years.

"Adventurers love that stuff. They come here to explore those places. The ones that manage to come back bring artifacts with them.

"Niaph over there? He’s an auctioneer—"

Neil glanced over his shoulder. A zakhar with ruddy green scales and broad shoulders in rich finery was halfway through a bowl of stew.

"—He’s the best one in town and he only gets to look at what the adventurers bring back after the Patriarch’s had his pick."

Artifacts, huh? Neil thought to himself. That fact alone changed the calculus.

Even the old rankers from Valtyria would have to start from scratch. There was very little information about the specifics of the game beyond what people speculated would carry over from the previous title in the series.

"What sorts of artifacts?" said Neil.

He couldn’t be sure if Kohr was using the word in the colloquial sense. He had no use for archaeological artifacts but gear of Artifact quality would give him an advantage unlike any other.

"The way I hear it, the powerful kind," said Kohr. "I don’t think adventurers would come so far to risk their lives for nothing."

Neil pursed his lips. Kohr made an excellent point. It was well established that the northern continent of Novraya was the continent most fraught with dangers both hidden and overt and there had always been a not-so-subtle implication that there were proportional rewards scattered throughout the frigid landscape.

"Alright," said Neil. He’d made up his mind. He was going to see the Patriarch. "I’ll do it."

"Looking like that?" said Kohr, cocking an eyebrow at Neil.

Neil blushed. "Well, I was going to clean up," he said indignantly. Then, in a voice a hint more subdued he added, "And I was hoping you might have some advice on how to make a good first impression on the Patriarch."

"Could you stand up for me?" said Kohr.

"Uh, sure," said Neil. He slid off the barstool onto his feet. "What now?"

"Do a little spin," said Kohr, gesturing with one hand before folding both arms over his chest.

Neil flushed but he did as was asked. He did a little twirl, trying not to feel so awkward about it. He could feel Kohr’s eyes on him, sizing him up.

"I think you’ve got a pretty good thing going," said Kohr. "You’re cute. And I’m pretty sure the Patriarch likes that."

"Hah. Thank you," said Neil. His cheeks were warm as he hopped back onto the stool he’d abandoned. "One point in my favor, I guess," he said.

"The outfit is also pretty good," said Kohr. "It shows off your body while hiding just enough to still be intriguing. It’s just a bit…"

Neil looked down at himself. "Plain?" he said.

Kohr laughed. "Much kinder than what I was gonna say but yes," he said. "I did hear the Patriarch likes shiny things. Maybe a few tasteful accessories would go a long way. It’d show you’re making an effort, at least."

Neil nodded. It made as much sense as anything and he wasn’t exactly above dressing up his character to impress an in-game lord. His only problem was the cost.

"I’m not sure I have the funds, though…" he said. A glance at his inventory confirmed it. Besides a measly 50 Rehn—the local currency, he assumed—and the clothes on his back, he didn’t have much.

Kohr frowned and gave the matter some thought. "You could always take on some quests from the adventurer’s guild, but—" Kohr’s expression brightened. "Are you perchance a returner?"

Neil quirked an eyebrow. "A returner?" he said. He had an inkling but he wanted to make sure.

"Yes," said Kohr, nodding vigorously. "A Chosen of a previous cycle."

It was as Neil had suspected. "I am, I suppose," he said. There had been some hints in the marketing that users who’d played Valtyria would gain something for their efforts in Ascendancy Online.

Kohr nodded. "Good. Good. Then you should head to the Temple. It was said that returners would be rewarded for their contributions in the ardor of the previous age."

Neil smiled. "Thank you, Kohr. I’ll do that. After, I clean up. How much will a room be for the night?"

"It was my pleasure, Tybalt," said Kohr with a little smile. "30 Rehn, usually, but for you, I’ll make it 20. Just make sure to repay the favor." Kohr winked.

Neil laughed. As he retrieved the coin pouch from his inventory. He counted out twenty of the small triangular slivers of silver inside and set them on the counter in front of him.

"As soon as I get the chance," he said.

Neil gave himself a once-over in the mirror above the sink. He moved his hand down the front of his body, his fingers dipping into the crevices of his abs.

Tybalt was a hot zakhar. His eyes were intense when he wanted them to be but there was a softness there, too. A glimmer in the burnished gold of the irises that faded to amber at the edges.

He was a handsome one, the angles of his face rather sharp like most zakhar. But that wasn’t to say his looks were severe. He was adorable, too. Very much in that ‘boy-next-door’ way, which was only further reinforced by his leaner build.

Suffice to say, Tybalt looked like the archetypal twunk with the kind of ass that Neil had only ever dreamed of having. Tybalt was also fairly well-endowed but Neil had no intention of ever using that particular organ for penetration.

Having finished admiring himself in the mirror, Neil retrieved his clothes from the drying line in front of the fireplace. He’d washed them just a few minutes ago and it looked like they’d dried out rather quickly.

Pulling on his tight red jockstrap and stuffing his sizable package into the pouch in front, Neil started thinking about what kinds of accessories would look good on Tybalt.

"Your presence in this hallowed hall is welcome, Chosen," said the pale-scaled zakhar wrapped in white robes edged in gold.

Neil nodded. "Thank you," he said.

The ‘temple,’ such as it was, was a humble building near the Snowbird Stop. He might have missed it if not for the sign above the door.

The interior was more rustic than grand. There were small shrines along the walls and a statue of the goddess Sophia in the back. The handful of devotees were quiet, observing their worship in silence.

"How might I provide assistance, Chosen?" said the man Neil presumed was the head priest in a low and, if he was being honest, rather calming voice.

Neil tried to keep his voice low. "I had heard that there might be rewards waiting for those Chosen who returned to Eiras from a previous age," he said.

The priest smiled and nodded. "You’ve heard correctly," he said. "Please follow me."

Neil went with the priest to a small chamber in the back of the temple. In the middle of the room was a monolith hewn from a gold crystal. "How does this work?" he said.

"You simply need place your hands on the stone, Chosen. The Goddess will weigh the contributions of your soul in that past era and impart a suitable reward."

At the same time that the priest was explaining, a window appeared on Neil’s HUD expanding on the system.

[Loyalty Reward System]

Depending on the amount of progress you made playing Valtyria, the goddess Sophia will provide rewards that can help you along your road to Ascendancy.

For the sake of game balance, some of these rewards are locked behind experience milestones. If you find that you are unable to access a certain tier of rewards, please work hard and become stronger.

Once you reach the level requirement for a reward, you can visit any Sophia temple to redeem it. Thank you for your loyalty to the world of Eiras and may you find your path to Ascendancy.

Neil couldn’t help but chuckle to himself. As far as progress went, he’d managed to clear all of Valtyria’s most difficult challenges. Chances were he’d get quite a lot out of the Loyalty Reward System eventually. For now, he was just looking for some money or something that could help him make a bit.

He walked forward and closed his eyes, placing his hands on the stone. He felt a wave of warmth wash over him, like a beautiful summer day.

He couldn’t help but smile as the voice of the goddess Sophia emanated from the stone. "The contributions of your soul have been recognized. For your honor, bravery, and dedication to the world of Eiras, you will be well rewarded, Chosen Tybalt. May this boon aid your journey on your path to Ascendancy."

Neil fidgeted at the doorstep of the Patriarch’s residence. Most of the rewards from the temple were sitting in his inventory. They were consumables, primarily—things to help him in the early game.

Of the ten thousand Rehn he’d received on top of the consumables, scarcely more than a thousand remained. Most of it had gone to the accessories that now adorned his body.

It was a huge investment few players would be willing to make but one didn’t become a High Ranker without taking calculated risks. The potential rewards, if he played his cards right, were simply too good to pass up.

Something he’d realized as he was getting fitted for his adornments was that the Patriarch’s favor could pay dividends even if the rumored artifacts failed to materialize. He wasn’t adept at politics so it hadn’t occurred to him at the onset but surely, having the ear of one of the most influential men in the land was a sufficient reward in and of itself.

He raised his hand and knocked on the door to the Patriarch’s home. It was on a hill just outside of the city, the grandest structure in Brandt City by far, and one of only a handful of buildings to be built primarily of stone.

The door swung open almost instantly. Neil was greeted by a red-scaled zakhar at the door. The man was wearing remarkably little in the way of modest clothing, just a pair of shorts that cupped his body, tight enough to give a tantalizing glimpse of what he had to offer.

Judging by the bowtie collar wrapped around the man’s neck, the kind of thing Neil had only ever seen on strippers and sexy costumes, he had to guess the man was the Patriarch’s butler.

Neil had to wonder whether the Patriarch’s household greeted all visiting dignitaries in such a fashion or whether the butler’s get-up was a veiled message about what he should expect.

The butler didn’t seem perturbed at all by the immodest outfit. If anything, he seemed proud to show off his honed physique. Not that Neil was complaining. He rather enjoyed the view, himself.

Though the butler’s age was obvious the years had done little to diminish his looks or his stature. He stood ramrod straight, in perfect posture. Were he a few years younger he might have resembled Tybalt, even.

Neil tried not to read too much into things but if this was a message from the Patriarch, his chances were better than he thought. If the butler’s appearance was anything to go by, then perhaps Neil was the Patriarch’s type. And that was a very good thing.

"Welcome, Chosen Tybalt. The Master has been expecting you," said the butler, placing a hand over his chest and dipping into a low bow.

"It is an honor to be invited," said Neil, returning the bow.

The butler smiled. "And you honor the Master with your presence," he said. He extended an arm into the house. "This way, if you would? The Master will receive you in his chambers."

Neil took a deep breath. He stood on the threshold of potential greatness. Whatever happened next would determine his future in Ascendancy Online and a cold knot of anxiety was heavy in his stomach.

At the butler’s prompting, he pushed the door open and entered, closing it behind him. Before doing anything else, he bowed. "I have come as you requested, Patriarch. It is an honor to be standing in your presence."

Half a minute passed and there was no response. Despite himself, Neil couldn’t help but raise his head to look.

His breath caught in his throat the moment his gaze landed on the Patriarch. The scales were the first thing that drew his eyes. They were white like the driven snow, glossy and glistening in the light of the glowing stone fixtures on the walls.

Neil’s tail swished involuntarily as his gaze roamed over the Patriarch’s body. He was bigger by far than any of the other Zakhar in Brandt City. His tail was thicker, his scales covering more of his skin, his features more draconic than all the rest.

The Patriarch was broad-shouldered and muscular. His arms bulged with meat. His body looked as if it had been cut from a block of granite. His pecs were large and firm, his abs cobbled and hard.

Lower still, Neil’s gaze was drawn. The V of the Patriarch’s body was delicious, making it nigh impossible to resist looking down.

The Patriarch was sitting cross-legged in a meditation pose, his hands planted on his knees, but Neil could still see the thick thighs and rock-hard calves. Neil was almost sure the Patriarch could crush a boulder between his legs if he squeezed hard enough.

The only piece of clothing that adorned the Patriarch’s beautiful frame was a loincloth. It was a flimsy thing, a loop of string that rested on the Patriarch’s hips with an affixed bolt of cloth that draped over the considerable manhood between his legs.

The rest of the Patriarch was ripe for admiration. Every inch of scale and muscle a wonder to behold.

Neil was already wet by the time he managed to tear his eyes away from the obscene outline of the loincloth draped over the Patriarch’s fat cock. The faint sound of tinkling filled the air as his tail involuntarily swung back and forth.

The sound came from one of the more expensive accessories he’d bought. They were a pair of rings, one larger than the other, affixed on his tail.

One of the rings was placed three-quarters of the way along the length of the appendage. The other was but an inch or so from the tip. A pair of gold chains adorned with little charms connected the two, making a pleasant little noise whenever his tail moved.

"I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed the view."

Neil shivered. The voice was low. Masculine. It evoked the image of a glacier slowly grinding down the side of a mountain—if a glacier were capable of sounding bemused.

"A-apologies," said Neil. His eyes snapped up to the Patriarch’s face, his cheeks burning at the sheer embarrassment of having been caught staring.

Finally getting a look at the Patriarch, his heart skipped a beat. The man was gorgeous. Even more so with the corner of his mouth curled in an appealing little smirk.

The Patriarch slowly opened his eyes. They stole the breath from Neil’s lungs. They were blue, but pale like ice. They were sharp and discerning yet they seemed to twinkle with a spark of mischief.

"No need for apologies," said the Patriarch, baring his teeth in an almost-feral sort of grin. "The attention is appreciated."

Neil’s mouth felt dry. He involuntarily licked his lips, his gaze wandering again before he caught himself and forced himself to look into the Patriarch’s eyes. "I-if I might ask… To what might I owe the pleasure of your invitation?"

The Patriarch laughed. It was a low, booming sound that sent chills down Neil’s spine. "Besides the fact that you are Brandt City’s first chosen in this new age?" said the Patriarch.

Neil flushed. He supposed that much should have been obvious.

"Well, truth be told I would have asked you to my office were that all," the Patriarch continued. "But you caused something of a commotion. And as if that weren’t enough to catch my attention, you went and did something lascivious for your first act in my domain."

Neil felt as if his cheeks might burst into flames at the slightest provocation. He hadn’t needed the reminder. "A-apologies, my lord. I hadn’t meant to—it was a moment of weakness."

The Patriarch waved his hand and chuckled. "Nonsense," he said. "I rather found the whole ordeal amusing. And now that you stand before me, I am convinced my estimation of your inner nature to have been quite accurate."

Neil’s eyes widened. "W-what do you mean?" he said.

The Patriarch crooked his finger and beckoned Neil to come closer.

Neil approached the Patriarch. The closer he got, the fuller his cock became. A quiet squeak escaped him when, upon getting within reach, the Patriarch grabbed him by the waist and pulled him closer.

The Patriarch’s hands were coarse and calloused but his touch was surprisingly gentle. He traced his fingers down the curve of Neil’s spine, brushing them over the three-inch-wide gold collar he’d bought to sit at the base of his tail.

"Look at you," said the Patriarch. "You’ve dolled yourself up for me. Practically served yourself on a silver platter for my enjoyment."

Before Neil could respond, the Patriarch continued. "I was of the impression that Chosen could have a certain… mercenary spirit. I never imagined they might go so far as to sell themselves."

The Patriarch chuckled. "Not that I have complaints," he murmured, his broad hands cupping Neil’s ass through the fabric of his shorts. "One so pretty as yourself makes for a delectable whore adorned in gold."

Neil couldn’t help the moan that bubbled out of him. There was something about being called a whore that turned him on to an unreasonable degree.

It hadn’t really occurred to him that he was pretty much selling his body for an advantage. And while he didn’t think of himself as a whore in any capacity, he couldn’t deny the facts.

Neil licked his lips. "D-does my lord like that?" he said.

The Patriarch squeezed Neil’s ass. "Have you not been listening at all to what I’ve said?" he said with a smirk. "I like a boy that knows what he wants."

Neil shivered. "I-I’m glad to hear that," he stammered.

The Patriarch chuckled. "So what will it be?" he said.

Neil stared blankly at the much-bigger zakhar.

"What would you like me to give you in exchange for your body?" said the Patriarch with a little smirk.

His tone was patronizing. Belittling, almost. And yet Neil felt not the slightest smidgen of indignation. It just turned him on.

"Power? Fame? Influence?" said the Patriarch. A smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth. "Gold, perhaps? You are certainly well worth it. Name your price and if I am satisfied with your body I will grant what you desire so long as it is within my power."

Neil gulped. The fabric of his shorts was tight in the front. His tail swished back and forth. Items. Artifacts. Money. These were the things he wanted to ask for but there was something else inside him, a need in the deepest parts of his being.

"You," he breathed as slick gushed out of him. His hole dilated, filling the air with the sweet scent of his quim.

The Patriarch’s eyes grew wide, his irises growing incandescent as a feral grin split his face. Another scent, heady, intoxicating, and musky began to mingle with Neil’s.

The dominant, masculine pheromones were almost overpowering. Neil’s head felt fuzzy with the first whiff, and every subsequent breath only felt like he was stuffing more and more cotton into his skull.

"Never has anyone had the temerity to attempt to lay claim on me," said the Patriarch, in a low voice just short of a snarl. "I like you. But if you would have me, then I would take all of you."

Neil could barely even think. He tilted his head back, baring his neck. "Please," he begged, the word spilling from his lips before he could even consider what he was asking for. "Make me yours and be mine in return."

A single disorientating moment of free-fall later, Neil grunted as his back hit the cold stone floor. His stomach churned, slick gushing out of his trembling hole as the Patriarch loomed over him, pinning him down with his weight.

"Be careful what you wish for, little lizard. You might get just what you ask for." hissed the patriarch, the reptilian features of his face coming into sharp relief. "So let me ask you once more. What would you have of me?"

Neil’s head was spinning. His cock was straining. His whole body felt primed, craving cock like nothing else. "You," he whined. "All of you."

The Patriarch bared his teeth in a wolfish grin. He tore the shorts off Neil. He hooked his arms under Neil’s knees, forcing them up and apart. "Then you shall have it," he said.

A quiet whine escaped Neil as the Patriarch folded him near in half. The cold air made his hole tremble with anticipation and the sudden sensation of something hot and firm pressing up against his entrance sent shivers down his spine.

"P-please," he begged, arching his back and bucking his hips as slick burbled out of him.

The Patriarch needed no further invitation. He slammed his cock into Neil without preamble, seating himself balls-deep in one almost-vicious thrust of the hips.

A wordless noise of pleasure spilled from Neil’s lips. He arched his back, his cock pressing up against the Patriarch’s hard stomach.

He drew shallow, gasping breaths as the Patriarch’s calloused hands moved down from his knees to his hips. They left trails of heat on his skin, making his whole body tingle.

With the size of the Patriarch’s endowment, Neil had expected more discomfort. A small voice in the back of his head had worried that he might tear or stretch too wide but the overwhelming need burning inside him had drowned it out.

The fears were unfounded, as it turned out. His hole did burn from the stretch. The Patriarch’s girth was considerable. But it felt good. The pain enhanced the pleasure. It was unlike anything he’d ever felt before.

It wasn’t that he’d never bottomed before. He’d had hook-ups in the past and he had a couple of dildos in his collection. This was just something more.

The intensity of the sensation, the way the Patriarch’s fat cock filled every bit of him with a profound heart, was something that defied description. He squeezed his hole around the base of the Patriarch’s erection, his insides fluttering around the length of it. "M-more, please," he breathed.

"Greedy little whore," growled the Patriarch under his breath. There was no malice at all in the words, rather a hint of fondness.

The casual degradation in the Patriarch’s words made Neil’s cock twitch. He didn’t know why he found it so hot but he did.

He normally didn’t like being put down, being treated as if he were lesser. But for some reason, he didn’t mind hearing it from the Patriarch. If anything, he loved it.

"Y-yeah," Neil whined. "I-I’m your greedy little whore. Fuck me. Fuck me, please!"

The Patriarch grinned. "Ask and ye shall receive," he whispered. "That’s the saying, isn’t it? From your world?"

Neil nodded. "Y-yes. Pl—"

His plea was strangled by the low moan that spilled out of his throat the moment the Patriarch’s cock shifted inside him.

"Shh," said the Patriarch as he rolled his hips, slowly fucking his cock in and out of Neil’s soft hole. "No more words, little lizard. Focus on the feeling of my cock inside you."

Neil bit his lower lip and nodded. It was difficult not to focus on it. It was so big. He was so full. And the way it moved, scraping his insides, it was almost too much.

"Yes. That’s it," said the Patriarch as he gradually increased his pace. "Feel it reshape you. Feel it mold you to fit me perfectly."

In and out. In and out. Neil could scarcely think as the Patriarch pounded his insides to mush.

He moaned, his cock rubbing against the Patriarch’s hard stomach as each thrust slammed into him. He was close. He was so close.

"I want you to feel me leave my mark in you," growled the Patriarch. "So that whenever you whore yourself out to another, you will always remember the sensation of me inside you. You will always remember whom you belong to."

Neil’s back arched off the floor. His hole clenched around the base of the Patriarch’s cock. His insides fluttered, his cock straining.

A low moan spilled out of him, followed by words not so much said as babbled "Breed me. Please! Please!"

He bucked his hips—as much as he could anyway—fucking himself on the Patriarch’s cock to meet every thrust. "Fill me with your seed!" he begged.

The Patriarch leaned down. He licked the side of Neil’s neck.

Neil shivered. The wet heat of the Patriarch’s tongue made his skin tingle and a bolt of pleasure shot through his entire body the moment he felt the man’s teeth on his flesh.

The Patriarch bit down hard enough to elicit a gasp, but not quite hard enough to draw blood. At the same time, his rutting reached a fever pitch.

Neil could scarcely moan. The thrusts were so hard and so fast they made his jaw rattle. He tilted his head back as far as he could, whining softly as the overwhelming combination of pain and pleasure rolled over him.

In and out. In and out. Faster. Harder. The sound of skin slapping against skin filled the air.

He was close. He was so close. "G-gonna!" he moaned.

As if in response, the Patriarch changed the angle of his thrusts. He pulled almost all the way out and jammed his cock home with all the strength he could muster.

If not for the Patriarch’s grip, Neil would have slid a good foot back from the force of the thrust but it did the job. It slammed into his prostate, that button inside of him.

Pleasure like a thunderstorm tore through Neil’s body. His toes curled. His legs stiffened. His back arched and a wordless howl escaped him as his balls pulled tight against his body and spurt after spurt of thick, hot jism spilled from his straining cock.

As his hole clenched around the Patriarch’s cock, his insides massaging every inch of the formidable endowment, the Patriarch gave one last powerful thrust and came.

Neil could feel it. The Patriarch’s cock throbbed inside of him. Something bulbous around the base swelled, locking them together.

And then, searing hot cum flooded his insides. He saw stars. His body locked up. His flagging cock surged back to full hardness and a second orgasm slammed into him.

This time, he orgasmed from inside. He came from his ass. Wave after wave of pleasure crashed over him, turning the world white as he felt his belly swell from the sheer volume of the Patriarch’s ejaculate.

The last thing he saw before he drifted away on waves of contentment and satisfaction were windows popping up on his HUD, one after the other.

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