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The King’s Favorite

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“The little blond kitten with the caramel tipped ears and hooked tail,” the king asks. “I haven’t seen him before. Who is he?”

His Duke, Koujaku, a lean Setsuran cat with long ebony fur and deep maroon eyes, flicks his tail when he lays eyes on the kitten in question. He’s adorable—cute, young, full of energy, and right now, angry as hell, apparently.

“I’m not sure, Your Grace. He must be new here—one of our new arrivals. We did just conquer the kingdoms of Ransen and Karou. He carries himself nobly—perhaps he is one of the royals we captured. It looks like he’s giving the overseer a hard time. Shall I intervene?”

The Duke and the king are watching the scene unfold from the veranda. The kitten has been put to work out in the gardens, and it’s not a good fit. It doesn’t look like he’s ever done a day’s work in his life, the king observes. And with his small stature, he can’t reach the fruit he’s supposed to be picking from the tree. His current overseer appears to be frustrated, but the kitten seems to be yelling right back. It’s almost an amusing sight.

This probably won’t turn out well for him, seeing as the overseer is Virus, the cat who is often assigned to new recruits and problem cases.

“Sire, do you want me to intervene?” Koujaku glances at the king, whose rounded white ears are pointed in the direction of the two cats facing off. He’s dressed for outdoor activities and sports today—his crown and cape are absent—but anyone could tell that he’s in charge just from his elegant posture.

“Not just yet. Let’s see where it goes first. If he is the Karou prince, I want him.”

Koujaku is disappointed that the kitten caught King Rai’s eye. He looks delectable—he’s petite, with mostly white fur, plush and full, the ends dipped in caramel. He’s slim but nicely built, like he has some experience sword training, except his waist is very slim and his hips wide—and he’s got the cutest, roundest little ass Koujaku has ever seen. But since the king has pointed him out, it makes him off limits. And so, Koujaku pushes the thoughts of the kitten’s cute little butt from his mind, trying to observe their interaction. About five minutes into it, looking at Rai’s expression, Koujaku is certain he will be collecting the kitten for the king’s harem. 


Gardening? Hardly—this is really more like farming! And I know nothing about either!

I’ve spent my life in a castle—I’m the prince of my kingdom of Karou—or I was, until two days ago, when those Setsuran fighters overtook it. I’d never seen fighters so large and powerful. They took me hostage immediately because I was dumb enough to tell them who I was.

Now, the gods only know how I’ll be humiliated here. I had to sleep on a mattress made of straw last night—straw! Though I complained loudly, no one came to my aid. I slept less than an hour, leaving me exhausted and crabby.

This morning, they put a collar on me—a fucking slave collar!—as well as leather cuffs on my wrists and ankles. The overseer says it makes discipline much easier. That frightens me, truth be told. Also, my fine clothes were taken from me, and I’m wearing loosely woven cotton that feels absolutely disgusting on my skin. It scratches and they are not tailored properly. It’s horrible.

“Don’t worry. We go easier on you when you first arrive. We know you’ve never had to work a day in your life.”

His words didn’t bring me much comfort, I have to confess.

The food is terrible, too—a stew of some sort for dinner and bland porridge for breakfast. Not the delectable fare I’m used to eating, and so I pushed it aside, refusing both last night’s dinner and this morning’s breakfast. I had just a little of the dry bread, but it wasn’t enough. Now, I can hardly stay upright at this point. 

“What do you think you’re doing?” The overseer is growling at me. I think he said his name is Virus. He’s a medium-sized cat with short blond hair and fur. He’s wearing spectacles and a slim-fitting outfit in green and black. 

“I’m picking fruit,” I say. I really feel like he’s been unfairly targeting me since I’ve arrived.

“You’re only to pick the ripe fruit,” he growls. 

I’m not used to be spoken to in this way. People at home treat me with respect and address me as “Your Grace.” I feel slightly offended.

“I am!” I retort.

“No, you stupid kitten. The ripe fruit should almost fall off when you twist it. You’re pulling off fruit with the entire branch!”

I look down at my basket, my fur bristled. He called me a stupid kitten. I am young—but I’m of age, 16. And I'm very well educated—I probably have much more education than he has, in fact. No one would dare speak to me like this at home!

“It doesn’t really matter,” I say. “Won’t it ripen off the tree just the same?”

He approaches me quite suddenly—and I don’t know what to do. No one at home would dare touch me without permission! I’m royal, for gods’ sake! My fur fluffs out defensively and I draw claws and bare fangs.

“Your job is to pick the ripe fruit, kitten. Like this.”

Standing right behind me—touching my back—no, in fact, completely surrounding my body and making me shiver with revulsion—Virus grabs my arm and lifts it up toward the tree.

“Don’t you dare touch me!” I yell, intimidated.

He drops my hand for a moment and grabs my chin instead, craning my neck backward to meet those crazy eyes of his.

“Oh? You have another complaint?”

“I-i’m royal! I h-have n-noble blood! Y-you have n-no right t-to t-touch me!” I stammer, my voice obviously filled with fear.

“So you keep saying. You were royal, when you lived in Karou, perhaps. But honey, you’re not in Karou anymore,” Virus whispers the words. He’s scaring me. “Now, you’re just another slave in Setsura, and a disobedient one, at that.”

“N-no,” I whisper.

“And you are still defying me? I’ve been dying to do this since I first laid eyes on you,” Virus says.

“Wanting to do wh-aaah!” My question is cut off by my frightened yell. Virus grabs my body—which is much smaller than his—and he bends me roughly over his knee, grabbing both my hands and pinning them at the base of my tail. I’m humiliated in this position, and he raises his leg up a little, so I’m on my tiptoes. I think I know what’s coming.

Is he going to beat me? I’ve never been whipped in my entire life—even as a child, my punishments were given to a whipping boy to save the precious body of the prince—and I learned very quickly to never disobey. I hated seeing another boy punished for my mistakes.

“Now, the question is—do I strip you or not?” Virus whispers it in my ear.

Strip me? Oh, my gods—my ears fill with blood immediately with the very idea of exposing my body. My body is precious and off limits—it’s a tradition in Karou for the royalty of both sexes to remain chaste until marriage. Even exposing my body to the servants is unheard of. Being in this position is humiliating enough—my tail flicks around nervously.

“Please—I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I’ll do anything—I just have never picked fruit before...”

I feel a hand moving from the tips of my ears—it feels cool since my ears are burning so hot—down my head and neck, along my spine, all the way to my buttocks. It makes me shiver.

“Probably too much for you to take for your first time,” Virus whispers, stroking my ass gently. It feels intrusive and unwelcome. I try to struggle to escape. “However, you’re not being very submissive. Even now, you’re trying to escape what you’ve got coming to you.”

He thinks I should just sit here and submit? That’s ridiculous! That will never happen! I’m staring at the grass on the ground in front of me, and I give my feet a good kick. Virus seems to expect this, and he says, “All right, then. You’ve made up my mind.”

A hard smack comes down on my ass—making my entire body jerk painfully against his leg, and a grunt comes out of my mouth. Before I can even catch my breath, he’s hit me again—switching between my left and right cheeks—hard. I notice when his blows are lower and aimed upward—right where my legs and ass meet—those hurt the worst, and a small cry escapes my mouth.

But there’s no way I’m just going to stand here and take it! I struggle as much as I can, kicking my legs, trying to pull my hands away from where he has them pinned, and I start yelling.

“Stop it! What the fuck do you think you’re doing to me? You can’t touch me! Get off me!” My words are interrupted by my cries, however, so my authoritative tone sounds much less authoritative.

But my ass is really heating up, and I’m starting to tire. But not before Virus stops. And he lifts me up off the ground for a moment, so I can’t kick my legs as easily.

“I gave you a chance to do this the easy way, and you didn’t take it. So what’s coming next is all on you now.”

To my utter surprise and shame, as soon as my feet hit the ground, my pants and underwear are yanked down around my knees. This also prevents me from kicking—being trapped in my own clothing.

My face heats up and my ears are burning.

“Ah—please—no.”

Words I meant to yell simply fall from my mouth in a helpless, vulnerable whisper. I’ve never felt so humiliated. Except, no—there is even worse humiliation once the spanking resumes—plus it really hurts.

Where before the blows took my breath away, now each one sears my skin—and each makes an embarrassing, loud slap. I feel my ass jiggling, too—and it’s mortifying! Tears are dripping from my eyes—and I know that some of my subjects are also in the garden picking fruit—they too are currently being treated to this show. I’m being spanked in front of my own subjects! I’m crying actual tears now—sobs are violently pulled from my chest.

Soon, my body isn’t fighting anymore—I actually am forced to submit. My tail is still waving around desperately—unsure and confused—but my ass is on fire, and it must be as red as my drooping ears when Virus finally stops.

“That’s what I require: your submission. How’s it feel?” He’s running his hand over my bare burning ass now, his fingers slipping along my sit spot and occasionally tickling the base of my tail.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper softly, repentant.

He smacks me again, and I cry out loud.

“You didn’t answer my question. I asked you how it felt.”

“It hurts,” I say quietly.

He smacks me again, right on my sore sit spot, and this time when I scream, fresh tears come out as well.

“I’m asking about your emotional state, you dimwit.”

“I’m sorry,” I say, my ears lowered. I’m still embarrassingly displayed across Virus’ knee, and I swallow my tears. I want my clothes! How can he speak to me so disrespectfully? “I feel mortified and embarrassed. No one has ever laid hands on me before, and now it’s clear my authority is gone.”

I stare at the grass. There is a patch of clovers right below me that I’ve been watering with my tears. I wonder if I could find a four-leaf clover in it—and if that would mean anything at this point. I could certainly use all the luck I can get.

“Your ass is made for spanking—that was just gorgeous,” Virus growls, finally pulling up my pants, taking his time.

In the corner of my eye—I see one, like magic, it almost has a silver halo around it, right there—in the middle of the patch of clovers—a stem with four leaves instead of three. The minute my hands are released, I reach down and snatch it from its home in the grass.

“Oy, what are you doing?”

“N-nothing,” I say. I sneak my prize into my pocket. Then Virus pulls me up against his chest like he was doing before.

“I’ll show you how to pick ripe kuim now. Pay attention and submit, or we will repeat our little discipline session.”

“I’m sorry,” I sniff, wiping my eyes.

He lifts up my right hand, and I allow it. I feel completely helpless and humiliated, like a puppet or a doll, and my tears continue falling. My vision is blurry.

“Check the fruit first, like this. Put your hand around it gently and give it a gentle pull. If it feels loose, it’s ripe. This one doesn’t, so let’s move to the next. Good boy. This one feels loose. So give it a twist.”

I twist it and the fruit falls into my hand.

“Perfect. That’s what I want to see. If you twist and it doesn’t come off, it’s not ripe. Move on to the next one. It looks like I should get you a ladder.”

I keep working, my ass and face and ears on fire, working around the tree. I try to ignore the other workers staring at me and their whispers.

“Konoe, meet your ladder. This is Asato. He’ll help you reach the fruit that is out of your reach.”

It's a cat? Not a ladder. Confused, I stare at him—it’s one I don’t know. He’s tall and lanky, with dark skin and black fur and hair, deep blue eyes that seem to stare right through me. He seems interested in my tail and even more interested in my ass.

“Um,” I start.

“If you give me or him any trouble, I will repeat that discipline session.”

My ears flatten instantly. But a ladder? How?

“I’ll help you reach, pretty little kitty,” Asato says.

I huff a little, but I’m taken completely off guard when Asato picks me up and puts me on his shoulders, draping my legs around his neck. I wince when my ass touches his shoulder, though. I'm still so sore! I’m very tall now, but it makes me nervous.

“You won’t drop me?” I ask uncertainly.

Instead of an answer, his hands rub my butt gently. It hurts!

“That looked very painful—but you are so very pretty,” Asato murmurs quietly. My ears light up in a fresh blush at his comment.

I ignore it and continue picking fruit, dropping them into the basket. Asato walks around the tree, carrying me on his shoulders. I occasionally feel his hands stroking my legs gently. Sometimes he grasps my tail and pets it, but I struggle to free it as soon as he captures it. I will never get used to being touched so casually. It doesn’t feel right. I’m royaltynot to be touched till I’m wed!

When we return to the front of the tree, I drop the last few ripe kuims into the basket, and Virus starts yelling at me again, making me flatten my ears. He really frightens me.

“What in the name of Ribika are you doing?!”

My claws draw reflexively and my fur fluffs out defensively.

“What—er, I’m sorry? Sir?” I must have fucked up again, but I don’t know what I did.

“Asato, put the kitten down now!”

He complies, and I’m shivering in fear. What did I do?

I drop down to my hands and knees, lowering my head to the ground, begging softly. Never in a million years did I think I would be begging some overseer in order to save my physical person last week! I could never have foreseen this! Is this really my life now?

“I’m so sorry, please forgive me, please—”

“Kitten! Get up, drop your pants and underwear, and brace yourself against that tree!”

I’m truly afraid now, and I stay right where I am. I cannot do that again!

“Please! Virus—sir—I don’t even know what I did wrong! Please! Have mercy!”

“You’d better obey me now or your punishment will be five times worse!”

A pitiful whine leaks from my mouth, and I comply, albeit slowly. Miserably, I stand up, tail drooping, and I undo my pants and lower them to my knees, my hands shaking. I feel my ears burning when I press my palms against the tree. Gods—I hate gardening! I had no idea it was so brutal! I wonder if this is how we garden and harvest in Karou. I sure hope not! I make a note to make sure we don't treat our servants like this as soon as I get home.

“Please, please, please,” I’m whispering—tears already falling. So much for that four-leaf clover—it did shit of a lot of good!

“You thought you’d just drop the fruit into the basket from where you were!? Stupid cat! You’ve bruised everything now! When you drop ripe fruit onto other ripe fruit, you're going to crush the fruit you've picked in that basket! Everything you picked is ruined! You’ll be paying for all of these—with this whipping!”

I hear a snapping sound—I think Virus has broken off a branch from the tree, but I'm afraid to look behind me—and then I hear it swishing through the air. It makes the skin on the nape of my neck prickle before it makes contact with my body.

When it hits the unprotected bare skin of my ass—I scream in pain. It doesn’t make as loud of a noise as his hand on the back of my ass, but it feels like it’s actually breaking my skin. When he hits me again and I scream even louder, tears bursting from my eyes. I’m nearly on my knees from the pain by the third blow—and I hear a low voice interrupt.

“Virus. That’s enough. He’s been spoken for.”

“I’m in the middle of a discipline session!” Virus complains.

“He’s been spotted and chosen,” the low voice says, “for work as an indoor companion.”

“Well, someone has a lot of work ahead of them! I’ve never seen a more willful kitten!”

For good measure, Virus smacks me a final time with that birch. It’s unexpected, and I scream again, collapsing to my knees.

The owner of that deep voice comes toward me, gently running his hands over my ass. He makes a pitying clicking sound with his mouth before pulling up my pants. I feel his presence behind me—he’s also Setsuran—I can tell from his monstrous size—and I’m frightened.

“My gods, Virus, do you have to be so brutal? You’ve left welts and broken his skin! This king is not going to be pleased!”

“He should have obeyed, then,” Virus says simply. “I think this one is a poor choice for a companion, even if he has a nice ass. This one is willful and disobedient. He might be cute, but still!”

“Ah—this is the Karou prince?” the low voice asks, and he tilts my lowered chin up to his.

"So he claims," Virus says.

I meet the new cat's gaze—deep brown, almost red eyes meet my eyes—set with long, dark plush eyelashes. He has a scar across the bridge of his nose, but it only serves to make him more handsome. His hair is so dark it’s almost blue, and his fur is long-haired and matches his hair. His ears are strangely rounded and small—almost cute, I think.

I think I may have gasped when I take in his looks—for he is indeed a very handsome cat. The fur on his tail is long and bushy. And he smiles at me, making him even more beautiful. I blush deeply and look down. Plus, he saved me from that birching and from that horrible Virus!

“Oh my,” he murmurs, brushing my ears. “Pink ears. Look at that. Aren’t you an enchanting creature?”

I’m suddenly feeling very shy. Why is he being so kind to me?

“You will behave yourself for me, won’t you little one? You are indeed as lovely as the rumors make you out to be,” he says.

“Rumors?” I ask.

“Your name is Konoe, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“You are rumored to be the most handsome eligible prince in all the land. And now—here you are—and you’ve caught our king’s eye. My job is to clean you up and prepare you for him.”

The king? What does he want me for, I wonder? A small shiver goes down my back, and I feel afraid.

“Prepare me... how?”

“You will serve him. Entertain him,” Koujaku explains. “It will be a much better situation for you than gardening, I think?”

“Serve and entertain?” I ask. I don’t have experience in the kitchens or dining room. I can dance well enough, but I don’t sing or perform—so how will I entertain him?

“Come,” Koujaku says, pulling me to my feet. I try to follow and I collapse in a few feet. My vision goes gray and everything sounds like it’s being piped through a metal tube. I can still hear, however—and I’m terribly afraid I will be beaten again.

“Please, please,” I whimper from the ground. “Please—have mercy on me. Please don't hurt me anymore!”

“Hush, now,” Koujaku whispers. Then he snaps at Virus, “Has the kitten eaten or slept? He looks exhausted!”

“He refused to eat, and he wouldn’t sleep on the mattress on the account that it was straw,” Virus explains.

I feel something gently rubbing my ears and my body feels like it is floating suddenly. I think Koujaku is carrying me.

“Please—don’t whip me again,” I start crying immediately. “I’m sorry I cannot obey—I just can’t get my legs to work!” My chest is hitching in great sobs.

“Hush now, little one,” Koujaku rubs my ears while he carries me. “You just rest for now. No one is going to whip you—especially not if you obey. We need to get you ready for tonight, and you need to rest while you can. Probably, you need some food, too. Just close your eyes for now, hmm?”

I obey, and my sobs calm down. This beautiful cat smells nice—like some sort of warm spice I can’t quite place—vanilla mixed with clove or cinnamon. I close my eyes and am asleep before he even carries me into the castle.

Chapter Text

I wake in a warm, steamy room—and it smells nice in here. I’m curled up in a chair, and I hear the sound of running water.

Where am I?

“How are you feeling, little one? Think you can eat something? I hear the food hasn’t been to your liking.”

It’s that tall, dark-haired cat—and he’s awfully close. I shrink away slightly, earning myself a smile.

“Are you a little shy? I’ve heard some rumors about the royalty of Karou. Perhaps you can tell me about your traditions while we are getting you ready to meet His Grace.”

“His Grace?” I echo.

“King Rai—he’s the king of Setsura. I’m Koujaku, by the way, his right-hand man and the highest ranking duke of the land.”

“Nice to meet you, sir,” I say, tipping my head slightly. I bow my head only slightly—he does not outrank me. I’m a prince, after all—and he should be bowing to me... except... well. Perhaps I’m not a prince anymore. Wait. Am I showing disrespect?

I suddenly feel very nervous. I could be whipped again—where am I exactly? Looking around, this appears to be a large bathing chamber. I could indeed use a bath. At home, I bathed every day in chambers similar to these, only private, of course—intended only for my use. I am much overdue for a bath, and perhaps that’s why I’m here. But why is he here with me?

“You look very nervous suddenly, kitten.”

“I am wondering—should I bow to you? I outrank you—I am a prince in my country, and you are merely a duke.”

Koujaku laughs—loudly—and it frightens me, but it’s a rather lovely sound. Shocking, but beautiful.

“You sound very sure of yourself, kitten,” Koujaku says. “To answer your question, no, you are not required to bow to me. But if you’d like to keep your head, you ought to bow to the king.”

“Is he cruel?” I ask. “How am I to entertain him? I don’t really know how to do anything. I am usually the one being entertained—”

“First, help yourself to some food,” Koujaku suggests, gesturing to a platter of freshly sliced meats and cheese, fresh bread, fruits, and vegetables. This is much better—a much more appropriate fare for my tender palate. “Would you like some wine?”

“Please,” I say eagerly.

He pours me a glass, and it’s delicious. In Karou, I’ve only been officially allowed to imbibe since I was 15, but I’ve enjoyed the taste and effect of alcohol for much longer than that, sneaking it as early as 13. This red wine has a full-bodied flavor, almost no tannins, and a long finish. It has a slight hint of berry and the sweet and sour flavor of kuim.

“This is delicious,” I say.

“It’s one of our local specialties,” Koujaku says, as he watches me eat.

“You won’t eat?” I ask.

“Ah, thank you—but no. More importantly, I have a few questions for you.”

“Yes?”

“You’re the crown prince of Karou, aren’t you?”

“Um, yes,” I admit.

“So you have some sword training?”

“I do—I have been trained since a young age.”

“I see. And there are some customs your country has with its royalty—different from ours. Is it true no one is allowed to even touch you? Not until after you are wed?”

I look up suddenly.

“Yes. That is true.” Why is he interested in that?

“What about servants? Don’t you have servants who help you dress or wash you?”

“Yes, but they do not touch my body.”

“I see,” Koujaku says. “What about romantic relationships?”

“Excuse me?” I ask, flattening my ears slightly.

“Did you have any at the castle? Would they be permitted? Or held in secret?”

“Certainly not—especially not before marriage! Plus, marriage is usually done by courting, then engagement, then marriage—or it is arranged by betrothment between two countries. If I sought out affection as I chose, that would decrease my value as royalty,” I say, flushing slightly, thinking now of how Virus touched me earlier—and in front of my subjects. My ears droop, my tail droops, and I suddenly am not very hungry anymore.

“What is it?”

“My subjects—some were in the garden this morning. They witnessed what was done to me so very publicly. My integrity and honor have been diminished because of that incident—and in front of my own subjects, too. I will never be able to get that back.”

Koujaku doesn’t speak for a moment.

“Konoe, I am sorry. However, keep in mind, those people are your former subjects. In Setsura, we don’t have such traditions. In fact, it is considered an honor to be touched by the king himself.”

I look up at the ebony haired cat, and I make the connection. 

“The king wishes... to touch me? I thought I was to serve and entertain him?” For what purpose, I wonder?

“Yes, you are. In the bedchamber.” My shock registers instantly.

“What?!” My fur bristles suddenly, and my fangs bare. “How dare he! I haven’t even received a request to be courted...”

“That isn’t what we do here, kitten. I think you need to forget about your home and think about what is in front of you now.”

“I will not submit to this!”

“Would you rather be sent back to Virus? I’m sure he’d be delighted to whip you with that birch or whatever else he can find. He found you delightful and was disappointed when I took you inside to the king.”

A shudder runs down my spine.

“What does the king want with me? I’ve never even met him!”

“He found you interesting. You caught his eye. Assuming you are obedient and compliant, he plans to add you to his, um, harem.”

“His what?” I have no idea what word that is.

“His harem,” Koujaku looks away from me. “Of course you don’t know what that is. Finish your wine and I will explain.”

I am glad for it—gulping it down in three swallows—and he refills my glass instantly. 

“A harem is a collection of interesting people who entertain and serve the king upon his request—in the bedchamber,” Koujaku explains. “He plans for you to join his harem.”

“I will become one of many? A collection of people? For the bedroom? Does he have a collection? How many? He can’t simply just love one cat?!” I’m flabbergasted. It seems like such an excess to me. I’ve never heard of such a thing—how on earth could his marriage work like that?

Koujaku smiles—but his eyes are full of pity. 

“I have no experience! I have never been touched before today—never—and I have never... served anyone in the bedroom before. I wouldn’t know what to do, nor what he likes!”

“I think that is partly why he finds you interesting,” Koujaku suggests gently.

“My lack of experience?” The fuck? My hands are shaking, and I gulp down more of my wine. “How the hell will that serve anyone? Is he... going to hurt me?”

“I don’t think so—especially not if you do as he asks. He is direct, and often hard to read, but he is not unkind, Konoe.”

“Have you... spent time with him in the bedroom?” I ask. “Are you a member of his harem?”

Koujaku tips his ears backward.

“I’m not a member of his harem. However... it was a long time ago... and I won’t discuss it with you—but it wasn’t unpleasant,” Koujaku says, his tone unreadable.

“Not unpleasant? Meaning, better than a whipping?!” I realize there are tears in my eyes again, and I’m close to hysteria.

“Drink your wine, kitten. We need to get you ready.”

“I don’t want to do this! I’m not ready to do this! I’m not prepared—I don’t know what to expect!” I exclaim.

“That is your charm,” Koujaku rubs my ears. “Go to him as you are, and he will be kind to you.”

“But why would he want me if he doesn’t even know me?” I protest.

“Kitten,” Koujaku says, and I realize he is getting awfully close to me. “I realize you find this upsetting. I probably shouldn’t have told you anything. But we must bathe you and dress you. And I’m here to help you with that.”

“Is he planning to... ravish me? Rape me? Is that what I’m being prepared for?” The panic in my voice is overflowing.

“Come now, don’t be ridiculous,” Koujaku pulls off my shirt—untying the neck and pulling it over my head.

“Waa!” I yell, trying to cover myself with my arms. “What are you doing to me? Don’t touch me!”

Koujaku takes my chin in his hand firmly, and he looks me directly in the eye.

“Konoe, I don’t want to have to discipline you, but I will if you disobey me. All I need to do is bathe you. So either let me remove your clothes or do it yourself.”

“I will do it,” I mutter quietly. “Please—let me do it.”

“You know, the king may want to take your clothes off himself tonight. It might be good practice if you let me do it.”

A violent, angry hiss comes out of my mouth before I can stop it.

“Ah! I’m so sorry!” I stuff both hands in front of my mouth after the fact. “I didn’t mean—”

“You’ve just lost your privilege.”

He pulls off my boots, roughly—one after the other—and then peels off my stockings. I whine—a tiny sound—in protest.

“Stand up,” Koujaku commands.

A tiny meow comes out of my mouth, but I obey, keeping my face pointed at the floor, dreading what must be coming next.

Koujaku strips off my pants and underwear, leaving me naked, my fur completely bristled. I bring my tail up to the front of my body—to cover myself. I have never felt so exposed in all my life, and tears burn in my eyes and drip down my face.

“Go on, hop in, kitten. For gods’ sake, this is a bath, not torture. Don’t cry.” Koujaku’s voice has softened significantly.

I look up, and there’s a huge pool right in front of me. It’s steaming hot, and I walk down the steps, allowing my body to sink into the water. It feels good, actually.

“Sit on the side for a moment.”

I obey, quietly, still not looking at him.

He takes a small basin and rinses my hair, and then applies shampoo—working it into a lather. I flinch at first when I feel him touching my scalp. I’ve never had anyone wash my hair that I can remember—and it feels weird but oddly pleasant. His long fingers have a nice firm touch, and it feels almost indulgent and strangely luxurious to have someone doing this small thing for me.

“Come back up a step so I can rinse you.”

I obey, and he rinses my hair, allowing the water to drain outside the pool—letting all the soapy water wash away.

“Stand up,” he says.

I’m very embarrassed to show my nude body, but I obey, keeping my head down. I’m facing away from him, at least. I wonder if there are marks left from the beating. If there are, they aren’t significant, because they don’t sting in the water—or else, the herbs in the water are soothing.

He applies shampoo to my tail, lathering it up as well. The sensation in my tail is much different than on my scalp and ears. It also feels incredibly indulgent but in a different way. It tingles and almost tickles—especially as he moves down toward the tip. It makes me shudder and shiver. I don’t know what this feeling is, and the more he lathers, the heavier the feeling gets. It seems to pool right around my hips, almost uncomfortably.

“Um—please,” I whisper.

When he gets to the hooked end, he spends too much time there. I wonder if I have to go to the bathroom—it’s that kind of heaviness—and I end up pleading with him.

“Please—Koujaku—Please!”

“Can you feel in this hooked part?” he sounds amazed.

“It’s terribly sensitive,” I say, and I’m sure my ears are red.

He rinses me off and applies conditioner to both my tail and hair, combing it through. The comb on my tail drives me a little crazy, though. At home, sometimes—and only for special occasions—I would have help with my hair styling—but only for the hair on my head. No one was ever allowed to touch my tail.

What a strange country Setsura is! So permissive and touchy, almost a greedy country, I think. If their king requires an entire collection of people to fulfill his sexual needs, that sure says something, doesn’t it? Their king must be frightening, indeed!

After he rinses my fur and hair, Koujaku says, “Go ahead and soak for a while.”

I float around in the water—it feels so nice—and I dunk my head beneath the surface and I enjoy myself thoroughly. It is scented with herbs and oil, I think, and it smells so nice and relaxing. But when I look back at the steps, Koujaku is watching me—and his eyes look so very dark—his pupils are wide and round, and I become slightly frightened. There is something strange and predatory in his gaze that scares me.

So instead, I sit down on the side of the pool, and I say quietly, “I think I am tired. May I rest?”

“Of course,” Koujaku says, affably enough.

He gives me a hand to help me out of the water and wraps me in a fluffy towel, drying my hair with another towel. 

I smell good from the scented water—and that is nice. I’m given a robe and a pair of sandals to wear, and I follow Koujaku into a small room—this one is much warmer and cleaner than where I stayed last night, and it has a rather nice bed in it, as well as a dresser with a mirror, but not much else.

I see a comb on the dresser, and I use it to quickly comb out my hair and fur, just to prevent it from tangling.

Slipping off my sandals, I lie down on the bed, tucking the covers around my body snugly. They also help me feel more modest. I would like some clothes, but there isn’t anything available—just the robe I’m wearing.

“I’ll be back later with something for you to wear,” Koujaku says softly. “Just rest for now.”

As I sink into the comfortable pillow, to my relief it’s a feather mattress. I’m sound asleep within minutes—even before Koujaku leaves the room. I hear him muttering something before he leaves—about innocence or something. But I don’t have the energy to care about it right now—I’m just so delighted to be in a nice, comfortable bed again!

Chapter Text

How did I get myself in this situation? I think to myself.

At this moment, I find myself in the king’s bedchamber, dreading his arrival. I have been carefully dressed and groomed—the Duke, Koujaku, helped prepare me less than half an hour ago. My washed hair has been plaited carefully, my body has been lightly perfumed, and I am dressed in the most indecent dressing gown I have ever worn. I remember now, back in that smaller bedroom, how I was made to get ready...

When I first see the ivory silk gown, I refuse to wear it on account of its indecency. It is indeed lovely, but the fabric is practically sheer. It’s voluminous, yes, but if I am to accidentally press the fabric up against my body, you can see my legs through it. It’s completely immodest!

I thank the Duke for such fine fabric, but I couldn’t possibly wear such an item. Koujaku says the following:

"Konoe, I understand your feelings, so I will offer you an alternative.”

“Thank you. What is the alternative?” I still dislike being addressed as Konoe. I should be called “Your Grace” or “Highness” or at least “sir.”

“The alternative is that you can go in the nude.”

My fur ruffles up in surprise when I hear him say this, and I look directly at him. He must be joking.

“I’m sorry?”

“I’m sure the king would approve of either. So please choose.”

I shift around nervously for a moment. I can’t possibly meet the king of this country wearing nothing at all. I’m royalty! That’s ridiculous!

“Are you serious?”

“I’d never joke about something like this.”

I sigh heavily. I have no choice, I suppose. I have to choose the lesser of two evils, and I cross my arms in front of my chest, tapping my foot. I’m waiting for the Duke to leave so I can change.

“Do you expect me to change in front of you?”

“Yes. Or I can assist. It might help you get used to your position here?” Koujaku suggests helpfully.

I ruffle my fur again.

“I shall do it!” I’m very irritated now, but I see no choice, since I can’t go nude. I’m terribly frightened of the evening ahead of me, but I’m hoping I may still find some way out of it. I’m still not exactly sure what is expected of me for entertainment—they keep us so very sheltered in Karou. I don’t even really know what goes on between married couples, much less what a king with an entire harem might expect!

Koujaku is watching me, so I turn around and show him my back when I untie the robe I’m wearing. I drop it to the floor like I do at home—my staff will pick it up later, of course—and Koujaku harrumphs his displeasure.

I look over my shoulder, since I’m naked now, and I don’t wish to expose myself.

“What was that? You can’t just leave your shit on the floor anymore, Konoe! Pick it up, fold it, and put it on the bed, at least, for gods’ sake.”

My ears flatten from being scolded. I’m never scolded at home. My tail drooping, I obey. Instead of bending at the waist to pick it up, though, I bend my knees. I figure I will expose less of myself.

Koujaku clicks his tongue.

“Next time, you ought to bend at the waist. It’s prettier if you show yourself off a little.” He smiles.

I blush. I’m still naked, not facing him. I know he saw me in the bath, but he’s the only person I can remember who has ever seen me naked. Ever. In my entire life. And he’s not my spouse. It’s unseemly! I slip the indecent silk fabric on my body—slipping it over my shoulders. There are buttons in the front—it has long, draping sleeves, like a kimono—and I work the buttons closed as quickly as I can. 

Strangely, the fabric feels light and cool and pleasant against my skin. And then, I remember—the lucky clover!

“Koujaku, sir, what happened to my clothes from earlier?”

“Why?”

“There was something in my pocket I wanted.”

“You do not own anything here unless it is given to you by the king,” Koujaku states. “This is your life now. You should come to terms with it.”

My ears droop sadly. I think I feel tears burning my eyes, and I look away quickly.

“What was it?” Koujaku asks, when he sees my expression.

“It was a four-leaf clover. I thought I might give it to the king.”

“Hmm. I’m sure those clothes have been taken to the laundry by now, but I will check.” Needless to say, he doesn’t find it. My luck has run out this evening.

Koujaku wraps a gold silk belt around my waist. It only pulls the fabric around my legs tighter, making the outfit feel even more indecent. He gives me a pair of what he calls geta for my feet—tall slippers with wooden soles. I wobble a little, and they make me sway my hips when I walk.

I was not forced to wear the collar after my bath. I feel much better about that.

Then I was led to the king’s bedchambers. 

How shall I describe them? Well, much different than mine in Karou—that’s for sure. This king—he must enjoy spending time in bed, for the bed is huge. I mean, I realize he must be a large cat. He’s Setsuran, of course, but the bed—it’s gigantic. I wonder if he ever spends time with more than one person from his harem at a time in here, and that thought makes me ruffle my fur.

Koujaku told me to wait on the bed and behave myself, but I’m wandering around the chamber, looking around. It’s too intriguing, to see how another ruler lives.

The bed is the centerpiece of the room, however. It’s very large, covered in white and silver bedding—all different textures—silks, fur, linen—more pillows in all shapes and sizes than even my own bed—sumptuous, I would call it, and it’s comfortable, too. It has four posts and a frame above it, and it has sheer chiffon curtains surrounding it, which Koujaku has lowered once he has pushed me into the bed.

When the king enters, assuming I’m in bed, he should be able to see me there, but he will see me through the sheer curtains—like a bride through a veil, I think. Romantic, isn’t it?

Creepy as hell, more like.

I climbed out of the bed the moment I hear Koujaku’s steps retreating from the door.

The room is giant—with a fireplace in the corner—and it’s lit, which bothers me. I hate fire, so I avoid that corner of the room—at first. But I see there are books over there—bookshelves almost the size of a library. I wish I could explore a little—since there are several comfortable chairs out by the fire, and it looks like a couple of books out, along with reading glasses and a carafe of wine. Hmm. Maybe I will venture over and have just a taste of wine.

I do finally dare. I avoid the fire—and pour myself a thumb of wine. It’s even better than what Koujaku gave me. This has a minty taste—it’s more liquor than wine, though, and I help myself to a little more. Tasty. I look at the books that are out.

How old is this king? He has to wear reading glasses, so I hope he isn’t an old man—that would be gross. He’s reading some boring book on history, and my gods—there’s a book about the history of Karou here. What the shit!? I pick it up and look at it. The author is none other than my stepfather, Leaks. How the hell does he have this book—and why? I slam it down on the table angrily, feeling like my privacy has been invaded.

No, wait. It wasn’t my privacy, but my country that was invaded. If I were a better prince, I would read history books about Setsura, wouldn’t I? I sigh, frustrated, defeated, and wanting another drink. My fingers are shaking.

I gulp down the liquor, and it settles nicely in my stomach. On the other side of the room, there’s a dressing table, a silver hairbrush, and a comb—he must be vain, but maybe that’s good—maybe he’s good looking—and some jewelry. A king who wears jewelry. I mean, that’s not unusual, but I don’t keep mine out on display like that, I guess. 

And then there’s another door. I push on it and it’s a huge closet of clothes—all huge clothes—gods, the guy must be a giant—bigger than Koujaku, judging by the size of these clothes. I look at the shoes and I start to become slightly afraid, remembering a joke I heard once when I was younger about how shoe size corresponds with penis size, and those shoes are so fucking huge.

Just for shits and giggles, I place my foot next to one of the shoes, and easily, two of my feet could fit into one of his shoes. Oh, shit. I wish I hadn’t remembered that joke.

I wander back to the fireplace and pour myself a little more liquor and throw it back quickly, trying to calm down, trying not to think of penises.

One entire wall is covered by drapes, and I peek behind them. That wall is all glass—glass is so rare in Karou—nearly as precious as gold, and here, this king has an entire wall of glass! It looks out into the garden. I don’t think it’s where I was working—well, rather where I was beaten, hell, I hardly did any work—this morning, but maybe that’s where he first saw me. He even has a private entrance. There’s another door on the adjacent wall, too, but it’s locked.

Then, next to the closet, there’s another door—I didn’t see it at first—it was hidden behind a drape. I open it—and it’s a small room, not a closet. But there are no windows. There seem to be various things inside this closet, though, but I don’t know what they are—maybe tools and apparatuses for sword training? Weight or strength training? I wonder what the handcuffs are for, though, and I’m about to open a dresser when my ears twitch. I hear heavy footsteps coming down the hall outside. Shit!

I slam the door, close the drapes, and rush back to the bed, and straighten the chiffon drapes, pulling at my indecent outfit. I lie back on the pillows and stare up at the ceiling—and I’m startled out of my wits! Looking right back at me, wearing the most indecent outfit I can possibly imagine—I mean—I can see the outline of my legs and hips through this thing!—I see my own reflection. What kind of person has a mirror mounted above their bed? What the fuck is going on here? What the fuck am I in for?

This thought is rushing through my head as I hear the confident, heavy footsteps approaching and the door creaks open. I squeeze my eyes shut and take a deep breath.

Chapter Text

“It seems like someone hasn’t been obediently staying in bed like he was told to do.”

This voice must belong to the king—I’m sure of it. It’s deep—silky and indecent like the texture of the fabric touching my body—and it slips into the depths of my ears in a strange way, like a caress, sending a shiver down my spine and making the fur on my tail fluff out.

The sound surprises me so much that my eyes pop open and I sit up in the bed, looking directly at the source. My ears are perked up, pointed forward eagerly, almost as though they want to hear him speak again—for, really, it was a delightful voice. I’ve never heard such a beautiful voice, in fact. Just the sound of it makes my fur stand on end. I’ve never felt something like this before.

The footsteps are coming closer, so I’m not surprised to see he is approaching the bed so quickly. What does surprise me is the sheer size of the cat I see in the room with me.

It’s evening now—the light from the fireplace and two lamps on the wall behind the bed are all the lighting in the room right now—but it’s plenty to make out the giant in the room. For him, the furniture is not oversized. This bed is not oversized. It’s sized just right for him.

A shiver rushes through my shoulders.

I think of winter when I see him—pale skin, silver hair—long, waist-length silver hair, even pulled back from his face in a low ponytail. He wears a black eyepatch over his right eye, and the other shines a beautiful pale blue.

He is gorgeous.

He is not an old man—on the contrary—he looks quite young—he can’t be older than his mid-twenties, I think.

But he is huge. He is at least four heads taller than me—and while his body is lean, he looks like he is pure muscle. His chest is broad, he has an elegant long neck, and those legs!—he’s dressed in black and blue clothing, trimmed with silver, dressed for dinner, it seems, his outfit understated but elegant. He’s wearing a silver circlet on his head, but no cape. He leaves the circlet on the dresser.

There is no mistaking that this is the king of Setsura. And now I understand why and how my kingdom was invaded so easily—and how it was conquered. This man has an iron will and takes what he wants.

“Have you not yet learned your lesson, little one?”

His voice caresses my ears once more, making them twitch. I shift on the bed—almost in discomfort. I have the urge to scrub inside my ears with my hands after his voice seeps in. I feel like should not be allowed to hear his voice—it’s immodest!

“Lesson?” I echo, not even meaning to speak, but my voice escapes anyway.

“Ah, so you can speak,” the king replies. He smiles softly—and when he smiles—my gods—his face changes from a sculpted statue of the ideal of beauty to utter gloriousness. What is this cat? I have never seen a creature like him!

“What are you?” I ask, backing up on the bed—especially as he gets closer.

He pulls open the chiffon drapes on the bed—opening them on the side casually, he takes a seat on the bed. Remember how I said the bed was raised on a platform? Well, that’s so he can sit down comfortably.

I’m amazed, but I still back up against the headboard, flattening my ears. Why is he sitting next to me?

“What am I?” The king is busy pulling off his boots—black, knee-high leather boots, very fine—first the right and then the left, leaving them on the floor next to the bed. He turns to look at me. “I assumed you’d been informed.”

“Informed?” I ask.

“I’m Rai, the king of Setsura. Weren’t you told you were being brought to my chambers? The Duke should have informed you. I saw you this morning—I thought perhaps gardening... wasn’t a good fit for you.”

I blush and would like to drop my eyes in embarrassment, but am too afraid to take my eyes away from the hulking creature at the foot of the bed. He feels too much like a predator for me to drop my gaze.

“My gods,” Rai says. “Your ears—they turn pink when you blush? That is most unusual.”

I flatten them irritatedly against my skull.

“It’s not,” I insist. “It’s normal for pale-colored cats.” I look at him. “Surely you are the same.”

“I most certainly do not blush—or I do very rarely—and my ears do not turn pink like yours.” The king sounds rather fascinated like I am some rare animal—for his collection.

“It’s nothing special,” I insist. “What—you wish to add a cat with pink ears to your collection?” My tone is clipped and snappish.

Rai raises his eyebrows.

“You object?”

“I do not understand the concept of a harem,” I say. “Can you not simply love one cat? Isn’t that how marriage works? Perhaps your sexual prowess is too great?”

Rai laughs. It’s a lovely sound—easily as charming as his smile. I wonder if he might be a devil.

“It has nothing to do with marriage or love, little one.”

“What then? I cannot bear children! So what is the point?”

“Ah. The point—it will come soon enough. I wanted to take it slow with you, on account of your traditions. I’ve read about them, you see, and I have to confess, the rumors about you are quite accurate. You are rumored to be quite lovely. I’m pleased with you—it was a mistake that you ended up outside with the servants at the start, and I apologize for that.”

“What?” An apology? What is he talking about? He invaded my kingdom, for gods’ sake. Perhaps he’s forgotten and needs a reminder. “You invaded my kingdom!”

“Yes, I’m afraid I did. I am searching for something, you see. And invasion is the way of Setsura.”

I am seething. He may be handsome—beautiful, in fact—and his voice like honey to my ears—this may be something like attraction that I have heard about. But I do not like his attitude. I am having none of it.

“You see, you were meant for my harem for the start,” he purrs. He looks directly at me now. “The dressing gown suits you well. The Duke has excellent taste. Does it please you?”

“No!” I snap. “It’s indecent! And I hate the Duke!”

Rai covers his mouth in a gesture I don’t recognize. “You hate Koujaku? Why? Did he offend you?”

“Yes!” I snap. 

“Please, tell me what he did so I might punish him.” Still, the king keeps his mouth covered. Perhaps it’s a gesture of apology?

“He—” and I realize I’m not sure I can even admit what he did I am so ashamed. I look down in utter embarrassment. My hands are shaking.

“You poor thing, you are shaking.”

My hands are suddenly grasped in hands much larger and warmer than my own—and how the hell did he get so close to me without making any noise! The king is right here—and he is so much bigger than me when he is up close! Holy shit!

“Please, tell me what happened.” His voice is so soft, so silky and smooth.

“He, um, insisted on seeing me naked. And when I wouldn’t undress quickly enough for the bath, he forcibly stripped me. And when I told him this outfit was too revealing, he teased me about giving me an alternative—and that was to appear before you nude. And then he insisted I change in front of him. And he forced me to pick up my clothes off the floor before I was even dressed!”

I realize I have tears in my eyes when I am talking.

“Little prince—Prince Konoe—this tradition—in Karou—is it true? No one sees your body before you are wed?”

“No! It’s unseemly, and it decreases my honor and my value if I am seen, and now—I was punished before my subjects, er, former subjects, and then Koujaku saw me completely naked...” my voice trails off hopelessly.

“Your staff—no one helps dress you?”

“Well, they do, but only after my underclothes are on and I am decently covered.”

“What about massage?”

“Massage? I don’t know what word.”

“No one has ever put lotion on your skin—to treat your skin gently, soothe your muscles, help your wellbeing?”

“No,” I admit.

“I see. Interesting. You will certainly make an interesting addition here. I’m very much looking forward to having you. I realize you will need some time to become accustomed to how things work here, but I will be delighted to teach you. I find your innocence rather refreshing and enchanting, Konoe.”

He strokes my ears softly. No one has ever done that to me before—and that, combined with how his voice is calling me enchanting—is making me feel weird.

“Now, you see, a massage—that might be just thing to help you get started this evening,” Rai continues. He is looming over me now and pushing me down to the bed.

“Um, I don’t want to—”

“It’s all right, little prince, because I do want to. And that is the first rule of this bedchamber. I think you will enjoy the massage. You may not enjoy everything that happens tonight, little one, but I’m sure you will enjoy this.”

My body is starting to shiver with fear. He is kneeling over top of me, and he unbuttons his jacket while sitting on top of me.

Oh, my gods—he is stripping off his clothes—while sitting on me? I’m pinned down, but I don’t have to watch! I refuse!

“This is not decent,” I whisper, and I squeeze my eyes closed, tears of embarrassment are dripping from my eyes. Of course—I’m embarrassed for his sake. He should not be exposing himself to me.

“Realize, little prince, that many in my harem desire to spend time with me and would love to be in your place right now. They live to please me, you know.”

“Why?” I ask.

Rai laughs—he actually laughs at my question.

“That is a good question. I think it’s because they find me handsome, powerful, or rich. I can grant them anything their heart desires, and I can make their lives pleasurable—or painful. You will learn this, too. Soon, I think, you will desire to please me.”

“Never!” I say.

Rai starts unbuttoning his blouse next—and it’s a sheer silk blouse, like the silk I’m wearing.

“Why are you doing this? This is shameful!” I turn my face away and squeeze my eyes closed, while I hear him chuckling. I hear—and feel—that soft silk sweep away from his body. 

“Little one, look at me,” Rai says.

I do not obey.

I feel him tilt my chin toward him, and I keep my eyes squeezed closed—and I feel the air grow hot around my face—is he bringing his face close to mine? Why? Is he going to bite me? I am filled with fear.

But then I feel the softest, most gentle touch on my lips—just brushing me slightly. It surprises me so much that my eyes open. When I open my eyes, I can hardly see anything. My vision is filled with nothing but white and silver, a blur of black and a bit of pale blue. Rai’s face is mere inches from mine—and then I feel that soft brush on my lips again—and I realize they are his lips.

This time, a small, helpless, desperate sound comes out of my mouth when he kisses me. I try so hard not to kiss him back—and I don’t think I do—but he is very pleased that I make a sound. This time, his mouth gently sucks in my top lip—I even feel his teeth against my lip before he releases it—and I am lifting my head up off the bed to extend the touch. And then, he does the same with my bottom lip, nipping it lightly with his fangs. The nip sends a strange, shivering heat through the core of my body and into my hips, making it pool there—just like the sound of his voice did. Another small sound comes out when he releases me. It sounds like I said, “uh.”

When he pulls away, I see he isn’t wearing a shirt—and he is gorgeous. He has a beautifully sculpted chest, powerful arms, a muscular stomach, and flat belly with a patch of silver fur—long, straight, and fine—just below his navel. He lifts up his arm and releases his hair from the ponytail, allowing it to spill around his shoulders, his neck, his back—and it smells amazing.

In fact—he smells amazing. I’m not sure of the scent—but it’s clean and fresh—like freshly fallen snow and sandalwood—masculine and clean.

“Little one, it’s considered an honor to look upon your king. And also—an honor for him to wish to look upon you.” I feel his hands stroking my body from my ears down my neck to my sides and waist, through the soft fabric of the silk. Almost impatiently, he pulls the belt from my waist. I give a little gasp.

“This color suits your eyes—and your hair—you are certainly royal, aren’t you?”

Then, he works the buttons, starting at my neck, and I lift up my hands to stop him.

“Please,” I beg.

“This is for the massage,” Rai says, his hypnotic voice sneaking into my ear.

“I don’t wish to expose myself,” I whimper softly.

“But I would very much like to see you. And you know the rules of the bedchamber, don’t you?”

I still try to fight off his hands, but it is useless. A few tears fall from my eyes, and Rai notices them, wiping them occasionally.

“Little one, listen. You belong to me now. This body belongs to me now. So you aren’t really exposing yourself to me, you see. This is just like when you change or wash. Can you think of it that way? I want to take care of you—and your body—in ways you cannot yet imagine.”

His words send shivers through my body and down my spine, and he notices.

“That is the response I want. Now lower your hands. Good kitten.” He pets my ears gently—almost lovingly, and I see his fangs bare when he exposes my skin. “Not even your servants saw this beautiful skin?”

Slipping his hands between the silk fabric and my skin, he slides those long sleeves off my body.

“My gods, you are beautiful,” he murmurs. He rolls me over onto my stomach, draping the sheer silk robe over my bare skin for a moment, while he arranges a few pillows underneath my body so I am comfortable.

“Now—you may feel slightly exposed for a moment, but if you allow yourself to relax, and if you trust me, I promise you, this will feel very, very good. I want you to feel good, kitten.”

Those words come sneaking into my ears as well, and when he pulls the silk from my body, leaving my back and bottom exposed, a sob escapes. I want to cover myself. 

“Please—sir—please!”

“It’s all right—and when we are together like this, you may call me Rai, if it pleases you.”

“Rai—Please—I can’t!” My voice is a quiet, desperate whimper.

“Oh, yes you can, Konoe. You haven’t even tried yet. This is a new experience. Perhaps it would be easier for you to think of yourself as married to me? I consider myself married to all the precious concubines in my harem, you see. Then—you will have no need for shame.”

Those words actually relax me a little, for some reason. They sit much better than that whole thing of owning me. I mean—he probably does own me, but marriage? I can understand that. However—there has been no contract—

“But we have had no ceremony—”

My phrase is interrupted by the feeling of something warm and liquid being drizzled on my skin. What is that? It makes my ears twitch, and my tail flicks in discomfort.

“This is just the massage oil, Konoe. Would you like a ceremony? One that makes you mine? One that marries you to me? Would that make it easier for you to give yourself to me?”

“Perhaps,” I say.

“Then we shall have one,” he says gleefully. I feel two large, powerful hands moving across my skin, spreading that massage oil from my shoulders down to my toes all the way out to my fingers—and it is such a strange sensation. My tail will not stay still. I am having a hard time relaxing, too—it’s such an overwhelming touch—I just can’t believe it.

I can almost feel his fingerprints against my skin. Is this what touch is like? It’s so... intimate. I can feel his intentions toward me, almost as though I can feel his emotions and feelings—and what I feel is an incredible amount of raw desire laced with that touch. It’s intimidating. I feel wanted and desired in a way I don’t understand—almost like he wants to devour me.

“So... am I the first to touch you like this?” Rai whispers in my ear. He is a huge cat—if he can whisper in my ear and be stroking my legs so firmly at the same time.

“Uh-um, yeah,” I say.

“What do you think?”

“It’s overwhelming?” I say.

“Let me work out the stress from your neck and shoulders,” Rai murmurs. “You are such a tense little thing—and you need to be touched. Your body—it thirsts for touch.”

And my back is worked hard—and that is very relaxing, I have to confess. Do I thirst for this? Have I been deprived? For this does feel healing and nice—I feel like I am sinking into the bed, maybe even becoming one with the mattress.

I don’t know how long he rubs me, but his hands drop lower and rub my lower back and bottom, too—he is very careful, though. I am sore, still, so he is careful.

“I don’t want to have to punish you for disobedience, little one,” Rai says. “I want to spoil you, make you feel good, and make you yearn to spend time with me. However, I do demand respect. And if I ask you to do something, I expect you to comply.”

I wish he wasn’t telling me this now—when I’m this relaxed—and feeling so good—and in that soft voice. I just want... more.

His hands drop down to my legs and massage them for a while—even my feet and toes—and then travel up to my thighs. The touch gets a little lighter, and I think it should tickle, but it doesn’t. What is this feeling?

His hands slip gently between my legs, just every now and then, and maybe it’s because I worked so hard in the garden—but my gods—it feels so good to have them there. A warm feeling pools heavily in my hips and groin, and I sigh—and I realize I’m purring.

“Do you like that?” Rai whispers.

“Mmm,” I sigh softly.

“I knew you would like massage,” he sounds so happy and pleased, and I am glad to have pleased him. “You have done very well so far.”

Then—quite suddenly—I am turned over—rolled off the pillows, and he is kneeling over me again.

My fur fluffs out in surprise and shyness again, but I’m much more relaxed than I was earlier.

“Relax—little one—you are doing very well. I just want to finish off your front.”

When he massages my chest, he spends time on my nipples—and those are so sensitive I can’t relax. I gasp when he massages me—and to my amazement, he lowers his mouth on me and licks me, which sends shocking sensations through my body. I look up at his face, and his pale blue eye is very dark—his pupil is wide and blown, his hair is brushing over my body—and then... I feel a hand grabbing my dick.

I gasp out loud at the sudden sensation, not knowing what to do, and afraid of the overwhelming feeling—I feel each finger curl around me, and when he squeezes, an utterly strange sensation comes over my body—almost like desperation. I open my eyes wide—unsure of what to do—and tears spill down my cheeks.

What is this?

“Do you feel like you want to come?” Rai’s soft voice urges me. “Or do you want a little more stimulation?”

He gives me a sample of stimulation—just moving his hand slightly—up and down on my now rock-hard dick, which is embarrassingly exposed, and embarrassingly dripping this thick, wet translucent stuff—I don’t know what is happening to me! But when he moves his hand, I scream out loud, and Rai smiles warmly.

“Just come, my precious little prince. You are adorable! It’s ok—this is normal, and your body knows what to do. Just relax and let yourself come.”

I listen to the king’s voice, and that’s all I need. He gives me an extra squeeze, and another wave of pleasure shoots through my body. It starts at my hips—and certainly—something spills from my dick in thick, white, ribbons—I’ve never seen this before—is this why I am not allowed to be touched at home, I wonder? But this feeling—gods—it rushes through my body with pleasure and relaxation.

The unseemly noise is passing between my lips—sighing, purring, moaning—and all for pleasure I never knew existed. And when I finally return to myself, I see King Rai watching me with that dark eye—the passion of his own overflowing.

“So—that was a first for you, wasn’t it, my little prince? You look beautiful when you give yourself to pleasure, and your body is so very thirsty. Now, little one, I will show you how to please me tonight as well.”

I do want to please him. I do—if it feels like this—then yes. I nod eagerly, and he smiles at me, brushing my ears.

“Watching you was almost enough for me, to be honest—and I love so much that I was the first to touch your skin—and stimulate you like that. Tell me, my prince, you’ve never stimulated yourself in that manner?”

“Never! I was discouraged from touching myself,” I admit. I remember my whipping boy. He was punished one day when I spent too long in the bath—all I had done was soak. I hadn’t even touched myself, but I had been accused of touching myself. Now I know why.

“Now—there are many ways you can please me. I thought I might save this for later, but I find I simply cannot. You will have to bear with it.”

Bear with it? Is it painful? My ears twitch slightly, but I’m almost comatose from my own climax, and I do want to please him, I nod my head.

“It may be difficult for you at first, but I will make it quick for your first time—the sooner you learn what is expected, the better off you will be.”

“I do—I want to please you,” I hear the words leaking from my mouth quietly, sleepily.

“That’s because you’re a good kitten,” Rai murmurs, and he puts a pillow up under my back. He also grabs something from the side of the bed, and something cold sneaks up between my cheeks.

He’s painting my entrance with a finger—and it’s so cold.

“Wh-what—Wait—” 

“You do wish to please me, don’t you? I don’t want to hurt you more than necessary, so let me prepare you just a little. It won’t take long.”

I feel that finger pushing inside me, and I gasp. Wait—prepare me—there? Terror rushes through my body.

“Y-you are g-going t-to enter m-me—there?” I am horrified, but my body is relaxed right now, and really his finger isn’t too uncomfortable. It’s mostly just cold and weird.

“Just relax your body. It may not feel wonderful for you this time, and because I really don’t want to hurt you, I’ll just be quick, but I promise to make you as comfortable as possible.”

I feel another finger entering me, and I gasp at the strange sensation when he scissors me apart. It feels... weirdly good? Only because I am so relaxed. I stay relaxed.

“Very good, kitten,” Rai murmurs, and his praise is doing something funny to me again. It makes me fluff up my fur. One more finger is added, with additional cold stuff, and it gets a little snug for a moment. I take a deep breath and relax. This is so this beautiful cat can feel as good as he made me feel. I close my eyes and relax. I’m still on my back, and I feel a rather heavy breath at my neck.

“My gods, you are adorable. So compliant, your body so willing, Konoe.”

“I want you to feel good,” I whisper.

“I will—if it’s with you,” Rai returns, licking my ear. “I think you are ready.”

I nod my head—and it would be a lie to say I’m not afraid. Rai kneels up and unbuttons his pants. He doesn’t fully remove them, and I look up at him questioningly. Why wouldn’t he take his pants off?

And then I’m immediately ashamed for looking—because I shouldn’t be looking. It’s immodest.

But when he pulls his dick out of his pants, I can’t help looking. I can’t take my eyes away.

“My gods,” I whisper. “Your shoes.”

“What was that?”

“I saw your shoes in the closet—and they were huge—and now... I think I understand why.” I shiver a little and I try not to panic. “D-do you think that will f-fit?” I ask, skeptically?

“My gods, I think I will keep you as my new favorite, Konoe,” Rai smiles and kisses my ears again. “I will go slow. You will be fine if you relax. Watch my face or close your eyes, OK?”

He folds my body up—pinching my hip slightly—lifting both my legs up and bending them against my chest. I feel him pressing his body against mine—and I feel that gigantic thing at my entrance—and stretched or not, I have my doubts. I’m covered in sweat.

“Please—be gentle with me,” I beg softly.

“Konoe,” Rai actually whispers my name, and I feel him pressing inside—demanding, taking me over, merciless—conquering my body like he conquered my country. “Relax, now—keep your body relaxed.”

At first, it’s strange—but he has to press through the ring of muscle—and he is much larger in girth than the ring of muscle at my entrance. I feel like I might tear—and it brings some tears from my eyes.

“Ah—ah, uh, ah,” I’m gasping and panting in pain, trying to suppress the sounds, and Rai seems to know it hurts, and he strokes my back comfortingly, kissing my mouth, stroking my tail, whispering, “Just get through the first part, okay? You’re doing so well.”

His praise really makes me feel better, weirdly, and my tears only start after that part finishes. Then—I start to feel like he is actually breaking me open, splitting me in half. I let the tears fall freely and start to beg at this point.

“Rai—Please, I can’t—it hurts—please—I just can’t,” but I do not struggle, and I try keep my body relaxed.

He slows the penetration down a little for a while, and he strokes my dick—which to my surprise, fills with blood immediately. Giving me pleasure while experiencing the pain of being split in half is awfully confusing—and then I hear that low voice again.

“Oh gods—you feel so good—so warm, so soft, so willing—please—just a little more.”

And I hang on for the sake of those words. Finally, I feel him stop moving, and his thighs are resting heavily on my of my ass, which for all the world feels like it’s on fire. What kind of pleasure is this, anyway?

He heaves a soft sigh, brushing my tears away, and the stroking my sides, again admiring what a wonderful job I’ve done.

“You’re so strong and brave and determined—and this for my sake? My precious kitten,” he lowers his face down to kiss my lips gently and the kiss sends a tingly sensation through me.

He tentatively pushes his hips forward, and it hurts! I cry in pain—begging him to stop.

“Konoe—relax. I’ll give you another moment. You will adjust soon.”

He gently runs his hands over my body, and he begins to stroke my dick again, finding some hidden pleasure there that makes me gasp lewdly. Shame piles heavily in my ears, but I can’t help myself.

“Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed,” and I realize he is rocking his hips forward, again and again—and I’m all right. It hurts, but I’m not dying.

“I think you might be able to come again, Konoe. Do you trust me?”

My ears flatten slightly, and I gaze into that blue eye.

“Does it still hurt?” He thrusts his hips again—this time rather roughly, and no—I feel faint stimulation from my hips into my tail. “Then just relax for a moment. Let me know if you feel something different. You see—you actually have a small secret hidden inside your body.” 

Secret? That sounds like bullshit to me.

He is thrusting in and out of me now—repeatedly—changing the angle each time—and while it isn’t painful, I’m about to give up, when suddenly it feels like the ground has been ripped out from beneath my feet.

And I am falling—deeper and deeper—my body tingling—and Rai catches me—and I catch my breath. It was such a strange sensation. The drop—it wasn’t a physical drop. It was pleasure: a falling, sinking feeling of pure pleasure!

I made a noise, too—a loud one of surprise—and then I gasp. 

“Was that it?”

“Uh—I think so?” I’m so confused.

Rai smirks and repeats the movement—and I am about to crawl up the walls. What is this? My gods—this is insane—way more intense than what happened with his hand. I feel like I might die the third time he thrusts.

“Please—let me come!” I’m begging desperately.

“Please do, little prince—I’m not stopping you. Tonight, you may come whenever you wish, for that is my desire as well.”

I’m growling, purring, meowing, sighing—completely helpless, completely at his mercy.

“Do you need it faster or slower? Harder? Stronger? Tell me what you want,” Rai commands.

I’m truly at his mercy now, and the thought of saying what I want is mortifying.

“Uwah—Please—harder—faster,” I beg.

“What do you want harder and faster, my little prince?”

“Uh, uh,” I’m close to tears. “Fuck me—harder and faster—please,” I say it so quietly, and my ears are burning. I can hardly imagine those words came from my mouth.

“As you wish, precious!” 

And I am fucked into a world of oblivion. If I lost myself during my last climax—this time—I can’t see—my world truly blanches white—and lose myself in the world of Rai’s repeated movements, his mouth on my ear, his hands on my tail and hip, and the sound of my loud voice sighing and purring lewdly. But I just release—and I let go—my come squirts out between my belly and Rai’s, and I feel my insides clenching up around Rai inside me.

I feel a hopeless sensation as this climax overtakes me—and something else strange happens—my chest feels like it cracks opens, and something leaks out, vibrating my body. It feels almost like a song. I feel it in my bones, in my flesh and muscle—even where my body has accepted Rai—it’s vibrating with this strange melody. It’s a sorrowful song—one that sings of regret and loneliness for my homeland, but also for tenderness for this king who has so obviously conquered me. 

This—what he is doing to me—has got to be a part of his plan to conquer me and my country. It’s perfect. It’s the perfect way to say, you are mine—you have no country of your own. You belong to me and no one else. 

I lower my head in acknowledged defeat. I know I am no match for this king. 

He has come, too—I feel his leavings inside me—warm—no—hot and sticky—and they will remind me of his possession of me for hours after this. Again, this was perfect to show me who is boss, that I have nothing, no status, no honor, no nothing—I am simply property now.

I simply lie on the bed, exhausted, defeated. 

I think of his warm words and am confused by them—were they meant to comfort? To get me to comply? I don’t understand. So I look up and open my eyes. He is still inside of me—and he is meeting my eyes, though I am looking up at him through lowered lashes. 

His expression is one of shock.

“That song. You sang.”

“It kind of came out,” I confess, embarrassed.

He kneels over me, still inside of me, taking my chin in his hands. 

You are what I have been searching for,” he whispers. “I had no idea I’d find it here, in my harem. You shall have your wedding—and a grand one.”

He kisses my lips. 

“My precious, perfect, little Sanga.” 

Chapter Text

A grand wedding? I think, not saying a word. Would that restore my honor? I don’t even know. I’m still in the king’s chambers, lying naked in his bed, feeling the seed of his passion dripping from between my cheeks and down my thighs, while the king himself—the gorgeous, tall silver cat—has risen.

I’m exhausted—more exhausted even than when I first arrived at this castle after traveling for days from my home; more exhausted than I was this morning after sleeping less than an hour on that uncomfortable bed of straw. My body can hardly move from this fatigue—and I’m sore. 

My muscles are unbelievably sore, and the place where he entered me is excruciating—both outside and inside burns uncomfortably, my tender flesh and skin rubbed raw. If I move or try to turn over or even brush anything against it—I wince, trying to keep myself from crying out in pain. I had no idea that was what would be expected. Maybe this was a one-time thing, but I think he said something about me “getting used to it,” and I find I have to quickly push those thoughts from my mind to quell my panic.

Despite the pain I feel right now, I cannot believe I experienced such immense pleasure in that... shared activity. I simply cannot believe it, considering the torment I’m suffering now.

When he pulled out of me, I felt a huge sense of relief—mingled with a strange sense of loss. He gently brushed my ears before getting out of bed, and now he’s walking over to his wardrobe, and he keeps looking back at me. I feel ashamed.

I should not have submitted so readily, and I should not have been so eager. The sound of my voice still echoes embarrassingly in my ears. I’m not yet married—it was unseemly. Should I apologize for my display? I feel unsure of myself and my position and I am so insecure. I don’t know what to do, but my body is so lethargic I can’t even cover myself with a blanket. If I open my eyes and look up, I  see my reflection in the mirror above me—my face and chest flushed, my ears pink—hell, even the skin on the top of my thighs and my abdomen is pink.

The king slips on a sheer silk robe in a shimmering white color and slips out of his pants—he is nude beneath that robe. Even nude, he looks like royalty, powerful, and he carries himself proudly. Why don’t I look like the prince I am, even without my clothes? Have the traditions of Karou held me back? Handicapped me? In all respects, I am shocked to learn what goes on behind the closed doors of a married couple. Do my fathers do this together? Often? I can’t imagine it—and who performs which role, or do they switch? Do they discuss it?  

I think a little about Rai’s powerful hands on my body, so strong yet stroking me with gentleness—the feel of his skin against mine, his hair brushing against me, his lips pressing against mine. It felt strangely affectionate and passionate. He desired me—and I too wanted to please him—very much. I wanted him to feel good. He called my body “thirsty.” Did he want to be the first to touch me in this way? Doesn’t he see me as damaged goods now? If he does, why is he still looking at me with such warmth?

I realize he could have taken me with much more force, much less preparation, and no care for my pleasure at all. If he hadn’t soothed me, relaxed me, prepared me with his fingers... I could really be in pain.

To my surprise, he rings a small bell next to the door. Did he just call for staff? I start to tremble slightly. I do not wish to be further humiliated! 

Within minutes, there’s a knock at the door. I am stuck here, lying on my back, not moving an inch, but I can feel my blush deepen, spreading from my cheeks up to my ears and down to my chest. I’m so shamelessly exposed! I try to sink a little further into the mattress, pressing my body more deeply, but of course, it’s only my imagination. Tears burn at the corners of my eyes and slip down my face when I close my eyes, but I don’t make a sound.

“Good evening, Your Grace.” It’s the duke. “Did he please you, My Lord? Will he be joining the harem or shall I return him to the gardens?”

“He pleased me—he is was quite a surprise, actually—the most fun I have had in years,” Rai’s relaxed voice tingles my ears—and he is praising me to another. I open my eyes to look at him. It makes me feel proud, which I find confusing. Shouldn’t I be angry that he is talking about me so disrespectfully? “Incredibly, I have also found what I’ve been searching for after all these years. Right here, in my own bedchamber, resting exhausted in my bed.” 

“Your Grace? This little one?” Koujaku peers at me, lying helplessly on the bed. I can feel his eyes raking over my form, though I drop my gaze. He’s seen me naked before and seems to enjoy the view. I wonder if I will be shared like that among the king’s friends, once I am part of the harem? “I’d heard there was an ancient bloodline in Karou, but I’d no idea it was in the royalty.”

“Indeed, I was surprised. It seems Karou was a wise choice after all. I would like to keep him with me tonight. He will join the harem in the morning, and I’ll discuss my future plans for him with you and the council then. Before you retire for the evening, would you fetch a light snack and some hot towels?”

“You will care for him yourself?” Koujaku sounds surprised. 

“I have a bit of business to attend to with him, and my care will build our trust.” 

“As you wish.” Koujaku bows his head and leaves. I’m glad to see him go.

“Now. My little prince, you and I have some unfinished business to discuss,” Rai wanders back to the bed and takes a seat next to me. “It looks like you will be much more... receptive to my input in your current state.”

If he means paralyzed, then yes, he’s right. He gazes down at my face and rubs my ears, and I watch as his eye leisurely wanders down my body, making my face heat up once again. I feel completely exposed—because I am completely exposed, I guess. I just wish his touch didn’t feel so nice.

“Please,” I whisper in quiet desperation.

“What is it?” Slowly, his gaze returns to my face. 

“I-I feel s-so exposed,” I say quietly, and I try to turn my face away, but I can’t. Even the small movement makes me wince. 

“Oh, are you sore? I am sorry. It is to be expected for your first time, I’m afraid. That will improve over time. Fear not. You did surprise me, however—I did not think you would enjoy our coupling. It pleased me. You pleased me,” he murmurs, stroking my chin softly, and then his hand runs softly down my neck. He’s ignoring my discomfort at being nude, I see. 

“Please, may I have some clothing?” I ask, mortified that I need to ask. I’m surprised to see a smile from him in response to my question, as well as an audible chuckle. 

“After what we just did together, you would like your body covered? I know you are unused to nudity, but in my presence, you must become used to it. This will help you. You don’t need to cover yourself before me, and I need to clean you up and tend to you, once Koujaku returns with those towels. Plus,” he looks at me directly once more, as his hands wander to my waist, “I said I had business to discuss with you.”

“Business?” His hair is so lovely—shiny, shimmering in the low light of the lamps.

“Indeed. You expressed dissatisfaction with the duke earlier, did you not?” 

“I did,” I say, boldly meeting that blue eye. I still feel embarrassed, but I refuse to be intimidated.

“Little prince, everything the duke did was at my command,” Rai says, stroking my abdomen lightly with his fingers. It makes me gasp and curve my stomach in—and while his touch feels nice, my movement applies pressure to my backside and I wince sharply in pain. Even deep inside me hurts! I try to squeeze my thighs together and round my back in response. Rai is watching my face carefully, I see, before he continues speaking.

“If I have given him a command, then you disobeying him is equivalent to disobeying me. Do you understand?”

My ears lower. Is he angry with me? Have I displeased him?

“I require an answer from you, my prince.” He nudges my chin softly. His voice is so quiet, and his face is quite gentle. 

“I understand,” I murmur, and my eyes fill with tears. I was disobedient, then, in his eyes. “I have displeased you?”

“You are new,” Rai says simply. “I am simply explaining our ways to you. I thought you understood, based on your treatment in the garden, but the society and culture of your former home are so very different than ours. Perhaps you were confused by the physical sensations of this morning’s punishment.”

He saw that? He saw me—being spanked and whipped? Of course, he did—that was when Koujaku interrupted Virus, after all. I wonder how much he saw. I’m mortified. I feel myself flushing.

“Now, is there anything you wish to tell me?” His tone has changed slightly. It’s almost mischievous.

“T-tell you?” I ask, meeting his gaze. He is watching me expectantly.

“Do you have anything you wish to confess?”

My body freezes for a moment—despite the feelings of those warm, gentle hands on me. Would he punish me, too, I wonder? My thoughts explode into complete chaos! How? Would he spank me—take me over his knee? I‘m shocked when feelings of something like heat flood my body.

“Um, uh... I refused to remove my clothes when Koujaku asked me to disrobe for the bath?” My voice rises up slightly in question.

“Yes. And what else?”

“I hissed and growled at him. Most disrespectfully. In general, I was very disrespectful, but in truth, I was confused as to how I should address him—I am a prince in my county and I do not bow to anyone there—” Rai tilts his chin slightly at my excuse, so I add quickly, “—which, of course, does not excuse my disrespect!”

“I see. And what else?” 

“I refused to wear the lovely gown he chose for me, on account that I felt it immodest, and I was rude about it.” I feel tears welling in my eyes.

“Yes, I heard about that as well. And what else?” It seems he wants to hear everything—or else, he is waiting for me to confess to something in particular. What? I don’t know.

“I stole a four-leaf clover from your gardens outside when I was being whipped!” That confession comes out as a near sob. My hair is gently stroked, kindly so.

“A clover? You found a lucky clover? How wonderful! And what else?” The more intense and anxious I’m getting, the kinder and gentler his voice becomes.

“I wanted to give it to you but I put it in my pocket and the clothing was taken to the laundry and I couldn’t get it back!” I’m actually sobbing by this point.

“Calm yourself—don’t cry, my little prince. You don’t need to weep, though I am quite touched by your feelings. I’m simply asking for your confession. We cannot have a relationship if we have no honesty between us, right? Is there anything else?”

“I complained about that straw mattress and the food! I irritated Virus with my inability to tell whether the fruit was ripe before picking it, and I dropped them in the basket instead of being careful with them,” I continue my sobbing, and I’m wracking my brain about anything else I’ve done since I’ve been here. I can think of very little that I’ve done correctly, in fact.

“Yes, yes, I witnessed those things and I heard about your complaints. Now—what about something more recent?”

“Recent?”

“Perhaps since you were brought to my chamber?”

My ears twitch. Is he talking about my indulgent and excessive behavior in our... interaction? I am so embarrassed I could just die!

“I-I d-did not know what to e-expect from Your G-grace this evening—I-I was n-not brought up th-that way, My Lord—I didn’t even know what goes on after c-couple are w-wed in my country! I-I d-didn’t m-mean to b-be so v-vocal! And I c-could n-not seem to c-control my body and m-my, er, eagerness. I a-apologize f-for m-my u-unseemly b-behavior—”

“Nonsense! That is utter nonsense!” Rai grabs my chin and looks me straight in the eye, his voice suddenly much louder. It’s a little terrifying. “You were perfect, despite a little reticent at the beginning. You will submit to me in all things in the bedroom, just as you did this evening—and you will continue to be that vocal—I enjoy hearing your voice. It captivates me!”

“Your Grace?” I ask, a little stunned. I can hardly take in all the information. He isn’t calling me deprived. He adored my behavior, and I’m so confused!

“It’s not my desire to hurt you, after all,” Rai purrs. “I love to see you come undone with pleasure! How will I know if I succeed if you are silent and prim?”

“S-so that was... okay?” I ask.

“More than okay. It was lovely.” I have received more praise than I know what to do with!

“Th-then... the song? It just kind of spilled out—I d-don’t know where it came from—and it’s never happened before—”

“You’ve never sung before tonight?” Rai’s ice blue eye is still boring into my soul.

“N-no, s-sir,” I confess. “I-i am s-sorry.”

“Don’t be. I know you are a Sanga.”

“A Sanga? Like the Sangas of old?” That’s right—he called me that—right after that amazing second climax. I thought it was something he said because I was singing, perhaps a Setsuran term of endearment? When the song came, it was natural, automatic, just like my climax.

“You have heard of them?” Rai asks, surprised.

“They are legends in my country,” I explain. “We are taught about them as children. B-but I think you must be mistaken—”

“I am certainly not mistaken. You are a Sanga.” 

“What I did—the song—Wait. It isn’t a, um, n-natural r-response to, um, wh-what you w-were doing to me?”

Rai smiles. “If only it were. No, Konoe. You are special. The sex—that was perfect. Put your mind at ease. Do as you did the next time we come together and I will be pleased.” 

I feel slightly sick to my stomach. I am so sore—and he already wants to do it again? I hope he will give me time to recover. But I keep my mouth closed.

“But back to what we were discussing. You can’t think of anything else, perhaps before I entered the room?”

How does he know? He couldn’t possibly know I didn’t obediently stay in bed like I was told to do—although... when I think about it, didn’t he say something strange when he first walked in the door?  

“It seems like someone hasn’t been obediently staying in bed, like he was told to do.”

“Oh.” I’m not sure I want to admit it, though. Is this what he has been wanting me to confess all along, I wonder? What did I do that was such a big deal?

“Did you remember something?” Rai’s expression softens, his lips curving up slightly at the corners. He’s smiling?

“Um, I got up out of bed when I was first brought here, even though the duke told me to wait in bed.” 

“Did you, now? And why would you do something like that?”

“I, um, was curious about how you lived, as the ruler here. And I wanted to see what books you were reading.”

“And were you able to satisfy your curiosity?”

“I was.”

“Did you do anything else?” Now, I spill everything, in a great river of words. 

“Um, I looked out the wall of glass, peeked into your closet, examined your shoes, looked at the jewels on your dresser, looked into your work-out room—”

“Work-out room?” Rai interrupts. He has a confused expression on his face.

“The hidden room behind the drapes over there.” I point.

“Ah. I suppose you could call it a work-out room. I certainly do use it to work out stress.” Rai smiles genuinely.

I’m confused by his comment. What else would he use that room for?

“Did you do anything else?”

“Um, no,” I answer. “I think that is everything.” I am still confused as to how he knew that I wasn’t in bed, though.

“Are you sure you aren’t forgetting something?” Rai brings his face a little closer to mine. “Think about it really hard.”

“Um, um, I don’t think so—” Tears are bubbling up in my eyes again because I feel Rai’s intensity getting stronger and stronger. He is smiling just a little, but his fangs show when he smiles, and they are awfully long and sharp up close. I remember feeling them with my tongue.

“You’re sure you didn’t perhaps help yourself to anything, perhaps while you were nosing around in my books?”

“Oh!” The liquor! Is that how he could tell? Could he smell it on me? “Perhaps I did also help myself to some of your wine.”

“That isn’t wine,” Rai says. “It’s catnip liquor. I could smell it when I walked into the chamber. And it has some interesting effects, you see.”

“Effects?” I echo. I’m finding myself slightly distracted by his hands again, which are tracing the line of my sides and hips.

“Yes. In some cats, it can increase sexual response, desire, and interest. It probably heightened yours quite a bit this evening. It wasn’t a bad thing, in the end. However, in the future, I’d prefer it if you asked first. Also, in the future, I’d prefer you to obey me—or whoever I put in charge of you at the time.” 

Tears of remorse are sliding down my cheeks, and he wipes them away patiently.

“This is no reason to weep. I find you enchanting, and truth be told, while I will not punish you for your disobedience this time, since you have so greatly pleased me and you are new to my castle and my rules, you should know I wouldn’t mind punishing you in the future, Konoe.”

My ears fluff out when he says this—and I feel something like desire sparking deep in my core—plus he said my name. But desire? When he talks of punishment? Or is it just his lascivious tone?

“You want to punish me?” 

“I think because your body thirsts so much for touch, it leaves the options for punishment open to so much more. You respond so very well to touch, you see.”

There is a knock at the door, and Rai calls, “Enter,” in that commanding, kingly tone that makes my skin prickle.

Koujaku enters, carrying a basket on his arm and a tray.

“Set the tray on the table,” Rai commands in an off-hand, casual way.

Koujaku obeys and then carries the basket over to the bed.

“Would you like my assistance, Your Grace?”

“Thank you, but I think I would like to spend this time with the little prince myself.” Rai smiles down at me

Rai opens the basket, pulling out a steaming hot towel—it’s scented slightly of chamomile. “Now, little one, can you turn over for me?”

I try to comply, but I’m unable to move.

Since Koujaku is standing right there, he rolls me over onto my stomach, making sure the blankets beneath me are flat and comfortable.

“The song exhausted him so much?” He’s talking about me in the third person even though I’m right here! It’s irksome.

“Among other activities,” Rai says, and Koujaku chuckles slightly.

"Poor little thing. Goodnight, Your Grace. Sleep well, little prince.” Koujaku takes his leave.

I still feel dreadfully exposed, and Koujaku just touched me again, while I was naked. I hate it!

“Your fur has bristled, little one. Calm yourself and relax,” Rai commands.

I try to relax, thinking I will try to obey, taking a deep breath—and Rai unfolds a towel and spreads it across my bare back and shoulders. Its heat takes me by surprise, and I flinch at first—surprised by the temperature and the scalding heat—but it feels very good, very relaxing, and the scent of the herbs make me feel nice. I let out a contented sigh.

“Spread your legs for me, little one.” 

I do not wish to do that. The command itself is humiliating. It will expose even more of the sticky substance he has left inside me, dripping outside, and that’s embarrassing! I also lower my tail abruptly, since it has been swaying back and forth happily, and it bristles in anger.

“You do remember what we were just discussing, don’t you?” Rai has lowered his mouth to my ear, and I feel his hand stroking my bottom ever so gently with his fingertips. His touch makes my back arch slightly. “You are not in any position—rather, you are in precisely the perfect position to disobey me, if you’d like a little taste of my discipline.” His fingers trace the curve of my ass, right to where my thighs meet, and my skin shivers beneath the touch.

Taking a deep breath, I realize I have no choice but to obey! I relax my tail and I try to push my legs apart, and I sob loudly when my legs will not respond. My body starts to tremble in fear. 

“I can’t! I’m sorry—I have no energy to—please don’t hurt me—”

“Hush now,” Rai says and he gently separates my thighs, opening then up and allowing a little more liquid to spill from my entrance. More shame fills my body. “I’m only cleaning you. This is for your comfort.”

Oh. He gently and thoroughly wipes the dried substance from between my legs and discards the towel. I relax a little more when two more hot towels are draped on my thighs—they feel so nice. My ass is gently—if rather intrusively and thoroughly—wiped down before two more towels are draped on my bottom. Rai uses his fingers to get the remaining seed out of me, which is awkward. I try to stay relaxed, but I am sore, and I flinch when it hurts, but it’s obvious that Rai is trying to be gentle. He uses another towel to wipe down the substance matted in the fur on my tail, and I relax, a comforting purr coming from my body.

“Good boy,” he says. “You may be sore, but there is no blood. You were most submissive and relaxed, which worked very well in your favor, little one. I’m very proud of you.” A soft kiss is dropped on the tip of my ear, and I flick it slightly in response. 

I’m so tired.

Once I’m cleaned up, he replaces the towels with fresh hot towels, tucking them close to my body, and then he stands up from the bed. He returns with a small plate of what looks like fruit.

“You have exhausted yourself. Have a bit of fruit before you sleep,” he suggests, and he feeds me a grape, allowing his fingers to slip in my mouth. I am careful not to bite them, though he touches my fangs gently. He eats some as well, I see.

I eat what I am offered obediently though I am not particularly hungry, and I see there’s kuim on the plate as well.

“M-May I please have a slice of kuim?” I ask shyly. I’m not sure I’m allowed to ask for things, but I want that kuim.

“Of course you may.” He feeds it to me, licking the juice from his fingers after carelessly letting his fingers slide into my mouth again. “Are these your favorite?”

“Yes,” I say softly.

“I see.” He feeds me another slice. “They are quite nice—a pleasantly sweet and then sour flavor.”

“Mmm,” I agree quietly. After feeding me a few more slices, I realize my eyes are very heavy. He puts the plate aside, then he removes the towels from my body.

“How are you feeling? Do you need anything to drink? Why don’t you have some water?” He rolls me onto my side and pours a little water to my mouth, and I am parched. I guzzle the water down thirstily, the entire glass, drinking every last drop. “My, my. Do you need more?”

“I’m fine, thank you,” I murmur softly. 

To my surprise, I hear him slip out of his robe—the silk fabric falls on the floor in a quiet rustle—and he climbs into the bed behind me, pulling my body up close to his. I feel him run his claws through my tail, playing just a little with the hooked tip. There’s a surprisingly warm and wet sensation at the tip of my tail—and then he nips me playfully. 

“Tch!” But I don’t hiss. I try to pull my tail away, but I still am unable to move my body.

“You sleep,” he whispers, as though I am the one causing a disturbance. I fold my ears back flat, and he lowers his lips to them and starts licking. This grooming is a pleasant sensation—relaxing—like the first part of that massage was. I can’t remember the last time my ears were groomed in this way, but I must have been a kitten, a baby kitten. It feels warm and cozy, like belonging. I feel a soft purr emanating from my chest, which is returned behind me as well, only lower and deeper.

I am asleep in a matter of moments—which is odd, because there is a giant, silver cat sleeping behind me, and he and I are both completely nude.

Chapter Text

A gentle touch at my ears and claws stroking my tail—all the way down its length and lingering at the tip—wake me at dawn. The ability to move my body has been restored, and I turn my head—startling when I remember where I am, and what has been done to me last night.

I’m still in the king’s bedroom—the hand on my tail begins fondly and familiarly stroking my body, the tips of his fingers running along my waist. I’m purring shamefully loud, and my face heats up when he smiles at me.

“I’m sorry to wake you. It seems you needed some sleep last night—you sleep very soundly, like a kitten, even here with me.” I can't help noticing that he doesn’t look sorry in the least.

His voice still sounds nice in my ears—I don’t know why it sounds like that. I’ve never heard a voice like his. He is speaking softly to me, and it sounds so sensual that it embarrasses me. My body is already starting to respond to his gentle caresses, and I’m ashamed, so I look away again.

“I realize I don’t know you very well, and this may be a lot for you to take so soon. I usually allow new arrivals to spend the first night alone so they don’t end up in a situation like this the next morning. And yet, here you are. I’d be a fool not to take advantage of the situation, don’t you agree?” 

I don’t understand what he means, and I rest my gaze upon him again, my confusion showing obviously on my face.

“I don’t understand,” I say quietly. What is so amusing? Why does he find me so amusing? He’s smiling at me like he’s about to do something he shouldn’t, and I scowl at him. That makes him laugh out loud.

“What’s with that face? You would dare scowl at your king and master?” 

Master? The prince of Karou has no master—uwaa!”

He pins me to the bed on my back suddenly, silver hair spilling over his shoulder in a fluffy cloud, floating down over my chest. I shiver when he moves both of my wrists above my head and takes them into one of his. He lowers his lips to my ear. 

“Even if you don’t know it yet, you do have a master,” he growls low and dangerous in my ear, licking it—very unlike the tender grooming from last night. He nips the thin skin at the tip. “You belong to me now, whether you like it or not. I don’t mind if you struggle or put up a little resistance now and then—it will spice up our activities in the bedroom. I don’t dislike that. But you should know your body belongs to me, and I will do as I please.”

His words send shivers down my back and into my tail. I stare up into his eyes. This is not what I experienced last night—he’s a different cat. He is too controlling, too demanding, plus I am still sore from yesterday! I don’t want this—I am the prince of Karou, for gods’ sake! 

“No,” I whisper, meaning to speak more forcefully but being unable. “I don’t want this. I don’t like it. I-I’m still s-sore from yesterday! You w-wouldn’t...”

“Which is why I usually let new arrivals sleep in the harem after the first evening with me. In fact, it's rare that I allow anyone to sleep the night in my bed. And yet, here you are. Wouldn’t I be a fool to waste this opportunity?”

“You said you wouldn’t hurt me!” I am starting to sound rather desperate.

“I said I didn’t wish to hurt you,” Rai continues calmly, and he licks my throat, leaving a trail of small, possessive nips along my throat. “Whether you submit and relax your body obediently is up to you, isn’t it? I can only make suggestions that will influence your decisions. However, as king, I cannot be expected to let the concubines in my harem do whatever they please.” He is actually biting the skin on my throat, and I reflexively lower my chin. That biting makes me feel like I am submitting to him against my will—and I don’t want to submit! I refuse!

However, he sees what I am doing and forcibly lifts my chin, exposing the delicate skin of my throat, applying a little more pressure behind his teeth. I think I hear him growling beneath his loud purr. He is scaring me! I feel tears pulling at the corners of my eyes, but I’ll be damned if I let him see me cry in fear! 

“Why do you resist? I can smell your arousal, Konoe. I know you want me—even if you don’t quite understand your feelings yet,” he whispers against my collarbone. “Ah—the fact that no one but me has ever touched you makes you that much more desirable. I find this reticence cute and irresistible!”

“No one has ever refused you, have they?” I growl, fluffing out my fur, baring my fangs, and drawing my claws bravely. “I will be the first. You may be handsome—beautiful, even—but that doesn’t mean you can take whatever you like, whomever you like, whenever you like!” 

Rai returns my gaze sharply, obviously stunned. His pupil is large, dark, and round—his long silver lashes shimmer gorgeously in the morning light. They are silver, not white—stunning in the natural light, plush and thick.

“You are partly correct. No one has ever refused me—but not because of my looks. It’s because of my power. And perhaps you haven’t realized: you are in no position to refuse, either.” He strokes my waist lightly, letting his hand wander across my abdomen again, making me curve in my belly and drawing a gasp of pleasure from my lips.

“I am a prince! You have no decency, no honor, no right to handle me in this way!” I sputter and hiss. I can hear myself lisping, my words sibilant with my fangs drawn.

“I can do whatever I like to you. You are my property, after all. It's expected that I treat you however I like and see to your discipline." My ears twitch fearfully at the word "discipline," and that bothers me. Is it out of fear or curiosity? I quickly push the question from my mind. "If I like, I could punish you for your lack of submission—privately for my enjoyment or publicly for the benefit of the rest of my harem. Plus, you will soon see what a competitive place the harem is, and how many of my concubines would love to be in your place. You should consider yourself lucky, my dear.”

“Then let one of them take my place! I don’t want it!” I spit, still furious and very afraid for being as angry as I am. My body is trembling with a mixture of that fear and rage—I do know not which is more extreme. To my utter humiliation, I realize my body is experiencing not only rage and fear, but it’s also responding to his voice and physical touch—and I feel an almost sickeningly strong surge of desire. And it strengthens when I hear his next words, which are spoken softly in that honeyed tone of voice.

“Don’t you, though? Are you quite sure? But I don’t want any of them. I want you. I want to get to know you—and this adorable, responsive body of yours. Can you honestly deny you want my touch?” His eyebrows lift a little, and he looks earnest.

He's right—I do want it—especially when I feel his hand return to my belly, and I find myself squeezing my legs together, straining to keep my hips pressed against the mattress. His claws curl gently in the soft fur below my navel and I lose my ability to breathe. 

“Please,” I whisper and I close my eyes, in desperation and overcome with desire.

“Please what?” The words are purred into my ear, followed by his rough tongue. 

I bite my lip so I won’t spill any other words—I don’t want to give in. I won’t give in! No matter how much my body is attracted to this cat, I cannot simply resign myself to the position of the Setsuran king's whore!

“Don’t fight the sensations, my little prince. Tell me what you want and you shall have it. I should like to give you the world.”

I bite the inside of my cheek—drawing a tiny bit of blood—barely preventing a sigh from leaking out—when something inside me snaps. I have always had a fiery temper, and it was never tamed, not even with the excessive abuse of my poor whipping boy. 

“Then I should like for you to remove your hands from my person!” I growl fiercely.

Rai roughly bites the tip of my ear in response to my words, making me cry in pain, and returns my growl, low, louder, and even more fiercely. It makes all the fur on my body stand on end, frightening me. Worse, he releases my hands and pins my body with the weight of his own, pushing his hips against mine—I feel he is completely erect and he is pressing that erection right against me. He is terrifying!

“Ah—please—don’t—” my voice trembles in a soft whimper.

“Perhaps you’re not so fierce after all, sweet prince? You sounded like you wanted to play rough, little kitty, and you’ve incited me now—so take responsibility!”

“Please—wait—not like this—please don’t hurt me!” I can hear the pitiful begging, the sound of tears, thick in my throat.

“You beg so gorgeously, Konoe, I can hardly stop myself—really, it’s why I try to give new arrivals such as yourself the morning off. But after last night, I really can’t help myself. You can’t blame me. I didn’t want to spend the night alone—I wanted you in my arms. Relax now—I am not going to hurt you.”

His long arm has grabbed the jar of lubricant from the side table, and he dips his hand into it, coating his fingers. I shiver and sigh when he wraps his fingers around my shaft and starts to stroke, and then he presses his huge body on top of mine, nearly squishing me in the process.

“Relax, little one—even fighting me as you are, your body is so mysteriously warm and yielding, as though it already recognizes its master. You absolutely captivate me!”

Then he presses his cock against mine, wrapping his hand around us both and moving his hand around us together. I struggle to even breathe beneath his weight and the intensity of that silky touch. I don’t know if I am struggling to escape or melting with the indulgence of his touch. I try to bite my lip to prevent my gasps from escaping, but he lowers his mouth to mine, putting his free hand behind my nape for a moment.

“Relax your body—accept this gift from your master,” he growls lowly. "I could enter you again. I could be hurting you, Konoe. This is a gift." 

I try to resist—I do—but it does no good. He takes my mouth in a possessive kiss, taking me as though he owns me—invading me with that strong, rough tongue, forcing a loud, wet purr from the back of my throat. I hear a small protesting whine (oh god, was that from my mouth?) when he pulls away. The hand on my dick never stops moving, and his pace is smooth and strong. I’m so intimidated and shy being touched so directly and boldly, feeling his cock pressed up next to mine. I only have to open my eyes and he’s right there—and he’s so much bigger than me. I feel intimate details with my dick that I didn’t feel with his fingers—the rim, that vein on the front of his shaft, and the tip spilling thick drops of precome that add to the lubrication. I can smell his elevated arousal—a little sweat, musk, and that mysterious, subtle scent of sandalwood. 

The slick, squishy sound his hand is making is so dirty and perverted it makes my ears blush and flatten. I don't want to hear it! The lewdness of what he is doing—how he is looking at me so directly, so boldly, how he strokes me and pins me against the mattress, his glare softened into a heated passionate gaze, the sweet and slightly salty taste of his mouth—all of these sensations make me tremble and shiver with delight, despite my initial resistance. 

His hair drapes over my body and tickles my chest, and I have to look away from his gaze, and my eyes wander over his shoulder and are drawn to the mirror above the bed. There I get a full view of his powerful body: nude, muscular, skin so pale it’s nearly white. His back is broad and defined, his shoulders and arms belong to those of a seasoned swordsman—and I wonder, why would a king be a seasoned swordsman? 

And I remember his words about getting what he wants because he is powerful.  

His tail, covered in luscious long white fur, sways wantonly from left to right, and beneath it, his perfectly proportioned, muscular ass is working in time to the stroking of his hand and his ragged breathing. His legs, too—long and shapely—gods, especially his thighs—are muscular and lovely. I find myself rather enthralled by the reflection in the mirror—when my chin is suddenly nudged with his hand. 

“Admiring your new master, are you?” His chiseled face is molded into a slightly crooked grin, his large fangs bared in the midst of his heated breath. I’m ashamed to have been caught gawking—but he is a hopelessly handsome beast. 

I’m also slightly irritated to find myself so close to my limit once again, and I close my eyes helplessly, trying to ignore the chasm of pleasure I face, staring over the cliff.

“It’s all right, my little prince. You are safe here, as long as you obey and comply with my wishes. Even if you disobey, I will ensure your safety. Will you sing for me again? Will you let me hear your song? Submit your body to me and be mine.” 

When he says those words, I feel resistance in my heart and anger in my soul. But that anger breaks something open in my chest, and that strange song begins to vibrate inside me. I try to back up from it, retrace my steps, and I am hopelessly unable—just like being close to a climax. In fact, I am dangerously close to my climax, too! 

“N-no,” I whisper, and the tears welling in my eyes drip down my face. I don’t want to comply, I don’t want to obey, I don’t want to sing for him, but he pulls my compliance, my obedience, and my song from me just the same, regardless of my wishes.

My bones vibrate, just like last time—and I see his small rounded ears twitch. I am not touching him—I have my hands at my sides, signaling my resistance and refusal. No, more accurately, they are gripping the sheets on the bed with all my might, holding on for life. But when Rai hears the beginning of my song, he gently loosens each hand to place them on his shoulders. I am so overwhelmed with trying to fight my song that I don’t fight this, simply leaving them there. 

However, as soon as my flesh starts to ring out with a melody—this morning’s song is much clearer, much louder than last night—and the melody skates across the surface of my skin, fluffing out my fur and all the hair on my body, my claws draw, and I growl with effort. My claws dig into the muscles of his strong shoulders, and I hear a quiet hiss from his lips. I can’t help my reaction—this is an automatic reflex to the song—and I expect him to be angry that I broke his skin and scratched him.

Rai doesn’t appear angry, to my surprise, though his purr is as deep as a growl. His fur fluffs out even more—if that’s possible—his tail bristling widely behind him, and he tightens his grip on our cocks, sinking his thumb into the head of mine, and pressing his body more heavily against mine. He lowers his mouth to the side of my neck—right at my neck and shoulder—and I feel him licking, nipping, nibbling—and then his fangs gently press there, sucking against that tender skin, claiming me. With his free hand, he pinches the tip of my tail—and that’s the last bit of stimulation I need to come.

I spill into his hand—for a second my thoughts flash white and empty, my lungs breathe in his scent—with the realization that I am indeed his—and the thought itself feels wicked and dirty, yet at the same time delightful and stimulating. My song is almost loud enough to drown out my gasping cry when I climax, but my own cries make my ears twitch in shame—but I hear him murmur in pleasure in response, spilling his come over my stomach.

I feel taken, claimed, and owned, despite my status, despite my wishes—and my body has betrayed me. And despite the incredible pleasure I am feeling—this wonderful, relaxing, tingling sensation that runs through my body—tears mixed with frustration and confusion spill down my cheeks. What is my purpose? Am I destined for a life of being used like this?

And if so, why does my body enjoy it so much?

A small sob escapes my throat when he pulls away from me, reaching for a towel at the side of the bed. My song is still pouring from my body—that strange light is enveloping us both—and I close my eyes for a moment to gather myself. When I do, a vision invades through my head.

I see myself—what must be me through his eyes—lying on his bed, displayed like a prize animal among all his rich pillows, surrounded by a halo of light. He sees a small cat—a helpless kitten, really—soft and beautiful—an angel—in fact, he can almost envision my wings. There is an unfamiliar feeling of desire to protect this kitten at all costs. He has been searching for me—for what I am—for a very long time, and he desires me more than he has ever desired anything before. He is feeling this right now, even after claiming me as he just did.

My eyes fly open. He is staring at me, watching me, waiting, and he reverently brushes the hair from my face. Leaning down, he takes my chin in his hand and kisses my tears, tasting them with his tongue, then he kisses my lips—the top and the bottom lips separately—my eyelids, my cheeks, the tip of my nose, my chin.

Gratitude? It can’t be. I am confused. What does he want with me? And if he wants to protect me, why did he just do that against my will? I know my body still responded, but still! I know nothing about Setsura or its culture, I realize.

“Good kitten,” Rai murmurs, pulling away. I let out a dejected sigh, and the song starts to fade. He is praising me, which sends ripples of pleasure across my fur. And again, why? Why does his praise affect me so strongly? The diminutive reference irritates me, but I’m too exhausted to do anything. And I’m actually purring! 

He gently unhooks my claws from his shoulders, and I’m shocked to see several trails of blood dripping from thick red claw marks. Did I really scratch him so deeply that he bled? In my kingdom, drawing blood from a royal is cause for death—so I become rather anxious. He doesn’t seem particularly bothered.

“You’ve marked me, I see, in return.” He is licking his hands and cleaning up the claw marks, the way Ribika do, sitting back in the bed. I would like to sit up, so I don’t have to look at my reflection. The reflection looking back at me is shamefully indecent, immodest... and oddly sexy. My hair is splayed out on the pillow, my face and body are flushed pink—my ears getting pinker by the minute—and I have the remains of his passion spilled on my stomach and chest. I see a dark purple mark on my neck from where Rai bit me—however, this is more of a bruise than a bite. My fur still bristles lewdly and I look and feel like a whore. 

Is that my function here? Am I the king’s whore? My eyes fill with fresh tears at the thought and I close them, taking a deep, shaking sigh.

My body is exhausted—I slept so well last night, but my energy is completely spent. I gave myself to him after all, though I planned to resist to the end. And I even sang again—despite my will, he pulled both my pleasure and that song from my body as though it was his to take. I have to take another deep breath to try to calm my feelings—it sounds equally quivering and shaking—and also so I won’t sob out loud.

I’m the prince of Karou—not some cheap whore to be used at his pleasure!

And I feel so confused! It felt so good—in fact, even now, my limbs are heavy with relaxation, my belly is warm and satisfied like I’ve just eaten a good meal. At every turn, I feel betrayed. My body wants to belong to this giant silver cat—my skin is drawn toward his touch, tingling at the very idea of his fingers brushing across its surface; my ears delight at the sound of his voice; my eyes revel in his beauty—hell, he even smells delicious and he tastes sweet. He must be a demon to tempt me like this! If I saw horns sprout from his head and wings from his back, I wouldn’t be surprised. 

I touch the bruise at my neck. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s marking my otherwise flawless skin. That must be what he meant by “in return.” Why would he do that?

I feel a soft, cold touch against my belly and I yelp in surprise. But it’s only a cloth. He is cleaning me up.

“Even when you resist, it seems your body cannot,” Rai says quietly. “I’m very pleased with you.”

When he is finished, he brushes my chin, tilts it up slightly, meeting his gaze. His face softens, his smile widening. 

“Ah, you are definitely not pleased. But simply adorable.” He lowers his mouth to my lips, kissing me lightly. I am tempted to bite—and I do—I nip his lips. Not hard, but hard enough to let him know I do not wish to be kissed. However, as I expect, my action doesn’t serve me. Rai actually seems to enjoy my small act of defiance, and he pulls away with a smile, after returning a nip to my lower lip.

“You’d best be careful, lest you incite me again, my little prince. You may bite off more than you can chew,” he says, in a warm, sexy tone. “Were you not so helpless and vulnerable, I would punish you for your insolence—but as you are, I can’t bring myself to do that. Instead, I will send you to the new quarters that have been prepared for you, so you may rest and recover. And I will call for you again soon. You are to mind the orders of the duke. He will inform you of who is in charge of the harem.”

Does he want to see me again—for this activity so soon? After doing it twice in less than ten hours? My gods. He does need a harem! No single cat could keep up with his stamina otherwise!

“Am I your whore?” I ask—my voice is covered with tears, not the anger I intend. I sound utterly hopeless—pitiful and full of despair. 

“My whore?” Rai asks, his ears tilting toward me. “Whores collect money in exchange for sex. I won’t be paying you. I’m the king of Setsura, and I do not pay for sex. So, no. For now, you are my precious and honored concubine. I will ask my council to best advise me on how to make an honest man of you—perhaps that will settle your conscience. I wonder if it will free you up a little during our bedroom activities."

“Make an honest man of me?” 

“By marrying you.”  

“But you don’t even know me. You just met me!” I protest softly—I would be louder but I just don’t have the energy.

“I know what I want. I want you, little Sanga.”

“Why? For what purpose?” I sound exasperated. 

“Well, I think you know the first purpose—having experienced it first hand, twice now,” Rai says mischievously, the corner of his mouth lifting into a crooked smile. “Second, I’ve been searching for a Sanga for many years. Marrying you would be the perfect way to keep you by my side and ensure your loyalty to Setsura.”

“I don’t wish for this union. I want to go home. I’m too young to marry,” I say quietly.

“You’d have me return you to your kingdom as you are? You wouldn’t feel—how did you say—as though your integrity had been compromised? Would your kingdom welcome you back as you are now?”

After a short pause, a small defeated sigh drips from my lips when I realize the truth of what he says. My fathers would never forgive me. I might be able to return to the kingdom, but I would be disowned as the prince. Tears spill from my eyes—he’s stolen my home out from under me! Is this really my only option now?

“If I made you my legal husband, your standing would increase—but you may need to spend some time in the harem first. Also, even if you don't wish it, I could force you to marry me, of course, but I’d rather you comply of your own will. I think that's the best course of action. I will speak to my council and give you some time to think about it while you get used to your new surroundings,” Rai wipes my face tenderly. “So many tears from you, little one. Do you see me as such a monster? You are the only one in my harem who sees me as such—and I have to confess, it rather intrigues me.” 

His words make me look at his face, and he is smiling again, but it doesn’t look like he’s making fun of me. He looks serious, and I don’t understand what he’s thinking.

“You don’t know anything about me,” I say. “And I... scratched you.” I feel terrible about that, actually.

“That you did—but I did move your arms myself, didn’t I?” he says. "Why don’t you lick my wounds and I will forgive you? Do you need help sitting up?”

“Um,” I say, hesitant. Lick him? I mean—that is what Ribika do to heal ourselves, but I don’t think I can do that to another cat, especially not this one. His arms slip behind my back and neck, and he gently pulls me up to his left shoulder. He is not giving me a choice. I’m embarrassed, and I lick my lips nervously. He turns his head to look at me, expectantly.

“Well? Don’t you want my forgiveness? Tell me, what’s the punishment for drawing blood on your person in Karou?”

“Um, the penalty is death,” I say, my ears lowered. “I am very sorry.”

“I know you are—and you could hardly help yourself, it seems. That doesn’t bother me—really, I don’t mind if you lose yourself in the moment. I find it rather enchanting. However, when my servants see my wounds, they will ask questions. So...” 

I comply, relaxing my body and allowing myself to be pushed closer to his shoulder, and I lower my mouth to the wound. I lick it carefully, gently, using more saliva than I would were I grooming his fur. I think about that for a moment—grooming that long, silky fur. What would that be like? I think I might enjoy it very much—and I push that shameful thought to the side. I taste the strange but familiar taste of iron—and his blood tastes different from mine. I’ve never done this for any other cat except myself, and I assumed all blood tasted the same. While it’s similar, it’s slightly richer—but perhaps it’s the salty taste of sweat on his skin. The scent from his hair and skin seeps into my nose while I clean up the scratch, and he starts to purr softly.

That sound is nice. It comforts me. I didn’t know that hearing the purr of another cat up close could induce my own purr. By the time he pulls me up against his right shoulder, my own purr is rattling in my chest. It feels much more natural to clean this small wound when I’m purring. I’m almost disappointed when he pulls me away.

“You touched me, you realize, deliberately, outside of sex just now. How did it feel? Was it unpleasant?” Rai lays me back on the bed, wrapping the blankets around my body. I’m so relieved to be covered, and I release a deep breath.

“N-no,” I admit. “It sort of felt comforting.”

“I liked it, too. You are free to touch me whenever you wish. It’s one of your duties, after all. I know it will take you some time to become used to the idea, so think about it as you rest and recover. I need to prepare for the day. As much as I would enjoy spending it with you, I have my duties to attend to. I will call for the duke to have him bring you to your new quarters.” 

Rai pulls on his robe once he stands up, walking to the door to ring the bell. Actually, I notice several bells there—and he rings a second bell as well.

The Duke arrives first, and Rai instructs him to bring me to my quarters in the harem. While the Duke is receiving his orders, another knock at the door makes my ears twitch. It is Rai’s personal staff. There is a group of five servants there, which shocks me. At home, I had one or two to help me dress. He requires five? He asks them to prepare a bath, and they rush about, to his wardrobe to choose his outfit and to that locked door next to the wall of glass.

The Duke and king together slip the ivory silk robe on my hopelessly relaxed body, buttoning it, tying it the gold obi snugly around my waist. Even in front of the Duke, the king’s hands wander shamelessly along my skin and across my body, making goosebumps rise in their wake and small shivers course down my spine. 

“His song paralyzes him,” Rai explains to Koujaku. “Be sure you are gentle with him, and that he is cared for properly today. He is to be fed and given the full treatment.” 

“Of course,” Koujaku says. He scoops me up in his arms, and Rai kisses my ears once more before I’m taken away.

“Remember what I said about obedience, little Sanga. You are a good boy, so I know you will behave accordingly. I will see you soon,” the silver cat whispers in my ear. He licks the soft white fur deep inside my ear and I shudder. I flick my ear down helplessly, but I can’t pull away. 

Koujaku sweeps me from the room, and as soon as we are walking down the hallway, he mutters softly, “You certainly respond nicely to your new master, little one, and he is quite amorous around you. It’s rare that he permits a concubine to spend the night with him. You must have enchanted him.”

I don’t say anything. I’d rather not think about it.

“He has commanded that you receive your own private quarters in the harem, which is quite an honor. No new concubine has ever received their own private rooms—not until they have earned it, actually, so you should be aware that there may be some jealousy.”

“Jealousy?” I’m so tired—too tired to deal with the fact others desire I what I do not want or care about. I do not want the king's affections or attention—at least, I think I don’t. 

“Oh yes. The current head concubine is a female named Mana. She was a gift from one of the king’s father’s close friends, and she was his first. They’ve known each other for a long time, and she manages the harem.”

“He has a female?” I ask.

“There are several females,” Koujaku says. “A few males, too. Only three have their own chambers, and they’ve all been here for at least five years.”

“Five years? How long has the king had a harem?”

“Traditionally, they are set up before the prince’s fifteenth birthday, so when he experiences his first heat he might find a compatible partner from one of them.”

“I see.” I feel a slight revulsion and a knot in my stomach. I am a whore. “How many are there?”

“How many what?”

“How many concubines does he have?” I ask again, though I’m not sure I really want to know.

“I think you make thirteen. He has seven males and six females.”

A small sound of surprise escapes my mouth. That is a lot of partners!

“Where do they come from?”

“Most were offered as gifts from neighboring countries, offers of peace. They hope the king will be pleased and perhaps marry one, or sire a child on one, and that strengthens our alliance with that country. The council requested you, but your parents declined. That’s why Setsura invaded.”

“Wait—for my sake? My country was invaded because he wanted to... fuck me?” I’m horrified.

The Duke laughs.

“Well, it might seem that way, and rumors of your unusual beauty had spread far and wide, even to our country. In truth, he has been looking for a Sanga—which he believes to have found.” Koujaku stares down at me. “Personally, I find it hard to believe that the likes of you fulfill the requirements of a Sanga.”

“There were stories of magical Sanga in my kingdom, and I grew up learning that the greatest Sanga also had royal blood, like mine, but I can’t believe it, either,” I confess openly.

Koujaku lifts his eyebrows in surprise.

“You didn’t sing for his grace?”

“Oh, I did.” I don’t elaborate further. 

“But what?”

“It wasn’t deliberate. In fact, this morning, I was trying not to sing, simply because he asked me to, and I didn’t want to comply. Yet the song came anyway.”

“You were purposely trying to disobey His Grace?” Koujaku is shocked. “Little one, you ought to be very careful about that. I saw how you took Virus’ punishment in the garden, and you did not handle it well. His Grace is not nearly so merciful, once you raise his ire. He may be taking it easier on you now since you are new, but you should tread most carefully.”

A shiver travels down my spine and into my tail. Rai does frighten me, but he has been gentle with me so far—even when taking me against my will. Is he saying that Rai isn’t always like that? I exhale another shaky breath and see that we have arrived at a set of double doors, ornately decorated, guarded on either side by sentries, dressed in blue and black, silver armor, armed with swords and holding long spears.

“I have the new concubine on His Majesty's orders,” the Duke addresses the sentry on right.

He nods, and the guard on the left opens the doors. 

When we enter the space, my nose is flooded with a variety of lovely scents. Some are bright, feminine, and floral, while others more musk and spice. The room is open and light, due to the glass ceiling—I can’t believe my eyes: the ceiling is completely made of glass. There is a pool—steaming, with flower petals floating on the surface—in the center of the room, and lounging chairs scattered around. Several cats swim and float in the pool—one rather androgynous-looking male with white hair and ears, another similarly androgynous male with deep brown, almost black eyes, his hair cut in a bob, and finally another small male with a youthful, cute smile and long, bright blue fur and hair, long and choppy. I see a few sparkles in their ears—at first, I think it might be drops of water, but then I realize that each of these cats have one of their ears pierced and is wearing jewelry. Maybe it’s a fashion statement?

There are a few additional covered spaces with flat, padded tables underneath. Under one of them, I see a lovely calico female with blonde hair, lying out flat on her back, covered only with a towel, having something like cream applied to her face, while two other servants tend to her hands, filing her nails, and two more servants massage her feet. It looks like quite a production. 

In a few moments, a sharp, high-pitched voice pierces my ears.

“Duke, what’s the meaning of this?”

Before us, hands on her hips, stands a tall, young female, several years older than me, with piercing blue eyes, orange striped fur on her ears, and a wavy auburn bob. I notice she has both her ears pierced and is wearing gold hoops in them. She must be Setsuran, based on her height. She stands at least two heads taller than me. She’s dressed in a red silk, form-fitting dress with a full skirt. Her shoulders are bare, and the corset emphasizes her cleavage in a fetching way.

“Good morning, Mana,” Koujaku says evenly. “This is Konoe, the king’s new concubine from Karou.”

“This runt is the reason for all the uproar?” she snaps meanly. “He spent the night with His Majesty on his first night here?! He must be awfully good in the sack if he’s getting his own room right from the start! How irritating.”

Her words sting—and embarrass me. My ears droop and flush, and I drop my eyes. My head is currently propped up on Koujaku’s chest, and I feel the soft touch of her small fingers against my chin. She tilts my face toward hers, so I have to meet those striking blue eyes. She has a mean scowl on her pretty face.

“You may have captured His Grace’s attention for a moment, but don’t let it get to your head. You can lose his favor just as easily. I’m in charge here, and I run a tight ship. If you don’t do as I say, when I say it, regardless of your standing with the king, I will have you punished. Do you understand me?” 

"Yes, ma’am,” I say. This woman is terrifying! I don’t know how else to respond to her aggression. I haven’t even done anything to make myself appear willful or disobedient, so I don’t understand her anger. It frightens me enough to make me feel like I need to stay in line and do what she says.

“Why is the Duke carrying you? I know the first time can be painful for males, and you do look particularly small. But still, get yourself together and have some pride!”

“Mana, this kitten is a newly-awakened Sanga. When he sings, it drains all power from his body, at least until he builds his strength. He is to be given rest, then food, then the full treatment.”

“A Sanga? Him? I don’t believe it. Hmph. When your ruse to trick His Grace is caught, I’ll be the one ordering your punishment, and it will be severe. Well, for now, of course, I will comply with His Grace’s wishes.” Mana does not remove her hand from her hip, and she tilts my chin slightly. “I suppose he does have a nice face, doesn’t he?”

“Not just his face,” Koujaku replies. I feel a soft squeeze on my ass, and I try not to make any complaints. I’m supposed to comply, right? It’s humiliating.

“His room is over there. The staff worked all night setting it up. You should be damned grateful, brat. No one has ever gotten this privilege before,” Mana speaks sharply to me. 

“I-I am, th-thank you. I-I d-don’t w-want to c-cause trouble,” I say quietly. She seems pleased with this answer—the first thing I have said to please her, and her face softens into a smile. She looks beautiful—not as lovely as Rai, but certainly lovely. 

Koujaku takes me through the door on the left, and I’m shocked. It’s a gorgeous, lavish room—decorated with creams and ivory, with accents of gold and red. There is a giant bed in the middle of the room, with a canopy like Rai’s, with deep red velvet curtains, and the bedding is similar, only in different textures of ivory.

One entire wall is glass and opens to a garden outside with several fountains on display. There is a sliding glass door, currently closed, since it’s getting close to fall—but the garden is still lovely—the leaves in the trees are changing color, and a few plants are still blooming in a wild variety of colors. I’m rather taken with the view.

The room is bright because the ceiling has a skylight as well. So much rich glass, I think! There’s a fireplace in the corner, along with two lush sitting chairs and a chaise lounge. I also have a dressing table, and I see another door, which must be the entrance to my closet. 

Suddenly—it occurs to me that outside is the bathing area. It’s to be expected that I bathe with the other concubines, and I feel that knot in my stomach. I see another door, which must be the bathroom. However, I’d bet there is no shower.

“It’s beautiful,” I say.

“I’m glad you approve.” 

“Will you please thank His Majesty for me?” I ask as I am placed in the center of the bed.

“You will have a chance to do so yourself, soon enough,” the Duke says, and he strokes my cheek gently. “You do have a very sweet face. So did he take you again this morning? You sing when he fucks you, don’t you?” 

I’m so embarrassed by his questions that I drop my gaze. I don’t think he should talk to me like this. It’s inappropriate! 

“Never mind—you just sleep for a while. When you wake, ring the bell if you need anything, and an attendant will help you.” 

“Thank you,” I say again, keeping my gaze lowered.

“Do you need anything else?”

“Actually, would you help move me to my side?” I hate that I have to ask. It’s embarrassing. “I will sleep much better.”

“Certainly,” Koujaku replies, and he carefully turns my body toward the glass window. "You are quite vulnerable as you are right now, aren't you, little prince? A person might be able to do whatever they like to you and you wouldn't be able to do a thing about it, would you?"

The words send several unpleasant shudders down my spine, and I try not to make eye contact. He wouldn't dare touch one of the king's concubines, would he? Especially not the current favorite?

“Would you like me to close the drapes?” I'm thankful he doesn't go any further down the path of how helpless I am. I do feel vulnerable!

“Oh, no,” I say, a little too quickly. “The view is too pretty.”

“All right then. I will be headed out. Be sure to do as Mana orders. She means what she says about punishment, and she won’t hold back.” 

“Yes, sir,” I say, my voice hitching a little, but I’m so tired I just want to sleep for a little while.

“Good kitten.” He brushes my ears and takes his leave. I fall asleep—even in this strange room—in no time at all.

Chapter Text

The moon of light is beginning to set when I am woken by several servants. I can tell by their uniforms, which are smart and simple yet still elegant, in the house colors of blue and black.

“Konoe-sama, we are here to give your treatment. Will you come with us please?” 

“Treatment?” I ask, suspiciously. “What sort of treatment?”

“All new concubines of the king are treated to this ritual as well as after spending an evening in the king’s presence if you have pleased him. It’s an honor, a reward, meant to pamper you.”

A reward? A payment? This feels as if I am being treated like a whore—an exchange for services rendered. I'd rather stay right where I am, in bed. 

“And what if I prefer to decline?”

“Sir, I’m afraid you don’t have the option to decline,” one of the servants says, a friendly-looking orange tabby with bright blue eyes. “It has been ordered, and if you do not comply with the order, it will be treated as disobedience.”

“Will I be punished?”

“I’m sorry to say it but most likely. However, no one has been so bold to refuse this honor before. Please, my lord, you will find it enjoyable.” 

I sigh and resign myself to my role as the king's whore. Ugh. I feel revulsion in my very soul! 

“Come this way, please,” the tabby says. “I am Tokino. I will be your servant exclusively. You may feel free to call on me whenever you need or whenever you have any questions. I’ve been informed that your culture is very different from ours. I’m here to make your adjustment easier, sir.”

“Thank you,” I say—and I mean it.

Tokino leads our small group into the bathing area. It’s currently empty, much to my surprise.

“Where is everyone?”

“They are at dinner. I was told that in your country, you are used to bathing alone. I thought that you might be more comfortable using the bath when it was empty.”

My tail swishes happily. Certainly, there are four other cats with me, but as my staff, which can’t be helped. I am pleased with the effort Tokino has gone to make me feel comfortable.

“Thank you very much. That was indeed thoughtful.”

“Will you disrobe, sir, and climb into the bath?”

I start to unbutton the long ivory gown and two servants immediately offer their help, efficiently and quickly divesting me of the garment—it’s a little unnerving, but it isn’t so bad. 

“Please, feel free to soak in the bath for a while. There are herbs added to the water, including chamomile, which should soothe away any discomfort. Your discomfort is only temporary, I assure you. You will grow used to His Grace in time; have no fear.” 

Feeling my ears blush at the mention of the king—as well as what was done to me last night and this morning, and my new role here—I walk down the steps and lower myself into the steaming water. My nose is flooded with a lovely mixed scent of herbs and flowers. It really does feel wonderful. I soak my hair, letting the water seep into my ears, and I can feel the water soothing those parts of me that need a little extra care, just because they haven’t been used this way before. 

“If you sit on the side, I will help you with your hair,” Tokino says after letting me soak for about five minutes, keeping his voice soft.

I remember Koujaku did that yesterday, too. It must be something that they do here in this country, I guess. I obey, and allow Tokino to shampoo and condition my hair. It feels even better with these experienced hands, and he uses an experienced grip without pulling, combing the conditioner through to the ends of my hair.

“May I ask you to stand, sir? I would like to condition your fur as well.”

He combs conditioner through the fur on my tail, and to my horror, asks me to turn around to face him. I’m mortified, though my lower half remains underwater, I am not exactly concealed. 

All your fur, my lord. It will feel good,” he assures me. I obey, and he combs conditioner through the fur just below my belly. I blush furiously, trying not to notice the glances exchanged between the servants. Tokino clicks his tongue at them. 

“If you are finished, sir, you can get out and we can continue your treatment.” 

I climb out and am wrapped immediately into a fuzzy, warm towel—one around my waist after I am dried, and then another is used to squeeze the water from my hair. It’s combed through quickly and gently to remove any knots. I am led to one of the covered areas and nudged onto the padded bench, where I lie down on my back, still wrapped in my towel. 

“The rumors are true, then?” Tokino asks. “You haven’t been trained as a courtesan? You have led quite a sheltered life in Karou and aren’t used to having servants touch you?”

“All of that is true,” I admit with a sigh. “Setsura is very different.”

Now I have one cat at each of my limbs—one at each hand and foot—which are all being groomed simultaneously. My toenails are shaped and filed, the cuticles are pushed back and oiled, and my feet are scrubbed with a brush and an exfoliant, then rinsed, and then massaged, which feels heavenly. My hands are done the same way—and I notice my claws are trimmed shorter and filed blunt.

“Is this so I won’t pose a threat to His Majesty?” I ask, flippantly. Tokino is working on my right hand.

“Not exactly,” Tokino says. “There have been instances of catfights among the concubines, so the king requires all his cats to keep their nails short.” 

His cats, I think. I don’t like the designation.

“I see. What do they fight about?” I can't imagine getting into a fight. I have no energy right now at all. I just want to go home!

“Who spends the most time with His Majesty and who is the favorite, mostly. At the moment, that spot is occupied by yourself, sir. You’ve quite captured his heart,” Tokino says.

“Well, I don’t care about any of that. I just want to go home,” I say petulantly.

“I hate to disappoint you, Konoe-sama, but King Rai has never released a concubine from service.”

“Never?” I ask, my ears drooping. Was I seriously hoping to go home? I never expected it, really. And if I did—what would become of me? I am spoiled, after all. Ruined!

“I’m afraid not. But all of them enjoy and crave the little time they spend with the king, wishing for more. I’m sure you will grow to love it, as well. If it was painful for you last night, I’m sure it’s because you are new and small in stature and just not used to him yet. Do not worry yourself. I hear he is a kind and loving master. He cares very much for his cats.”

There it is again! His cats. His whores, more like, I think angrily. Although right this minute, I’m feeling relaxed—my hands are getting a wonderful manicure, too—and it’s rather nice. And once they finish, Tokino asks me to turn onto my stomach. 

An exfoliant is applied to my back and shoulders, my arms, my legs, my buttocks. I can feel many sets of hands rubbing in circular motions—it feels like salt or sugar and oil, mixed together and slowly dissolving—but it feels nice. Then, it is thoroughly removed with steaming hot towels, which feels even better. I sigh a little when my body is wiped down with those towels—it just feels so good! I’m nude, of course, but I don’t mind so much because it just feels so good!

After the exfoliant, a cream or oil is applied in the same way—also to my hands and feet—and this smells a little minty. I notice I start to feel a little strange when it is applied, too—very relaxed, slightly dizzy, and perhaps a little tired. 

“Just so you know, there is a little bit of catnip oil in this oil. His Majesty adores the fragrance, and we find it makes the harem a more peaceful place. And it helps you to relax and also helps your compliance, especially when you are new and expected to do things you may not be used to doing yet.”

“Hmm,” I say softly—simply enjoying the scent.

“Let’s turn you over now.”

The process is repeated on the front of my body—and they keep my private parts covered up and don't touch me there, which I appreciate. Plus Tokino starts to do to my face. He puts a fine exfoliant on my face and neck, making sure to avoid my eyes and mouth, which he removes with a cloth. He applies something that feels quite cold—he calls it an astringent—and then layers several face creams, which he meticulously massages and taps in with his fingertips. It feels really good, and I close my eyes.

My belly is slightly ticklish, though, as are my hip bones and the front of my thighs. I end up giggling a little, and the servants laugh at my response. 

It occurs to me suddenly that my twitching away might be a sign of disobedience, however, and that frightens me.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “It’s just that I’m so I’m so ticklish! Will I be punished for resisting?”

“Of course not,” Tokino soothes me. “You are doing very well. We aren’t used to seeing anyone at all of your age and with this level of experience. You are quite refreshing, my lord. I’m sure many of the staff will want to serve you.”

At this point, I am very relaxed and content—I probably could drop off to sleep. But I don’t. 

“Now, let’s see if I can tame this gorgeous unruly hair of yours,” Tokino says. “It’s such a pretty color.”

They help me sit up and wrap me in a fuzzy robe, and two of the cats disappear. One assists Tokino as he brushes and combs. He pulls my hair into a low ponytail, holding aside several tendrils at the sides at my face, arranging them into thin braids, starting along my temple. He deliberately leaves a few loose strands as well, framing my face, and he leaves the ends of the ponytail loose, and it curls naturally—which surprises me—probably because of how it has dried and the rich conditioner.

“Now we shall dress you. The king has requested your presence in his chamber again this evening—to entertain him and have a late dinner. He will probably mark you this evening.”

Mark me?” My ears twitch nervously. “How?”

“Ah, I shouldn’t have said anything,” Tokino says, obviously sorry for making me nervous. “It’s not my place to tell you. You should just wait and find out for yourself.”

I think I’d be more worried if the catnip didn’t make me feel so nice.

The two cats return with an outfit for me to wear—but I wouldn’t have recognized it as clothing if I didn’t know I was getting dressed. In addition to mass of gorgeous black, red and gold silk fabric, I see a very skimpy pair of briefs—gold silk underwear that has hardly any coverage.

“Am I expected to wear this?” I ask. I feel slightly offended.

“Of course. It will please His Grace,” Tokino says. “Your sole purpose in life now is to please the king—in everything. How you walk, how you talk, how you dress, how you carry yourself. I've heard he apparently likes how you sing as well. You should consider this carefully, for your livelihood depends on it—let it sink in. You cannot bear him a child—all you have is how well you please him. I realize this is a big change, but it is your reality now.”

“My sole purpose?” I echo, discouraged. I am disappointed. What about what I want? I look at the gold underwear and really hope there is that mass of silk is something to wear over them. Maybe I should ask. “I am wearing something over those, right?”

“Oh, yes. Of course,” Tokino opens the fabric, and it’s a gorgeous kimono and obi—in an abstract black, red, and gold pattern, with a gold obi. “I’ll help you dress.”

Embarrassed as hell, I pull on the no-purpose underwear—but they feel silky and cool against my skin. I guess that’s one good thing. Then, I slip my arms into the kimono, and three people help fold me into it. It’s also silk, but it’s surprisingly heavy. The obi is last, tied firmly around my waist, making me look quite slim and tall—I can see myself in the dressing mirror. I am given a pair of geta to wear again—lacquered black—and they are quite tall, making me nearly as tall as Tokino.

I’m dressed now and my hair is styled—Tokino places a hair ornament in the plaited ponytail he’s styled so carefully, and then shows me the finished look. I have to confess I hardly recognize myself. I would never be able to return to my kingdom like this—I look like some sort of sex god, really—a sensual creature, living and breathing for the purpose of pleasure. I’m shocked at my appearance but I have no idea what I can do about it but accept my status if not embrace it. If I don’t, I will be punished. So what else is there for me? 

“You will certainly please His Grace this evening,” Tokino assures me. “He has never requested a concubine two evenings in a row before—and certainly not so soon after their arrival. It’s certain he wishes to mark you himself, which is an honor.”

I’m terribly nervous about this marking business, and my face and expression show my anxiety. 

“It’s an honor—the others will be envious of you,” Tokino tries to assure me, but it doesn’t assure me.

“I don’t understand what you mean by ‘marking,’” I say. “Is it painful?”

“It is an honor,” Tokino repeats. “Do not worry. You look wonderful. He will not be able to resist you.”

I notice Tokino isn’t answering my question, and I swallow thickly, nervously. What else can I do? 

“Please, come and wait in your room.”

Tokino leads me back to my room, where I wait quietly for a few minutes. I’m offered a refreshing drink of juice—something sweet and sour in turn. At first, I think it might be kuim, but it tastes a little different than that.

It is less than ten minutes before I hear the sentries open the door. Koujaku enters. He is here to fetch me once again. I suppose it's just as well that I don’t meet any of Rai’s other concubines. 

Koujaku’s jaw drops when he sees me. 

“You look quite fetching this evening, little one.”

I simply bow my head demurely. I’m not sure of my rank to his. I don’t know how to respond to him. So I just don’t say anything, but I am not disrespectful.

I follow Koujaku obediently, this time trying to memorize the way around this maze of a palace. However, it’s hopeless. I’m directionally challenged. I’m lost within the first fifty steps, my ears drooping. 

“What’s the matter, kitten? You should be thrilled! No one has been able to capture the king’s... er, heart this way before. And I understand you’re rather new at this. What exactly did you do to him?”

I certainly will not be going into that answer in detail. I did nothing, first of all. Much more was done to me!

“Honestly, he probably just liked my voice,” I say, rather dejected.

“Your voice?” Koujaku says. “Are you particularly vocal?”

“I don’t know about that,” I say, bristling. “I meant my song. He simply wants me to sing for him.”

“But if he wanted that, he’d ask you to sing outside of the bedchamber, you see,” Koujaku points out.  

“He could force me to sing?” I ask. 

“I’m sure he could, if that what he desired. He can make people do whatever he wants. But he obviously desires more from you,” Koujaku says. There is a small pause, in which only the soft swish of the luxurious silk of my garment is heard.

“Was I deliberately spared contact with the other concubines today?” I ask.

“That, I could not say,” Koujaku says, but he does not look at me. We have arrived at the king’s chambers. He leads me inside.

“You are to wait on the chaise for his majesty. And Konoe, he will know if you disobey him again today. He is usually only merciful once,” Koujaku warns.

“Might I at least have a book?” I ask. “Especially if I will be here a while?”

“I’m not authorized to allow that, I’m afraid,” the Duke states. Why ever not? He wants my mind to rot away from boredom? I suppose the king doesn’t want me for my mind. I'm just a whore now, I suppose. 

“Thank you anyway.” I’m sure to remain polite, and I rest quietly on the chaise I am pushed into next to the fireplace for a moment, noticing the sheets are clean and a different color, a soft pale blue. I'm sure the king will look nice in them, with that pale blue eye of his. Is that deliberate, I wonder? Is he trying to seduce me? The fire is blazing, and the books from last night have been put away.

“Have a pleasant evening, Konoe. This is an honor—which the king fought for. Make sure you mind him.”

“Of course,” I say, waiting for him to leave the room. He does soon enough, and then I stretch my legs and walk around a little, thankful to be up and walking around.

I wander over to the coffee table, but since the books from yesterday have been put away, I’m disappointed. I barely get a chance to peruse to books of the shelf when I hear the door open—I didn’t even hear footsteps approaching this time! Needless to say, I do not have a chance to sneak back to my chair, and I’m at a loss for what to do. So I drop down to my knees, lowering my face to the floor.

“You are certainly a curious one, aren’t you?”

The king’s honeyed voice slips into my ears, but I do not look move nor look up. I know I’ve been caught disobeying his order and I’m terrified. I’m still at a loss as to how this could have happened—how could he have appeared so suddenly without my knowing? I am convinced he was sneaking around in his castle, trying to find out how I would behave on purpose, trying to determine if I would disobey him deliberately! I'm pissed, in addition to feeling terrified.

I am on my knees with my head lowered to the ground—a position I could never have seen myself taking last week—my entire body trembling—and I feel him stroke my ears softly.

“Ah, so you were deliberately disobeying my orders, were you? Is that why I feel you trembling?”

“P-please, your highness,” I beg. “Have m-mercy on me.”

“Do you feel like you deserve mercy even after I told you I would punish you if I caught you disobeying a second time?”

“M-my curiosity s-simply g-got the b-best of me,” I try to explain. “I h-have n-no other excuse.”

“I am disappointed in your behavior, little Sanga,” Rai says. “Perhaps if you are willing to make it up to me, I can skip your punishment.”

“Please!” I beg. I am terrified of any punishment he might have for me, and I would do anything to get out of it.

“Kitten, do you really fear me so much? Do you not remember how good you felt this morning and last night?”

“Please,” I say softly, and my voice is covered with tears. This silver cat truly frightens me. Why does he speak of punishment in the same breath of the pleasures he forced upon me last night?

“Calm yourself, Konoe. If you will do as I say without resistance, you will get yourself within my good graces again. Are you willing?”

“Yes.” I am determined. I will do anything.

“Stand up. Let me look at you,” Rai commands. He’s perched on a chair, majestically, watching me.

I obey. 

“Ah, you are indeed lovely! I’ve missed you today. Tell me, how did you find the treatment?”

“It was unexpected,” I say, honestly, looking down at the floor when I answer. “The staff was kind to me, treated me with respect, and paid careful attention to my sensitive nature. They kept me covered when possible.”

“Did they? How did it feel?”

“It felt nice,” I admit. “It was relaxing.” 

“Did you notice your skin is even smoother and glowing? I long to touch you again. You look even more fetching than you did yesterday.”

I blush, looking down at my feet, my eyes wandering over the silk garment I am wearing.

“Konoe, I’d like to mark you as mine. Usually, this procedure is left to the staff, but I decided I would like to handle you personally. Seeing as you are so anxious to please, you won’t have any problem with this, will you?” 

“N-no, Your Grace. I will do whatever you wish,” I answer, but the anxiety is obvious in my voice.

“I wanted to do it last night, but I thought it might be too much for you to handle all at once. Your markings will let the staff—and everyone in the castle and in the rest of the kingdom—know you are mine, and they won’t dare touch you.”

“I see,” I say quietly. I am very nervous.

“So, why don’t you come you here for a moment?”  

I shuffle my tall shoes a little closer and stand before the king, but not within his reach. There’s no need for him touch me, is there?

“I see,” Rai murmurs, putting his hand on his chin. “We can do it this way if you prefer.”

I glance up from my feet as his tone to see he is wearing a small smile on his face. A smirk, rather.

“Why don’t you remove that kimono? It’s indeed lovely, and it suits you extraordinarily well—I knew it would when I selected it for you—but now, I’d enjoy seeing it puddled at your feet.”

“I’m sorry?” I’m truly confused. I'm sure I don’t understand.

“I am pretty sure you heard me. Take it off. You wish to please me, don’t you? And you certainly wish to avoid my wrath—and any physical punishment?”

“Um, of course,” I say, somewhat shyly. I really don’t want any more physical punishment—not from anyone. My butt is still slightly sore from yesterday.

“Then I’d suggest you comply and disrobe. Take off the kimono. Now.” He says the last two sentences so sharply that I flinch, and my hands jerk up to the obi on their own, wandering up to the knot and untying it deftly without delay, without waiting for my brain to catch up. It’s as if my body is making my decision for me. It does not wish to be punished, and Rai is watching with a certain degree of amusement. 

“You are such a sweet young creature,” his smooth voice purrs, praising me gently, and it ruffles up the fur on my ears. I love the sound of it. Even now, I can’t help my feelings.

The obi drops on the ground and I lower my face. I’m not sure what to do next, and so I simply let the silk slip off my shoulders—the kimono is much too long as it is, and it won’t stay up without the obi. So that leaves me standing in this indecent pair of underwear—gold silk—and I do not look up. I wish my hair was down at least. Oh—I'm not just in my underwear. I’m still wearing those platform shoes, which I’m sure look ridiculous. 

“Why not come a little closer? I won’t bite. At least... not right away,” Rai says enticingly. He reaches out his arms expectantly, and I have no choice but to obey.

I have to go into those open arms—warm and waiting for me. And he is planning to what? Mark me? But how? My body is shaking softly.

“W-will it hurt?” I stammer. My words are lost, spoken into his chest, and he is nuzzling my hair and my nape, his hands running over my back and shoulders indulgently. 

“Ah, your skin is so smooth and soft! I thought you felt virginal and soft last night, but now—your skin is even more smooth, so fresh—made new, just for me.” His hands sweep around to the front of my body and he sighs into my ear. “Ah, gods—what am I going to do with you when you affect me this way?”

His voice and breath are tickling me, and he is speaking so softly and gently, but he has not answered my question. He pulls me in close, in between his legs, and begins licking me—long, tender strokes to my ears, even deep inside them—as he runs his hands over my body, exploring me. It’s almost like he is experiencing me for the first time, and I try not to respond, but I can’t help it. When I am touched like this—so fervently, by someone who obviously desires me—I can’t help but respond. I try to suppress the sounds that come out of my mouth since I’m embarrassed—but I can’t help it. I’m shy and timid, but the sighs and gasps make me sound eager and vulgar, and I hate it.

“Are you feeling it more today than you were yesterday, little one?” Rai asks.

“N-no,” I say, an obvious lie.

“Is that so?” he asks, kissing me again. “You just sound very into it this evening—and you look and feel so very fetching. And I am so impressed with your obedience.”

The praise coming from his lips is doing something strange to my body as well—heating me up, turning me on, making me want more, making me want to please him more, and I have to work to not press my hips against his. He has me standing between his legs after all. But I feel like I want him to touch me more.

“Let’s get this marking business taken care of, and if you can obey me, or at least behave yourself, I will reward you. Come.”

Without giving me a choice, he scoops me up and returns me to the chaise. He puts me on his lap, facing outwards, pressing my head against his belly. He feeds me a little catnip liquor—not asking if I’d like it—simply pouring it down my throat. I drink as much as he offers because I am scared. He holds my head firmly in place—putting his hand on my face—over my eyes. I don’t even realize what he is doing at first since his hand is over my eyes. Something cold and wet touches my ear—the thin skin close to the tip of my right ear—and it twitches but doesn’t fold down. Then I feel a sharp pinch—and I cry out in pain.

“Stay still,” Rai commands. “Don’t move, not even an inch. Wait just a moment longer.”

There is another dull pinching sensation and I hiss in response to a strange heavy sensation—and then my ear is rinsed with something cool and wet. This time, it burns and I hiss again, trying to pull away. Of course, I can't. Then I hear Rai say, “Good kitten—you did very well. All done. Your ear is finished. See?” 

Rai holds up a small mirror—a handheld piece of reflective glass—exactly how much glass does this kingdom have, anyway?—and to my surprise, a beautiful gold hoop is threaded through my ear, and a sparkling jewel bead closes the hoop. The jewel is sparkling clear and white—and it reminds me of Rai’s hair. 

“It’s a diamond. I like gold on you. It accents your eyes. Diamonds are rare and hard to find—the most precious jewels of all my collection—and in the world.” 

It looks pretty but it feels weird it my ear. I reach out to touch it, and Rai says, “Oh, you must not touch it. Your staff will clean it for you several times daily till it heals. If it bothers you, tell them. But try not to touch it.”

“Is that all the marking that is required?”

“Typically, my concubines have another piercing as well, one that is less visible. I will be performing that one on you, too.”

Immediately I get very nervous and start to feel ill. Is it possible to pierce my private parts? In Karou, piercings were never performed—or if they were, they were never discussed.

I must have paled significantly because Rai starts to chuckle.  

“I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think,” he says. “I was thinking your nipple or your navel.” 

When he even mentions my nipple, I tingle with fear.

“Please,” I beg, sitting up. “I-I just d-don’t think I could tolerate a n-nipple being pierced.”

“No? And why not?” Rai asks.

“Th-they are much to s-sensitive,” I explain softly, terribly embarrassed, unable to meet his gaze. 

“Even if it pleased me?”

“W-wouldn’t a n-navel p-piercing please you j-just as m-much? I-if it’s all the s-same to you...”

“Well, would you be willing you show off that piercing in an outfit from time to time?”

“What?” I’m stunned. “My n-navel? Publicly?” I ask. 

“Of course. Which would you be willing to show off more readily? A nipple or your navel?”

“Um—wouldn’t my ear be enough?”

“No.” He sounds very firm on this, and I flick my ears. My right ear feels so weirdly heavy now, it almost affects my balance.

“Can my navel even be pierced?” I ask. “Or my nipple for that matter?”

“I could do both,” Rai says. “The needle goes straight through your nipple like this,” he demonstrates with his claw—not hurting me, but it makes me want to faint away. “And with your belly, it goes here.” Again, I feel slightly sick when he shows me.

“Oh, my gods.”

“You’re looking slightly green around the gills, little one,” Rai murmurs, smiling gently, “my innocent little kitten. Don't worry. I've done this before.”

“Do we absolutely have to do this?” 

“Yes, of course. You should be thankful I’m giving you a choice,” he says pleasantly. “However, I will choose for you if you don’t choose within the next two minutes. And I would like to do both.”

“No, please,” I beg desperately, and I hear Rai laugh again. 

“Then which will it be?” he asks.

“Um, my navel?” I ask, never less sure of anything in my life—but it has to be less sensitive than my nipple! “Please—don’t hurt me!” I beg.

“You know, Konoe—I do this so you won’t be hurt by anyone else. These markings indicate your status as mine—as my concubine. They indicate that only I may punish you—and only I can refer your punishment to another person. No one else in the castle has the right to even touch you. So even if these hurt a little now, they will save you a lot of grief and pain in the course of your life.” 

The course of my life? I think with alarm.

“That may be—but wouldn’t it have saved me more grief to have left me in Karou?” I ask boldly—and then I instantly regret speaking to the king in that manner. I sound angry, belligerent. Because I am!

However, he does not seem offended.

“Konoe, do you know what your marriage plans were?”

I am silent. I do not. 

“Do you know what your parents had planned for you? You were not going to rule the kingdom of Karou, you know.”

I had that feeling—somehow, I knew that. I don’t how, nor why—perhaps because of my fathers—they did not plan to give the kingdom to me but meant to marry me away, but I did not know where. Was my spouse meant to rule? Why not me

“Did you know I made an offer for your hand? In marriage? And I was flatly refused because, they said, you were too young and I am male?”

I look down—anywhere but at this cat. Both my fathers are male—that can’t be true. At least—that can’t be the real reason! Perhaps they wanted an heir? Or... is there something wrong with me?

“Maybe they wanted a grandchild?” I ask. “Maybe—there was something wrong with me. Perhaps I had displeased them? Maybe they were punishing me? Maybe they had something else in mind?” I feel tears burning my eyes that I cannot seem to hold back.

“No, they said you were too young. Meeting you now, I’m not sure that is true. I think they knew you are or might be a Sanga. Perhaps they wanted to hide you or wanted you in a neighboring kingdom. Did you ever ask them about your future?”

I’m quiet for a moment before I reply.

“Is it that strange? I’m only sixteen. It would have been disrespectful. I’d been punished for less. Was your life so different?” And then I remember what I heard. He had a harem before his fifteenth birthday so not a single mating season would go to waste. My parents never even discussed sex with me. Was I destined to be alone?

“Apparently,” he smiles softly—almost sympathetically.

“Do you already have children?” I ask—intrusively and curious. 

“Three concubines have born my children. However, unfortunately, only one child survives. She is two years old and does not live at the castle. At her mother’s request, she lives with her maternal family who cares for her, now that she has been weaned.”

My ears fold back. He sounds so impersonal—and this is his own daughter!

“Isn’t she your daughter?” I’m sure I sound judgmental as I ask my impertinent question. “‘Don’t you want to see her?” 

“I do,” Rai’s voice softens. “I miss her. I saw her every day while she lived at the castle, and it was a difficult decision to allow her to move away. However, it was her mother’s wish, and she believed it would keep her safe and healthy. After losing two of my children, I could not argue. I visit her as often as I can, and she visits on holidays and celebrations when appropriate.”

“Yet you did not marry her mother.”

“I do not love her mother.” He looks at me for a moment, that pale blue eye flashing at me seriously. My heart flutters strangely in my chest. What is this feeling? I'm panicking at the least!

“You hardly know me!” I exclaim. He cannot pretend to love me. “I can’t have your children!”

“I don’t require you to have my children. And you, little Sanga, are changing the subject and delaying because you do not wish to be marked,” Rai says. “Will you be able to be still?”

A small desperate sound leaks from my mouth—it sounds like a sob. I don't want this! My ear is throbbing as it is.

“Perhaps the ear will be enough—no one else needs to know!” My desperation is growing by the minute.

“Konoe, it will be obvious when you bathe, and the other concubines will not treat you as an equal. If you can’t remain still, come with me.”

He pulls me by the hand—my ear throbbing heavily under the weight of the strange new piercing—into the small dressing closet next to his vanity, hidden beneath that drape. 

“Let’s find some pretty jewelry to match your new piercing,” Rai mumbles, almost to himself. He opens a drawer, too tall for me to see inside—so I look around the room and realize I’m not exactly surrounded by work out equipment. I’m not sure what this place is, though. It's filled with strange equipment I don't recognize. And it smells funny in here, but it smells a lot like Rai, I notice. It's not a bad smell. 

He turns back to me and quickly attaches two golden cuffs to my wrists. They are lovely—thick and heavy—with diamonds embedded in them. I admire them when he puts them on my wrists—they are hinged and a perfect fit. I can't take my eyes from them.

“Do you like them?” he asks.

I’ve never owned anything more lovely—and I can only nod. I’m amazed at their beauty. However, he backs me up rather roughly against a wall—helping himself to a deep kiss along the way—which is terribly distracting while I am trying to admire them, making my fur fluff out. I wish I could say I resist, but I don’t in the least. When he lifts both of my hands up overhead, I’m confused and concerned, except he’s kissing me, so everything must be all right—but then I hear a small clicking sound, and that makes my ears twitch. And suddenly I realize I can’t move my hands, nor can I move from my place against the wall.

I start to panic.

“What are you doing? I don’t like this! Stop this! Please! I don’t want you to hurt me! Please!”

“Calm down,” his low voice purrs, and he strokes me gently, like he has been, kissing me again gently. “This is to help keep you calm and obedient and to keep you from lashing out at me. Do you understand?”

Tears are forming in my eyes, and I’m staring directly up at his face. But I nod my head, taking a shaking breath, trying to get myself under control. 

“There’s my good boy,” Rai praises, and it shoots right to my hips. What is wrong with me? Why am I getting turned on in a place like this?? “You are doing such a good job. I’ll be quick and I promise I will reward you soon.”

I feel cold fluid dripping on me as Rai drops to his knees—and that king being on his knees before me—just the very idea of it—my gods—it sends a bolt of lightning up my spine and into my tail. He’s just disinfecting my skin, I know. But still. It does something to my body. I rather enjoy seeing him there and it turns me on even more.

But then, a piercing pain stabs me where I shouldn’t be feeling pain—clear and bright, exactly where he showed me he would pierce me—and shortly thereafter, my knees feel like they might buckle. 

“I’ve got you—you won’t fall. You’re just fine.” I feel his arm wrap around my waist as that pain slithers through me once again—he must be threading the jewelry through the fresh piercing. 

“Now, I just need to cap it and clean it.” I feel him screwing a small bead onto the open end of the jewelry and then a stinging cold sensation when he rinses the new piercing. I hiss and feel slightly lightheaded. “It’s perfect. Look.”

I look down—and I see a curved piece of gold with a diamonds capping each end, right at the lower part of my navel. It’s bright and shiny—I realize it accents my belly in a strange way—I will have to wear lower pants, and it makes my underwear look even sexier. I blush furiously, thinking of how I must appear. It completes my look as the court whore, I think.

He can’t mean for me to ever display this piercing publicly, can he? What sort of outfit would have me show it off? I can’t imagine! It looks so lewd! 

I want to cover myself now, and I can’t—my hands are restrained over my head. Rai is still kneeling on the floor in front of me, looking at my face, and all this is too much for me to handle.

“You were very good for me, Konoe. I’d like to give you a little reward.”

“Reward?” I try to keep the breathless-sounding desperation out of my voice and fail completely. 

“Oh yes. When kittens obey, good things happen for them. I’d like to show you.” He puts his mouth against my already stiff cock—over the silk of my underwear, huffing his hot breath lightly. I can’t help the desperate sigh that comes out of my mouth.

“Ah... please!”

“Does that feel good?” He’s murmuring softly against my dick—and his voice is just the right vibration. He feels so nice. I try to keep my hips still, but they are jerking on their own accord.

Then he pulls my underwear down just enough to let my cock spring free—and even that is a relief. He keeps his hand pulling on the fabric just a little, though, so the silk pulls against my ass—the silk slipping in between my cheeks, and I can’t do a thing about it.

He teases me—licking my hips, licking the conditioned, silky fur below my belly, burying his nose there, then licking gently around that new piercing, even licking between my thighs and getting close to my balls—then finally dropping a single kiss on the very tip of my cock, making me shiver and shake.

Tears are dripping from my eyes when he finally takes me into his mouth fully—and I was beginning to think this might be torture—and not a reward.

It takes maybe two minutes before I am crying out loudly—ready to come—asking if I may—pleading with him—please—may I please come, please?—and he is simply watching me from his knees on the ground, neither saying yes or no.

I’m afraid to come without his permission, however—for fear of what he might do to me. If I truly am his property, doesn’t my pleasure run only according to his will? So I hold out, waiting as patiently as I can while pleading, tears still coursing down my face.

Finally, that beautiful silver cat takes me out of his mouth and says, “You have been such an obedient and well-behaved kitten today, Konoe. You’re even asking my permission to come. You may come whenever you like.”

And so—I do—within the next 30 seconds or so—right in his mouth—when he grasps the base of my tail.

I scream out loud with pleasure—and my vision goes completely white—but I try to keep my eyes open—watching him watch me. It’s so embarrassing, but thrilling because I don’t know why he is on his knees unless he really is rewarding me or else is expecting something horrible from me afterward.

Right afterward, my arms are released, and I am moved to another area of the room—over to something that looks like a horse or a vault, and I am pushed over it, face down, my feet placed flat on the ground. I am still tingling and nearly numb with pleasure—my limbs are not responding and I feel slightly desperate from being in such a vulnerable position. My underwear is slid down to just below my thighs, preventing me from opening my legs.

I hear Rai whisper to me, and my ears twitch when I hear a slick, wet sound near the area of my hips.

“No song for me today, my precious Sanga? You don’t have to sing for me every time—but I do love to hear that beautiful voice of yours.”

I think he may be lubing himself up—and then, I feel him, sliding his dick, completely lubricated and warm, in between my cheeks—just gliding and slipping between my flesh—and I hear him sigh with pleasure. This is kind of what he did this morning—not specifically entering me, but using the outside of my body to pleasure himself.

“Your skin is so amazingly soft, little Sanga. Don’t you have a song for me tonight?”

I’m still exhausted and tingling—but when I hear those words, it’s as if he pulls the song from my body once again—pulling it from my chest. And this song is different from when I’ve sung before. This time, the song is soft, relaxed, and gentle—yet very satisfied. It sort of says, “do with me whatever you’d like,” which stuns and surprises me. I’m shocked to hear such a thing coming from my body. 

He doesn’t force himself inside me, also to my surprise. Instead, he uses my body like he might his hand. In this way, however, I feel even dirtier than I would if he were entering me, although he is saving me from pain. I don’t understand why—but it’s loud and squishy sounding, and it’s visceral, but it actually excites me in a weird way. I hear him coming with very little delay—as if he’s trying to cause me the least amount of discomfort he can.

I’m both relieved and slightly disappointed when he comes—that sticky, warm sensation dripping behind me, outside of me, down my legs and thighs, in between my buttocks. He leans down to kiss my ears before getting a towel to wipe me up. Part of me was hoping he might enter me again and I might feel him—but I loved how I felt in his mouth—and my gods, did the king of Setsura really just take me in his mouth?

He did—because my legs are still not functioning!

After he wipes me down, he carries me to the bed—and my new piercings throb heavily. Even was I was leaned up against whatever that thing was, the piercing on my navel was not touching it. He was deliberately being careful with me. 

“You’re still so new to sex,” Rai whispers, licking my ears again, paying careful attention to the piercing. “It would serve me to be careful with your body. I have never had such a small breed in my harem—nor have I ever desired anyone like I desire you. I want to go slow at first. I don’t wish to hurt you. The sound of your voice, the way you move your body, your scent, your taste, and everything about you enchants me.”

I feel my ears getting hot, and my piercings throb painfully, a few tears slip from my eyes. I turn away so I don't show them. I'm embarrassed. 

“Do your piercings hurt you very much?” Rai asks, running his hands through my hair. “They look so very lovely. The next time I see you, I would like you to display them proudly.”

I can’t help looking at him then. 

“You want me to display my navel?” 

“This part of your body is enviable.” Rai strokes his fingers along my stomach and I shiver. I think I feel a little bit of revulsion, after he reminds me of my position here, my status as his whore. I hate this! I feel so conflicted. I desire his touch—I crave his body—yet I hate how I feel now—used up, almost. Yet I long for this physical closeness and connection, and I feel disgusted. I will not allow myself to become attached to him! I won't!

“May I return to my chamber?” I ask. “Please, Your Highness?”

“What?” Rai asks sharply. “I want you to sleep with me. Do you really wish to return to the harem?”

“I apologize, Your Grace," I say coldy. "I am having trouble.... adjusting.” 

“Give me a moment. Perhaps I can oblige and help you adjust.” The silver cat stands up from the bed and gives a long stretch. He walks over to his wardrobe and comes out wearing a kimono very much like mine—only in black, blue and silver. It’s tied with a blue obi that sets off his eye. He wears his hair long.

He pulls me to the foot of the bed, gently tugging me by my legs, then helps me sit. My body feels a little like wet noodles, but I help slip my arms into my kimono. He doesn’t bother folding the waist—so it is very low and long, and he slips my geta onto my feet—kissing my toes gently—and shockingly.

Then he slips on a similar pair, scoops me up in his arms and walks out the door. I lean my head against his chest while he walk, listening to his slow and steady heart beat, enjoying that strange scent of his, and he occasionally licks my ears.

I recognize where we are just before he turns the corner. We are approaching the harem. He is returning me to my room. I'm surprised he complied with my wish, and I'm relieved—and slightly disappointed, too. I think part of me was hoping that he would forbid me from leaving.

 

 

Chapter Text

Rai has returned me to the harem, I see, and the sentries open the door for him without question, bowing and welcoming him, announcing his presence.

Mana greets him in a hurry, kneeling gracefully and respectfully at his feet, but she seethes with a disgusted look on her face when she sees me in his arms.

“Your Highness, to what do we owe the pleasure of this visit?” 

All activity has stopped, and all the cats are on their knees or have their heads bowed—if they are in the pool, they cannot get on their knees easily. I realize I probably have not been respectful enough to the king when I see their reactions.

“I’m here to help our youngest concubine adjust to his new role. I am planning to spend the night in his chambers. I’m sure you’ll see to it that we are not disturbed?”

My ears flatten when I hear Rai's plans. 

“Of course, Your Grace,” Mana says, but I can hear her teeth grinding.

This isn’t what I had in mind, either, but Rai is the king. He can do what he likes, and he knows exactly where my bedroom is, strutting inside like he owns the place. He does own it. I realize even this room isn’t my own. I own nothing here.

“Why are you here?” I ask as I’m placed gently in the bed. 

“Weren’t you listening? You should pay attention when your master speaks, you know,” Rai says, stripping off the obi around my waist. I hold my robe closed for modesty.

“I can undress myself,” I growl lowly, knowing others are probably listening to our exchange outside.

“I’m sure you can, but this is my desire,” Rai moves my arms aside and opens my robe, pushing me against the mattress. He is sitting on my thighs—and he is heavy. “If your master wishes to gaze upon you, you should allow it.”

The piercing in my navel is throbbing. My robe is opened to the sides, my nakedness clearly on display. I rush to pull my robe closed again, and the king catches my wrists, which still adorned with gold and sparkling diamonds.

“Now, little prince, you must be exhausted, so you must not be thinking clearly. You simply must become more accustomed to displaying yourself before me. I don’t want to worry about it now—you and I should eat and then get some rest—but if you aren’t able to be naked around me, I will prescribe you some... assistance.” 

My ears flick down when he says “assistance,” and a bolt of fear shoots through me. So I relax my arms and let him look at me. I turn away, feeling tears in the corners of my eyes. They soon start to burn and slip down my cheeks.

“Do you really find me so frightening?” The king asks, his voice soft. “Didn’t you feel pleasure—didn’t I give you that pleasure? And don’t you realize I spared you pain tonight?”

My breath hitches in a small sob, and I cover my face with my hands. The single sob becomes two, then three, and I melt into tears. I peek through my caged fingers to see Rai’s expression soften into sympathy. 

“Perhaps I expect too much too soon?” He moves off my legs to sit on the bed and pulls me into his arms. I’m sitting on his lap. I know he was kind—he has hasn’t treated me cruelly since we’ve been together—even with as little as I know about sex, I know he very well could. 

But my tears aren’t about him or his treatment of me. They are about where I am. I’ve never been away from home, much less suddenly immersed in a different culture.

“I’m sorry,” I sob, my tears getting heavier. “I miss my home. I miss my parents. I miss my own bed, my own culture, my privacy—my station—it’s not that I don’t appreciate your kindness. I do. I know you could treat me roughly. I-I just don’t quite, um, understand my role.”

“What’s to understand? You’re here to soothe me. To please me.”

“Yes, but the others... they, um, want to do this. They want to spend time with you.” I instantly regret saying those words when that cool blue eye meets mine.

“Are you saying you don’t want to spend time with me?”

“Well...” I’m not sure how to answer, so I look away. But my chin is grabbed and returned to gaze at his face. “The others long for it.” I’m digging myself a deeper hole, I realize. I need to stop talking!

“Really? And you do not, as you say, ‘long for it’? What is this ‘it’? The act of sex or time with me? Or both?”

“Both,” I admit quietly. “You frighten me. Sex frightens me.”

“I frighten you?” He is getting very quiet, and I know he is furious. This giant silver cat, quiet and furious, is terrifying. “Little Sanga, it pleases me to spend time with you—and it saddens me to hear you don’t enjoy spending time with me. Though I have shown you mercy at every turn, I’m beginning to think this was a mistake. Perhaps you require a slightly firmer hand.”

“Ahh—please—don’t hurt me!” I beg, unable to twist myself away from his grip. 

“I said nothing about hurting you. I already said you would be given mercy for tonight’s disobedience. This evening, you will join me for dinner, and you will be pleased to be in my company. I will not be spending the night with you, after all. I think you have a lesson ahead of you instead. When I see you next, however, I want you eager.” 

“Eager?” I’m baffled enough so I stop struggling. “I can’t just feel what I don’t feel!”

“Oh, I think you’ll change your mind after your lesson. Now, join me.”

He releases me and I wrap the silk robe around my body. He gives me a thoughtful look, opens his mouth, then closes it. I am sure he was going to command me to eat naked! I’m relieved he doesn’t.

“You can’t expect me to change my feelings, just like that,” I mutter. “I’m a person with my own thoughts and feelings and experiences.”

“My solution is to provide you with some new experiences that will give rise to new thoughts and feelings,” the king says, as he takes a seat at the low table in my room. Placed there is an assortment of cold foods—meat and cheese, vegetables, fruits, and a variety of spreads. “Do you think that might work?” He pours me a glass of something that looks like wine.

It’s good—it tastes like catnip—and I guzzle it. He gives me more, eying me carefully.

“What?” I ask. 

“I’m just trying to imagine what you’d look like—eager to spend time with me.”

My ears flatten angrily.  

“Scowling at your master again?” He laughs. I have to admit, he has a nice laugh. And I like him much better this way than angry and quiet. “Eat up, little Sanga. You have a long night ahead of you.”

Now it’s my turn to look at him suspiciously, and I do, in between bites of food. But I’m quite hungry. We finish our meal in relative silence, but it’s peaceful. I don’t think he can do anything worse to me that he hasn’t already done.

Once I’m finished eating, I’m very tired, my eyes blink heavily.

“Come,” Rai leads me back to the bed, and he pulls off my robe before pushing me down to the mattress. I don’t resist this time. He pulls me up against his chest, and I purr when he starts gently grooming my ears. He takes his time, and I’m almost asleep when I hear him speak.

“I’m almost sorry about this. You seem so very tired. But I don’t know how else to teach you. Listen closely.”

Turning me onto my back, he pushes my relaxed arms overhead and kisses me. 

“I will request your presence tomorrow morning. If you please me then, you will be relieved. And you know what I want.”

“Wait—what?” I ask, confused and sleepy. I hear a soft clicking sound, and then I feel the king's hands skate down my legs. The touch makes my fur bristle. My legs are embarrassingly spread apart, and I hear something click onto each of ankles. Only then do I realize I’ve been restrained. 

“N-no, please—” I beg.

“If you have another suggestion, I’ll listen,” the king says, his hands stroking my ears. “I’ll send in your staff to care for your piercings. But then—I’m afraid it’s the only experience I can think of that will change your feelings toward me.”

My mind is racing—awakened so rudely from the gentle call of sleep.

“Please, don’t leave me,” I beg again, tears coming to my eyes. “I’m sorry I displeased you. Perhaps I just need time—”

“The king of this country does not wait for anyone. And I have already shown you mercy. Now, you will have a small taste of my firmer hand, Konoe. It’s one night. I’m sure you’ll be fine. And remember I only ask one thing from you. Tomorrow morning, I want you eager to see me—as eager as the rest of my cats. Do you understand?”

“Yes, but what—”

“Hush now. All will become clear in a moment. Just rest—while you still can. I’ll see you in the morning. I'm sure you will make great progress.” He drops a kiss on the tip of my ear, and I watch him leave my room, slipping into his sandals as he goes. I hear his low voice speaking to someone outside my door, and Tokino comes in.

“Oh gods, my lord, what have you done?” Tokino is rushing around my room, getting the disinfectant. “I’ve never seen the king look so upset before!”

He cleans my ear piercing gently. 

“Ah, he gave you a diamond?” Tokino raves. “You’re the first to receive such a stone. Ah—in your navel, too? It looks beautiful.”

I feel my ears getting hot as he cleans that piercing as well.

“Please, will you release me from the restraints?”

“I’m not allowed, sir. I’m sorry. If you are sore, though, I can help you.” Tokino looks at my bracelets and ankle cuffs. “Sir, these are indeed fancy! I’ve never seen such jewels. You should be flattered! Pray, tell me what you did to make him leave?”

“I only told him the truth—that he frightens me—that I don’t want to spend time with him as much as the others do.”

Tokino visibly pales.

“What did he say?”

“He will visit me in the morning, expecting me eager. I said I can’t simply change my feelings.”

Tokino doesn’t say anything, not at first. 

“Ah, I was sure he’d wait—show you mercy, give you time to adjust. You are the only one here not trained for this position, after all. And you are still so young! Have you had your first season?”

“Season?” I ask.

Tokino looks at me like I can’t be serious. 

“You’re going to be just fine,” he rubs my unpierced ear reassuringly, which has the opposite effect. 

“What is going on?” I ask, my voice rising. “Please, will you at least cover me?”

“I’m sorry, I’m not allowed. This is another, erm, treatment of sorts. You will be fine in the morning, and it’s very effective. You will long to see His Grace, I’m sure!”

My door opens again, and Mana walks in, with two male servants. 

“You certainly are a spoiled brat,” Mana says. “I can’t believe you allowed the king to leave dissatisfied!”

My ears flatten at her scolding—I’m not used to it, and it grieves me. Should I have lied? Or said something I didn’t mean? 

“Bring him to Aoba. He should know the king wants to see him eager. It will give the former favorite something to do.”

She walks up to me, staring down at my belly, making me look away, my ears blushing furiously.

“You enrage me! He gives you diamonds and you have the gall to displease him?”

I lower my face—for I am sorry for inciting the king's wrath—but I don’t know what I should have done. My ear is grabbed—no—the piercing is pulled—and I cry out in pain.

“Ribika! In your ear, too?” She releases my ear then smacks my face, the back of her hand slapping my cheek. I’m so stunned by the bright pain that I hardly know what to do! I stare up at her in disbelief—no one has ever struck the prince of Karou before!

However—I’m no prince here.

She thankfully misses the diamonds on my cuffs, and she stalks out angrily. 

The two males standing there unhook my wrists and ankles from the bed and drag me out of my room. If they see the jewels, they keep quiet, and I’m thankful. I keep my head down and my tail in front of me— I’m so exhausted I can barely walk. I’m led to the room across from mine. 

“I hear I have company tonight?” A soft, male voice greets me, a fluff of blue fur approaches from his lounging spot by the fire. “Let’s keep him standing for now—against the wall.”

My arms are connected to something that feels like a chain to the wall, my ankles to the floor, my legs spread about shoulder width apart.

“First, let me offer you a drink, my dear,” the blue-haired cat purrs. He has golden eyes, and his voice is hypnotic. I saw him bathing yesterday. He doesn’t look so youthful now. Catnip liquor is poured down my throat till I cough, and the liquid that spills on my chin and down my chest is immediately lapped up by the cat offering me the drink. It makes me feel lewd and gross. I try to flinch away from him, for he should not be touching me so intimately, but of course, I can't move.

“I’m Aoba. I hear your name is Konoe, and that you are being punished for displeasing His Grace this evening, is that right?”

He’s not a large cat, but he’s still bigger than me, and something about the way he speaks is intimidating. I look down and don’t answer, but my face is lifted right back up, and I’m forced to meet his gaze.

“Yes, sir?” I ask tentatively. But my response earns me an airy laugh.

“Very sweet, but unnecessary. We are equals—or about equal—here, so you are not subject to me. Only in the sense that I’ve been ordered to teach you tonight. Does that sound right?”

I sigh, hopelessly. I’m tired and I want to sleep. 

“If I learn quickly, will you let me sleep?” I ask, a ray of hope when I look at his bed, decked out in bright red silk. It's so different from the subtlety of my room.

“I’m afraid sleep is not in the cards for you tonight, darling.” Aoba strokes my hair, gently fondling my ear—looking at the jewelry.

“Please—don’t hurt me,” I breathe softly, as I feel his fingers touching the piercing gently. I’m deathly afraid. He strokes the cheek Mana struck with his other hand.

“Luckily for you, pain is also not in the cards tonight. Only a lesson in eagerness—it may feel slightly painful at the end, but the goal is to make you glad to lay eyes on His Majesty. I’ve been told you’re shy about your body. Why? It’s a beautiful shape. I’d fuck you.”

My ears bristle at his tone and I barely suppress a hiss. 

“My culture. I’m a prince, not a whore.” 

“I see. You’re having a problem adjusting to your new role? But don’t you enjoy the feel of him? He has taken you, hasn’t he? I mean, you’re young, but he’s had to have taken you.”

I stay silent.

“You wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be marked—by His Grace personally—if he hadn’t, and if he hadn’t enjoyed you, you know. You’re no prince here.”

I purse my lips.

“My advice to you is to submit to his desires, wishes, and whims because you won’t be in his favor for long. I can help you stay there longer. I know what he likes. For now, close your eyes and think about him touching you.”

Aoba's presence disappears from in front of my face, and I feel something warm and wet touching my dick—and it does not feel right. Not like this!

I struggle against my restraints, trying to push him away, but I’m helpless to do anything. I feel tears pricking my eyes once again—but damn him if I’ll let him see me cry!

“Get off me!” I yell, struggling.

Yet, the more I struggle, the more his hands stroke me, wrapping around my legs, my butt, my tail, stroking and caressing, forcing me to respond. 

“Stop! Stop it!” I try kicking my legs but it does no good.

I feel a sharp slap on my ass—it’s jarring in my struggle—and it sends blood pooling right to my groin, making me respond against my will.

I can feel Aoba smiling, and he slowly pulls my dick out of his mouth.

“I see you're one of those,” he purrs. “Does His Majesty know yet?”

“Know what?” I ask.

“That you like your pleasure sprinkled with a little pain? Is it just touch in general that you like, or pain specifically? Is it because you’re so unaccustomed to touch? I wonder—could you come from a spanking alone?”

I’m spanked again, lower this time—and the sound makes me cringe. How can he even move his hand so much with my body so close to the wall? 

I press myself up against the wall. Now—he won’t be able to spank me, I’m sure.

“I said we were equals here, but you are being deliberately disobedient. I see why he sent you to me,” Aoba purrs. “Trust me—I’m teaching you about pleasure, you stupid little kitten. Stop resisting so much and go with what your body feels!”

I don’t want this—this is humiliating!

I watch as Aoba walks away—strutting, more like—he’s dressed in tight-fitting black leather pants and a cropped top that shows his navel. His shape is not entirely unlike mine if slightly more willowy. He pulls up a chair and to my horror, releases my wrists.

“I want to show you something. Lie down—on my lap.”

I refuse, shaking my head—my carefully styled hair beginning to come loose.

“I won’t make it so bad for you if you obey me, little prince,” he warns, patting his lap. “If I have to ask you again, you won’t like it.”

“No one but the king is allowed to punish me!” I spit.

“And he is—he’s ordered this for you because you’ve displeased him. Now come.”

My body is roughly pulled over his lap, my ankles still firmly attached to the wall. I fight him every step of the way—but he is much stronger than me. 

He grabs my hands and pins them to the small of my back, making me arch my back and stick my butt out. 

“You are indeed beautiful here,” Aoba says, and he strokes my lower back and ass, making my tail bristle. “It looks like he’s been going easy on you, too. He didn’t take you today, did he? Let’s get you a little bit more excited to see him. He deserves it for being so kind to you.”

I don’t appreciate the examination—it’s humiliating! And I can no longer suppress my growl.

“Oh, your fur is so pretty, too—and you have a crooked tail! These are lucky in my country! Were you born this way?”

I’m actually embarrassed by my tail and hate it being pointed out, so I say nothing. But that’s the wrong move because Aoba slaps me again. I overreact, but I can’t kick my feet since my ankles are connected to the wall. 

“Konoe, he must really like you—he doesn’t give his diamonds to anyone. Look at these cuffs! When I first arrived, I got simple leather. But you need to relax. You’re much too stiff.”

He starts stroking my body, which isn’t helping at all—his fingers groping between my legs and my cheeks. 

“Please—don’t,” I beg. “This is... humiliating.”

“I’m sure it is—especially for someone like you. He still needs to train you to not be ashamed of your body, too—but he hasn’t left that to me. You’d better hope he doesn’t do it publicly, or you will be in big trouble.” 

I’m sure Aoba feels my chest hitch in surprise and horror. Publicly? How? 

“Oh—he can do it—I’ve seen it,” Aoba says, keeping his hands moving. “A dinner with every official, and you, his favorite, by his side—wearing nothing but the jewels with which he’s adorned you.”

I feel like I might be sick—in fact, I swallow my dinner back down, forcing myself not to throw up. But I very much dislike what is happening to me right now, though his words terrorize me even more.

“My goal here is to make you long for the King’s touch. I can do whatever I like—but I know if I prevent one little thing from happening, you will be very eager to see him.”

Suddenly, it dawns on me exactly what sort of evening this is going to be, and my ears flick up in realization. All night!? Is that why Rai seemed slightly sad—he was slightly regretful when he left—but he is serious about teaching me this lesson if he means for me to put up with this all night!

“Please, you don’t have to do this,” I start pleading with everything I have. “Please—I will be on my best behavior and maybe we can just pretend this happened—Please! Don’t do this!”

I’m spanked again—right where my thighs and ass meet—and this time, much to my surprise, doesn’t hurt. It makes my ass warm, but it tingles—and I let out a small grunt. He repeats it, and a purring sigh comes out of my mouth. I struggle to get my hands in front of my mouth because I can’t stand the disgusting sounds coming from me—I sound vulgar—but Aoba keeps them pinned behind me.

Again and again—that hand slaps my ass—loud—and never when I expect it—but I eventually stop my struggle and simply submit. It isn’t hurting—in fact, it feels strangely good.

“Oh, I’d be so careful about letting him see this side of you, little kitten. He won’t be able to contain himself. Trust me—he adores this kind of play. So tell me—why is he so infatuated with you? Because you’re resistant? Young? New?”

I’m slapped harder now—but I still just submit.

“Please!” Although now—I might be begging for more than begging for him to stop.

“Tell me what you have that I don’t!”

Smack, smack—my sighs are grotesque now—and I feel... weirdly good.

My tail is suddenly grabbed and yanked hard enough to lift me off his lap. It hurts—and I cry out—and then he drops me back down and spanks me again. I’m getting so close now—it’s hard to breathe.

And then suddenly, I feel my dick being squeezed right at the base—hard enough to cause pain—and definitely hard enough to make me realize I’m not going to come. 

“No—please,” I beg again, hopelessly.

“We’re just getting started, kitten. I can’t have you spoiling our fun. You are not allowed release until you are in His Grace’s presence. Now—are you starting to want to see him yet?” 

The floor before me is soaked with tears and my ass is red hot before Aoba is finished with his game. I’m exhausted—I need a break and some water. I don’t know how long he plays with me. When he is finally finished, I’m shoved up against the wall and given more catnip liquor. 

“I want to try something else. I’m sure you’re tired. Would you like to lie down?” 

He unhooks my ankles and brings me to his bed—where he pushes me down onto my back—I can’t figure out how he is so strong!—and immediately restrains my wrists. He sits on my legs before I can do anything.

“I want to get to know you better,” he says, kissing me. “I can’t wait till you’re out of favor—then I can play with you as much as I like—and however I like.”

The thought scares me—maybe it’s worth pleasing the king if he is the alternative!

His hair sweeps over my body—it’s long and pretty—soft, too—and he moves off my legs. I immediately raise up my knees, but he has already lowered his mouth onto my cock—and he is licking me, long strokes, gentle ones—from base to tip. It’s extremely arousing, and I can’t control myself. I try turning my face into my arm to muffle my sounds, but I can’t.

“Please—no more if this! I can’t—I can’t—”

“Oh, you can, and you will. If I don’t present you, thoroughly sexed up and raring to go—eager, in his words—before His Majesty tomorrow morning, we will both be in big trouble—so don’t think of doing anything stupid.”

He’s the expert at starting and stopping, my knees may be raised at first, then gradually fall open to the sides, as he continues working my body over—like he has some personal vendetta against me. Eventually, my legs slump down flat against the bed—and I’m just dying to get off, any which way will do. I don't care how!

I’m in tears before long—and there are a few times I think he’s about to let me come—only to have him squeeze me and reduce my pleasure back down to pain.

“Why are you doing this? What have I ever done to you?” I’m whispering—probably after the fifth round.

“I was ordered to. This is nothing other than what you’ve earned, so don’t come whining to me. You must have done something to displease him—and knowing him, he’s probably given you several chances already.”

I sob out loud. Aoba stops for a minute.

“He could have—and has—ordered much worse. This is just your introduction, Konoe. You should look at this as foreplay. He wants you to be thinking about him—thinking of all the things he will do to you when he sees you next.”

My fur bristles when he says those words and Aoba raises his eyebrows.  

“Did I say something you liked? Do you get it now? If he didn’t say he had a release planned for you, then I’d worry.”

Aoba continues toying with my body—and I close my eyes—thinking about the king—thinking about his scent, how different his fingers feel on my skin, how his straight smooth hair feels—and I want him. It helps—thinking about him.

But then I worry. He is going to enter me—and it will hurt if he doesn’t prepare me. I’ve angered him, displeased him. What if he doesn’t prepare me?

“Please—will you—will you show me how to relax so it doesn’t hurt so much when he, um...” and I let my voice trail off.

“You want me to prepare you?” Aoba seems surprised. “You are learning. I can show you there is pleasure when he takes you that way.” 

“He showed me,” I admit, embarrassed.

“You felt pleasure when he was inside you—your very first time?” Aoba asks. 

“Yes, he took time to prepare me, too—but it still hurt. I want to know how to make it not hurt.”

“Do it a lot more. A lot more. But I can help you, too. You won’t scratch me or fight me?”

“N-no,” I whisper. Plus I want him away from my cock. It’s sensitive and nearly raw.

“All right. But if you resist me even a little, I’ll do something much worse to you,” he warns. He is pulling something out of his drawer, but I can’t see what it is.

“You won’t hurt me?”

“No. Just relax.” My hands are released, and I pull them into my body. It feels good to have them close to me again. He rolls me to my side, bending my knees.

Cold brushes over my entrance. I shiver. I don’t really want this, but it’s better than the alternative—and my body is so hot right now the touch isn’t unpleasant. His fingers are smaller than Rai’s—and he spends more time at my entrance, pulling me, stretching me, teasing me, before actually pushing in his fingers. I'm surprised it doesn't feel that unpleasant. Maybe because I'm so aroused already?

Once his fingers are inside me, I feel them pressing around for a bit, and he scissors me apart, like Rai did, too—and I close my eyes. I try to imagine it’s Rai touching me.

My mind starts to feel slightly disconnected from my body at this point—floating slightly above me—and I shiver when his fingers make a come-hither motion inside me.

What was that? That secret place?

“Ah—so responsive already—makes me want to fuck you, too,” he whispers in my ear. 

This time when his fingers move, the shiver feels like a chill—and the next—it’s that falling sensation, and I gasp. Suddenly, the feeling isn’t localized there anymore but rushes up my spine—an intense, all-over overwhelming, encompassing feeling.

He stops and starts—stimulating me almost to my limit then walking me back, once he grabs the base of my dick—making sure I won’t come. He pulls his fingers out of me to play with my tail, too. 

He pulls on my tail, stimulating it with his claws and his mouth—tickling me at the base—then sucking on the tip—which is very stimulating—enough to make me want to come.

I had no idea my tail was so sensitive—I’ve groomed it myself often enough—but perhaps it’s because someone else is touching me—and because I remember the king touching me just before my climax—and gods—that’s nearly enough to push me over the edge... and then, Aoba stops again.

I’m frustrated to tears once again! My body is covered in sweat, and Aoba allows me a little break. He gets me a glass of water. I don’t require restraints anymore—I can hardly move because my body is shaking so much. Outside his window, I think I can see the setting of the moon of shadow, and I have never spent a longer night in my entire life.

“Let’s get you cleaned up for His Majesty. I mean, I personally don’t mind the sweat, but it’s my smell on you he may not appreciate. So let’s get you bathed.”

I’m sure I will drown in the water. At this point, that might be preferable.

I lie in bed for a moment, after guzzling the water I am given, and I watch with a sideways glance as Aoba boldly strips off his clothes. He does have a nice shape—his ear and his nipple are pierced—the right ones—and he wears silver jewelry with clear blue stones that look nice with his hair, perhaps they are blue topaz? They look really nice against the ruby red sheets, I have to confess. I wonder if I will ever be so bold. He wanders over to me and hauls me up out of bed.

“Have you ever had to display your piercing publicly?” I ask as he helps me out to the bathing area. It’s empty this time of night—everyone is asleep, so we are quiet. He leads me into the pool, making sure I don’t trip, helping me sit on the side, and the water comes up to my shoulders. It feels good on my skin, but he immediately starts touching me—which arouses me.

“I deliberately display it whenever I am called before the king,” Aoba says. “I try to display it proudly whenever I can, whether it’s appropriate or not—often getting myself in trouble with Mana for my inappropriate dress, but His Grace appreciates it. I will help choose something for you to wear that will display yours properly. I know you are still shy about your body—but surely, you have other more pressing matters now, don’t you?” 

I look down, and I feel his hands pull my hair loose, and he starts to shampoo and condition it. Even the way he does this is sexy.

“You will be fine—you’ve been more than sufficiently prepared, even if he wants to enter you without preparation, it may still hurt for a little while—but just relax—and remember the pleasure that is to come,” Aoba assures me. “Nothing gives His Grace more pleasure than seeing his companion come completely undone under his touch. You are fortunate that you respond so readily. I don’t know why you resist him so much. What on earth did you say to piss him off?”

“I said he had other concubines who would rather have my place—others who were more eager to be with him than me, and so he thought I needed a lesson.”

“Oh my lords, that was stupid on your part,” Aoba says.

“I know that now,” I admit. “I didn’t know what to say—I mean, he can’t expect me to develop feelings for him overnight—he was telling me about his daughter, how he didn’t marry the mother of his child because he didn’t love her, and yet he’s planning a ceremony for me? He doesn’t even know me!”

“What?! That is certainly news! Did he actually use the word wedding?”

“Um, why?” I’m intimidated by Aoba’s sudden aggressiveness.

“Well, first, Mana will be furious. She hates the fact that he has consistently preferred men over women the past few mating seasons. I’m sure he will choose you for the next season, though she is wanting to try to bear him another child.”

“Ah, did she lose hers?” I think that is tragic.

“She did. To an illness—a son, I understand—before I came here. And the next season, he chose me.” 

“When is the mating season?” I ask.

“What?” Aoba stares at me, flabbergasted.

“In Karou, I was not informed of any of this—I knew nothing of what goes on in the bedroom, nor of how kittens were made—only that this would be revealed on my wedding night. Karou weddings happen right around mating season, I was told, but I’ve never seen one.” 

“It’s coming up soon. For you, it will be nice—I assume you haven’t had one yet?” 

“Had one what?”

Aoba sighs. “Your first heat?”

“Um, no, I don’t think so.” 

“You would know if you had. How old are you?”

“I’m sixteen.”

“I see. It isn’t just that you are small—you really are young, too. Now I feel guilty for what I’ve done to you. I think His Grace had expectations that were a little too high. When you go through your first heat, sex isn’t painful—and your body needs it—it longs for it. It’s a bit of mayhem here in the harem, as you might imagine.”

“I see.” I don’t, but I don’t really want to imagine. “When is it, exactly?”

“The next one is after the fall festival of Antou this weekend, and it lasts about two weeks—not the entire two weeks, of course, since cats vary in compatibility. You will be glad of those piercings.”

I shiver. Although—at the moment—any kind of relief sounds good.

“Thank you for telling me,” I say. I realize Aoba is not unkind. “How old are you? How long have you been here, and where is your home?”

“I’m 23. I’ve been here for five years. Midorijima is my former home, but I was raised as a courtesan and given as a gift to the kingdom of Setsura. My home is known for courtesans, and I was sent here with my brother Sei—he is the black cat with the dark eyes and bobbed hair. I was the king’s favorite for some time.”

“I hope I didn’t take your place,” I murmur quietly. “It was not my intention.” I look down shyly, embarrassed. He has been kind to me, I realize—teaching me things I need to know to survive here, even if he has been following some cruel orders. I don’t think I can be angry with him.

“Oh, no. You haven’t—don’t worry—and you shouldn’t worry about that. The king sees me when he has very specific desires and needs, you see—and even if you are his favorite and he asks to see me, you shouldn’t be jealous, for the things we do are probably not up to your... level at this point. I too enjoy pain with my pleasure, and the king, well, he enjoys inflicting that pain.”

“What?” I can’t imagine. “He was so very gentle with me.”

“That’s because you are new—to the harem and to touch, even. He doesn’t want to frighten you. He loves to be adored—worshipped by his cats, you see. We each serve a different purpose. Did I hear you actually sang for him?”

“Oh, that.” I feel myself blushing. “It must be a mistake. He believes I am a Sanga. Have you heard of the legend?”

“A legitimate Sanga?” Aoba interrupts.

I look up sharply at his tone. He is awfully intense again, his fingers have stopped combing the conditioner through my hair.

“Yes, so he said. But I’d never sung before. The Sanga, according to legends in my country, sing in battle to protect his paired Touga. And that was not our situation.”

“How did the song happen?”

“It was, um, well, it’s kind of embarrassing,” I say.

“Please—Tell me. I can tell you something about it, too—about how I know he is right.”

“Really?” My ears perk up with interest now. “All right. I think the first time, it was the first time he, um, took me, my second climax of the night—right when I climaxed. I was feeling, well, conquered. It was like my body was realizing how conquered I was—my country had been conquered just like my body—and the song burst painfully from my chest.” 

“I see. And his reaction?”

“He called me a Sanga, he was pleased—he came shortly thereafter, of course—he hadn’t expected me to feel pleasure, I think. But I assumed the name was a term of endearment—not the actual Sanga of old.”

“And you sang again?”

“The next morning—he had me spend the night—he took me again, but not, erm, invasively, yet against my will. He asked me to sing for him, and I resisted. Yet still, the song came, as though he pulled it from me. This time, it sounded different—louder, and I felt a strange connection—like I could see myself through his eyes.”

“Wait—you resisted him?”

“I know, I shouldn’t have done that,” I say, guiltily.

“No, Konoe, he will punish you severely for resisting his advances. It’s your singular duty. It’s one thing if you play coy—but if you seriously resist him, he will become angry, and he will punish you severely. He may even give you to someone else for ‘training,’ till you beg to return to his side.”

“Oh, my gods,” I say, “I had no idea.”

“Yes—it’s the basics of courtesan training to make your king feel like a king, even if you don’t desire it. Fake it till you make it. It certainly helps that he is as attractive as he is, and he is kind, most of the time. But be careful that he doesn’t find out about your proclivity too soon—not until you are ready to give yourself to it, or you will never escape his playroom.”

The workout room? I wonder if that is what it is. Suddenly—I realize it was Aoba’s scent I smelled in there, mixed in with the king’s. Perhaps he spends most of his time in there—doing what? I don’t wish to know... but part of me is curious.

“What do you do in the playroom?”

“Oh—he spanks you, restrains you every which way, makes you beg for it. He does all sorts of pain play, which I find rather exciting. He likes to hear begging—I don’t know if you’ve noticed.” 

“Oh.” I don’t want to hear any more.

“Did you sing another time?”

“Yes—after he marked me, after he, um, rewarded me—”

“Ah. Did he do it on his knees in the playroom? I find that rather hot myself,” Aoba admits.

“I could hardly contain myself—but it was afterward, when he was finishing himself off—he could have taken me and didn’t, he simply asked if I had a song for him today—and he pulled it from me again. That time, it was soft and submissive, gentle and satisfied. I don’t understand—it’s like he is making me sing.”

“Look, Konoe—the king—he is trained as a Touga, probably the most powerful Touga in the kingdom, if not the world. Surely you’ve seen the shape his body is in? He fights with two swords. He’s been looking for a genuine Sanga for years. Now—of all places, you show up in his harem? This is a problem, to say the least, and you are not submissive.”

“I am, though—I’m frightened of him, so I am, really, very submissive around the king!” I protest. “I’m simply not used to, um—”

“Being told what to do? Not getting your own way every day?” 

“Well, I suppose,” I confess, looking up at Aoba through my lashes. He laughs.

“When you are disobedient and ornery, make sure to look at His Majesty like that, and he will forgive you. However, he may do other things to you as well. Just be aware of the consequences of your disobedience. My point, about your being a Sanga—is that he will want to take you on the battlefield with him at some point. If he isn’t sure you will obey him in everything, starting in the bedroom, he won’t be able to trust you.” 

“On the battlefield?! I’ve had some sword training, but not a lot! I don’t think that’s a good idea!”

“You’d go as his Sanga. You’d be most protected since he can’t fight without you. When you had that connection with him—you saw yourself in his eyes—couldn’t you see his desire to protect you? Konoe, the king is actually very caring, even if he seems frightening at times. He may be trying to get you to obey him now—so he may be using your fear to break your will. Let him do it—or let him at least believe he is doing it.” 

Trick him?” I ask. That really seems like a bad idea.

“Courtesans are the best at deceit. They make their companions believe they are the only person in the entire world. You need to make him believe he is the center of your world. In a way, he is now. I think after tonight, you will be a little better at that, won’t you? Your body probably already betrays you around him, doesn’t it? Just because your body has been so neglected. We are all animals—we need to be touched. Let him know how you want to be touched. He wants to hear it from you. He adores a vocal lover.” 

I feel myself blushing, and my ears cool even when the steaming water rinses my hair. My body is thoroughly soaped up and rinsed, and then Aoba leads me into my bedroom.

“I’ll choose something for you to wear, but I’m going to give you something to lubricate you and also to help you enjoy the sex a little more. Get up on your knees for me.”

“I don’t think I need anything else to help me at this p—”

“Just do it,” Aoba orders.

I’m already on my belly, and my dick is still painfully hard. So I pull my knees underneath my body.

“Go on, keep your chest on the bed, and raise your ass up a little.”

I obey, and I feel Aoba teasing my entrance a little before he presses two lubricated fingers inside me. It doesn’t hurt at all—which shouldn't surprise me—and he leaves something inside me—it feels like wax, maybe? It starts to melt with my body temperature. The feeling is strange, and I feel the lubrication start melting and dripping inside me. 

“Keep your ass raised up, for now, so you don’t drip everywhere.” He gives my ass a soft spank—sending little shivers down my spine and into my tail, fluffing out my tail, and I arch my back a little. “Really—if he ever spanks you, you’re in deep shit. Can’t you at least act as if it hurts?”

I’m left on my bed in this humiliating position, and he comes back. He feeds me something minty to chew on—at first, I think it’s peppermint—but it isn’t. It makes my mouth almost numb, and the tingling sensation goes right to my head. I start to feel so good, and my dick gets even harder. I start wanting to rub myself on the bed.

“What is that?”

“Just a tiny bit of catnip. It freshens your breath and should help relax you,” Aoba says. “It should give you a tiny boost of confidence, also.”

“Confidence?” I echo. 

“I’ll give you a minute.”

Soon, that lubricated stuff is completely melted inside me, and it feels so nice. I’m as horny as hell—at least as much as I was at the end of our last round of “play,” only not as sweaty—my breathing ragged, my heart racing. Aoba slides something else inside me—it is about the size of two of his fingers—and it’s smooth and cool like glass. It keeps the lubrication inside, and it also is lubricated. He calls it a plug. “Like a placeholder,” he chuckles.

The moon of light is rising out my window, and the rays of light are coming in. Aoba covers my body in a sweet, minty-smelling lotion—and my gods, do I want more touch than that! The cream gives a soft shimmer to my skin as well.

“Nice deep breaths, kitten,” he reminds me. “I don’t want you fainting on me.”

I obey.

Then I’m given clothing—which I’d totally forgotten—I’m naked!

“Ah—King Rai asked to see my piercings on display the next time he saw me,” I say quietly. 

“I thought he might. These trousers will show them off.”

He slips me into a very low-rise pair of gold silk chiffon trousers, billowing fabric in the legs. They feel soft and sensual. And they brush my stiff cock in all the right ways.

“Um—did you forget...”

“I forgot nothing,” Aoba says. “I’m sure you will be in a hurry.”

The vest is a gold and red patterned brocade, which laces up in front, sleeveless, rather chilly on its own. It’s trimmed with small gold coins that jingle when I move. Also, in a similar fabric to the pants, a light shrug to go over my shoulders, billowing and sheer. He leaves my hair long, wavy, unruly, and natural. Sandals finish the look—and he displays me before the mirror. If I look closely, I can actually see my dick through the fabric of the trousers when I stand still, which makes me terribly embarrassed—but only if the fabric falls the right way. My ass is also clearly on display—even when I walk. 

He teaches me a little about walking in a straight line—that makes your hips sway enticingly. I practice and practice till he is satisfied, then he orders me back onto my bed.

“Lie down, face down, pull your knees up underneath your body. I want you prepared and really eager.”

My body is shaking with need already, but I obey. I feel him stroking my ass and tail and he whispers in my ear.

“Remember, this is for your own good. We want this lesson to have obviously sunk in, all right? That’s why I’m about to do this. Please don’t take this personally.”

“Please,” I whisper, but I think I know what’s coming—especially when my pants are untied in the back and lowered to my knees. I stare at the sheets on my bed, the variety of cream silks, so different than the garish bright red in Aoba's room.

I feel a hand stroking my tail from base to tip and then it pulls me up slightly, just enough to display my sit spot. And I hear the smack before I feel it rattle my body.

I yelp, but it doesn’t hurt. In fact—it feels like electricity jolting through my body—almost making my heart stop. I practically lose my breath for a moment and I arch my back, waiting for the next. It comes, still pretty gently, spanking more of the tops of my thighs—and there is a part of me that wants it harder and faster.

But I bite my tongue and take what is offered. I close my eyes and imagine what I’d feel like if the king were spanking me himself. Would he make me bend over the bed? Take me over his knee? Use one of the weird pieces of furniture in that room? My dick suddenly hardens like a rock and starts to drip, and the plug in my ass feels like it’s slipping with each spank. 

I don’t know how long I’m subjected to this treatment—if it can be called this—but I do not hear the door open. However—much to my disappointment, Aoba is suddenly pulling up my pants and tying them above my tail. He whispers in my ear and kisses the tip.

“You look beautiful. I’m sure you will please him. Just do what I told you and you will be fine. Do not resist. Good kitten.”

He’s slipping on my sandals, offering me some water, and I glance up, and Koujaku is staring at me, his eyes darker than I have ever seen them. He’s looking at me with sheer, undisguised lust. If I didn’t feel so amorous, loaded with catnip, he might frighten me. But I’m about to see the king. The Duke cannot touch me.

Briefly, I think of concubines who were sent away for resisting—would he be one to train them? I probably wouldn't mind him so much, and I smile slightly at the Duke, whose eyes widen slightly. He actually looks away when I smile.

“Come, kitten. It seems your training has done you much good. I have to say I’m slightly disappointed.”

“Why? Are you a trainer of his resistant cats?”

“I have been known to assist His Majesty, on occasion. And why don’t you walk in front of me so I can enjoy the view?”

I blush, despite myself. I know exactly what he will be staring at—but I walk in a straight line like Aoba showed me, proudly swaying my hips. I’m feeling really good—horny, high, and ready for release—remembering suddenly that is only planned if I please the king. He may make me wait. But I will seduce him—I will obey and make him love me. I have every time so far. I will even sing for him.

In shock, I realize that I am, indeed, eager.

 

Chapter Text

Koujaku raps on the king’s door several times before I hear the sound of his voice. Even from behind the door, it is powerful and dripping more sensuality than all my fantasies from last night could muster. And—it might be the excessive catnip—but it sounds strangely familiar—like I know it from long, long ago. This is a new feeling, or perhaps something I felt the very first time I met him and didn’t quite realize because I was so afraid.

“Enter.”

The duke ushers me into the king’s chambers, and immediately I feel nervous. I’m definitely “eager”—fulfilling his requirement of how he wanted me—but I have no idea how to show him so he will reward me and let me experience release, finally!

“I’ve brought you a rather delicious looking treat from your harem. It seems his prescribed, er, treatment has done him wonders,” Koujaku marvels. 

I stand before the silver cat, who is lounging by his window wearing only his robe, soft silver hair cascading around his shoulders. His pale blue eye flashes intensely at me when his gaze meets mine—and I experience that odd familiar sensation again—almost like I’ve been here before. Immediately lowering my gaze, I allow myself to look at his feet, which are bare. Strangely, even his toes look delicious to me, and I shockingly think of popping them into my mouth. It makes me ashamed that I’m thinking about it, but I can’t help it—and now I find I can’t look away, nor can I look up.

Remembering the display I saw in the harem—all the other concubines kneeled when in his presence—so I lower myself to my knees, keeping my face down, but my ears are burning and my face feels hot. This position stretches the fabric of my sheer pants to their limit, and anyone walking behind me would get the perfect view of my ass and tail, which is wantonly swaying back and forth. My body is too worked up to feel shame, though my face and ears are displaying something contrary. But really, I am here for one thing and one thing only: release.

“Look at you: such a dramatic change—in just one night. And yet,” his still familiar voice oddly sinks deep into my ears, “while your body looks desperate and eager and so delightfully ready to serve, you still have this adorable, innocent and bashful face.” He tips my lowered chin up, looking deep into my eyes. His pale blue eye meets mine—and I’m struck by that black eye patch. Is it an old injury? What is underneath that patch? Does he always wear it? It’s so stark against his silver hair. 

I feel like I should say something—anything to press my case—to let him know I need him.

“Please,” I say. “I was very wrong.” I feel tears burning in my eyes. I am very, very afraid he is not going to meet my needs, or see how obedient and, well, willing I’ve become. “I’m eager to please you, sir. I didn’t know, um, much I was missing.”

I lower my lashes, despite his keeping my chin in his hand.

“Are you? Look at me, little one.”

Obediently, I return his gaze, trying to keep my tears in check—desperate to keep them from spilling over.

“Please,” I repeat.

“You have become much more polite and certainly you appear much more submissive,” the king murmurs. “You’re excused, Koujaku. Thank you.”

“Of course, sire. And, um, good luck. Um—I’d like to volunteer my service to help with this one anytime it might be necessary.” The duke’s tone is awfully friendly.

I hear a rather terrifying low growl from the giant silver cat, and the duke makes a rather fast and apologetic retreat. Rai drops my chin and says, “Let’s get you something to drink.”

“Um, please, sire,” I say, and I don’t move from my spot on the floor.

“Come on, then,” Rai says, surprised when I don’t follow him to the low table by the window. “You must have had exhausting night.”

“Do I displease you, Your Grace?” I ask. I don't really want anything to drink. I really want something else.

“Not at all. You please me very much. However,” and I hear his voice sharpen at this point, “it would please me more if you would obey me when I ask you to join me.”

“Oh—I’m sorry, sir.” 

I scurry to my feet—my dick straining painfully against my sheer pants—he’s got to be able to see how aroused I am, can’t he? Yet I obey, following him to the small table, kneeling across from him. He glances up from me, crooking an eyebrow curiously.

“Please. I have a variety of freshly pressed juice to choose from. You like kuim, don’t you?” 

My breath hitches. My fingers trembling, I reach out and take the glass flute from his hands, feeling an almost electric shock from the touch of his fingers, tears I’ve been trying to hold back spilling down my cheeks. I try to ignore them and prevent more from falling.

“Was your evening really so bad?” Rai asks gently.

“No, sir,” I struggle to say. “It was nothing worse than I deserved.” But didn’t he promise to relieve me? I look up at his face—and certainly—he is looking at me as though he desires me. I’m so confused! What is going on?

“And did you learn anything? From Aoba, I mean? Perhaps about your role?”

“Of course?” I say, but I look up at him questioningly. It seems he is trying to tell me something, but I cannot I understand.

“Do you remember what I told you yesterday? About your duty to me, and what your role is?” He is being subtle and hinting at something, and I am still not understanding.

“My duty?” I ask. I’m confused—it’s hard to think with all that blood pooling elsewhere in my body.

“You seem rather adorably frustrated, little one. I have to admit—if I were in your shoes right now, I would be quite... eager.”

“I am!” I insist. Stammering, I continue bravely, “I want very much to—um—I wish for—erm—relief—very much.” I feel my ears blushing furiously. I cannot look at him.

I hear a small chuckle.

“So, then, why do you sit so far away from me? Why are you keeping your distance? Why don’t you approach?”

“Approach?”

“Like I said yesterday, it’s your duty to touch me. You may touch me when you are in my presence if you so desire. Don’t you desire to touch me?” 

His words slowly dawn on me. He wants me to approach him? To touch him? He wanted me so eager so I would be the one to instigate our… activities? Fear shoots through me. 

“You are waiting for me to seduce you?”

Rai smiles.

“Well, I doubt Aoba would have taught you his art of seduction. He’s a bit selfish for that. But—aren’t you at least, well, feeling it a little? Your clothes certainly don’t hide much.”

I blush again and look down. 

“I’ve never done such a thing in my life. I wouldn't know where to begin,” I confess, embarrassed and ashamed, yet still incredibly aroused. I feel the weight of that glass thing Aoba placed inside me—only imagining what the king will do when he finds it inside me. Another shiver ruffles my fur.

“So I have guessed. However, if you wish to be ‘relieved,’ that is exactly what you will do.” Rai’s blue eye sparkles almost mischievously.

I swallow nervously.

“You certainly look dressed for the task,” he encourages me, his voice low and purring. “I missed you last night. Didn’t you think of me—even once?”

“I-i m-may have,” I admit, my voice very soft. “Yes. Of course, I did.” A few moments of silence pass between us—and I stare at the juice in my glass, hoping to build a little confidence. 

“If you wish, we can wait till this evening—or tomorrow,” Rai offers neutrally.

“Oh gods, please—no!” I gasp—desperate. “Don’t make me wait any longer!”

“This is in your hands, kitten. I’m the one waiting,” Rai leans back on his heels a bit, crossing his arms, looking at me carefully. “What will you do? How will you show me? Even if you find you cannot approach me, perhaps you can show me your eagerness some other way?”

Another way? How else might I show him?

I set the glass carefully on the table and get up from my knees, rather unsteadily, walking to Rai’s side of the table. His scent immediately floods my nose—that masculine scent of sandalwood and freshly fallen snow—so different from Aoba—and it makes me feel even more desperate, but I still don’t know what to do.

Approach? Touch him? His scent drives me nearly crazy. It is making me feel lightheaded, and that familiar feeling touches my heart once again. But he doesn’t respond when I get near him. I want him to take me in his arms. I want to feel his hands on me. It’s terribly frustrating—making me feel like I might cry.

“Please—I… don’t know what to do!” I burst out.

“You don’t have any ideas? Why not do exactly what you feel? Doesn’t your body tell you what to do? Or perhaps—do you want to tell me what you want?”

“I couldn’t possibly say such things out loud.” I am unable to meet his gaze directly when he makes such a bold suggestion.

“Of course you couldn’t, shy guy,” the king purrs. He still isn’t touching me. “Then, doesn’t your body want anything?”

“Um, yes.” It most certainly does. But the question is, can I make it do what it wants?

“Perhaps… you might just let yourself go with it?” Rai suggests, a slight smile on his face. Ah—he really is a devil, I think—that temptation alone—and suddenly, that thought—the thought of him as a devil strikes another frighteningly familiar chord in my soul, ringing out like a song. It’s spooky! It must just be the catnip Aoba fed me earlier, though. Am I just too high? “This is your function now—your role.”

He smells so good—his scent is making me shiver. He’s kneeling a little ways from the table, and I reach out to stroke his soft ears with my fingers. The minute my hands touch him, he starts purring loudly—in an instant his response makes me feel so good I hardly can contain myself. I have to swallow the excess saliva building in my mouth. I have an urge to groom his ears—not groom them, exactly, but lick them and kiss them.

And that is exactly what I do. I lower my mouth to one closest to me—and it is delicious. He tastes sweet for some reason—also probably because of the catnip Aoba fed me earlier. My heart starts pounding in my ears—and suddenly, I find myself sucking the entire shell of Rai’s small ear into my mouth and licking deep inside, purring loudly, sighing softly—and I don’t even notice I have shamelessly lowered my body onto his lap.

One of his arms snakes around my back, and he is working off my vest with the other, pulling off the laces entirely, and he is licking my nipples with his rough tongue, sending shivers down my spine and into my tail. Then, just as suddenly, he stops undressing me, stops licking me, and looks up, pulling his ear from my mouth so he can look at my face. I’m disappointed.

“Show yourself to me.” His voice is low and commanding. 

“What?” I freeze.

“Strip for me—show me your body—display yourself for me—and I will consider that enough for you to earn your reward.”

He wants me to take off my clothes for him? I feel my face burning—absolutely flushed—though how it possibly could be with all the blood currently flooding my lower half, I have no idea.

The king is smirking as he releases me, pushing his hand against my chest slightly so I have to climb to my feet.

“I am waiting. Though—your outfit is quite revealing as it is. Aoba’s tastes are lovely.”

I swallow thickly, and I notice Rai licking his lips—and his eye watches me carefully. When I slip my feet out of my sandals, his long lashes flicker to the movement of my feet, and when his eye returns to my face, he smiles again, his fangs baring slightly, his pupil is now dilated, making his eye appear much darker. 

I shiver slightly at his almost predatory look, but I desire him so much—the idea that he desires me so strongly is incredibly arousing, and it makes what I am about to do next much easier.

“Keep your face lifted,” Rai says. “I want to look at you.” 

My breath quickens as I slip out of the gauzy shrug covering my shoulders, and I let it float to the floor. My vest is already unlaced, so I slip it from my shoulders, and I let it fall to the ground as well.

These chiffon pants—I try to convince myself they are already mostly sheer anyway, but I’ve never deliberately exposed myself to anyone before. I reach behind myself and untie the waistband above my tail.

“Lift your face,” that commanding voice slips into my ear again.

Not realizing I’d already looked away, I have to obey, and I look up. Rai is devouring me with his eye.  

My fur is completely bristled—both my tail and ears—and while I keep my face pointed at the king, looking over my shoulder, I turn my body around and show him my back, while allowing the smooth silk fabric to slip down from my hips. I have to wiggle a little to get them off my hips. He smiles at this—he is staring directly at my ass—my tail will not be still, or else I would keep it in front of me.

“There’s a good kitten,” he murmurs. “Why don’t you head over to the bed?” His voice sounds so nice, ruffling through the fur in my ears again, making me shiver with delight, and I find I’m feeling proud of myself. 

What the hell? Why am I proud for acting so shamefully? Just because he is praising me?

At this point, I don’t care. I just want release. I push any other thoughts from my mind.

He is right behind me before I make it to the bed, however—moving silently and frightening me with his sudden appearance. However, the hand stroking my body—caressing from my ass to my thighs, slipping between my legs—is captivating and it makes me gasp with pleasure. 

“Is it possible you disobeyed Aoba last night?” Rai murmurs low in my ear, the other hand holding my hips gently so I won’t slip out of his grasp—but there’s no concern for that. I find I want to be touched—I long for his touch.

“Hah—n-no—I don’t think so,” I reply, embarrassed that small sigh spill from my mouth in addition to my answer. “I tried—ah—my best for him. Why?”

“You look quite delightfully pink back here, kitten. As though he punished you. You even feel slightly warm.”

My ears flatten when I remember when Aoba said not to tell Rai about my proclivity, as he called it. However, I am finding that touch awfully mesmerizing, and my cock is dripping onto the plush carpet below—the thought of the king doing something similar to me is almost enough to bring me to the edge. The idea Rai might take me over his knee is something I cannot stop fantasizing about.

“He did, ah, punish me,” I say softly.

“For what infraction? I’m quite intrigued.”

“For becoming overly aroused when he, um, spanked me,” I reply in a whisper.

Both of Rai’s hands freeze for a moment. 

“Just a second. You became aroused when he spanked you?”

“I’m sorry,” I say, hanging my head and lowering my face—I am embarrassed, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be in trouble. My heart is pounding. 

Rai grabs my chin and quickly cranes my neck up to look at him for a moment. “My gods, you are a captivating creature. I know I said I would relieve you, and I will, but I would like to try a little experiment with you. Consider this part of your punishment for your defiance yesterday.”

My fur ruffles up in absolute ecstasy when he says “defiance.” I hardly know what to do with myself, he notices with a smile. He pulls me by the hand to the bed, where he sits down on the side. 

“Come up on my lap.” He pats his lap. I look slightly confused, but I know exactly what he means. When I hesitate, he pulls me roughly, face down, over his lap, stretching my upper body over the mattress, letting my feet dangle off the side. He pets my ass and my tail, caressing me gently. “You’re still so warm. I should like to make this cute ass a little pinker, so you will learn not to defy me again. If I wish to spend the night with you, you will be pleased to see me—and I expect you to be eager—as eager as you are now.”

“Yes, sir,” I murmur. I feel incredibly humiliated in this position, but more than anything I want to feel his large hand on me—I want him to play with my tail, and I want him to spank me. I rub myself lewdly against his lap.

“That sort of eagerness is nice, Konoe. I like to see that.” I can feel him pressing against me, as well—and he feels good. And then—when he slips his fingers between my cheeks, he notices the plug. His hands freeze for a moment, and he toys with it a little, making me gasp. I can feel my ears blushing, and he brushes my ears with his other hand.

“Somehow, you make me feel just a little guilty. You should not be blushing so innocently if you have something like this inside you, little one.” His hand pulls my tail rather sharply, lifting my ass up off his lap—and just as I land back on his lap, I feel a light spank, right on my sit spot.

It’s incredibly loud—such an embarrassing sound—it makes my ears flush even hotter—but my gods—it feels so good! It only stings for a moment, but because there is already so much blood pooled there, it tingles and I don’t know whether to rub my legs together or spread them apart. In any case, I gasp and purr and sigh—and I’m confused. I arch my back, presenting myself for another.

“Beautiful,” Rai murmurs. “That was beautiful.” He rubs my tail at the base, and then pulls it up again sharply, spanking me again. This time, I actually give a little cry. It feels good! 

His hands are much bigger than Aoba’s, and he can cover a lot more area—and he seems to know exactly where to aim to make me feel it the most. And when he spanks me, the fingers of his hand spread open a little, tickling my skin, right after his palm smacks me. This has the rather amazing effect of spreading the very mild pain out into a more buzzing, tingling sensation, that quickly spreads down my thighs and toward the front of my hips.

While the spanking Aoba gave me stung and burned at first, this one doesn’t hurt—in fact, after the third spank, it is only pleasurable—maybe because my tail is also being firmly massaged. My hands aren’t even trying to cover my butt, though I feel my ass is getting even warmer. And my hips are being pressed rather firmly against Rai’s lap with each spanking slap, so he isn't exactly going easy on me.

I want more, and I’m shivering with need. While my dick is getting some stimulation from being pressed against Rai’s muscular thighs, that isn’t what is turning me on and making me so hot. I think it’s the actual touch—either the pulling of my tail or the slapping of my ass. And I am getting awfully worked up.

Like—I am almost worried at this point. I feel like I am about to come—after being spanked for less than five minutes. My breath is coming so hard and fast I can hardly catch it. Tears are reflexively spilling down my cheeks, and I squeeze my legs together.

But am I allowed? Is this permitted? My climax has been withheld for so long—since last night—that I’m afraid of being punished again if I come without permission. And—I’m so desperate—so I start to beg.

“Uh—please—May I—I want to—Ah, please—May I, please…” My voice is so soft and so strangely sexy that I hardly recognize it as my own.

“Ah? Do you feel like you can come from this? Then, by all means,” the words are spoken low in my ear along with Rai’s warm breath—and before he even finishes, I am well past the point of no return—pleasure mixed with warmth, strain, tension, and a little stinging pain, all built up from last night. My body overflows with pleasure, and I feel a volley of sharper, stinging slaps, which make me spill over his lap in an embarrassing mess—but I purr and gasp and cry out with such relief that I can hardly bring myself to care. My entire body feels tingly and numb, but not quite satisfied when I am finished, strangely enough. My abdomen feels strangely tight still.

Rai rolls me onto the bed onto my stomach, standing up for a moment. He brings me a glass of juice and turns my head to help me drink it. It tastes so good—and then he takes a sip and kisses me, pressing more liquid into my mouth. That surprises me, making me fluff up my fur. When he pulls away, his eye is dark with desire, and he is smiling wickedly.

“What a skill to have, kitten. You know, it isn’t anyone who can come from a spanking,” he says. I realize he is not yet satisfied and will most likely take me as well, and I try not to be afraid. “You are quite lovely when you are eager.”

He stands up and lets his robe drop to the floor.

“Did Aoba prepare you for me?” His voice is low—and why does it sound like that? I realize it is definitely familiar—something I knew from long ago—and I don’t know why. I stare up at his face, just listening to him speak before I understand and respond to what he is saying.

“Oh—uh—I’m sorry—yes—he did, yes, but—”

“Good, for I have been feeling quite eager myself—especially after seeing your performance. I am most pleased with you, my little Sanga. Do you have a song for me this morning?” He asks me so sweetly—and just his deep, purring voice, asking as he does—as he folds my legs beneath my body and presses himself close—it’s enough to make my chest swell. He is making me sing. I feel the painful swelling of a song in my heart as a fresh melody starts to unfold, and his praise drips into my ears. “Ah, my good, sweet, compliant kitten—what a good boy you are! Your song soothes me so!”

His voice is pitched low to a growl, and my legs are pressed against my stomach. I feel his fingers—slick with lube—pulling out the plug and then teasing my entrance and scissoring me apart—he is so very gentle, and he lowers his lips to my nape—kissing each of my ears separately—as his fingers enter me. It seems he is verifying that I am indeed ready enough for him—and as soon as he is satisfied, he pushes inside me.

“I know you must be exhausted, little one—but I simply cannot hold myself back.”

His voice is doing something to me—changing my song, making me sing louder and brighter—and even if he means to take me quickly and painlessly, when his dick enters me, it still hurts—even as much as I have already been prepared. My melody shows it, and I cry out. He gently licks my ears, my nape, stroking my hair, soothing me by stroking my tail, and when he pulls back my hips, amazingly, my dick responds once again as soon as he touches me.

Slowly but surely, my cries of pain turn to sighs of pleasure—as he sinks inside my body. In this position—I feel much more vulnerable than the first time he took me. But perhaps I just don’t remember? There isn’t much I can do facedown on the bed with him taking me from behind—I can’t even see him, and the sensation makes my skin prickle. He is continually stimulating my tail, and when he finally comes to rest inside me, his skin flush against the back of my thighs and ass, the temperature of his skin feels slightly cool compared to my body. I flush hotly when I realize it’s because of the spanking.

“You look so beautiful,” he whispers. “You sound so enchanting, you smell just how I like, you taste wonderful—” as he licks my nape again, “and you feel perfect. You are a feast for the senses, my little Sanga!”

It seems he knows exactly how to angle his hips from the last time because within five thrusts, I am crying out in pleasure again—that helpless feeling of delight overwhelming me—feeling like I am drowning in it—swimming in it. Unbelievably, I am begging for release once more—unable to contain myself. 

“Please—Rai—ah—may I—” my voice is breathless and heavy.

“I want you to wait for me, sweet kitten,” he purrs in my ear. 

Him telling me to wait is as close to suffering as I can imagine in my current state of pleasure—but I want to please him—and my song continues to vibrate in my body. I relax a little more, allowing my body to melt a little more around his, and my mind as well—in the form of that song.

That feeling of deja-vu shows up again—and the scene of an early spring forest flashes through my mind—a cool, brisk breeze on my bare skin, the scent of fresh spring blossoms, and overhead, the blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds and pink—yes, pink—trees. Cherry blossoms, perhaps? I’ve heard of these trees, but they did not grow in Karou. I’ve never seen them in person. What is this vision? It feels like a very distant (perhaps ancient) memory. Is it a dream? 

And in the vision—that scent of freshly fallen snow and sandalwood, only amplified—and his voice in my ears—but something is very different. Before me flashes the same silver hair—long and pure and floating in the breeze—but something dark flutters across my vision, covering it completely—large and black and very frightening. 

It startles me awake—sending me hurtling back to my current reality—where I am currently being taken over by pleasure. 

Please,” I whisper again, softly, and Rai nips my ear, stroking my tail firmly, sending another rush of heat and chill through my body.

“Come for me, my sweet Sanga.”

I let go—letting myself drop off the edge—and I close my eyes—let myself be carried away once more—and this time, the pleasure is enough, it is satisfying. It’s almost as if I need to be singing to get the most satisfaction in my climax. When my limbs flood with numb pleasure and tingle, a rush of darkness floats over my mind’s eye—like giant bat wings? Is it a demon? What is that? My eyes open with a start, and the side of my neck is bitten in a possessive manner.

This too feels familiar, and I’m not sure why—I try not to think about it too much—just enjoying the feel of my climax—listening to Rai’s breathing, his soft sighing, his deep purr—as he rides out his own climax inside of me. 

He licks the bite on my neck—soothing it—and I realize my song has faded. All the tension released from my body, I feel soothed and relaxed and calm. But that feeling—the darkness of those wings—that vision—it stays with me for a few moments before fading.

“Listen. I want you to stay here today. Just rest and sleep. Later, my staff will bring you food and bathe you. You have pleased me, Konoe. You have done very well, and I want to see you when I return from my duties,” Rai whispers. “You soothe me in a way I cannot describe.”

My ears are covered in kisses, and it makes them tingle—making me shiver with delight—and I adore hearing his praise. Just his voice is enough to make me shiver. I purr heavily with contentment as I'm turned to my back. I’m nearly paralyzed from my song—but with my last bit of energy, I lift up my arms and reach my arms around Rai’s neck and pull him in for a kiss. It’s rough and sloppy—more like smashing our lips together than a real kiss, but I open my mouth and let my tongue touch his, feeling his gigantic sharp fangs—tasting him. He tastes sweet to me. He hums softly in response. When I can no longer hang on, and my arms lose strength, they fall to the bed. 

“Certainly, you are my new favorite,” he whispers, kissing my eyelids and nose. “Now, sleep.”

He pushes me to my side, licks my ears a few times, and puts several pillows behind me and in front of my body, holding me in place—leaving me naked in the bed. At first, I’m afraid he might keep me like this, but he covers me up with a sheet, a warm blanket, and then a heavier, nicely weighted fur—it almost feels like he is here with me, because the bed smells so much like him. He closes the sheer drapes and also—I hadn’t noticed them before—the outer curtains of the bed—which are a heavy silver silk—making the bed feel like a cocoon and dark. It’s cozy and it smells so nice—and I feel quite satisfied.

For a moment—I’ve forgotten my new role here, what was done to me last night—because it certainly was effective training. It made me eager for him—eager to fulfill my role as his… whore? His concubine? I don’t even think about it. I cannot wait to be with him again, in fact. I drift off to sleep, surrounded by his scent, in comfort, thinking of softly drifting silver hair. The large black bat-like wings have faded from my memory, at least for now.

Chapter Text

I sleep soundly and have a very vivid dream.

The dream is oddly realistic, much more like a memory than a dream. I am experiencing input from all five senses: in addition to sight and sound, I can smell and sense touch on my skin. I haven't exactly experienced taste, but my mouth has a nervous feeling—that nervous taste on my tongue. I find myself back in the beautiful, late winter or early spring forest that I saw in my mind briefly this morning.

A late snow is melting on the ground and still weighs down of the bare tree branches, hibernating for winter, except for a small grove before me—which is filled with trees bursting with pale pink blossoms. Though I have never seen them in person myself, I’m sure these are cherry blossoms. The ground is littered with petals, and the gentle breeze continues to blow the petals through the sky. They drift like giant snowflakes to the earth, sticking to my hair, their soft silky texture padding the ground under my feet. 

Their mildly sweet fragrance of almond and freesia sinks into my nose and my skin, while the low afternoon glow from the moon of light streams through the branches, warming my skin in the brisk breeze. The chilly breeze smells vaguely like snow—though the snow lying on the ground and in the branches of the trees behind me is on the verge of melting. It’s very strange to see the grove of trees blooming so verdantly with so much snow still on the ground. The cherry trees look both out of place and out of season. I don’t know why they are so intense—but they definitely feel out of place. 

The longer I spend in this dream world, the more it dawns on me that I am the cause of this out of season bloom—it was my magic that did this. This memory belongs to a person who has powerful magic, and he has created this beautiful grove of cherry blossoms as a meeting place. I am waiting patiently, but my heart is filled with a heavy, weighted anxiety, laced with sorrow and unspeakable pain.

I look down at my feet, and I am surprised. I’m dressed in fine, ancient silk robes with sleeves so long they nearly sweep the soft petals on the ground—several layers of beautifully patterned kimonos in festive spring colors, sky blue, white, and pink—the pink layer is patterned with a delicate cherry blossom print. The person for whom I am waiting has given me this robe, and it is his favorite. A beautiful red obi cinches my waist, accenting my slim, small stature. My feet peek through the hem and are dressed in warm white tabi socks and formal zori. Gold bells jingle softly at my waist when I walk; an expensive-looking bracelet and a ring with some sort of pale-blue stone that fits both my ring and middle fingers with a chain between them sparkle expensively in the low light. I feel a hairpin which keeps my waist-length golden locks pinned to the side and off my neck. I cannot see the pin, but I know it is jeweled and delicate, and has lacquered, preserved cherry blossoms on it, perhaps dipped in gold as decorations, and it too was a gift from the person for who I am currently waiting.

Who am I? Where am I? I am surely not Konoe of Karou, nor am I Rai’s harem concubine in this dream. I am someone else. I am dressed in clothing much older than my time. The forest is utterly silent, aside from the wind rustling through the branches of the trees, sprinkling the petals out like snowfall—a final gift of beauty to my lover—and the thought makes my heart throb painfully. There are no other living creatures here. But then I hear—and feel—a soft flutter behind me. To my utter surprise, I see huge wings, covered in soft opalescent feathers behind me, attached to my own back, quivering gently and slightly impatiently.

This is just a dream, I remind myself before I completely freak out.

But I almost panic—just a little bit. Everything is so incredibly realistic. The wings—they are definitely part of my body—and they are huge. Tentatively, I spread them open wide—they easily span ten to twelve feet, and they reflect in the sun brilliantly, shimmering in the light. I (Konoe of Karou) wonder(s) briefly if they could carry me. Somehow, I know they can, but I cannot leave this place, nor will I. I have created this grove especially as a meeting place, and I am waiting—waiting for him

I sigh, because my heart is filled with a heavy sadness—I am overcome with grief at the thought and purpose of this meeting, which is why I am made such a beautiful place, I think. It's a final act of gratitude, letting him know how much I truly love him.

This is such a weird dream, I think: I am simply overcome with emotion, but I am plunged in headfirst without knowing or understanding the whole story. So I don’t understand why I feel what I feel, nor the reasons behind my being here, or the reason for my grief, nor what will happen next.

Before I can worry about it anymore, I hear someone else arrive. I know who it is without looking—it’s the person for whom I’ve been waiting. I know who it is—and he is my responsibility. He is my precious partner and lover. My soft ears twitch when I hear the sound of his wings—for that was the darkness I experienced this morning, just for a moment. His wings resemble those of a bat’s—he lands just outside the grove, and his soft boots crunching in the melting snow, and his familiar and comforting scent—sandalwood—grazes my nose. His scent fills me with longing and sorrow. I notice immediately that he smells like Rai.  

I turn toward the sound and scent in order to greet him—and I realize the fur in my ears is actually blowing in the breeze—is it long like my hair, too? While my heart is filled with longing and sorrow, my eyes are shocked. I see a creature who resembles the king, for the most part. He has the same beautiful, chiseled, handsome face, the same height, build, and stature, the same proud walk, and even his silver hair is the same—perhaps a bit longer. However, there are some very significant differences.

First—this creature has the wings of a bat—gigantic wings—all black, and smooth, no feathers. They are huge—spanning perhaps fourteen or sixteen feet.

Second, on the top of his head, in place of the small rounded ears I was licking this morning, I see a pair of tall spiral black horns almost twelve inches in length—belonging to those of a demon.

Third, his tail is long, black, and hairless, like a snake. It's completely smooth and covered in scales, no longer covered in long, silky white fur.

Fourth, he has both of his eyes—and instead of the lovely pale blue shade, his eyes flash an intense bright red. 

Finally, his fangs are much, much longer—and they show even with his mouth closed, poking slightly over his lips, which retain their beautiful full, plush shape.

All these features combined give him a look of a demon, an altogether frightening appearance, especially considering his size and how he carries himself. But the feelings I have of him in my vision—in this dream or memory or whatever it is, isn’t fear. No, the person whose memory this is feels something very different from fear. He feels love—an overwhelming love, a feeling that I would be willing to give my life for this creature's, no questions asked.

I am not afraid of him, though I know he is a demon. Somehow, I also get the feeling that he hasn’t always been a demon. He is approaching me quickly, taking long strides, and he is armed with two long swords, both of them currently sheathed, but I can sense black magic oozing from their blades, even in their scabbards on his back. It saddens me—grieves me—but I made him a promise I intend to keep and I strengthen my resolve.

“I have come like I said I would.” The demon's deep voice purrs—he speaks in Rai's voice—and he kneels before me, taking my much smaller hands in both of his and kissing my fingers—taking each one into my mouth. While this might fluster Konoe of Karou, it does not fluster the person whose memory this is. It is a pleasant, familiar gesture and greeting. “Thank you for fulfilling your promise to me.”

“Did you find the revenge you sought?” I hear my own voice ask. “Or do you require additional power from me? Or do you need more time?” I can feel a tiny ray of hope burst forth in my chest.

The demon draws both swords and lays them at my feet. He shakes his head sadly, that long silver hair shivering in the breeze, then bravely meets my gaze, his red eyes filled with determination. 

“The weapons you blessed me with were more than sufficient for my task. I cannot thank you enough, my love.” The ray of hope slipping away, slipping out of my grasp, shattering my heart to pieces inside my chest. Tears slip down my face. His red eyes stare into mine. “Please don’t cry. We both knew it would come to this. This is what we decided.”

I boldly pull him in for a kiss—whoever I am in this vision is much braver than Konoe of Karou. Also, this seems to be a familiar interaction between us—much more natural than when I’m around the king, anyway. This demon is mine—I belong to him and he belongs to me—and yet, something feels so very final about our current situation. It’s absolutely heartbreaking! Feelings I cannot describe are pulling at my chest, tearing me apart—thoughts of fulfilling my promise to him and wanting to fulfill my own desires clash within me.

But I’ve already decided. When I sang this flowery grove of blossoms into existence—his favorite—these cherry blossoms—I’d decided to follow through on the promise we'd made. Parts of this strange story are coming together in my mind, and I can feel the feelings so strongly, it hurts! My tears won’t stop. I feel his strange, pointy fangs when I drag my tongue over them, and to my surprise, a forked tongue—when I delve deep in his mouth. I want so much more, though—I want a full lifetime with him, not some last kiss!

“Knowing that does not make this any easier,” I whisper. “However—if you as satisfied, I am glad I can be of help, and I will see this through till the end.”

“You know I could not have done this without you,” that powerful voice whispers in my ear. The ornament holding my hair up is pulled out, spilling my hair over my shoulder. The demon pushes his nose in it, inhaling my scent. The sound of his breath and his warmth—it floods my mind with many other memories—of him, of us, together in much more intimate settings. “You must do this quickly before I wreak havoc on the rest of the world. You promised you would see this through.” 

Tears continue to spill down my face, and I nod. I have already decided when I created the grove, after all—no—before that, even. I decided when we made our vows. I allow myself to open up in song. I put all of myself into my song—holding nothing back. This is not how Konoe of Karou sings. This song is much more powerful. The earth beneath my feet blooms with flowers when I sing—trees above me flower even more, and the demon kneeling at my feet comes to rest and heel, nuzzling against me peacefully. There is no way that I, Konoe of Karou, could ever sing a song like this. This memory belongs to a very powerful Sanga—not to me. But I can hear the song, ringing out familiar and true, pure—like a fresh clean rain.

“I love you. I will always love you. I will always be with you. And I will follow you—for without you in this world, there is nothing left for me.”

I’m not sure if those are the song's lyrics, or if this is simply what the song feels like—but it is definitely powerful, and I am using up my entire life force to sing it—I am giving of myself to extinguish the life of the demon in my arms—the life of the one I love, adore, and cherish. I am the first Sanga and the demon, the first Touga, has been corrupted by black magic. My melody is taking responsibility for his life—saving the world from his power and destruction—because I can no longer contain it—as his dedicated and loving partner because I have promised him I would.

That is what this painful memory is—the most painful memory of the first Sanga whose spirit somehow visited me in this vision or dream. Am I somehow linked to this person? Why does the demon look so much like Rai? It concerns me. Does he share blood with that demon? Is he the demon reincarnated?

I’m killing my beloved partner with this song—using my own life to kill him—and all of my life. While I sing, our lips touch, again and again. My hands touch his body, familiarly and comfortingly, like I always have—stroking him—his wings, his horns, his fangs—those parts that he despises—I even wrap my fur-covered tail over his, covering that smooth surface with mine, warming him. Likewise, I feel his hands on me, skating across my body, stroking my wings, my face, my chin, my throat, my chest, my legs, my ass—everything I have I willing offer to him.

“I’m yours,” I whisper softly.

Much too soon, his strength fades in my arms—and that makes me weep. But I take any and all of his pain onto myself. It’s the one things I can do as his Sanga. But to feel his strength weaken so much—watching and feeling my protector—the one who has saved me and fought for me for so many years—fall to his knees before me because of what I am doing to him, rips me apart inside. I truly deserve death, and I deserve pain.

“Is this really for the best? Could we not run to the underworld together instead?” I beg. “Please! Perhaps you can make me a demon? I would live by your side forever!”

“We’ve discussed this. You’d no longer be yourself, my love. I cherish you—just as you are. As much as I want to prolong our time together, we’ve decided this would not be our best option. And you promised you would take my life as soon as the power corrupted me. And you can see, they have.”

Sobbing loudly, I admit defeat. “I know. Just—I hate this. I hate this! I don’t know if I have the strength—” 

“You promised,” the demon whispers. “And you are strong. You have been my reason for being, and you have saved me so many times. I am sorry to give you this burden. I am so sorry. Forgive me, my love—my treasured partner—my precious Sanga. For I am no longer your Touga.” 

He places his hand on my cheek and I press my hand against his. I can tell his last breaths are coming soon. The eyes I’m seeing through blur with tears, which drip onto the demon’s pale skin. I watch as he takes his final breaths, and I kiss his lips softly, gently, with all the tenderness of every connection we’ve ever had. He stops returning my kisses, however—and it’s excruciating. 

“There is nothing to forgive. Please. Know I love you. I will follow you. I will be by your side forever! I will follow you in every incarnation till we get this right!”

When I see him take his final breath—he sighs and smiles, and his breath stops, and his body grows heavy, stiffening in my arms.

My grief overcomes me, my song crescendos to a near scream, and my sorrow overwhelms me—and I cry out in pain—staring at the love of my life, now dead at my own hands in my arms—and I let myself go. Having fulfilled my promise, I sing myself to death, using my remaining life force as well. 

And I wake, sobbing.

Rai’s staff are in the room, surrounding me in an instant—opening the drapes, making sure I’m all right, caressing my body—seeming to know exactly what to do for a nightmare.

“It was a dream—just a dream. It's all right.” 

“Do not worry yourself, young one.”

“You’re in a new environment here, so much new culture to learn, so much new to experience—nightmares are to be expected.”

To my surprise, Tokino is at my side, rubbing my shoulders.

“Konoe, you are going to be fine. You are sleeping in the king’s chambers, and it’s no wonder your nervous. You haven’t even been here a week. Let’s get you some food and some care, all right?” 

I’m sitting up, heartbroken on behalf of whatever I just saw—tears still dripping from my cheeks. There’s no way I could explain that to anyone. Why did the demon have to die, I wonder? What exactly was the promise? What made the demon no longer who he was because he certainly seemed to love his Sanga?

My heart still feels ripped to shreds—but that was not my song, so I am not paralyzed from singing. I wonder if I too have the power to sing someone to death. It's a terrifying thought. I’m rested since I was not singing.

I can’t bring myself to ask about it, so I don’t at the moment. I just relax, try to get my breathing left under control. I let Tokino bring me a robe and slip it over my shoulders. I’m stiff when I am gently helped to the low table for food.

I try to ignore my shaking fingers—the vision really unnerved me. It frightened me—made me feel like something (maybe fate?) is looming over me. But as soon as I start to eat, the vision begins to fade from my mind, though those black wings flutter occasionally whenever I shut my eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

I’m fed a light meal and dressed in surprisingly decent clothing—an elegant kimono in shades of gold and burgundy with a soft inner kimono—a lighter, softer fabric in a bright red—both silk and a patterned brocade obi that picks up all those colors well. My hair is styled off to the side like the duke wears his and pinned with a rather lovely hair ornament, which Tokino admires almost excessively. 

I wonder if it is being lent to me or if it is intended as a gift—either way makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. If it’s being lent to me, I wonder who else has worn it or will be wearing it after me. If it is a gift, I wonder if it is in exchange for services rendered this morning or if it’s rewarding my compliant behavior, and either reason makes me feel like a whore. I try not to think about it too much—I am a concubine now, I suppose—but I wonder if I will be expected to thank him for the gift, and if so, publicly? How? 

I’m no idiot; I know I’m being dressed for some public function. And I am not in any shape to receive the king publicly in this new role he has carved out for me. Surely, this is going to be a disaster. I want to express my concern to Tokino, but the other faces of the staff I do not recognize, and I don’t know who will report what I say to the king, so I need to watch my words. 

I certainly don’t want a repeat of yesterday evening—I will not survive that. And Aoba let me know that the king has performed public punishments in the past; I wonder if he has something of the sort in mind for me—especially after my initial reluctance to disrobe this morning. He most certainly was not pleased with my initial hesitation, even if I did please him in the end. I did—of course, I did—but I was not happy about it. I hardly can imagine being publicly humiliated a second time—such as when I was whipped when I first got here. However, it would probably have the desired effect on me. But so would a little patience.

Why can’t he just fucking wait? I’m just slightly shy—that’s only natural, isn’t it? Before this week no one had ever seen me naked except my parents, and that was long ago! I cannot be expected to change overnight! Plus, it’s not as though exposing myself to the general public and exposing myself in private are the same thing, is it?

By early afternoon, I have worked myself up to a nervous, sick feeling, and I am grasping onto Tokino’s arm for dear life.

“Konoe, what’s the matter?” Tokino asks.

“The plans—for this afternoon—what are the plans?” I ask, trying to keep myself together and keep my royal head about me. Even if I am in this lowly position today doesn’t mean I’ll lose my royal background and raising overnight. I need to remain calm.

“Plans? What do you mean?” 

“I mean, the king said he wanted to see me later today, once he was finished for the day, and you have dressed me in something fit to be seen for the general public. Will I be spending the afternoon or evening outside of His Grace’s chambers?”

“Oh, yes, I believe so. There is an early outdoor supper planned, and you’ve been invited to join His Majesty,” Tokino says. “It’s very much an honor.” I can’t begin to describe how sick I am of being told what honors are being showered upon me! If I’m such an honored guest, then remove my fucking slave collar!

“Will... ahem. Will there be, um, others be in attendance?” 

“Quite possibly,” Tokino says.

“A large group?” I ask.

“I don’t believe so. I believe it’s a small intimate gathering—a few close friends from his council.”

“Does His Grace intend to share me among those friends?” I ask pointedly, trying to keep my fur from bristling.

Tokino gasps audibly, as do the other members of his staff.

“Certainly not. Konoe, the members of the harem are off limits to anyone but His Grace,” Tokino replies, almost sharply. At home, none of my staff would dare take this tone with me, but it’s beginning to sink in exactly what position I hold here: none. “No one is permitted even to discipline you, except by his order, in fact. You are the most treasured in the kingdom of Setsura—unless the king were to marry, I mean, someone other than you. Then your jurisdiction might fall to his spouse if His Grace desired it, but that too is His discretion.” 

“Why am I being taken out of the castle?” I ask. “I don’t understand why he would allow such a thing.” 

“I would think simply because the autumn foliage is lovely this time of year,” Tokino explains. “And because he wishes to spend time with you.” Then he lowers his voice. “You must allow this and learn to enjoy his attention—or at least act as though you appreciate it, for your own sake. If you do not, you will suffer here—more than you already have. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but haven’t you already learned this lesson? After last night? I worried about you!” 

He heard me?! My ears redden and flatten slightly—since I know he is right. I do know better, but I thought I was safe in expressing my concern. I realize that when I am in Rai’s presence, I do enjoy him—something about my body and even my soul is drawn to him—but I don’t want to admit it. It’s almost as though my mind isn’t willing to submit. It’s gotten even worse after this morning—I was never so glad to see another person in my entire life as when I laid eyes on Rai! It’s so terribly confusing! Tears fill my eyes, and Tokino looks at me with a horrified expression.

“Konoe! I didn’t mean—” 

“No—you’re right. He is kind to me. And I do... enjoy spending time with the king. I’m just not quite used to all this yet. I’m not sure what to expect in a group of his friends, or worse, among his council. What if he expects something from me I cannot give him?” 

“He will continue to be kind to you, I’m sure,” Tokino assured me, petting my shoulder and wiping my tears. “He is enchanted with you—no one in the castle has ever seen him so enthralled with anyone. It’s as if he’s fallen in love, finally!”

“But he only just met me!” I exclaim. And then—I remember my dream. The memory is so vivid that I press my lips together, for fear of spilling any details.

“What? What is it?” Tokino presses, as he fixes my hair slightly. In my reflection, with the long sleeves of my kimono, the cuffs on my ankles and wrists are hidden—unless I deliberately expose my hands—but the way the collar is draped, my golden collar shows easily and is accented by the fabric of the kimono. There are tiny threads of silver woven in the fabric, too—I hadn’t noticed before, but I see them in the mirror, and they reflect more, sparkling like the diamonds in my collar and the hoop in my ear. 

The hair pin really is lovely. It’s very dark—perhaps ebony or mahogany—decorated with jewels: gold leaves surrounding several lovely blossoms, which drip down from the tip, and those flowers sparkle a deep ruby red and golden topaz. This must be an expensive piece. 

“Is this a gift from His Grace?” I ask, looking at my strange reflection in the mirror. I hardly recognize myself.  

“It is. From the royal family’s collection. He chose it for you, and it is now yours.” 

“I must thank him for it, then,” I say, determined. 

“Konoe, what is the matter?” Tokino presses. I’m surprised he finds me so easy to read. He too only just met me.

“I was thinking about the dream I had this morning,” I reply.

“Ah—it was a nightmare?” 

“No,” I confess. “It was like a memory—a very, very sad memory. It felt realistic enough to be my own, but it wasn’t my own.” 

Tokino glances at my face curiously in the mirror.  

“Come and sit more comfortably. I will pour you something to drink, and you can relax and tell me all about it,” he suggests. “I am somewhat of an expert on dreams.” 

I comply, grateful for his suggestion, and he presses a glass of cold juice mixed with some sort of sparkling alcoholic beverage into my hands. It’s delicious! I don’t give him every detail—just the basics—and describe how real it felt, that I could remember the smells and textures of the world around me, just like a real memory. I describe the wings—both my own and the devil’s—and Tokino’s eyes get wide.

“What?” I ask, somewhat alarmed. 

“There is a legend here in Setsura,” Tokino says carefully, “about the very first Sanga and Touga. Do you know it?”

“We had our own legends, but I don’t know one like this,” I say, now curious. “We didn’t have any about the first ones.”

“It was at the beginning of the time of Ribika. The gods gifted one Ribika, Sanga, his name was, with the special magical gift of song. It was said he could make the flowers bloom with power of his song and offer gifts of healing to the sick. He was a beautiful creature—angelic—kind and graceful. And he chose Touga—another Ribika and skilled fighter—as his forever partner. When he sang for Touga, his partner became even more powerful in battle. They were very much in love, respected in the world, and lived a long happy life together. They protected the blossoming kingdom of Setsura which was founded back then. Until a fateful day that Touga’s home and family were killed by a vengeful god for having displeased him.”

“What?” I’m stunned.

“Sanga couldn’t stand to see his partner so saddened but hated the idea of revenge. Peace was in the land currently, and the two were enjoying retirement. Yet Touga was unsatisfied. And so, Sanga gifted his partner two magical swords, which he had blessed with his most powerful song. It was said that he sang part of his life force into these blades. With them, Touga was able to get his revenge and kill the god who had taken his family from him. However, by killing a god, Touga ended up cursing himself, and he became a devil.” 

I listen carefully to Tokino’s story, much more aware now of what I was seeing. 

“It’s said that Sanga knew this might happen—as did Touga—and they made a promise to each other: that Sanga would take his lover’s life if he lost his soul to darkness. Although Sanga tried to heal his partner from the darkness, try as he might, he could not sing the darkness from his beloved Touga. Touga asked him to fulfill his promise. And that is what ended up happening. It sounds like that is what you dreamt.”

“But why would I have such a dream?” 

“You are a Sanga, aren’t you? Perhaps you carry some of his blood in your veins. His blood, his spirit, his memories flow within you and are surfacing because your song has awakened. And also—in the kingdom of Setsura, our current king—he has the blood of Touga in his veins. Surely you can feel that yourself. It is why you sing for him so easily.”

A shudder runs down my spine and into my tail, fluffing out the fur broadly.

“Tokino, why does the king want a Sanga so much?” 

“It has been his life’s calling to find one. When he was born, a shaman came to the castle. The shaman told the king and queen that their son would be the next incarnation of that original Touga and that he would finally reconnect with his Sanga. The king’s parents made him train in the arts from a very early age, and they were very strict with him.”

“I see. Wait—does he believe I am that Sanga?” I ask, disbelief in my voice.

“You are, Konoe. You had that dream. I know you must be. You said yourself—it was like a memory. It’s probably why he cannot be parted from you for long, and also why he wishes for you to obey him. He doesn’t want a repeat of what happened in the past. In Setsura, it’s believed Touga and Sanga do not reach their full powers till after they come of age.” 

“I am of age!” I huff. I turned sixteen in the summer. 

“We consider coming of age different here. When you are able to have, or make, a child, then you are considered of age in this kingdom.”

“I cannot yet make a child?” I ask, rather bewildered. Plus, I won’t be making children here, will I? I’m the king’s concubine, after all. Who would be the mother? What is Tokino talking about?

“I was trying to be delicate,” Tokino explains. “I mean, after your first season.”

“Season?” And then I realize he means the mating season. “Oh. I see. Is it really that big of a deal?”

“In the harem? Oh, yes, it certainly is,” Tokino says, “And it should start any day now.”

The way he says it scares me a little, making me nervous. I feel something slightly ominous—a sense of foreboding, but I don’t know how to describe it.

“You will help me survive it, won’t you?” I ask. I feel so clueless! Why did they think it was a good idea in Karou to keep all these things from me? 

“As much as I am able, of course!” Tokino says. “I am sure you will be well taken care of. Just, please... try to please His Grace as much as possible the next few days!” 

“All right. Thank you,” I reply, looking down at my feet, currently covered in pure white tabi socks—they look much too pure for how I currently feel. Will this dirty feeling ever go away? Plus— my ass still kind of hurts, though it really didn’t at the time. I feel that what Rai did to me and my response were both utterly shameful. It suddenly occurs to me that the staff might have noticed I was slightly red—and they didn’t say anything about it. That freaks me out even more. Is it such a normal thing for the staff to clean up concubines and find them soundly spanked like I was? Who else besides me (and Aoba) has the king done this to? Or has he done worse? Changing the subject and pushing those unpleasant thoughts from my mind, I ask, “Should I share my dream with the king?”  

“Um, only if it comes up,” Tokino says, and I am sure I detect a note of warning in his voice. I take it to heart. He helps me slip my feet into a pair of geta, lifting my foot off the ground and keeping the hem of my kimono from dragging. “It seems you have been doing your best to please the king as it is. He seems to have been on cloud nine this morning, and he came to fetch me to care for you personally, which is unheard of. Mana pitched a fit after he left the harem. I hope you really blossom once you come of age, Konoe.” 

“Will I change?” I ask. That hasn’t even occurred to me.  

“Most cats have a slightly different scent after their first heat, and of course, sex becomes more pleasurable in general. I think you will find things easier for you. But if you can keep his attention throughout the duration of that week—and if you are really compatible with him—that will be the true test. Also, I’ve heard rumors that your song will change.” 

“Change in what way?” I ask.

“It may become louder, clearer, and more protective, and it may be used in battle.”

In battle? That’s like the legends of Sanga I grew up with. I’d never heard of a Sanga singing in the bedroom, or having a Touga be able to pull a song from him, as Rai can do from me. I thought it was voluntary on the Sanga’s part. Although, perhaps for a part of me, it is voluntary. Perhaps a part of me wishes to please the king—very much—just to be able to hear his praise. Why is that? He calls me a good kitten, a compliant kitten, his “little Sanga,” and it makes something deep inside me melt. Even when I think about it, my ears shiver a little. 

What will I do if he praises me in front of his friends? What will I do if he asks me to sing before his friends? I’ve never sung except in sexual situations, so I don’t think I can do that. But whenever he asks, my body obeys. It’s strange. I always thought the Sanga was the one who supported the Touga—and without him, the Touga would live or die. But he treats me as though he owns me... which, I suppose, he does.

My ears droop sadly. I pick chew the peppermint garnish from my drink and allow Tokino to pour me another.

“You look lovely,” Tokino says, admiring his own work proudly. “Do you need anything else?” 

“I’m fine,” I say nervously. It isn’t long before the door to the chamber is opened again. All the staff stops and I realize it’s the king from the new scent in the room. I put down my drink immediately and get on my knees—which is somewhat difficult in this style of dress. In my kingdom, we wore more western style clothing which I have also seen the king wear.

He thanks his staff for their care of me and excuses them. I remain on my knees with my head lowered, but I can tell he is approaching me. 

“You needn’t be so formal with me if we are alone in my chamber,” he says gently, lifting up my face to his. 

“We weren’t alone,” I say. 

“What I meant was, in my chamber, you are free to act as you like, even in front of the staff. I find it rather refreshing. Though you are rather alluring on your knees. Please—take your seat.” He helps me to stand, pushing me back into my chair. “What a fetching outfit—it rather accents your eyes.”

“Thank you,” I say. “And for the beautiful hair pin, also—I don’t know that I can accept it, however.” 

“Why ever not?” Rai asks, walking to the wardrobe, stripping off his vest and pulling off his boots as he goes. This cat—he has no qualms about showing off his body. But he is beautiful. I gaze longingly at his strong back through the sheer silk of his blouse, and a memory of those black wings flashes through my mind. He looks over his shoulder, just in time to catch my longing glance. “You belong to me and the jewels belong to me. I am simply rearranging their location if you will.”

I bristle at his words and he smirks slightly. He is deliberately provoking me. He knows it’s still a point of contention for him to refer to me as his property. But I try not to take the bait. It helps that he is currently unbuttoning that shirt, I suppose. He is ridiculously handsome!

“You know, you can do more than just look, if you like,” Rai says helpfully. “Even if we don’t have time to finish our activities, you are welcome to touch. In fact, why not help your master dress for dinner?”

“Your Grace?” I ask, formally—hoping to distract from my building anxiety. 

“Come over here,” Rai orders—and a slightly slippery feeling enters my ears with his command. My body gets up on its own and obeys, thank the gods!

He hasn’t finished unbuttoning his blouse, and his hands take mine. “You will help me dress.”

“You are already dressed, sir,” I say, staring at his chest—not daring to lift my face. 

He moves my hands to his shirt. 

“I’m sure you understand what I am asking you to do, naughty kitten,” Rai murmurs, dipping his head a little lower so he can murmur into my ear. “We can do this the hard way if you insist, but I’d hate to ruin your current perfect looks.” I feel his hand brush against my rear gently—and though it is gentle, I know exactly what he means to do if I disobey his command, and a shocking thrill rushes through my fur at the thought.

I try my best, fumbling at the remaining buttons on his blouse—including the buttons at the wrists—and then slip it off his shoulders. I try not to touch him too much, but I can’t help running my hands across his back affectionately—they almost move on their own. I don’t understand myself.

“There’s a good kitten,” he says, pleased, and that praise sends a little jolt right to my hips. I try to stay steady on my feet, hoping he hasn’t noticed. After his shirt, however, I look up at him. “Go on.”

I look embarrassed—and I am—but I unbuckle his belt and then unbutton his breeches, my hands slipping inside the waistband of his pants and stroking the soft silver fur below his belly. Saliva is filling up my mouth—and I am having a strong urge to groom that fur. I have to swallow to prevent myself from drooling, and I have to get on my knees to pull the slim-cut breeches off his narrow hips. He may have narrow hips, but he has quite a muscular ass, and these pants are cut to show off his best asset. 

“Oh, gods,” Rai says softly. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.” 

I look up at him from my place on the floor, waiting for him to step out of his pants, and his gaze is quite heated—frighteningly so. Just that look—him gazing down at me with such strong desire—takes my breath away. His pupil is large and round, making his eye darken, and I can see he is erect—and he is right there.

It would be such a simple thing for me to just nuzzle my face against his belly and that soft, silky fur—he smells so good! And he wouldn’t expect such a thing from me, surely—it would be most unlike me. But something feels different—maybe leftover from this morning’s eagerness or maybe it’s that strange desire to please him that’s making me consider doing something so forward. I could never actually do it, though. It would be too much, too soon, and too embarrassing! Even at my most eager, I— 

But before I know what’s happened, he has stepped out of his breeches, and I’m peeling off his stockings—slowly—and I nuzzle my nose on that soft fur just below his belly—silky and soft—like the fur on his ears. Oh, my gods—and I’m licking it! Grooming it! What the hell am I doing? 

“Surely—this was a very, very bad idea if we have somewhere we need to be,” I hear Rai muttering above me—his voice is so ragged and full of passion that it makes something in my abdomen pull painfully. What am I doing?! “Ah, shit!” 

I stop suddenly and push myself away, my cheeks and ears blushing the color of the rubies on the hairpin, I’m sure. I can’t look at him, and I whisper, “I’m so sorry.”

In an instant, muscular arms pull me up to my feet, large hands first underneath my armpits then snaking around my back, fingers tilting up my chin—and I am kissed, deeply, hungrily, greedily—the kind of kiss that makes my fur fluff out and my purr rumble deep inside my body, the kind that reverberates in my core, desire settling deep in my waist. I sigh into it, softly and eagerly.

I know I am forgiven.

No—I know I have done nothing for which forgiveness was required. 

“You are beautiful,” Rai whispers. “I find you utterly captivating—and I will show you how I feel when we finish with supper. However, I wanted to show you the gardens this evening—and I wanted to introduce you to a few people, as well.” 

“Which people?” I ask, a little nervous—still thinking he might order me to strip in front of them.

“Just a few of my closest confidantes. You already know the duke, Koujaku. You can meet a few others on my council.”

“And I will not be the evening’s... entertainment?”

“What?” Rai asks, surprised, lifting his eyebrows. “Did you have something in mind?” 

“Of course not,” I say, ashamed enough to stare at the floor.

“I see.” I can hear the king smiling. “What exactly have you heard—was it from Aoba?” Rai casually walks into the wardrobe and pulls on a lightweight silk kimono in pale blue—the same color as his eyes. 

“Aoba says you discipline concubines publicly for disobedience,” I say, unable to keep the terror from my voice. 

Rai turns to look at me, especially when he hears my tone. 

“How gentle do I have to be with you to make you understand?” he says. “Was this morning too soon? I was sure it was what you wanted—you seemed to crave it—your body called out for... that sort of touch. I know you were brought up sheltered, but are you really so afraid of me? Because this morning, you did not sound or act afraid of me. And you were not at all disobedient. Did you do something while I was away that you need to confess?” 

“No! No—of course not!” I protest violently. 

“I know you wouldn’t,” Rai says calmly. “I was only teasing.” He slips on a silk brocade kimono, patterned in black, royal and pale blue, and subtle silver threading. It makes his hair shine beautifully. His obi is primarily silver but patterned in other colors as well. “Why don’t you brush out my hair for me?”

He takes a seat in front of the vanity—and I see it is designed for a cat of his height—not mine. I comb through his thick silver hair, none of which dares to tangle itself before its master. It’s nearly as afraid of the king as I am, and I smile slightly thinking of this.

“Do you have a hairpin?” I ask. 

“Why?” he asks.

“Isn’t it traditional to wear your hair up, to expose your neck, in this style of dress?” I wonder if I am being too forward.

“Would you like to see my neck exposed this way?” Rai asks directly.

”It’s a very beautiful part of you,” I say honestly.

He slides open a drawer, and several rows of lovely hairpins are there for me to choose from. I pick a simple one with a small pale blue stone, then twist his hair up and to the side, and it obediently stays when I push the pin in place. Of course, it wouldn’t dare disobey its master.

“Nicely done, kitten,” Rai says, leaning back against me and looking up at me expectantly. He wants me to kiss him, I think. It takes me a moment to figure this out, and I obey.

“How do you wish for me to behave?” I ask. 

“Be yourself—well, perhaps slightly a more respectful version of yourself, if you can be, since we will be around other people,” Rai says, another soft smile on his face. He pulls on a pair of tabi socks and buttons them and then slips into a pair of zori. “Come along, then.”

Chapter Text

I’m led to a gorgeous grove of trees outside the king’s chambers, just beyond the wall of glass. One of the panes is a sliding door—I'm glad I didn’t know this when I first arrived or I might have tried to escape—and Rai offers me his arm and leads me along a path through a beautiful garden, blooming with flowers—even still in late autumn. 

The moon of light is setting, and dusk is gorgeous—giving us a soft pink sky, streaked with yellow and orange over a deep blue. The evening air is chilly but crisp, but I am dressed warmly—I was given a fur to place over my shoulders at the king’s insistence.

“He’s not a long-haired breed, like the rest of us. I’d hate for him to catch a chill once the light fades,” Rai said as he wrapped the white fur over my shoulders, buttoning it under my chin.

Once we make it through the gardens, which smell of soft, evening-blooming flowers, we come upon our meeting place, the last to arrive. There is a small party waiting for us—spread out on blankets at the base of a beautiful grove of trees—the most lovely trees I’ve ever seen, I think—which are currently turning from their summer foliage to autumn gold, orange, and red, but have not yet started to blanket the ground with their leaves. I’m slightly breathless at the beautiful sight before me. It looks hauntingly familiar after this morning’s dream. It looks so much like the grove of trees, only in the fall rather than late winter. 

“Oh—how beautiful,” I whisper softly, grabbing onto Rai’s arm a little more tightly when I see the people waiting for us. I only recognize the duke, Koujaku, dressed in a red kimono, his hair pinned to the side, and he smiles at me.

The men stand up to greet His Majesty—but I soon realize they are standing up to make my acquaintance, which flusters me. These are Rai’s closest council members, and he introduces them to me without hesitation.

There is an older tiger cat, possibly in his early 30s, with black hair and a beard, an earl named Bardo—very broad and tall, who seems very friendly and is all smiles. He takes a knee and kisses my hand.

“Welcome to the palace, young Sanga,” he says, his voice almost flirty.

Then, a cat with long, golden brown hair and golden eyes, and a deep voice—his face structure looks chiseled from stone. He is the king’s cousin, a duke named Mink. He also bows over my hand.

“Very pleased to make your acquaintance, Konoe,” Mink purrs. “King Rai has been searching for you for many years, as have we.”

Compared to the others, an older man Rai addresses as Uncle, Motomi, with darker toned skin, dark hair and short brown fur, another duke. 

“Well, now, meeting you in person makes all of those recent suggestions to the council of the king's make a lot more sense. Aren’t you the cutest little thing?” I blush when I’m referred to that way.

Plus, Koujaku has two young nobles traveling with him, Kou and Hagima. I think they are his retainers or squires, or something, but it isn’t quite clear.

There are food and drinks set out for us, but no servers, much to my surprise. As soon as introductions are made, Rai takes a seat on one of the blankets and pulls me next to him, so our legs are touching. Am I supposed to serve him? I’m not sure. I’ve never done this before, so I perk up my ears and push the long sleeves of my kimono out of the way.

“Would you like something to drink, Your Grace?” I ask, keeping my eyes lowered in what I hope is a respectful manner. It ends up simply looking shy. 

“I would, but you won’t need to serve me this afternoon. I just want the pleasure of your company. So please, sit next to me, just like I placed you.”

“Of course, sir,” I say, trying to be compliant.

Koujaku gives me a strange look as he presses a small shallow bowl into my hands and the same kind into Rai’s. 

“It appears your training session did wonders for you,” he says to me—and I have to suppress a growl.

“Behave yourself!” Motomi snaps. “I’ve told you time and time again that royalty of Karou has a completely different upbringing than you barbarians!” Addressing me, he asks, “How are you managing to fit in here, little one? Your new role must be somewhat different than you expected, isn't it, Konoe? Are they being kind to you? Do I need to address anything with my nephew, or instruct him on patience?”

I’m really unsure of how to answer this, so I blush furiously and say, “I’m doing my very best to please His Grace, sir,” which earns several hearty guffaws.

“Kitten, I’m just waiting for the king’s summon,” Koujaku says eagerly, leaning over toward me. “It’s only a matter of time. My guess is that you’ll spend a night in his bedroom, restrained, watching him fuck another more compliant concubine, like Aoba, the blue-haired cat who tried to train you last night, and after that, when even that doesn’t teach you your place, you’ll spend a night or two with me.”

A gasp of real terror leaves my lips, and I reflexively shrink toward the king—my entire body moving away from the duke. The king chuckles softly, petting my ears gently, purring softly. He’s pleased I’m touching him of my own free will, even if it is because Koujaku is frightening me. But would Rai really do such a thing?

“Koujaku, don’t scare the poor kitten,” Motomi chides once again, but the duke does not stop, rubbing his hands together, a delighted look on his face.

“I think we’d have loads of fun together, kitten. I'm making plans already. I can’t wait to get my hands on you!”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Rai growls low, much to my surprise, his hands still stroking my ears. “He’s learning, aren’t you, little one? Here, open your mouth.” 

Taken aback by his sudden command, I am startled and worried he may do something weird to me, but I still obey. Fortunately, I’m only fed a piece of fruit—sliced kuim—and it’s delicious. It’s larger than I expect, and a little juice drips down my chin. I lift my hand to wipe it off—but Rai catches my hand in his, leans down, and licks the juice off my chin before I can get a chance to protest. 

“Ah, I see how it is. There’s no need to show off at supper,” mumbles Bardo.

“Yeah, can’t you save that for when you two are alone?” Mink asks.

“I know! It’s a little creepy to see you like this, Your Grace,” Koujaku jokes, and his retainers look shocked to hear him joke so casually.

Rai just smiles at me and hands me a plate, refilling my glass—that little shallow bowl holds some sort of alcohol—as well.

“Enjoy yourself, little one. Eat and drink to your fill. Then I have something I’d like to show you.”

“Thank you, Your Grace,” I say, bowing my head. “It’s delicious.” The spread is a mix of light appetizers, mostly chilled, though there are a few hot dishes—a few quite spicy. I get a surprise when I take a large bite of a spicy roll—Bardo calls it sushi—served cold, wrapped in rice in seaweed. It’s very colorful and like a small piece of artwork in itself. It’s served drizzled with an orange sauce over the top, which tastes a little like chili, but burns my mouth and makes my eyes water at once.

“Ah—Konoe, you got a lot of heat there!” Bardo laughs. “Here—have a glass of this.” He pours a milky-looking substance into my glass and I drink it. It’s slightly fizzy, very mild and sweet, but alcoholic and delicious—a little fruity—and it cools my mouth down at once.

“Oh, that is heavenly!” I say. “I’ve never eaten this kind of food nor had this to drink before.” 

“Are you even old enough to drink alcohol, little one?” Motomi asks.

“Of course,” I huff. “I turned sixteen in the summer—my coming of age ceremony was the largest celebration my kingdom had ever seen. And I may have gotten quite drunk. Unfortunately, I remember very little of it,” I add sheepishly.

The other guests laugh, though I hadn’t intended to be funny. Am I talking too much, I wonder? I look at Rai, and his eye is sparkling beautifully. He is so very handsome in this light—and he looks happy, so I think it’s all right. 

“That is Nigori,” Bardo says. “It’s a rice wine, an unfiltered sake, the sweetest kind, making it perfect for desserts and spicy foods. This kind we only serve chilled, and the only problem is that it is best served to completion once the bottle is opened. So we will have to finish the bottle. Think you can help me?”

"Of course!” I say eagerly. “I have great tolerance.” Rai immediately casts me a sidelong glance, disbelieving, of course, which I ignore. I finish the rest of the cup—it’s such a small cup, and Bardo pours me another, as well as pouring himself one. 

“Now, try it with this as well,” he suggests. He puts a different sort of sushi on my plate, dipping it first in another sauce I haven’t tried yet. It’s wonderful—all the textures melting in my mouth—the silky texture and fresh, cold flavor of the fish mixed with a little spicy chili, the avocado—that wonderful savory fruit that we don’t have in Karou with a rich creamy texture and nutty flavor—a crunchy fresh texture and watery flavor of cucumber, and the interesting bumpiness of the rice, the sticky texture and briny, fishy flavor of the seaweed, and then—wow—a pop of strange spice, very unlike the chili I had before. Saltiness, yes, mixed with some amazingly powerful spice that burns my nose and clears my sinuses! It makes my eyes tear up almost painfully!

Everyone at the table cracks up at my expression.

“Quickly, little one! If it burns, drink up!” Bardo urges. Oh yes—the Nigori! Of course. I drink it, and it soothes my sinuses, but I require the entire glass. “And? Did you like it?”

“Um—I think it was a bit too spicy for my taste,” I admit, and I cause even more laughter.

“Here, try my favorite,” Rai suggests. He offers me a piece of tataki tuna, it’s called. It’s chopped into thin pieces, flavored with garlic and ginger, and another spice I don’t recognize. It’s raw—not even lightly seared—but very delicious. It melts into my mouth. It has just a hint of spice to it, and it doesn’t burn. 

“It’s delightful,” I admit.

“If you want it spicier, you can dip it in the wasabi,” Rai says, smiling softly. When I watch him eat, he really savors this food—I mean, of course, he’s elegant. He’s the king. But I wonder if I do everything as elegantly as he does. 

When I turn my eyes back toward the table, I realize everyone here has been watching me in the same way I have been watching Rai. Am I being appraised? How much has he told them? Is he serious about marrying me? That’s a big step—and he’d need their approval to do that, wouldn’t he? I try to stay on my best behavior, trying to remember my courtly manners. 

The meal goes on with pleasant conversation—I’m given lots to eat and drink—and much of the conversation I do not follow. This is because I’m not familiar with how the council works or what exactly these people talk about during meetings and so forth. However, I do my best to follow, and I am polite and I act my part.

I find it easy—surprisingly easy and natural, in fact—to sit beside Rai, touching him, even, throughout the meal. It seems like this where I belong. I don’t talk anymore about my old kingdom in Karou. It’s not who I am anymore, after all. I am trying my best to fit into my role here. Talking as though I am a prince makes me feel worse. And I am starting to realize that I really enjoy spending time with Rai. I try not to think about this too much because it would bother me.

I finish eating before he does, and I drink a little more Nigori and chew some peppermint. I do enjoy it—I probably have had more than I needed to, in fact. But I’m feeling pretty good and awfully relaxed at this point. The moon of light is nearly set. The clouds are making for a lovely picture in the sky. 

Maybe it’s the alcohol, but I am getting a funny feeling in my chest.

Once Rai finishes, he too chews some peppermint and says, “If you will excuse us for a little while, I’d like to take Konoe to see the grove at dusk. We won’t be gone long.”

“You won’t be doing anything untoward out there, Your Grace?” Koujaku asks.

I feel myself blushing and another gasp escapes before I can prevent it.

"If I were, I certainly wouldn't tell you about it, though I thank you for your helpful suggestion, Duke,” Rai says, somewhat wryly. He stands up and offers me his hand. “Come.” 

I take it and stand up, following him into the grove, avoiding Koujaku's gaze.

The moment I step inside the grove of trees, that funny feeling presses against my chest again.

“It feels like I’ve been here before.” The words spill out of my mouth before I can stop them.

“Does it?” Rai asks, offering me his arm. I take it, gratefully. I feel a little dizzy. “This has always been a special place to me. Let me show you.”

I’m terribly directionally challenged, and I know I—Konoe of Karou—have never before set foot in this grove. However, I know exactly where we are headed. We are headed to the particular grove of cherry trees in my dream. I recognize it as we are walking—but the season is different. 

The leaves on the trees are gold, red, and orange—absolutely stunning—a beautiful contrast to Rai’s kimono and the darkening evening sky. It smells fresh and chilly, and the view simply takes my breath away.

“It’s beautiful here,” I whisper. "So peaceful. And familiar."

“I would come here often as a child—hiding from various responsibilities,” Rai tells me, looking up at the trees. I’d climb the trees, too, sitting in the branches, wondering how high I might climb and if I could escape my duties as a prince.” He smiles softly.

“Was your childhood that hard?” I ask. 

“I didn’t have much mercy or tenderness shown to me,” Rai admits. “I think it made me stronger, but I always felt I was missing something. When I felt that loss, I would come here.”

“I see,” I say, admiring the trees, wondering which ones held the child king. “This morning, I had a dream of this place.”

Rai turns to look at me, his eyes completely serious.

“Did you?”

“I did. The season was different—I believe it was late winter or early spring—and I was, um, I was not myself. I was like myself but a different person.”

“I’ve had dreams like that, too.” The hair stands up on the back of my neck. I knew he was going to say that. Also, I know he has dreamed the same dream and he has dreamed it from the perspective of the demon.

“It was that person’s saddest memory, I think,” I confess, tears bubbling up to the surface of my eye. “I asked Tokino about it. Perhaps it wasn’t his place to tell me, but he said when you were young, it was said that you were destined to find that original Sanga.”

“It was. It’s fine that he told you. I’m sorry the dream troubled you so,” Rai says, coming in closer to me, brushing my ears. "But do you truly think it was the person's saddest memory?"

"I really do. I woke up in tears. I still—I still can't stop my tears from flowing if I think of it too much. Don't you agree?" I ask.

"I don't," Rai says, curiously. "Perhaps my perspective is different from yours. But I believe that it may have been that person's most peaceful moment. Yes, he was sad to no longer be with the one he loved. But he knew he didn't belong in that world any longer. And his mind, his body, and his soul were all put to rest by the one he loved—in the way that he loved the most. In a way, it was the most loving thing his partner could have done for him. Do you understand?"

I am quiet for a moment.

"I have had that dream since I first came of age. Maybe my perspective is different than yours."

"I knew he was doing what he promised to do. But he gave all of himself for his partner. He used his life force to sing that song, Rai! Did you know? It killed him to sing that song."

"Oh, I guess... I didn't know that part."

"But he didn't mind so much. He had nothing else to keep him in the world, so he was all right with that," I say, tears in my eyes.

"It's all right," Rai strokes my ears. "Don't cry."

“Do you think you are the reincarnation of that d-” I stop myself from saying “demon.” Taking a deep breath, I continue, “Do you think you are the reincarnation of the first Touga?”

“I don’t know. Even if I am, don’t I have the power to make my own choices?” Rai asks. “I’m not going to raze a village simply because he did, am I?” 

“Of course you wouldn’t,” I say softly. “Do you think I am the reincarnation of the first Sanga?”

“I do not know that, either. But I do know that I love to hear your voice—that song—more than anything in this world. I yearn for it. My body yearns for it, my soul longs for it, my mind wanders, thinking about it when you aren't with me. Would you sing for me now?”

“What—right here?” I protest—but even as I protest, I can feel a song gurgling up inside. 

He smiles.

“Why do you do that, then?” he asks gently. “Do you really not wish to sing for me? Am I forcing you to sing when you don’t wish to?”

“No,” I say—the song beginning to rattle my insides deeply, my bones, my flesh, and my skin. “I just can’t control it when you ask. It’s like I have to comply when you ask.”

“Do you hate it?” Rai asks, stroking my back, then pulling my hands into his, watching the small tendrils of light pour from my fingertips into his.

“I don’t,” I whisper. “Not at all.” I relax a little and the song gets louder. Surprisingly sexy, this song is thanking Rai for loving me—feeding me—showing me off. So specific. Then it goes on, begging for more attention.

Touch me. Kiss me. Love me. Put your hands on me. Take me. Make me yours.

It’s a song filled with eagerness, and it’s making me blush furiously. Why am I singing like this?

Rai kisses me while I’m singing—his tongue brushing the back of my throat, making me purr. He pulls me in close, holding me tight.

When he finally releases me, he whispers hotly in my ear.

“Someday, I will take you outside—here, underneath the cherry trees. You will be desperate and begging, and I will take you because it’s what you want, not only because you want to please me. I know you are still frightened of me. That’s all right. I’m your king. I should be at least a little frightening, shouldn’t I?”

My song continues a few more minutes and then fades, and I collapse from exhaustion into his arms. He carries me bridal style back to the party.

My head is leaning heavily against his chest, but I can see the amazed faces sitting around. Could they hear me?

“Is that what you were talking about?” Motomi marvels.

“And he will become even stronger in a week or so,” Bardo says.

“I think he is who you think he is,” Koujaku says.

“Regardless, I wholeheartedly agree with your proposal. I agree to it, especially after hearing his skill for myself,” Mink says. “You have my blessing.”

“Mine, too,” Motomi agrees.

“And mine,” Bardo adds.

Koujaku just smiles. “He still gets this exhausted, though? Maybe that will improve with practice? Maybe he wants to sing for me?”

“Not for the world. I’ve heard it may and after his first heat. He is so very young. We will take it slow.” Rai seems pleased with their responses. “I expect to see some movement from you in the council this week, then. Now, I need to take him back inside for some care.”

The other four men stand up, brush my ears, kiss my hands and fingers and wish me well. It feels like a blessing now, strangely.

Rai proudly carries me inside.

“You did me proud, kitten. You did very, very well.”

A shiver of pleasure ruffles through my fur and the rest of my body at his praise—and I have a strange sense of anticipation, despite my inability to move as he carries me inside.

Chapter Text

The king carefully lays me on his bed, after leaving his zori at the door. He runs his hands through my hair, then glances sharply at my face, resting his hand deliberately between my ears. 

“You are quite warm, little Sanga,” he murmurs. “How are you feeling? Do you need something to drink? Have I been asking too much from you?”

“Hmm?” I hum. My body is paralyzed from singing, and my head feels strange—my scalp is tingling—and my shoulders are weirdly sore like I slept in a weird position. Also, I have a few aches and pains in my body. “I ache a little.”

“I see,” Rai says, looking at me. “I think this is a little too soon. Let me get you a drink.” He walks over to the small table where a pitcher  is waiting, and he pours me a glass. More glass—everywhere is glass, I think—Setsura is so rich they eat off and drink from glassware.

He comes back to the bed—and as he is approaching me, my chest suddenly lurches with sharp pain, and I gasp loudly. I cannot move or evade him, however—but the closer he gets, the worse my pain becomes. It’s like my heart hurts—and then my joints, like from fever. 

“N-no, please,” I whisper, trying to move away, but I can’t. I end up squeezing my eyes closed.

“What’s this now?” Rai asks, ignoring my protests. “Drink something and you will feel better.”

“Please,” I beg, as he sits me up, and I press my lips together. 

“Konoe, take a sip. You will feel better,” Rai says, his voice getting more commanding. “I know you are tired.” He holds the glass to my mouth again. “Do you want me to feed you mouth to mouth? It will most likely spill, and I will have to lick it off you when it does.” 

I obediently open my lips and drink some of the juice. I’m incredibly thirsty, though I feel sick to my stomach.

“I feel ill,” I say softly, after slaking my thirst. “Queasy—and my spine and shoulders are very sore—” 

“I can help you feel better,” Rai says, keeping his voice calm. He slips out of his outer kimono, throwing it over a chaise, but he keeps the light underlayer on—that sheer silk in the same shade of his eyes. “Let’s try a massage, shall we?” 

“Mmm,” I murmur uncertainly, but he is already pulling the obi off my waist, and he strips me out of both layers of my kimono, leaving me in just my underwear. When I look at him, I realize I don’t see a line underneath that sheer silk. Is he going without? How scandalous! At a public dinner? What was he thinking?

“What are you looking at so intensely?” Rai asks, but his tone indicates that he knows exactly what my eye has seen. His eyebrows are quirked up slightly, and he pulls me down lower on the bed. My body is completely at his mercy. “Did you have a question for me?” 

I don’t respond since he’s obviously provoking me. I even try to look away from him completely, but there’s nowhere I can cast my eyes where some part of him doesn’t currently fill my vision. I see fangs peeking up over his lips in a sly smile, so I know he’s deliberately trying to get a rise out of me. 

“Your indignation shows incredibly well on this adorable little face of yours even when you try to hide it,” he purrs softly. 

“Indignation?” I huff, obviously indignant. “It’s your palace. You can dress, or not dress, however inappropriately you like for your court functions. As prince in my own kingdom, I’d never breach such etiquette.” The haughtiness of my tone surprises even me, and I bite my bottom lip right after, staring up into Rai’s face.

That pale blue gaze returns my look, the grin widening.

“Dress or not dress? Didn’t you help me yourself?”

“I did. But I didn’t notice when you lost a certain item of clothing, however,” I say. “I won’t take responsibility for your parading around naked. In front of your council.”

My throat is nipped lightly.

“You were right there when I did it. And I was never naked. And who was actually the one on parade this evening?” Rai whispers against my skin. The touch makes me shiver, and another painful jolt shoots through my chest. My body curls in on itself in pain, and I groan. “What is it?” 

“My chest hurts,” I whimper, tears leaking from my eyes. 

Rai touches my ears again and runs his other hand down my body.  

“You are warm. The thing is—if this is your heat come early, I can fix it,” he looks at me as he says this.

“What?” I ask. 

“Your body should know. Is it worse if I’m close to you?”  

“Sort of?” I say. 

“What hurts the most right now? Does your chest still hurt?”

“No, it's fine now. My spine—my upper back and shoulders—like I slept on them wrong and just woke up,” I say. 

He rolls me onto my stomach—getting slightly handsy with me down below as he does so, and humming a little. 

“You really do hurt, don’t you? I’m sorry, little one. Let me try some gentle massage, and see if I can make it better for you.”

I hear the side of his bedside table opening—a sound that made me salivate this morning—and he pulls out the scented massage oil he used on me the first night we spent together. I hear him warming it up in his hands before he touches my shoulders—and my body actually flinches when he touches me.

“Has your ability to move returned?” he asks, now concerned.

“Um, no,” I say, nervous.

“Tell me if this hurts. I will be very gentle.” And he barely touches my skin.

Sucking in a breath—it hurts!

“Please!” I beg.

“You know, Konoe, I think something isn’t right. I want to bring you to your quarters and have a physician take a look at you. I will stay with you there tonight. Will you be all right if I move you?”

“Yes,” I say. I’m wrapped back up in the sheer robe, but he doesn’t tie it. He lifts me gently from the bed and asks again if I’m all right. I am, so I hum softly.

“If you need me to stop or slow, tell me,” Rai says.

I enjoy his scent, but it slowly makes my pain worse. I’m sweating and close to agony by the time we reach the harem. The king yells for the physician when he enters, walking me into my room. I have tears rolling down my face when he lays me in bed.

“Tears? What on earth? Is it that much worse? Why didn’t you say anything? Silly creature,” Rai rebukes me, stroking my face. 

There is a flurry of activity in my chamber, and the physician enters. He looks more like a medicine man than a physician—he’s frightening—but Rai begins speaking to him rapidly, and Tokino is there, soothing me with a cold towel on my forehead. Several other staff are there undressing me, and everyone is talking over one another.

“He’s unresponsive!”

“Is he unconscious?”

“No, this is the young Sanga—it’s how he gets after singing. It’s normal.”

“Undress him, please.”

What? In front of all these people? No!

I look up at Rai, pleading—and I start begging—and then I feel his cool hand resting on my thigh. He meets my gaze for a moment as my underwear is stripped off and thank the gods, a towel is draped over my private parts.

“You will be fine. Do not panic. I will stay right here.”

“Sire, you shouldn’t make promises you cannot keep,” the shaman says, making Rai look at me. “You said fever and pains. This fever is too high for the heat and a few days too early. However—child, what’s your name?”

“K-konoe,” I stammer. I’m afraid of the medicine man already. 

“Tell me about your symptoms.” 

“After we visited the grove outside, and I sang for His Majesty, I felt weaker than usual and very warm. First sharp, shooting pain in my chest, and then in my back—my upper spine and shoulders like I slept in a strange position or like a cramp.”

“The chest pain—is it constant or occasional?”

“Occasional.” 

“The pain in your back and shoulders constant?”

“Um, yes,” I say.

“Turn him over, please. I’d like to check out his back.”

I’m quickly turned over, and when I’m touched—I nearly cry out in pain. Even my skin is tender and sore. 

“Was this here, earlier?”

“What?” Rai asks sharply, and I can feel his breath against my skin. As he gets closer to me, his scent fills my nose, and I feel more at ease—despite the horrible pain in my back—I relax just a little bit. I take a deep breath, and suddenly, another shooting pain attacks my chest, and my body curls up, trying to protect itself. I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from crying out.

“Konoe!” I feel the king’s hands brush my ears, but I just have to breathe—and the shaman is saying something I don’t understand. 

“If this is his heat, shouldn’t I be able to help him?” Rai sounds incredibly frustrated. 

“Sire, please. I’ve read about this with particularly sensitive Sangas—when they have their first season, their bodies need a day to adjust. You may need to spend some time away from him. You’ve been flooding him with your scent, plus sexual and sensory stimulation he hasn’t had before. You may be the cause of this, Your Grace!”

“Then let me ease it—I can ease the symptoms easily enough—”

“Not if one of them is chest pain! You want him to live through this, don’t you? At the onset of the next set of symptoms, Your Grace, I’d like you to step outside. I want to see if his symptoms subside faster.”

“What?” Rai is horrified. “Are you sure? I’d never do anything to...” 

That gorgeous silver hair comes into view and a pale blue eye peers into my face. He looks visibly upset—his usually calm face is very upset—and then his face disappears from view and I feel a soft, warm, damp touch on my ear. His tongue. It’s so nice and familiar—and soothing. I sigh with relief—and my chest is assaulted with another cramp in an instant.

“Oh, my gods,” is whispered right next to my ear. “It is me.”

“Your Grace!” shouts the shaman. “Please! Go, now!”

I’ve never heard anyone shout at the king before, but it works. His soft footsteps retreat quickly from the room, and something inside my soul feels like it’s breaking—just like in that dream I had. It feels like my dream! I can’t be with the one I love—the one I’m destined to be with. 

Oddly, the minute the door closes behind him, my chest pains stop. The physical pain, anyway.

“Will you look at that?” the shaman marvels.

I burst into tears, uncontrollable tears—close to wailing—and Tokino tries soothing me right away.

“Wait, wait,” he says. “don’t worry, Konoe.”

“Hush now, sensitive kitten,” the shaman says, his voice much less sharp than it was. “This is not a permanent thing. You will still be able to see your king. You’ll only need to spend a night or possibly a night and a day apart. Then your regular heat cycle will take effect as usual, and you should be fine. Don’t fret.”

“He will wait for you, Konoe,” Tokino assures me. “I’m sure he’s not in heat himself yet, for the entire harem usually shifts at once.”

“This is true,” the shaman said. “however, I’m curious. Did something happen in the grove of trees?”

“Happen?” I ask. “Today?”

The shaman lifts his eyebrows, bending down to look at me a bit closer. 

“That's an interesting response. You are from Karou, aren’t you? And of royal blood? From the line of ancient Sanga?”

“I am,” I say. “We have no legends like yours, though.”

“He had a dream this morning,” Tokino explains. “I told him about the first Sanga and Touga.”

“Did you discuss this dream with the king while you were in the grove?” the shaman asks.

“I did. It is the same grove—much older and a different season. He has had the same dream.”

“I see,” the shaman says. “You should rest. As much as possible, rest. You will need your energy for when your heat is actually upon you. I will prescribe you some medication to help you sleep, but you must not see the king till your chest and back no longer hurt. Although, by then, your heat will be in full force. Tokino will be able to guide you.” 

I’m slightly afraid. 

“I’ll return with your sleeping draft shortly. Tokino, keep him and the room as cool as possible, open the windows and so forth.” 

He leaves, along with his retinue, and Tokino starts sliding the doors open but closes the sheer drapes on my bed for privacy and to prevent a draft.

“Do you need ice for your shoulders?” Tokino asks. 

As I’m settling into bed, that does sound nice. He excuses himself, and I’m left alone for a few minutes.

The door opens again—probably the shaman, so I don’t look up. But he sits on the side of the bed, and he weighs more than I expect. I look up—and it’s the king.

“Rai,” I say, surprised.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers, helping me sit up. I start heating up when he touches me, but I don’t mind. I see he has the sleeping potion with him.

“He said I wasn’t to see you until tomorrow or even tomorrow night,” I say. “How did you—?”

“I’m the king,” he says smugly. “Who do you think pays his salary?” After helping me drink the potion, I realize he is refraining from touching me further. His hands seem restless. “Are you in pain?”

“I’m all right,” I answer bravely. “I will be fine with ice. Though I would rather have your massage, I think.”

His small rounded ears perk up slightly—I realize then they’d been drooping rather sadly. 

“You are very young, quite inexperienced, and I flooded you with a lot of information much too soon. Perhaps my expectations were too high, and I forced too much from you.” His voice is soft, hard to read.

I wish I could move. I would put my hand on his, at least. I can’t even do that. Instead, a few tears slip from my eyes. 

“I will miss your grooming,” I whisper. “I missed it last night, too.”

He turns his head, that pale blue eye meeting mine, and he brushes away the tears from my cheek. He kisses me lightly, his lips barely touching me—on the nose, the eyelids, the chin, the cheeks, the forehead, and then, gently taking my chin in his hand, he takes my lips, slowly, gently, chastely—

And just as I start to relax into the kiss, the door opens, and I hear Tokino’s voice. 

“Your Grace! You can’t be here, and you can’t be doing that! I’m sorry to chase you out of your favorite’s room, but this is for his health! Please, Your Grace!”

He is surprisingly forceful. But his tone causes Rai’s fangs to bare and his fur to bristle—my fur bristles in surprise, too—and I’m blushing furiously, though he only walked in on a kiss!

“Take care of him for me,” Rai says, and he bows to me elegantly as he leaves.

I realize that while my back and shoulders hurt worse while he was here, I did not have another episode of chest pain.

Tokino gets to work tucking the ice packs around my shoulders.

“What is on me?” I ask.

“Hmm?” Tokino asks. 

“Do I have a rash? I heard the shaman ask the king if ‘this’ was here.”

“Oh. You have something that looks a little like a rash or bug bites. It’s nothing to worry about, I’m sure,” Tokino replies. “It’s just a bit red. It may be an allergy to something in the grove. Did the king push you up against any trees out there, perhaps while kissing you roughly?” 

I hear him smiling, but I am terribly embarrassed and don’t reply. Tokino touches the tip of my ear.

“I hardly know what to think when I see your ears turn pink like this!” He teases. “All right. You get twenty minutes on ice, but you will be asleep before they come off. I’ll leave a bell in here so you can call for me if you wake up and need anything at all—if your pain gets worse, if you need food or drink or help or just want to talk, all right? But I’ll stay right here in the chair for twenty minutes, okay?”

“Okay,” I say. “thank you.”

"Really. Use the bell. Even if you grow devil horns in the night or something," Tokino teases me, laughing at the dream I had about the king. I don't think he realized how vivid it was, and how much it really frightened me, so I laugh right along with him.

I’m still in pain, but the sleeping potion does wonders. It helps me not care for a thing about the world, and I drift off into sleep in minutes—a much-needed sleep. 


 

I sleep through till the next morning—and wake to the chill of the day with a strange feather comforter covering me. The room looks oddly white, too. I realize it’s because Tokino has closed the sheer drapes around my bed, and rays from the moon of light are shining in through the window. It’s cold on my cheeks, but the rest of my body is warm. I'm still curled up on my stomach. I have to pee, though, so I can’t just stay in bed—as cozy as it is.

I give a long stretch—and am startled out of my mind. I think at first a spider has spun a web right over my head and I have put my hand right through the center of it. I look at my hands and there is golden hair splayed out all over my arms, down to the tips of my fingers.

Is someone in bed with me?? I freak out, a shiver going down my back, and I feel a gust a wind, and that blows hair everywhere—mixing with my own... and wait just a minute. 

It looks like the same color as my hair, but it can’t be—mine isn’t nearly that long. When I push it out of the way, one of the long strands is yanked on my own head. I realize it is, in fact, my own hair. I play with it for a few minutes—it’s nearly waist-length—slightly wavy—and a huge mess. 

Quite startling. I wonder, rubbing my eyes, if I am still dreaming. It’s still awfully warm in here. Maybe that potion makes you dream vividly? I give another stretch and try to shift onto my back. My shoulders are feeling much, much better, and my back isn’t sore anymore, either—but I can't turn over from this position on my belly. I seem to be trapped, pinned on my stomach, under some kind of heavy feather blanket.

I feel a spooky sort of sensation creeping down my spine, and suddenly, a gust of wind whooshes past my body again—exactly like the one that moved my hair just a minute ago.

What the hell is that?

It sounded like... a bird? Maybe a bird flew in my room in the night—that’s right, the door was open, right?

No. It's not like a bird. I know this sound and this sensation, and so it follows it means I must be dreaming. This has to be a dream. No reason to panic. I take a deep breath. Don't panic. Plus—and this is really weird—I think I can feel the top of the bed canopy. I’m lying on my stomach, so this is totally disorienting. I’m short! There’s no part of my body that could possibly be touching the top of the bed's frame.

“Tokino?” I ask, quietly at first. I am, in fact, starting to panic. This feels way more real than my dream.

I remember the sensation from the dream I had with the cherry trees. It’s the sound of giant feather-covered wings. It can’t be anything else. Gears are starting to turn slowly in my head, and my emotions are turning from fear into terror.

“Tokino?” Calling a little louder this time, I look at the bedside table at the bell Tokino left out for me. However, my arms are too short to reach it. And my wings are pinning me here in place. Even if I wiggle, I can't move. And wiggling makes me have to pee in a worse way! Waaa!

Whoosh—it’s unmistakable. Wings. Attached to... my back. They are spread wide open, and I’m panicking, and I don’t know how to retract them. Is that what you do with wings? Retract them? Tuck them into your body? Bend them? What do you do with wings? Why do I have wings?

What the fuck is this? I’m stuck in my bed, I have to take a piss, and I can’t get up! 

“Tokino!!” I yell this time, unable to keep the desperation and fear out of my voice.

The door opens to my bedroom and footsteps rush inside.

“Konoe! Is everything all right?” Tokino pulls open the drapes and gasps audibly when he meets my terrified gaze. “Sweet Ribika! Konoe? Is that really you??”

Chapter Text

Last night’s transformation causes complete chaos in the harem—add the beginning of the mating season, and things are really hopping.

When Tokino first sees me, he is startled—and he isn’t even sure I am actually Konoe. But once I speak to him—desperately asking for help with my newly grown wings, he realizes that yes, I am indeed the same cat. He was afraid I might have been possessed by the spirit of the Sanga of whom I dreamed—I did dream of him and his Touga last night again as well. But I am definitely myself—no possession is involved in this case. Tokino helps me figure out how to retract my wings and get out of bed so I can finally relieve myself.

“What are we going to tell the king?” Tokino fusses. “I’m sorry to do this, Konoe, but I have to get the shaman and Mana involved.” 

Those are the last two people I want to see. Before he brings them in, I beg for some clothes—and he dresses me in a clean pair of underwear and the sheer gold kimono, the one I wore yesterday evening underneath the gorgeous brocade. He drapes it so my wings are above the collar—but how will I wear any other type of shirt now? My wings get in the way. I tie the obi around my waist, my hair spilling everywhere—and I’m a little startled each time I see that ethereal looking creature’s reflecting back at me in the mirror.

I notice I feel a little feverish like I have a cold or flu. I wonder if this is a symptom of heat? Of the mating season? There's so much else going on that I don't get a chance to ask. Plus, I feel so much better than yesterday that I don't make a fuss about it.

Mana comes in first. The moment she steps into the room, my symptoms worsen—and I have to back away from her. She takes one look at me—and her pupils blow wide. 

“What are you?” she asks. “‘Your hair has grown also—in addition to those things on your back!”

“I-i don’t know,” I stammer. She’s making me feel guilty just for existing with that glare of hers and her accusing tone of voice. But there's a strange undertone to the sound of her voice that isn't exactly critical. It confuses me.

“The king can’t see you like this. Where’s the shaman?” she snaps irritatedly.

I hear his shuffling feet, and he enters my chamber. 

“Sweet Ribika!” he exclaims. “This is what I saw in the stars last night! Child, you have changed into your true form.”

“My true form?” I echo. A sense of horror washes over me. Will I stay like this—forever? I feel a shudder rippling through my feathers and through my fur—it’s a strange sensation and it makes an audible sound—others in the room can actually hear my discomfort. It's incredibly embarrassing.

“Yes—those wings are part of who you are. You must have genuine Sanga blood running in your veins. Your father is a Sanga, too—does he also look like this?”

“With wings?” I ask. “Of course not!” 

“Perhaps he has learned to hide them when he is not in heat. His hair is long, too—like yours?”

Both my parents have long hair—very long. What if Dad had wings and never spoke of them? 

“It’s possible you will only have the wings during your heat cycle,” the shaman says.

“Regardless, he cannot appears before His Grace in his current form!” Mana exclaims. 

“Why not?” the shaman asks.

“We all know the ancient story of Sanga and Touga. It’s said the original Sanga had wings as well. I don’t want him to kill the king! It’s what always ends up happening between those two. It’s their eternal fate, isn’t it? And the king has been obsessed with finding a Sanga for as long as I can remember, and I can think of no other outcome! Plus—well, this little one might escape—with those wings. We must do something to prevent him from flying away, should he ever get outside! Can you remove them?” Mana asks the shaman.

“Remove...?” I ask, a sense of horror coming over me. My wings flutter restlessly, along with my tail. 

“Do you mean surgically?” The shaman asks.

“Yes—preferably before His Grace calls for him again.”

“N-no!” I protest. I’m not having surgery! I flinch away from both, fearfully, looking to Tokino with desperation.

“I’m in charge of what goes on in the harem. If you escape, it will be on me! Shaman, perhaps you can maim him? Clip his flight feathers? Anything so he can’t fly!” Mana is awfully persistent and is scaring me.

The shaman touches the tip of one of my feathers on my right wing—and I quiver—the entire wing shivers, the feather ruffling through the tip of my wing to my shoulders. Goosebumps show up on the right side of my body, too.

“You have sensation in your feathers, don’t you?” The shaman asks.

Mana grabs a feather from the left wing—and she tugs on it—trying to remove it. I cry out in pain, trying to shift away from her.

“Please! Stop! It hurts!” 

“I don’t care how much it hurts! He cannot be left alone like this—I cannot be held responsible for him!” She glares down at me harshly, as if I have defied her and deserve punishment.

“I didn’t grow them on purpose,” I say quietly. “If they disgust you so much, just look away.” 

“It’s not that!” she raises her voice, making my body shrink away and tremble. “I don’t want you fulfilling any prophecy that involves the king! You are a danger to him—you and your song and these wings! And now your hair has grown, too—what is this? It’s like you’re possessed! It’s all impossible!”

“His hair is beautiful and easily styled,” Tokino says. “But the king will be very upset if you harm him or keep him away from his current favorite. Please—just leave his wings alone.” 

“I agree it would be too cruel—I don’t want to amputate a part of any concubine without speaking to the king first,” the shaman says.

“Then chains! Keep him in chains and restrained so he won’t fly away!” Mana says. She excuses herself and returns with shackles. “You will wear them at all times unless His Grace permits you otherwise!” 

It’s better than amputation, so I nod demurely.

“Your wrists.” Mana takes it upon herself to attach chains between my wrists, between my ankles, and adds a plain gold collar to my neck. The chain from the collar is then attached to the wall. Of course, she noticed the diamonds in my cuffs and growls.

“Spoiled brat!” she mutters, looking at the jewels. I’m afraid she might slap me. “If you do anything to attempt to escape, you will be severely punished. And if you harm even a hair on King Rai’s head, I will personally see to your discipline. And Tokino, he is your responsibility if he escapes while you have him unleashed.”

Tokino nods and a shiver goes up my back.

“Don’t allow him to use the public bathing area until the season is over—unless it is completely isolated. I don’t want him causing a ruckus between the others. His scent is overpowering,” Mana continues her orders. “Even I am finding him difficult to refuse.”

What did she just say? Is she talking about me? She is finding me difficult to refuse? What?

Then she turns to the shaman.  

“As you are unwilling to do anything at all about this situation, you will tell His Grace about what has transpired here. I want nothing to do with it. And you—” she snaps, addressing Tokino, “you had better make him presentable.”

“Of course.” Tokino tips his head in a polite bow, and we all watch Mana flounce out of the room.

“Do you still feel like yourself, child?” the shaman asks. 

“Yes,” I reply. “I assume you’re asking if I’m possessed?”

“I am. From your scent, it seems you aren’t. But we mustn’t be too careful. If you injure His Majesty, you will be severely punished or even killed.”

“I know—and I wouldn’t.” For some reason, just thinking of Rai right now makes me feel feverish.

“I’ll leave you to it,” he replies. With that, he tips his head and leaves.

Tokino immediately starts running a brush through my hair—and he pulls it back in a low ponytail.

“You will be fine,” he says. “I’ll get you something to drink.”

I’m close to tears. 

“You look beautiful, Konoe. He will adore you. She was helplessly attracted to you and didn’t know what to do, and that’s why she reacted the way she did. Don’t take it personally.”

“What?” I whisper. My fur and feathers ruffle slightly again at his words and are soothed by the touch of his fingers. “She’s not—”

“Everyone in the harem enters rut around the same time, thanks to His Majesty,” Tokino says. “He is kind to his concubines and visits them regularly, pays them lots of attention, even if he isn’t on good physical terms with them like he is with you,” Tokino explains. “Unfortunately, this is the result. You didn’t notice her fluffy fur and dilated pupils—and her scent? She certainly noticed yours.”

“Do I need to bathe?” I ask. Do I stink?

“No—no!” Tokino says. “You smell like honey and orange blossom, and in fact—wait here, and drink your juice. I will be right back.” 

I try to relax, and Tokino disappears out the sliding glass door. Of course, I am chained to the wall, so I have to wait. I'm not going anywhere. He has gone out my back door—which I can no longer use, thanks to my wings—does this mean I won’t be permitted to use the garden? Ever? The chains aren’t very heavy, but they weigh heavy on me. I watch him in the yard, choosing a few flowers from some of the bushes and plants, and he comes back inside.

“There. Let’s weave them into your hair properly. You have the perfect hair for it.” 

Leaving a few strands free, which cascade in front of my face down to my waist in loose waves, he braids the rest in a thick plait, weaving in the flowers as he goes with skilled fingers. The braid hangs loosely between my wings and reaches to my waist. He shows me the work—and I’m a little taken by the strange beauty—I look quite foreign to myself in my reflection—by holding up a small mirror to the large one.

“He will adore you,” Tokino assures me.

Suddenly the door to my room bursts open, and I hear Mana screaming from outside, “You are not permitted! You know the rules, Aoba! Get back to your own chamber or you will face punishment!”

Sure enough, my torturer and teacher from two nights ago has burst into my chamber, unannounced and without permission.  

“Konoe?” His voice startles me—and his scent hangs in the air, sweet, attractive, and amazingly strong. “What happened? She wasn’t lying?! What are you?”

At the sound of his voice, the memory of what he did to me returns, and my body responds—heating up, my wings spread suddenly, widely—knocking into the wall behind me.

“Oh, my gods!” Aoba runs up to me, and Mana follows, calling for help. “And she has you chained?!” Aoba cries.

“Get away from him! You know the rules—you can’t touch him—you don’t have first choice!”

“I just want to see if his wings are real!” Aoba shakes her off easily—he is much stronger than he looks—of course, I know this after spending the night with him. He is right at the foot of my chair and stroking the feathers on the tips my wings, making me shiver. I bite my lip so as not to make a sound—but it feels good—and he smells good. “Ah—you’re so soft! Can you feel in your feathers? Oh, my gods, he’s going to go nuts for you!”

“Aoba! Get back to your room!” Mana is screaming. “Get him away from the kitten!” She still hasn’t said my name—not once since I have been here. I shiver violently, and Mana’s staff pulls Aoba off of me and out of my chamber.

“We will leave you in peace. I hear he has sent for you,” she says, a little bitterly, over her shoulder.

Tokino smiles at me comfortingly, and he rubs my shoulder. 

“You will be fine. He will adore you. I promise.”

There is a knock at my door a few moments later, and I tentatively say, for the first time since I’ve been here, “Enter?” almost as if it’s my own room.

In the doorway stands Koujaku. His eyes widen when he looks at me—and his jaw drops when I stand up. He draws in a sharp breath, looking me over from head to toe. I try to ignore how sheer my robe is, looking him straight in the eye.

“Are you here to take me to the king? I’m feeling much better this morning. I’ve received medical clearance to see him.” It’s mostly true. I want out of this room—for fear of Mana trying to cut off my wings.

“What on earth is this?” Koujaku asks, his red eyes much darker than usual. Instead of addressing me, he is asking Tokino. 

“Sir?” Tokino asks, innocently. 

“What?” I ask.

“Didn’t they tell you?” Tokino asks quietly. “Konoe has had some kind of transformation, as you can see.”

“Yes, I can see that. Why is he chained up like this?” Koujaku asks. “Has he injured someone?”

“Mana was afraid I’d fly away,” I say casually. 

“The restraints suit you rather well,” the duke says. “I’ll take responsibility for him.”

“How noble of you,” I mumble quietly, under my breath, as my chains are removed from the wall behind me. He strokes my wings gently—and I shiver.

“I see. You have sensation in your feathers? And it seems your hair has grown? And... it seems your heat has come at just the right time. His Grace will be pleased. He was feeling quite anxious about you this morning,” Koujaku says, guiding me from the room.

I look over my shoulder at Tokino, who smiles and tips his head—hopefully, as in encouragement. I still have a rather long walk with the duke, and as usual, he has me walk in front of him. I feel his hands caressing my wings and my hair now and then.

“Is this transformation something your kind does?”

“My kind?” I ask, wondering if I should be insulted.

“You’re a Sanga, aren’t you? I can tell you’re rutting. Your scent is really...” he lowers his nose to my nape and nuzzles me there, “... something. Is this part of your heat? Is it permanent?”

His nose and eyelashes are tickling me. And what a personal question! Although—considering my position, I suppose this is my purpose here.

“I don’t know. My parents never showed me any wings, so I have no idea.”

“I see. They are strangely captivating,” Koujaku says quietly. To my surprise, he doesn’t speak again before we reach Rai’s chamber. 

I feel weak in the knees before I even enter—I can smell Rai's scent even from outside the door, and I realize I really, really want to see him, and not just to get away from the harem. The duke knocks and enters. I lower my gaze, entering demurely, wondering if I should get on my knees or bow—but he said to abstain from that sort of behavior in his chambers. 

He’s dressed in that sheer silk robe as well—looking as beautiful as last night—unchanged—he does not have black wings or horns, thankfully—which was a slight concern. However, his scent is much stronger, and it makes me salivate immediately. I want to rush into his arms when I see him, but I’m slightly afraid. What if he dislikes what he sees? What if I’m disgusting to him?

“Konoe!” Even his voice sounds richer, sinking deep into my ears and making my fur ruffle—and my new feathers audibly shuffle around. “What in the name of Ribika—?”

“Ahem, Your Grace,” the duke intercedes for me. “It appears your Sanga has had a slight transformation. Do you still desire him?”

The thought that he might not like me terrifies me. I don’t quite know what to do, so I lower myself to my knees and bow my head. My wings barely let me do this, dragging on the ground uncomfortably, and my hair is now touching the floor. 

“My gods.”

For a few moments, I feel tension in the air. It hasn’t occurred to me that my new form might displease him. What would I do? I’m scared—and not just because I am afraid to return to the harem. I really want to spend time with him—I want him to touch me and do those things to me that make me feel so nice. My body is really yearning for him—I feel hot and get even hotter—almost feverish—as he gets closer to me. Should I make my wishes known? He said he likes me eager—wouldn’t it be a good thing for me to speak up? So even with the duke still in the room, I open my mouth and lift my face, keeping my eyelashes lowered.

“Your Grace,” I murmur—and I barely recognize my own voice for its breathy, sultry tone, “Rai—please, let me stay with you. I want to be with you.”

I allow myself a quick glance up to his face, and his face can only be described as erotic. His fangs peep through his plush lips, which curve up at the corners in a sexy smile, and I can see his tongue sneaking through to lick their pointed tips. Is he actually salivating, too? His pale blue eye sparkles, the pupil dilated completely, round and dark—his long lashes makes his eye look half-lidded as he gazes down at me with a glance filled with desire and longing. He wants to touch me.

My fear and discomfort start to fade, and I return his smile softly, my anxiety dissipating and a little shyness returning. Then his hand reaches out to fondle my ears, experimentally caress my now long hair, and also pet my new wings—which ruffle under the electric current of his touch.

“My gods, Konoe—you are beautiful,” he says, his voice low and purring. Looking up at the duke, who seems almost disappointed, he says, “Thank you. You may be excused.” 

“Of course,” Koujaku replies. “Ah—Mana told me she’s been having discipline issues with Aoba again. Would you permit me to see to him this season?”

“What were the details this time?” Rai sighs heavily.

“The most important issue is that he refused to stay away from this one. He barged into his room after specifically being told to stay away—this morning.”

“Fine,” Rai replies. “Please don’t be too hard on him. As you know, he responds better to rewards than punishment.” 

Koujaku looks quite pleased, and I realize one of the concubines has just been given to the duke! Could that be me—someday? Would Rai give me to Koujaku for “further training” if I don’t comply with his wishes? A small shiver goes through my body—and it’s audible, drawing both the duke’s and the king’s attention. 

“Why is this one restrained? Did he hurt someone?” Rai asks, toying with the chain between my wrists and my collar.

“No. Mana was afraid he might try to escape,” Koujaku replies. “Newfound freedom with those wings, you see? She didn’t want to risk it.”

“I see. But you’d never do that, would you?” Rai murmurs into my ear. “Especially as you are now? If you think about it, you know as well as I do why your true form has appeared, today of all days. Don’t you, little Sanga?”

“What?” I ask. I don’t understand what he means. 

“You know,” Rai purrs softly. “I’ve brought out your true form. You belong with me. This is your home now.” He nods over my shoulder, and I hear Koujaku make his departure. “I’ve brought out the real you with my touch—and everyone at your old home would be able to see it—it shows on the outside, on your body, in the form of these beautiful wings. Everyone would see that you are mine—both in soul and body. That is why you cannot leave.”

I sigh—but I’m not discouraged. Ever since I first discovered I had wings, I have not thought of escape—not even once. I have not thought of returning home. But not because my people and parents would see me as spoiled or ruined. It’s because I can’t imagine being away from this white cat! It’s shocking. 

“I don’t require these chains,” I say, looking up into his eyes from my place on the floor. “I haven’t considered escape—not even once.”

“No?” Rai breathes softly, raising me to my feet. “And why not?”

“I...” I hesitate slightly, a little afraid to say what’s on my mind. But my body is overcome with heat and desire—even more than I was yesterday morning after Aoba’s training session—and I am unable to think clearly and unable to stop the words from spilling from my lips. “I think I agree with you. I don’t want to leave your side. I couldn’t bear it.”

Rai smiles, showing his perfectly straight teeth—which makes me want to kiss him. What is wrong with me? He unlocks and removes the chains at my ankles and wrists, but leaves the one at my collar. He touches the collar and shakes his head.

“Wait just a moment.” He walks to his vanity, opens a drawer and pulls out another collar, this one decorated with the same scrollwork as my wrists and inlayed with diamonds. He brings it back to me and replaces the one currently on my neck.

“Much better.” He tilts his head to the side. “Now—where were we?”

“I am feeling strange,” I say, somewhat concerned. “Like I have a fever—and it’s worse in your presence, I’m afraid. Perhaps I am not quite better yet...”

“Of course, you do. You’re in heat now—as am I—and we are compatible. You will feel better soon.”

I flutter my wings, trying to cool myself.

“You are enchanting—this new form—it’s beautiful,” Rai says, smiling, running his hands through my wings. “Show yourself to me.” He uses my collar to turn me around, fingering my neck lightly—and I now realize he has untied my obi as well—while he was removing my chains.

“What are you doing?” I’m embarrassed—and even more embarrassed when he slides the robe from my shoulders, letting it pool on the ground.

“Ah—you are not bare underneath as I’d hoped,” Rai whispers into my ear—ruffling up the fur and shivering my feathers. “And now I can hear when your feathers ruffle, you know. It’s quite adorable and suits you very well.” His hands are toying with the waistband of my underwear, pulling them from my body rather roughly.

A small sigh escapes and my wings spread reflexively, then I curl them around myself—covering my nakedness. It works much better than my tail, which is misbehaving itself again.

“I see,” Rai says. “Don’t you feel the heat? I can smell it on you. I was slightly hesitant to let anyone but me fetch you this morning, for fear that they might not be able to resist your scent—you smell of honey and orange blossoms—and these flowers in your hair only add to your allure.”

He rests his chin on my shoulder, and I hear a whispering sound, and something silky touches my feet. It’s Rai’s robe. Now—when he presses his body against mine—I feel his warmth, and it does something to me, making me melt against him. My feathers feel like they are reaching out to his body, in fact. It’s such a strange sensation. 

“You are so warm,” I whisper, and my knees shake.

“You are still resisting me, aren’t you?” I feel his hands in my hair, undoing the plait that Tokino so carefully styled—letting the flowers fall or stay as they like. 

“N-no—I w-wouldn’t—” I protest.

“Still is so shy? Didn’t I tell you it’s an honor when your king wishes to look upon you?” Rai asks, turning me around in his arms. My hair spills everywhere, and my chin is tilted up and I am kissed soundly and deeply. Rai’s purring makes me start to purr—and I feel his tongue filling up my mouth. It strangely sexual—I mean, kissing is often a prelude, I suppose—but today, his tongue in my mouth, invading me, making more room for itself, reminds me of another part of his body that is about to do the same thing to another part of my body.

As soon as our lips separate, I’m brought over to the bed—but to my surprise, I’m pushed face down over the side of the mattress, Rai looming over me. He fingers my collar gently—and that gives me goosebumps—he could strangle me if he wanted—and the thought is gently terrifying. However, my body is so hot right now—so eager—so... thirsty, he called it, I don’t shy away from his touch.

He moves that the hands from my collar and begins stroking my wings—making me shudder and sigh—and the other creeps up my thighs, slipping between my cheeks. I hadn’t seen him grab any lube—but I feel it on his fingers as they brush over my entrance. I gasp when I feel the cold temperature, but my back arches up toward his hand, my feet moving to tiptoe. A soft chuckle in my ear, he gently brings his other hand down to my lower back. It’s cool compared to the temperature of my body, but not as cold as his fingers.

“I don’t think I’ve seen you this eager for me before, little Sanga.” His voice is deep and soft—but not calm. It’s almost ragged with heat. “Not even after an evening with Aoba. I could get used to this. Just relax your body—this will be different today—more enjoyable, I think.”

More enjoyable? How could that be? Does he mean it won’t hurt? I struggle to relax my legs, even as his hand gently guides my hips back to the bed.

“My gods—you are gorgeous.” He licks my nape, moving the long hair out of the way. Feeling it tickle my back and my chest—mixing with his long strands, I see them on the bed, my hair trying to twirl and tangle itself around his straight, silver strands. It reminds me of our tails—and mine is currently seeking out something to hold—and it’s twirled itself around Rai’s thigh, bristling with delight and expectation. His own tail brushes mine occasionally, and I feel a soft pinch to the tip. “Oi—loosen up a little.” 

“Ah—I’m s-sorry,” I gasp, feeling his other hand right beneath the base of my tail. His warm legs are pressed up against mine, making his fingers feel even colder. He is hooking two fingers around the outside of my entrance, pulling gently, and the teasing is intense. “I—Ah!—I don’t—ah—know what’s—ah—wrong with me—Ah!” That last little gasp turns into more of a meow—and he chuckles again.

His other hand brushes against my feathers, and to my surprise, so do his lips—a soft, grooming touch to them, ruffling each feather, paying attention to each vane, which is providing a strange sensation in my wings, almost ticklish, but much more arousing. I realize I’ll need to groom my wings regularly—which will add to my grooming routine significantly.

Because I’m trapped on my stomach, I can’t resist what he’s doing, and he has free reign to do what he likes—and he is. 

“Your wings are frighteningly light—the bones feel hollow—do you think they are?”

My ears prickle at the thought of having my wings removed once again, and how easy it might be to break them or surgically remove them, and a bolt of fear shudders through me.

“What’s wrong?”

“Do you really like them?” I ask. “I don’t disgust you?” I’m worried, frankly—even despite the attention he’s paying me. 

“I don’t think you could ever disgust me, Konoe. However, you sound concerned. Are you worried?”

“Mana hated the wings—she asked the shaman to amputate them, and I—”

“That will never happen, Konoe.” Warm arms wrap around my chest. The teasing stops suddenly in exchange for my reassurance. “You are safe here, little Sanga. No one can hurt you without my permission. Even she knows that.” 

“She sent Aoba away—”

“Aoba is actually in heat,” Rai explains. “As is Koujaku. I know they harbor feelings for each other. I just haven’t figured out a way to release Aoba from his obligation to me without offending his home country Midorijima yet.”

“Really?” I ask, almost unable to believe my ears. “You would do that?”

“I’m looking into it,” Rai murmurs. “My point is—don’t be worried about Mana. You are safe here. She may talk like she runs the place, but that is her style. She’s probably worried about her position, and she is in heat today as well. She probably found you irresistible, little one. I can’t imagine she wouldn’t. She worried about the others in the harem as well—not being to stay away from you.”

“So no one will hurt my wings?”

“No one will hurt your wings.” He runs both fingers through the feathers, and I can’t suppress my gasp. “They are quite sensitive, aren’t they? They are so very pretty. I think they suit you. And they frame another part of you so very nicely.” 

“What?” I ask—but I didn’t need to—because with my wings opened, I can feel his hands grabbing my butt enthusiastically. And then, he caresses me again, more softly this time, stroking both between my cheeks and where my cheeks meet my thighs. Instead of shying away in fear like I usually would do, I find myself more than eager today—pressing back up against his hands, anxious for more. One hand disappears again—returning with more lube, beginning to tease at my entrance once again, just as much as before—without actually pressing inside me.

“Keep your body relaxed, Konoe,” he presses my lower back against the mattress, which is arched up again, and I’m on my tiptoes, trying to press against his body.

“J-just—ah—please!” I beg. “I c-can’t—Ah!—Your teasing is—ah—too mu-” and my voice trails off into another desperate mewling sound. 

“I don’t want to hurt you—even if you are feeling it,” he whispers into my ear—and then his tongue dives in after his words. His warm chest is pressing against my wings, which are currently mostly retracted and shivering—the feathers make such a ruckus! It’s embarrassing!

Finally, two fingers dive inside my body, spreading my insides apart and scissoring me apart, and he huffs in my ear again, “Just relax, kitten. Let me care for you. I’ll make you feel better soon.”

I realize I’m up off the bed again—and the reason I have to stand on my toes is that the bed is a little tall for me to reach. Something in my chest feels tight—almost like yesterday—a pulling sensation—a song? I don’t know.

“Please—t-touch m-me more,” I beg quietly.

“Oh? Are you asking for what you want? How very brave of you,” Rai says softly. His body moves even closer to me—his chest is almost squishing my wings—and he is so warm! His knees press into the back of my knees, and his thighs press against mine. His free hand starts to move over my body—caressing my butt and legs, then moves up along my waist and hips, my back, my shoulders—it feels like he has more than two hands, weirdly. There is a third finger inside me now, and then, he pulls them all out. He pats me on the behind and says, “Now, climb on up and get on all fours. You can keep your chest low if you want—it might feel better that way.” 

I comply in an instant, crawling up in the bed, surrounded by golden hair and feathers—it’s so weird like some third person is in the bed with me. He follows me, and I feel him kneeling up against the back of my thighs... so warm! And then—I hear a liquid squishing sound—he is lubing himself up a little more, and then I feel his heat lining up against my entrance. He grips my hips firmly, and I lower my chest back down to the bed. 

Strangely—and this is so strange!—when he presses slowly inside me, I don’t feel any pain at all. Not even at the start, like I usually do, when he is first stretching my body open. Instead, I feel a strong tingling sensation at the base of my spine that gets more powerful the further he advances. At first, I try to keep my voice down—despite what he told me earlier about wanting me vocal—by pressing my lips together and when I can no longer keep my lips closed, I end up moving my mouth to the back of my forearm, which is currently bearing at least a quarter of my weight. The pain I expect to feel is instead an incredibly indulgent sensation—and I am very aware—keenly aware—of exactly how much of Rai is currently inside me, and how much he has to go.

His body is vibrating with his own soft purr, and I can feel him against the back of my legs. A whispering sigh falls from Rai’s mouth when he finally is completely immersed inside my body—and I can’t stand it anymore when he shuffles his knees up a little closer to me. I let out a lewd-sounding cry—again, it sounds like I’m meowing—but I can’t help it. He feels so good! 

“Oi, are you all right?” Rai whispers softly in my ear. “You’re being so much more vocal than usual, I hardly know what to do.” And he licks my ears again, running his hands down my waist, wrapping one to the front of my hips, and another strange sound comes out of my mouth. My wings flutter again, spreading out slightly. It’s weird to be able to sense in them—I can feel the bedspread on either side of me, almost all the way to the edge of the bed, as well as strands of Rai’s hair, which are floating around him gracefully.

Rai rocks his hips forwards and I meow again—pleasure shudders along my spine and into my shoulders, ruffling my feathers, but I keep my wings still. He feels so good! And that hand caressing my hip has found my cock, which is rock hard and dripping. A strange purring sound drips out of my mouth—I hardly recognize it as my own voice, in fact—and Rai sighs along with me.

“You’re not, ah, nearly so resistant today, are you, little Sanga?”

Between the purring and his voice, his hands on me and the feel of him inside me, I’m going a little crazy—I’m not feeling like myself. It doesn’t hurt even a little, and that makes the experience a lot less scary and a lot more pleasant—maybe pleasant isn't the right word. Hotter, maybe? Sexier? In any case, it’s fulfilling a need my body has right now.

Plus, I can’t seem to keep my hips still, and I am thrusting back to meet Rai’s movements, burying my face in my arms. It feels amazing—and then—he brushes against the secret spot inside of me, deliberately slowly—dragging himself slowly nearly all the way out of me, and I wheeze, unable to get air in my lungs.

“P-Please!”

“Call my name,” he leans down and whispers in my ear. “Konoe, call for me by name.” Hearing my name in that voice makes my fur stand on end. And he repeats the same movement.

“R-rai...” I murmur, softly—unable to stop myself.

“Louder—like you mean it,” he purrs.

“Rai,” I repeat—less hesitant now—and a lewd-sounding, utterly helpless meow follows my vocalization.

“Nice—but like you really mean it,” Rai nips the tip of my ear. I meow again in response to the bite—it’s harder than a nip, really, yet it does nothing to curb my desire or pleasure.

“Ah—Rai!” I’m losing my head, my body is tingly, and I can hardly feel my fingers or toes. “Rai—please—may I please—” I am so close to climax, but once again, I am afraid to come without express permission. I am his—I know this now—at least in the bedroom, my body belongs to this cat, and I am unable to come without his permission.

“Please what?” he sighs in my ear, leaning over me, still thrusting continually into me, holding my hips against his. “What do you want? Tell me what you want, little Sanga.”

“I want to come! Please!” I lisp out the words over bared fangs, and I can’t feel my lips anymore. Both my lips and tongue are numb and tingling. 

“Sing for me first—and then you may come,” he commands, low into my ear, over the sounds of my sighs.

Right as those words sink into my ear, my chest lifts, and a song bursts from my heart. Tears slip down my face, and my body vibrates with the sound of a melody—and Rai responds instantly—both physically and verbally.

“There’s a good kitten,” he growls and licks my ears, one after the other in turn—entering each with his tongue, and I hear it squishing around wetly. 

My song has a strange melody today—it sounds different than before—it doesn’t sound defeated or conquered as it has in the past. This is a confident melody, and while it sounds gentle it certainly isn’t meek. It almost sounds loving—like I actually want to be here, communicating my desire for the silver cat taking my body and satisfying the heat inside me, At least, it sounds like I’m glad he is fucking me.

“Ah—please,” I beg, now distressed and pleading. “May I please—”

“Go ahead,” is purred low into my ears, and no sooner do I receive permission is my body letting go—and I release into the palm of his hand with a loud cry, spilling pleasure from the base of my spine and the core of my being. I feel tension and heat release throughout my body, transforming to pure contentment, coursing up my spine and into my back and shoulders, out to my fingers, toes, and even the tip of my tail and my ears, which flick and twitch in response. My wings spread out reflexively, luxuriating in the delightful feeling of relaxation and satisfaction.

Another growling sigh comes from the cat behind me, and I feel him release inside my body as he also comes—purring and allowing his body to melt into mine. The temperature of his body feels natural—like it belongs inside me—and when he pulls out, I miss his presence. 

My song continues a little while after we both climax, and he strokes my hips and back to make me lie down on the bed. I turn my head toward him—finally seeing his face. It was strange having him take me without being able to see him. 

“I missed your face,” I say, surprised at the words that spill from my lips. His white fangs glow a pearly white in the light—it’s incredibly bright in the room—full morning, probably still an hour or two before noon, with gorgeous rays of light shining in through the skylights, reflecting off of his hair from the mirror. His eye glances upward for a moment, his hand still moving against my wings and lower back and buttocks, stroking me gently. It’s a moment before I realize he is looking at my reflection in the mirror above his bed, and my ears and cheeks heat up when I do. I cast my eyes down—showing off my lashes—but I cannot turn my head. My body is paralyzed from my song, which is now faded. 

“You are like a magical creature,” Rai says, his voice still low and breathy, as though he is still trying to catch it. He still smells delicious, and I close my eyes for a moment to enjoy his scent. Refreshing—even after sex like that—shouldn’t he smell like sweat? And he seems to do the same—like he is smelling me as well. “Your scent is even stronger and sweeter. I don’t want you out of my sight today.”

He runs his fingers through my hair, and then down my wings.

“Gods—your hair—it’s like spun gold. You look even more like the cat in my dreams, strangely,” Rai says thoughtfully. “A younger version, surely—if you dream as him, surely you can’t see yourself—but you have his face. Surely, he must have looked like you.” 

“You share similarities with the cat in my dream as well, only...” I let my voice trail off. 

“Only?” Rai prompts me, smiling softly.

“Well, you do not have wings.”

“Anything else?” 

“You are missing an eye?” I want to see what is under that eye patch suddenly. 

“And?”

“Well. You, um, well.” I stop for a moment and look up at him, unsure. I lower my voice. “You don’t have horns.” 

“Not yet, anyway,” Rai says, turning onto his back and slipping off the bed. I watch his ass flex as he wanders over to grab something to drink from the table. He glances over his shoulder and catches me looking. “You’re starting to fit in a little better, aren’t you?”

“Ah—no,” I protest, looking down and embarrassed.

“Are you going to tell me you want to go back to your room again?” The king asks casually.

“Oh—no! Please—let me stay here with you! I want to stay here with you. Please.” I’ve surprised myself again—and apparently, I’ve surprised the king with my outburst. His ears twitch at my response, and he glances up at me.

“Well, that was delightfully enthusiastic. I’m quite pleased. And very surprised. What has brought this on? Are you still afraid of Mana?” His voice is soft as he brings me something to drink, his tail slightly bristled and covering himself as he walks toward me—not that I’m looking there, but I might be looking at his legs. “You really are checking me out today, aren’t you?”

“Ah, n-no, I-I’m s-sorry,” I stammer, looking down. “I-I j-just c-can’t move and—”

“Just hush,” Rai says. “It’s an honor to look upon your king—and for him to wish to look upon you. Don’t worry so! I like it, and I’m only teasing you. Here—let me help you drink. How is this going to work with these new appendages of yours?” 

He gently rolls me to my side and helps me sit up, making sure I don’t crush my wings, keeping my back and neck supported. I gulp down the entire glass of juice he offers me and then I relax. He sets the glass back on the side of the bed, climbs in next to me, and rolls my body on top of him.

“There we go,” he says, opening his legs a little so my groin settles in nicely in between his legs, and I rest my head just below his chin, which is turned to the right. He can still reach my ears this way, and he does, liberally. “You just rest for now. I’ll turn your head for you when I’m done with this side.” He hums slightly and starts grooming my left ear.

“What is it?” I ask, unable to move, feeling quite helpless. My feathers shiver slightly and my tail bristles.

“I rather like you this... immobile,” Rai says, sort of confessionally. “It’s nice that I can do whatever I want and you can’t do anything to protect yourself.”

“That’s not any different than any other time—even if I before I sing!” I complain. 

“What do you mean?” he purrs softly. “You act like I just take you completely against your will—and that is not what happened this morning, nor what happened yesterday—during any part of the day! In fact, I could even remind you of what happened in my wardrobe while I was trying to get dressed—”

“No!” I protest again. “That will not be necessary,” I say more softly. “I remember.”

“And yet you disagree?" 

“I... simply forgot,” I say, my excuse sounding somewhat lame. “Still—you can do whatever you like. I can’t even come without permission!”

“What’s this?” Rai asks, somewhat surprised. “You are actually asking for my permission?” he shifts his body around so he can look at me, and I avoid his gaze as much as possible. My face is redder than a kuim. “Are you? Is that what you were doing this morning? It’s an incredible turn-on and simply too adorable for words.”

I huff quietly—mostly to cover my embarrassment.

“It’s not like I do it on purpose! I’ve just been... conditioned.”

“Conditioned? What—by me? Did I do this? How? Even Aoba comes whenever he likes. How is this possible, little Sanga?” Rai does not sound mocking—he sounds gentle, and maybe even just slightly disturbed.

“I am yours—at least in the bedroom. I did not think it would please you if I came too soon or if I came before I was allowed. And I was probably afraid of another punishment.”

“Were you, though?” Rai asks, relaxing a little more. “Or were you perhaps hoping to earn yourself another punishment? Which do you think is more likely the case, my sweet kitten?”

I click my tongue in irritation, and Rai laughs out loud. I receive a rather sudden but gentle slap on my ass—it’s startling but it doesn’t hurt—and strangely, it sends a surge of desire straight into my hips. Because of how my hips are positioned—I am lying on Rai’s stomach and my legs are between his legs—he can feel me stiffen.

“My gods, you are not nearly as angelic and innocent as you look, little one!” He kisses my ear gently and turns my head to the other side so he can groom the other ear, stroking my bottom gently. “I will see to your needs again later—and see if I can fix this little attitude of yours with some further ‘conditioning,’ as you call it. For certain, you are my only concubine who dares click his tongue at me in that manner.”

“Hmph,” I hum softly instead. 

“Or make such pretentious sounds after I grace you with my presence, you ungrateful little beast!” He pinches the soft flesh of my bottom.

“Ouch!” But to my surprise, it doesn’t hurt all that much. No—it certainly doesn’t. In fact, if anything the pain it causes actually inflames me further—which only makes my situation worse. I’m terribly ashamed of myself.

“Ah, I see how it is,” Rai murmurs knowingly, rubbing right where he pinched quite lovingly and more than excessively, which also only adds to my stimulation. 

“You are making me like this!” I protest. “I’m not like this!”

“And how would you know what you are like, little one? You had so little experience before you came here, didn’t you? Perhaps this too is part of your natural form. Relax and enjoy it.” The giant silver cat purrs happily, grooming my ears, and I try to bear my humiliation as best as I can—concentrating on the touch of his tongue—but I notice he is slowing down a little, taking his time in grooming, and also using more saliva like he was when he was earlier—and this, too... everything... uwaa! What is wrong with me?!

I squeeze my eyes closed and try my best to enjoy the sensations. There isn’t much else I can do, except for dig myself a deeper hole.

 

Chapter Text

The "ungrateful little beast," as he calls me, opens his eyes a few hours later when the moon of light is high in the sky. I have an urge to see the gardens. I am still in bed and give a long stretch—finding myself still atop the king, much to my surprise.

I don’t think he has ever actually slept with me after sex during the day, and it’s surprisingly intimate to wake to him, face to face. My heart feels full, and I am startled by a soft rustling sound, which makes my fur stand on end.

Rai smiles.

“Precious creature, did I perhaps just witness you startling yourself with your own wings?” 

I look away, extremely embarrassed, my ears blushing fiercely.

“Here you are, in my castle, taking up more than half the space on my bed and in my heart, and yet you still startle at the smallest thing. I cannot yet make you feel safe,” his voice softens along with his smile. I look back at him, and he doesn't seem to be teasing me. He runs his fingers along the feathers gently making them shiver and ripple, and I enjoy the sensation, but I feel a little sadness I can’t quite understand. “What do you need? You do not fully trust me, do you? Of course—it's true I stole you from your home. I enslaved you in order to make you mine. But I do treasure you above everyone else at this castle. Do you wish to marry me? Truly?”

“You cannot, My King,” I say sadly. “I have heard and seen what happens someone like me comes together with a Touga of your blood, and there has never been a happy ending.”

“There's hasn't been one yet," Rai corrects me, touching the tip of my nose. "And we would surely enjoy ourselves in the time we have together. And afterward, wouldn’t you be free to do as you wish? You’d have your own kingdom. You'd be rich. I’d leave it all to you. I'd leave you the most eligible bachelor in the world.”

I roll my eyes and feel tears burning—more than I care to admit. “No. Don’t even joke about such things. I would be hated, and eventually, I would be killed—for killing their beloved king. And I wouldn't want any of that without you.”

“If it came to you killing me, I would no longer be their beloved king. You would never kill a beloved king. You know why Touga was killed, don’t you? Do you know why he requested his partner to take his life? Because he was no longer human himself. He did not trust himself around his beloved any longer—he felt he might injure the one he loved the most.”

“Aside from that, I will stay by your side. What if I never lose these wings? Will I always suffer under her thumb?”

“No. You will never suffer under her again. She will never touch you again, and I will make that perfectly clear now,” Rai stands up, stretching his arms and legs.

“B-but what are you going to do?” 

“Do you trust me to run the kingdom as a powerful leader should?”

“Of course, um, yes.” But I do not trust him not to make rash decisions.

“About matters of the harem, you know very little. Am I correct?”

“I am slightly afraid you may do something rash,” I murmur. “And she may take her revenge on me.”

“She will not dare. She needs to realize she no longer rules the roost, and it’s high time I set things straight downstairs. Come, darling. Dress and you will see, and then we will dine together.”

I am already thinking this is a bad idea, especially as Rai shows off my wings so obviously in the halls.

“Perhaps we might just spend the day alone—the two of us?” I ask, begging a little too obviously. 

“I will do that tomorrow. You may have me all to yourself tomorrow. Today, I want to give you a real reason to see me as your king and the person most worth your trust.”

Rai will not be dissuaded.

“But has your council agreed?”

“Konoe,” he stops just outside the chambers, finding me trembling. “I never want to find you trembling before another concubine—or anyone except me—again. If something happens, no matter how small, you must tell me. Otherwise, I may be forced to torture it out of you, using my special, private room, for hour after hour—even after you confess, if only for my amusement.” His tone makes my body shiver pleasantly and I am embarrassed by my reaction. He catches the shudder and smiles. “And even that did not really frighten you, my brave kitten. That was anticipation, wasn't it?” He gives me a wicked smile, nodding at the sentries, who are admiring my wings. They struggle to quickly announce us.

“Good day, my beloveds,” Rai says in a loud voice, leading me inside and pulling me close. “I am here to wish you good seasonal tidings and give you my blessing for a safe, sane, consensual season among yourselves. If you have questions or concerns, please send a letter or messenger, for I will be occupied. As the rumors have said, and as I am now confirming, I have a new official favorite.”

He sweeps his hand down my wings protectively.

“I would like to make a few important announcements. Konoe will soon be assigned a new chamber, conveniently located adjacent to mine. I find it a hassle to drag him all this way every night. Second, regarding the rumor of my upcoming nuptials, as those who have shared my bedroom in the past, you have the right to know from my own mouth. I hereby am confirming these rumors, privately. For several reasons we have yet to set a firm date but know my council has given their full approval.”

Letting the message and murmurs sink in, the king lowers his commanding tone and sweeps his eyes across every cat in the room, who listen with bated breath.

“Third, if and when The Favorite chooses to make an appearance in these rooms, anyone who treats him with less respect he is due will suffer consequences, both public and severe, and not performed by my own hand, as you may have been used to. He or she will be made an example of for all others. Konoe’s safety is of my utmost importance, and betraying it at this crucial moment is akin to betraying my trust. This includes, but is not limited to, threatening his person—including his wings—for any reason, even if you believe he may be a threat to my safety.”

Rai looks around the room and meet Mana’s eyes directly.

“The job of the harem is to care for my physical desires. I appreciate everything each of you has done for me. There is another branch of the castle dedicated entirely to the safety of my person. They are also aware of Konoe’s change. Please discuss any concerns about my personal safety with me or the Captain of the Guard. Have I made myself clear? Are there any questions?”

No one has a single question. I do not under any circumstance look at Mana. I can feel her glaring daggers in my direction. In her mind, clearly, this is all my doing—not the doing of my master and king.

“Thank you for your prompt attention. I appreciate your support and concern, and I trust you will all help make my new husband’s transition to the head of the harem a smooth one. Now, I would like to enjoy some private time with my lovely Sanga, and these beautiful, captivating wings of his. Please do not disturb us.”

He turns on his heel and pulls me after him, and I marvel at how eloquently he speaks and how easily he wields authority. Everyone listened and heard what he has said. I do feel much safer, though I feel sorry for Mana. He hasn’t told her she’s lost her position today, but she now knows it’s coming. So if she were smart, it would serve her well to be a little kinder to me.

I drink too much wine with lunch and find myself tired and groggy, or perhaps I am a bit tired from this morning, despite Rai’s tender care. He is very gentle with me, feeding me pieces of fruit and touching my wings—no—really learning to touch them so I feel it the most.

He plays a little game he has made up, called “This or That.” He has me close my eyes while lying on his lap, and I am to say which touch feels better: “this” or “that.” But he ends up caressing me so softly that he sends me off to sleep. Perhaps he meant for me to sleep, and that is what I do, drifting off comfortably with my head on his thighs. He moves my body back to the bed, and he tucks me in, figuring out how to do this with me comfortable on my back, plenty of pillows underneath me to keep me from crushing my wings.

Tokino tells me later that Rai escapes for a while to get some business finished, asking him to pick up the dishes, close the drapes, and ordering that I am not to be disturbed until I ring the bell. The door is locked—he and Tokino have keys for emergencies—and he plans to be back within an hour or two hours. 


 

However, I wake up in the dark to an awful sensation. At first, I think I must be dreaming—a nightmare. I feel suffocated. It’s pitch dark, I’m lying on my back and I’m extremely aroused—like someone has been toying with my body with the purpose of arousing it while I was sleeping. It feels like a terrible violation. Worse, I’m surrounded by a bright, partly floral fragrance, which definitely isn’t Rai’s scent. I feel completely molested, and when I try to open my mouth to speak, no sound greater than a soft hum escapes. There is a rag stuffed in it, drool dripping from the corners, and I feel a slight panic. And as soon as I hum for help, my nostrils are pinched by someone’s fingers, and I lose my ability to breathe completely and my panic explodes, quickly becoming dizzy and lightheaded. That’s when I realize I am blindfolded.

My body stiffens suddenly, and I hear someone shushing me, but no voice. My lips go numb and my cheeks tingle, but strangely, my cock gets even harder, and I hear a soft voice purr with pleasure. But I cannot get any air! I think I might actually be suffocated, and I turn my head left and right struggling to escape, and I try to pull my hands in front of me, and they are restrained over my head—to the posts of the bed. My legs, too, are spread and attached to the bedposts, and I hear a metallic clink of a chain.

I’m lying on top of my wings, and the person—a female—is on top of me, squishing me—so I can’t open them fully to protect myself. I just need a little more air—when my vision fades from black to gray to light gray—

And my nostrils are released, and I take in a giant breath. Relieved, I ignore the bright fragrance, but I do recognize it. I’m too busy trying to breathe to think about anything else, and I try to calm myself. Perhaps she isn’t trying to kill me—but then, I realize she is naked on top of me. 

She feels silky sitting straddled over my body, and I want her off of me. With horror, I realize she actually might be trying to fuck me. My dick is surrounded by something warm and wet, and though I can’t see, I can feel her smooth thighs next to my hips and gripping me hard on either side. My chest is stroked from my nipples down to my belly. Not a word is spoken, but the feelings are so wrong—this is a violation—I don’t want this!—and I struggle, trying to make a sound, trying to call for help or scream, and nothing. Instead, I lie stock still, thinking of something to make my arousal dissipate. 

But if I am stroked, if my tail is caressed, if my dick is immersed in such a soft, willing place and my body rode determinedly—my body will respond, despite anything I can do. My breath catches through my nose—and my heart catches painfully in my chest. I feel like I am cheating, as though I have been forced to cheat. I really am a whore now. I love the king—I realized it this morning—I really do love him—and someone is forcing my body to cheat!

Or no, only my body is being forced to fuck someone else—but why? What is the purpose? If she is in heat, I suppose a child could be conceived as the result of our union, but it would not be the king's child—not his heir—not a prince! This is simply cruelty. When I feel a silky, soft tail wrap around the inside of my thigh, fuzzy and thick, I know for sure who it is making me suffer, whose face I would see, leering down at me, watching my pained expression and my heart break. And the only reason I can think she would do this is that she thinks I hurt her on purpose as well. She hates me and she wants me to suffer.

She wants me in a position in which I can’t speak to the king honestly—and she wants me to not be able to breathe a word, to lie to him, to keep a secret, because I am so ashamed. For right now, I am ashamed—I am terribly ashamed of my body responding the way it is—my vulnerability, my powerlessness, my utter helplessness. I’m wondering how she was able to get in here, subdue me, tie me up, and gag me without waking me. Did she drug my wine?

Tears soak the blindfold. And I feel myself sob.

Please stop.

Something makes me beg and plead, at least subconsciously. 

Please don’t bring an innocent child into this! 

The chances of conception are small since I am so young and this is my first heat—but if it happened? How would the king react? If one of his concubines raped me? Because she wanted a child? What if she is doing this to replace the child she lost? Somehow, that is even sadder, and my heart breaks—even for her. It grieves for her loss, even as she makes me suffer.

More tears flow, the blindfold saturated now and tears flowing down my cheeks.

Please. Enough. Stop this. You will never get what you want.

My body starts to tremble, though, and I know I cannot hold on much longer if she keeps doing what she is doing. She is trying to make me come as fast as possible. I can’t see her, but my breath is knocked out of my lungs almost completely with her bouncing on and off my dick—and gods, she seems to know what she’s doing. Then, fingers pinch my nose again, and I panic once more as oxygen is cut off. I don’t know if it’s panic or lack of oxygen, but it makes my entire body stiffen, and after that, it’s only a minute before a very unsatisfying climax overcomes me, and she purrs quietly herself, humming with the satisfaction of having accomplished what she came for. I feel a sad, grieving melody pour out from my trembling body. 

Covering my mouth wasn’t enough to keep me quiet—oh, no. I sing with my body, not with my mouth—and this song is a call for help, a call for my king, and it’s a heartbreaking, desperate plea. The weight above me disappears, leaving me in the dark, restrained, gagged, and bound. 

Tokino unlocks the door first, confused, and I hear his voice.

“Konoe? What—ah, I’m sorry, has the king—” but I sob in distress from behind my bonds. It must be obvious I’m terribly upset because he approaches. “Wh-what...?”

Within another few minutes, Rai throws open the door, though I cannot see him. I feel his presence and detect his scent when he enters the room, and my soft, sad song calms instantly. I worry that I may be ruined for him—he may never wish to touch me again—I may never receive his loving caress again—but right now, I need his strong supportive arms. 

“What the hell is going on here?” he snarls. “Who did this to you? Get him out of these restraints!” and speaking to me, “Konoe—Konoe—are you all right? Can you hear me? You’re going to be fine—sweetheart—speak to me. Please! I’m here now. You’re safe, you called and I’m here.” 

My blindfold and gag are removed, and Rai has tears in his eye. He looks angry but mostly he is relieved I haven’t been killed. He is removing the restraints from my wrists and my ankles, looking carefully at the bruises left behind the cuffs.

“Was this... my fault? You said you wanted to spend the day with me. Konoe, I’m so sorry—I didn’t know—Please. Forgive me—just—although you probably can’t right now—I was trying to get you to trust me and I’ve made things so much worse...” All the authority from earlier today is gone, and he can’t stop the words falling from his lips, and I can’t speak for the tears that come.

As I burst into tears, Rai takes me into his arms, letting my claws draw against his shoulder, clinging tightly. I haven’t ever felt so powerless, nor so relieved. He simply holds me, rubs my shoulders, and lets me cry.

Chapter Text

The remainder of the afternoon is spent in Rai’s bedroom, drowsing after I’ve been dosed with some sort of calming draft. It doesn’t calm my symptoms of heat, I realize, which are still plaguing me—but because of what happened in my own chambers, I’m terrified to act on them. The sheer drapes are closed and I’m lying on my belly—surrounded by my wings and Rai’s scent, freshly fallen snow and sandalwood. Even that cool scent serves to heat up my body. 

I can hear his voice, and when I lazily open my eyes, I see him working in his silk robe at the low table. The duke, Koujaku, comes in and out of the chamber, and Rai frequently looks up to check on me. I often forget to close my eyes and simply stare right back at him.

Finally, Rai walks up to the bed and sits on the side.

“Konoe, you called for me. I heard you calling for help. But you haven’t spoken a word—to anyone. Won’t you tell me what happened? Won’t you tell me who did this to you?” He runs his finger over my lips in a soft, sensual way. I want him to touch me, but I feel dirty, violated, and utterly humiliated—even after scrubbing myself raw in the bath earlier. 

Tears slip down my cheeks, and I am devastated. He lowers his lips to my ear.

“Do you not want me to touch you? I will be hard-pressed to meet your wish, but I will try, if you like,” Rai whispers softly. Even the whisper feels like a physical touch when it moves the soft downy fur deep within my ear. 

I shoot him a desperate glance.

“What do you need? Perhaps a breath of fresh air?” He strokes my body softly, from my shoulders and wings down my back, my ass, and tail, the luscious movement of his fingers caressing me gently. A small sigh drips from my mouth—and it can’t be taken as anything other than desire. “Talk to me.”

Tilting my chin toward him, he meets my gaze with passion and heat—and sorrow. I’m not ruined for him? A slight sense of relief washes over me, and I open my mouth, but no words come.

“Can I take you for a walk in the garden?”

“Mmm,” I hum. I’m so confused. I might feel better if I knew more about Mana and what she was thinking. Why would she do such a thing? Rai pulls me out of bed—I’m naked, my hair still slightly damp from the bath—and he walks me to the wardrobe.

“Sweet Sanga, you still blush so prettily,” Rai murmurs. He stands me in front of a full-length mirror—and the sight of my gigantic wings are startling. I quickly fluff up my tail and bring it to the front of my body to hide nudity, and he smiles over my shoulder. “Look—how prettily your feathers blush—just the tips! Do you do this just for me, to entice me?”

Running both hands down my sides and waist, he kisses my neck while standing behind me. I’m obviously embarrassed to be so exposed, but he is very aroused while watching my reflection.

“You are so very fetching.”

I look away from his gaze in the mirror. I feel dirty and used—and gross—even after that shower. I won’t meet Rai’s eye, and my chin is tipped up gently. 

“The mating season is difficult in the harem, but nothing like this has ever happened before. I am very sorry it. I didn’t expect it—I never expected it—I’d never have left you alone. I have no idea who did it to you. Was it a female? A male? I don’t know who to punish or even how to punish them.”

His ears are perked up—he looks so adorable, vulnerable and young. I didn’t want him to hurt because of this. I open my mouth and no words come. He sees I am trying and he tries to comfort me.

“You will talk in your own time, Konoe,” Rai says, continuing his soft caresses. Then he lowers his voice. “Or I can make you tell me.”

My ears flatten fearfully, and he smiles gently.

“Never to hurt you, my darling. I would never hurt you—unless you wanted it. And sometimes, I think you want it very much. You are beautiful—enchanting—as though you were designed to the specifications of my fantasies,” Rai whispers into my ear, and he holds my chin in place, making me watch as he kisses the tip of my ear. 

Squirming under his attention, I beg him with my eyes. I’m uncomfortable in my own skin—yet he smells so amazing—and I feel weird, filled with desire that I have no right to feel. I motion toward a robe.

He lets his fluffy, bristled tail skate across my body—soft, silky fur brushing my skin. It feels good—sensual, even—but I have no right to feel this way, and I’m ashamed. He watches me for a moment and lets me wallow in my feelings before pulling me deeper into the wardrobe. 

“Here,” his voice is soft and gentle and he helps me into a pale silk robe. “I’ll tie it for you.”

He ties a red sash around my waist, folding up the hem efficiently, so it doesn’t drag on the ground. He pulls it snug and ties it neatly, then grabbing a pair of sandals from the shelf. He sets them down by the glass door, next to his own, and he helps me slide my feet into them. 

I take his arm as he walks me outside—the gardens are lovely—fresh and clean, everything I am not—and it feels cool.

“What about your song?” Rai murmurs into my ear. I can’t help flicking it down, flinching a little at the sudden contact of his lips. When he is this close, he really does smell nice—hard to resist, and for his sake, I know I should resist. The meaning of his words takes a minute to realize in my mind. 

My song?

“If you cannot speak, then sing for me and for yourself. Do you have it in you to sing?” I’m pulled into a close embrace—where really any servant or staff or another cat might see him handling me with such affection. It embarrasses me!

Please—

The word pulls on my heartstrings, dredging up a clear melody from the overflow of my emotions. How does he do that?

“Sing for me, little Sanga.”

His second request makes the song vibrate deep within me.

I must have done something to deserve this. You shouldn’t touch me so affectionately—I’m not worth it. I’m dirty, used, and humiliated—but I don’t know what I have done. I feel lost!

You shouldn’t touch me—but please—don’t leave me.

The song spills from my body in a frenzy, more suddenly and louder than when I have sung in the past. It frightens me—the depth of emotion.

“You are mine,” Rai pushes me against the trunk of a tree, roughly—making my feathers fluff and ruffle. “I will never let you go. And nothing could be done to you that would make me change how I see you, my little Sanga.”

He sits down, leaning against the tree, pulling me into his lap, and he holds my head against his chest—the melody covering both of us with a warm glow, lighting our surrounding, lighting the autumn woods, and my grief is apparent. He simply holds me, brushes away my tears, and lets me sing and cry to my heart’s satisfaction. 

“Even in your grief, your song is beautiful, Konoe. I heard your grief the first time you sang for me—your frustration in being overpowered, in being conquered, in being captured—and yet, you sang for me. Why? Why would you soothe my soul when you suffer? Show me how to ease your suffering. I don’t know how.”

My hands are pulled tight against my chest and pulled up against his, and I flatten them out against him. Tentatively, I tilt my chin up to look at his face—that single pale blue eye staring down at me is filled with a strange emotion—and I realize something in our surroundings seems very different. 

It looks like it is snowing! 

“What—what is this?” I ask softly. And I realize, words are coming from my mouth. I reach up and touch a few of the thick snowflakes in his hair—and they are not snowflakes. They are large, pale pink blossoms. I’m so shocked that my song begins to fade. 

Rai looks up and gasps in surprise.  

Just the single tree Rai is leaning against is covered in pale pink blossoms—not the orange autumn leaves it should have. I know it wasn’t like this before. It’s just like the dream I had. The king stares at me in disbelief. 

“It’s from your song.”

“It c-can’t be,” I insist. He plucks a few blossoms from my hair—and the fragrance is wonderful, familiar, soft. He continues combing his claws through my hair and starts to braid it. I enjoy the feeling—but I’m tired now—after such a song.

“Can you control the power of your song?”

“No, not really. Not when you ask me to sing—when you ask, I am compelled to sing for you,” I say somewhat shyly. 

“I see. And, how is your body feeling? My entire harem is in heat, and you can’t be the only exception.” His voice lowers to a growl. “I suspect an early heat was brought on by your sudden transformation.”

“I couldn’t help it!” I say defensively.

“I didn’t say it was a bad thing—only I don’t like to be kept waiting.”

“Waiting?” I ask, slightly confused.

Waiting, kitten, I don’t do it well. I’m not a patient person.” He caresses me playfully, moving the braid toward the front of my body and inhaling my scent at the nape of my neck. Then he lowers his voice. “Tell me. Are you hurt? I don’t want to cause you pain. However... if you do not wish it, I will keep my hands to myself. I may need to find another partner—and soon.”

“Another partner?”

“I find your scent much too enticing.”

“I’m not doing anything on purpose,” I say, lowering my eyes.

“Perhaps... you would like to watch?” Rai asks, a smirk appearing on his face.

“Watch?” I feel the heat rising to my face and ears. I know what he means despite my question. “Watch what?”

“Watch me fuck another member of the harem—until you feel comfortable being touched?”

“You want me to watch you make love to one of the other cats in your harem?!” I bristle.

“You could learn what I use my—what did you call it?—my workout room for, perhaps?”

“Are you teasing me?”

“I believe I already told you. I never joke about sex,” Rai says, but he hides his face by lowering his mouth to my ears, licking them deep inside—making overly loud slurping sounds as he does—I mean, unseemly loud slurping sounds. “You could watch me bring Aoba into the chamber and watch him come undone with pleasure as I discipline him—perhaps learn a little about submission yourself.” 

He switches to my other ear, which, surely is as red as a kuim. How can he talk like this? He is being lewd. And he’s making my cock hard.

“Or I could take him over my knee for treating you so very harshly, even at my behest. I could chain you to the wall, and you would, of course, not be allowed to touch yourself. I believe he too can come from a spanking—though he may prefer a paddle or an implement.”

“Oh, my gods!” I whisper softly.

I hear Rai chuckling softly. He is teasing!

“That’s just mean! You’re so mean!” I try to climb up off his lap. “I sang for you and everything! I made a cherry tree burst into bloom out of season for you and still you tease me so cruelly!”

“Oh, but you love it, don’t you?” Rai grabs my hand when I try to stand up. “I love the way your ears blush—and now, even the tips of your feathers. Do you suppose I could still take you over my knee with these giant wings of yours? You are misbehaving terribly!”

“Stop it!” I blurt, my cheeks burning. I’m not sure I really hate it, though. 

“I wonder—I could have you put your hands up against the wall and strip you bare, or bend you over the horse or mattress—and I could try a whip if you like? A strap? A paddle?”

“N-no—stop!”

“No, you’re right. I think you prefer my hand, don’t you? I like my hand, too—for it can spread out the pain a little better for you as well, or slip between your pretty thighs, or stroke your tail when you’ve been good. Perhaps—a punishment is exactly what you need to get your head in the right place.” 

I can’t speak—nor can I take my eyes away from the plush lips of the king sitting in front of me. They look so soft, and his hand pulls me closer—softly stroking the curve right where my thighs and bottom meet, making me tingle with anticipation. The hand holding mine moves to my tail, stroking firmly at the base.

“A p-punishment?” I whisper.

“Your song—you sang that you didn’t deserve to be touched. You felt like you did something to provoke the attack—you didn’t deserve me. So perhaps this is how you will make it up to me.” 

“M-make it up to you?” My voice is shaking, but not in fear—oh no. It’s definitely anticipation. I want his hands on me—more than anything.

Rai has a beautiful smile on his face. 

“To be clear, I do not think a kitten as sweet as you could have done anything to provoke an attack—except look as adorable and sweet as this, and that is not your fault. To be enticing is your function, after all.”

“E-enticing?” I echo. 

“Enticing. Yes. And so, I will offer you discipline to soothe your conscience. But you must do exactly as I say, or it won’t work. Do you understand?”

My body trembling, I nod. “Yes, sir.”

“Then, you may start by kissing me. Here and now. Like you mean it. In thanks.”

My body is covered in a coat of fine sweat instantly—at the tone of his command. I respond so viscerally to that commanding, royal voice of his. 

I lower myself into his lap, take his cheeks in both hands, and kiss his lips—first the top, then the bottom and then I brush my tongue across his lips, as though to taste him. He tastes wonderful and sweet. He opens his mouth and allows my tongue entrance. I explore his fangs with the tip of my tongue before delving deep inside his mouth, turning my head slightly and purring, humming and offering up a small sigh. 

When I pull away, I am even hotter than I was, and his scent is even stronger than before as well—freshly fallen snow and sandalwood—a nice masculine scent.

“That may be the last kiss you receive for some time,” Rai warns, standing up. “You will be obedient for me, won’t you, kitten? For this is the discipline your body requires. I see it as my duty to administer it to your body. You will comply with my commands with due diligence, won’t you, sweet Sanga?”

A small shudder ruffles through my fur and feathers, and I nod. 

“An audible response, please.”

“Yes, sir,” I say. Then I follow him back inside, slipping off my sandals at the door.

“Listen, Konoe. Before we start—I want you to know I care about your emotional well-being. If I am approaching something that is making you feel desperate or uncomfortable, I want you to tell me by using the word ‘yellow.’ If I do something that is more than you can take—I will stop all activities if I hear you utter the word ‘red.’ Do you understand? Those are your two safe words. All right?”

I look up with a question in my eyes. He repeats himself.

“If you say ‘red’ we will stop whatever it is we are doing. If you say ‘yellow,’ I will know I am approaching your limit.”

“Okay,” I answer, shocked out of my mind. It sounds like he is giving me a choice. “Um, thank you.”

My ears are kissed gently—both tips. 

“No questions, no judgment. It can be for any reason. I don’t know what was done to you, after all. Does that make sense to you?” 

“It does. Thank you.”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes,” I reply.

“Wonderful. Then please, divest yourself of your robe and come join me in the playroom.”

“Divest—?”

Rai folds his arms in an expectant, kingly manner and raises his eyebrows, simply watching me. Oh. He wants to watch me undress. Again.

Looking down at my obi and feeling my ears burn, I untie it and put it over the back of the chair. I turn around and slide out of the silk robe—it won’t stay up without the obi anyway—and my wings cover me nicely, it seems. I fluff up my feathers, noticing the tips of the feathers are slightly pink, folding the wings around my body for modesty, and, keeping my gaze down, I enter the playroom.

“Kneel.”

Dressed only in the jewels given to me by the king—the piercings on my ear and my belly button, my golden collar, the ankle and wrist cuffs—I kneel on the floor, my plait falling behind me. I can’t use my wings to cover myself, either—since they have to fold in behind me while I am seated. Instead, I bring my tail, which is obscenely puffed out, in front of my body and rest it in my lap. I lower my face to the floor and wait, slightly nervous. 

The elegant silver cat seems to be looking for something in the chest of drawers, and I try to keep my face submissive.

“You are doing very well, little one.” His praise sounds casual but warm, and it sinks into my ears and deep into my heart. It makes me blush a little deeper, but it feels good for a reason I can’t understand. 

It smells so much like the king in this room that it heats my body up to distraction, making my heart race in my ears. I think about what he did to me the last time we were in this room together—he pierced my belly button and “rewarded” me for it—then I shiver when I think of him rubbing his cock on the outside of my body—but not taking me. It made me feel so lewd, but attractive and precious at the same time—valued, and that he did not want to hurt me.

Finally, I see his bare feet—those pale toes—padding over to me once again and my mouth waters. I want to lick them—pop them in my mouth, not the first time I've had that thought—but I resist, swallowing my saliva, and I wait obediently.

“Come.” Pulling me to my feet by my collar, he walks me over to the wall where I was connected when he last “rewarded” me, and again I try to push the thought from my mind. “Ah. Are you remembering the last time you were here, perhaps?” 

“Um, y-yes, sir.”

My ears are rubbed ever so gently, but I’m turned to face the wall. There are several hooks and handles of sorts there.

“You look so innocent but you have such a surprising lewd streak in you that I enjoy so much. I’d like you to hold yourself in place of your free will. This will show me your submission. Do you understand?” 

I look, and I obey—the handles are about waist high, so I have to bend over to grab them, exposing myself quite readily—and then the reality of what I am doing sets in, and I start to sweat nervously. 

“Um, p-perhaps...”

“You will obey for me, won’t you? Otherwise, I can restrain you. But I think you’d feel better if you showed me submission and remorse.”

Grabbing the handles as instructed, I wonder if what Aoba warned me about was right. I shouldn’t have shared this part of myself with Rai—it leaves me too vulnerable. And vulnerable certainly describes how I feel—my bare ass sticking out behind me.

“Spread your legs a little bit, kitten.” I feel a soft touch to the inside of my thighs—encouraging me to do just that—and I am embarrassed at how excited my body already is—I’m hard as a rock already! Ridiculous! 

Another soft touch against my abdomen and chest—posing me just so—and then a sharp pinching sensation at the tender flesh of my right nipple, like he's bitten me. I yelp slightly in surprise. I let go of the handle for a moment, but Rai’s larger hand stops me.

“Allow it. I think you will enjoy it. Deep breath, now.”

He licks my left ear and the pinching sensation repeats on my left side. There’s a chain hanging between my nipples and metal clamps on them—and certainly, it increases the hardness between my legs, which he also strokes lightly. It looks incredibly lewd.

“Do you understand?”

“Mmm,” I hum softly.

“How about an obedient response?”

“Yes, sir,” I struggle to get the words out and squeeze my thighs together. I feel his hand slip lower, pushing them apart.

“I think I asked you to spread your legs, little one.”

“Ah! Yes, sir.” I’m having a hard time controlling my body—especially when I feel his hand stroking my tail. I arch my back slightly, and I notice Rai turns away for a moment.

I feel something cool pressed against both my cheeks. It feels solid but covered in leather. I shiver slightly and my ears flatten. What? Not his hand? Is this... is this really a punishment? Wait—tears spring to my eyes and I turn to look toward his face in desperation.

“Hush, now. I haven’t done anything yet, little one. Don’t worry,” he soothes me with his voice and strokes my tail. “Keep your tail up, your back arched, just like that, and your legs spread for me. If you don’t like it, remember your safe words. Don’t panic, Konoe. Breathe. Do you remember your safe words?”

“Um, uh—y-yes, uh—yellow and red,” I stammer. I am scared!

“This is for you. I am not going to do anything I think you won’t like while we are in here,” Rai’s voice is soothing, and he is still caressing me with that leather thing. It feels kind of good, really. “Maybe you want something slower to start? Do you want me to warm you up with my hand first?”

“P-please?” I beg, a few tears slipping down my cheeks, but I am staring down at the floor.

His lips are suddenly at my ear.

“This is all for your benefit, little Sanga. We can stop whenever you want. Just say the word. All right? We can stop altogether or we can do something else. You won’t hurt my feelings.”

I take a deep breath, and my tail is given a sharp, quick tug straight up. Instinctively, I relax—I know what it means. I feel a large warm hand spank my ass—right where my butt and thighs meet—and it’s just a gentle smack—jiggling all the way through my body, making me moan and tingle—even more, when his fingers spread out against my skin.

I arch my back for another, but none comes. I wait for a moment, but I realize he is waiting for me to ask for him to continue. Shameful!

“Please, sir,” I beg—and the moment I whisper “please,” my tail is yanked lightly and I am spanked again, a little harder this time, and even more pleasure shivers through my groin. A louder sigh comes out of my mouth.

“Please—more, sir!” I plead with less hesitation this time, though I am still embarrassed to ask.

Two more—one soft, one firm—both with his hand—one centered on my right and the next on the left cheek. I find I am arching back into his hand.

“Please, sir!” A sense of humiliation washes over me, which is instantly washed away as soon as the sound of his hand connecting with my ass sinks into my ears. It just feels too good to be humiliating!

“Please, sir—just—more, and faster!”

And he complies—pulling up my tail to straighten my hips, smacking my sit spot, my left then my right cheek, giving me a rhythmic, hypnotic spanking. His hand feels so good, and I am purring and sighing and drooling—and my nipples feel strangely heavy and their weight weirdly pools in my hips. 

He starts to slow, and then stops. Then, I feel the cool leather pressed against my ass. It feels so amazing! But he waits. I can feel him purring behind me, and he leans down to lick my ear, which is burning. He is waiting for my consent again.

“P-please, sir.”

“The paddle?” He murmurs. His voice is rough and ragged.

“Please, sir.”

Just as before, only my hands are white-knuckling the handles against the wall, my tail is pulled up sharply, and the paddle leaves my skin for only a moment. The sound is different—more solid, much louder, much more satisfying—and it’s slightly more stinging, but it feels so good! I cannot describe the sensation—it’s painful, but at the same time, so immensely satisfying that I cry out in pleasure.

There are no fingers to distribute the sting afterward, so he simply presses the paddle up against my ass after he spanks me, and that has a similar effect, making make gasp lewdly. I am so hard now that I’m dripping onto the floor, and I hear a quiet growl from him.

I suddenly hear him growl lowly again.

“Spread your legs.” Not a request, but a command.

Bristling my tail and shivering, I obey—realizing my thighs are pressed together and I’m on tiptoe, trying to meet that paddle with everything I have. The moment I spread my legs, the paddle is moved and I feel a finger—cold and lubricated—teasing my entrance, and I cry out in desperation. I want him—I want him to fuck me!

Not a compliant noise, kitten. Stay obedient, now. This is a punishment.” His voice is gentle but so hot! It makes me shiver. And my gods, I want him!

I try to get my breathing under control—but my knees are shaking—and that finger slides inside like it’s nothing. That’s right—I'm still in heat! It shouldn’t hurt! Couldn’t he just...

“Please, sir!”

“Please what, kitten?” He is pressing inside me slowly, deliberately, hooking his finger around the outside of my entrance, making me want to scream. 

“Please—ah—won’t you just... please—?”

“Yes?” He pulls out his finger, leaving me with my legs spread and my back arched, waiting for him to press himself inside me—

Smack!

My knees tremble, and I scream—a mix of pleasure and pain—my thighs quiver, my tail bristles, and my fangs bare. I’m about to come, I think—but I want him inside me when I do!

Smack!

The paddle again—and I’m holding onto the handles in front of me for dear life.

“Gods—Rai! Please—I want you inside me!”

Smack!

“Ah!”

Drip-drip-drip—my erection is painful now, and tears slip down my cheeks.

Smack! Right at my sit spot, pleasure zipping through my body, bristling out my fur, making my wings spread.

“Please—fuck me!” I’m shaking with desperation and I feel a tug on the chain between my nipples.

Smack!

“Ah—I’m about to—Ah!” My cock is squeezed at the base, and my near climax is brought to a sudden halt—Rai inserts two fingers inside me with his other hand, and they slide in effortlessly.

“What about your punishment, little one?” Rai whispers.

“Just—please—Fuck me, please!” I'm close to tears, begging helplessly. My body is covered with shivers, and my body is painfully aroused. I hear the sound of Rai stripping off his obi, and then he grabs my hips with both hands and pushes into me—one smooth movement. 

A loud moan of indulgence slips out of my mouth, and I arch my back, my wings spreading wide, fluttering in a mess, and Rai lowers his mouth to my ear.

“You will wait for me, won’t you?” 

“Uwaa! Please!”

“Your ass is so gorgeously pink—and so warm,” he murmurs, thrusting deep inside me, finding that spot that drives me crazy. “If you’re so very desperate, you know I always love your song.” 

“Gah—please!”

But he pulls it out of me just the same—and a fresh song, completely unlike the one I sang earlier spills from my body, trembling, quivering, shaking as it is. My body is completely his—my mind is well on its way, too—I feel so much better—how does he do this to me? He didn’t think I deserved punishment, but I did—so why is this happening?

Thank you... for loving me. Take me. I’m yours. Love me, take me, fuck me. All I am is yours. I’ll always be yours. 

My body is quivering, and I am in tears, begging and pleading to let me come.

“Silly kitten, just come!” Rai is murmuring in a sexy chuckle and he licks my nape as I explode in a climax unlike any other—relief from stress, relief from humiliation, relief from trauma—comfort in my body and who I am—all of these feelings spill out at once. 

I think Rai is surprised by my ferocity and is pulled right along with me. 

“Holy shit,” he whispers, stroking my ears.

My ass is still warm from the spanking, but man was that hot! I am shivering with pleasure and exhaustion, curled up on the floor, and he scoops me up in his arms and brings me to bed.

“Did we break you? That was incredible, little Sanga! Perhaps I need to stop asking you to sing so much. But I just can’t.” He looks so guilty and so... cute. How can such a giant cat look so adorable?? I am so relaxed now. I smile at him warmly, so glad to be with him.

My mouth opens and out of it spills, “Mana.” I didn’t mean to say it! 

“What?” Rai asks, suddenly serious. “She... raped you? Oh, my gods. Shit.” He looks devastated and angry in equal parts. I don't even know what to do since I didn't mean to tell, my jaw gaping for a moment.

“Ah—um—I’m fine, it’s okay. Nothing bad happened,” I insist.

“Yes. Certainly, something bad happened, Konoe. You are my favorite, and you are off limits." He pauses for a moment, rubbing his forehead. "The problem is—she may now be carrying your child. Which... means something precious to me. Shit. Otherwise, I’d kill her.”

Chapter Text

An angel. 

I thought he looked angelic before—but now, he’s truly an angel, what with this golden halo of hair, grown suddenly past his waist, which I’m running my claws through so tenderly, and these gorgeous soft wings, covered in iridescent feathers. He makes my heart throb even more in this form than in the form of the helpless kitten I saw shivering in fear in the soft white silk nightshirt that first night or being whipped so ferociously in my gardens.

His strong golden gaze is currently at rest—peacefully sleeping—but he purrs in his sleep—I hear the soft murmur of his musical voice as he sleeps, in response to my gentle caress. He responds to each touch of my fingers like he cannot help himself. I adore him. From the helpless meow to his desperate cries of passion to the song of his soul—every sound he makes is music to my ears. It’s like he is a creature made to beguile me, and I realize that is what makes him dangerous. I am made vulnerable because of him; truly, I am vulnerable. 

Because of how Mana touched him, a fury has been born inside of me—a rage such as I have never felt. It doesn’t feel like something was done to my person or my favorite pet—this is much more personal, as though someone has tried to take what was most precious to me and hurt me by using it. I still don’t know how I will respond to Mana’s attack on this kitten—on my precious Sanga. To me, he is the embodiment of everything good in the world, and she tried to sully him.

Of course, nothing could do that. He is still perfect in my eyes.

The way his feathers shiver under the dusk moonlight is gorgeous, and I make a decision. I will be marrying him—I will be announcing him as my intended husband sooner or later. But today, I will bring him with me to supper. I want to dress him up in silk and finery and show off his elegance, his wings, and his beauty to my court and kingdom. I want my court to wonder at his transformation. I want them to hear his voice—if he will sing for me.

If he can’t bring himself to sing for me today, that’s all right. I will wait until he is ready. But I will insist that he sing publicly and soon.

I start grooming his ears with the intent of waking him. Well, waking him and also putting my scent on him thoroughly. I love smelling his scent mixed with mine. He smells of orange blossom and honey—sweet and floral, a little sticky, too—just how I like him. The more I groom, the stronger his scent gets—it’s as though he is enticing me, and his purr gets louder and louder. 

As I delve deep inside his ear, his small body squirms against me. It must tickle him—and that is enchanting and adorable, too cute for words. I hardly know what to do with myself.

“Did I wake you?” I was trying to, after all. 

“Mmm,” the kitten hums softly, purring excessively, trying to escape the touch of my tongue. “You must really like my ears.”

“I adore them. But more importantly, I will be bringing you with me to dinner this evening. So I’m glad you’re awake. Let’s get you dressed.”

“What? Why?” The large ears perk up nervously. “Did I... do something to displease you?”

Where would he get that idea? 

“Do you think attending dinner with me is a punishment, my darling?”

“Oh, um, no—of course not.” I notice the ears are suddenly deepening in color, to a pink shade—along with the tips of the feathers close to his shoulders as well. The tips of his feathers blush? How cute!

“My gods—your feathers blush. You are so sweet!”

“Oh—um, no.” He is always slightly disagreeable when he first wakes. 

“But tell me, why would you think you’re in trouble?”

“I didn’t—”

“You did, actually,” I reply quickly and I lift up his chin to meet my gaze. “Did you hear something?” He sighs softly before responding. 

“Aoba told me you’ve made some of your companions more, um, comfortable with their, um, bodies by bringing them to dinner from time to time.” His cheeks are almost purple they are so flushed, and I feel slightly guilty for making him tell me. Although he looks so sweet I can hardly feel bad. He’s adorable!

“Ah, I have actually done that in the past. I wasn’t thinking of doing that with you tonight, however. Unless—you think you’d enjoy it.” 

“Enjoy it?” A rather incredulous look covers his face, but it, too, is absolutely amazing and sweet. I can’t keep the smile from my face.

“Yes. The attention. And helping you become more comfortable with your body isn’t a bad thing. Though I’m not sure I want to share you. It’s taking all I have to show off your wings, to be honest.” I chuckle lightly.

“Oh, um—n-no,” he stammers sweetly. Gods, that voice!

“What if I were to punish you publicly? You know, spank you publicly? Take you over my knee at the dinner table in front of all my guests? Would you like that?”

“N-no!” Another soft protest drips from his lips—a breathy whisper that lets me know he’s vividly imagining what it might feel like.  

“Don’t you think it might settle you a little bit, make you feel good? Or feel a little better?” 

“N-no!” The word is repeated, but even breathier now, and the more I tease, the more I want to try it, or at least tease him about it. “You won’t, will you? Please!”

“Please? Are you begging me? That makes it sound like you want it,” I murmur into his ear, and it ruffles up delightfully, and I tease the fur with my tongue. 

“Rai, please!” He almost squeals his plea this time, and I have to consider what he’s been through the past few days. I need to control myself.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper, and the King of Setsura apologizes for very few—I’m shocked to hear the words from my lips. But there’s little I won’t do for this kitten. It frightens me, to be honest. “I’m only teasing you. Of course, I won’t embarrass you. I only want to show you off.” 

I can almost hear his voice huffing, “You want to show off your most prized possession,” and I wait for it, lowering my hand to his butt reflexively. I can’t help it. I want to spank him. I really do—I think he enjoys it. No—I know he enjoys it, comes so undone with the pleasure that it frightens him, and it confuses the hell out of him. He doesn’t know why he responds to me this way—as if he doesn’t know he really belongs to me.

Except that he does belong to me. 

And I only hear a sharply inhaled breath from him, as though he is waiting for me to swat his bare buttocks. Instead, I simply caress. He’s still slightly warm from our earlier play. I want to look—I wonder if he’s a little pink, too—and I peek over his shoulder in the mirror on the ceiling above my bed—and that’s why it’s there—this is the reason I had it installed, for this very instant, because he looks so absolutely perfect. 

My body breaks out in a sweat, and I see his tail lash suddenly and his ears twitch. He tilts his eyes up at me, and his nose is twitching. He is still dealing with symptoms of heat and I’m going to make him wait—until after dinner, until he is needy and pliable and wanting and longing and desperate. I realize my fangs are showing over my lips as I’m smiling at him, and his pupils are blown wide and dark and gorgeous. He saw me admiring him, and he wasn’t ashamed. He was delighted.

“Let’s get you dressed.”

I’m pretty sure I hear a protesting whimper from his pretty little mouth, but I pull him out of bed and drag him into my wardrobe. He clings to me cutely, almost magnetically, and briefly, I wonder if having him so aroused and in this form in the dining room is such a good idea. I mean, I did just fuck him—less than two hours ago. He should be fine. Physically, at least. 

“Are you going to be able to wait till after dinner?” 

“Wait for what?” the kitten whispers, gazing up at me, all his fur delightfully bristled. Such an innocent look, but he knows what I’m asking.

“I ought to punish you for that insolence, kitten,” I whisper into his ear, running my claws through his hair. “You know what it is I’m asking.” 

He sputters, indignant, and then replies, “I’m fine! We just, um, did it! What do you take me for?!”

“I take you for my beloved becoming used to his position,” I respond instantly, and I run my hand down his back and sweep it over his groin. He is erect, of course, and he shudders beneath my fingers, giving a quiet protest.

“It’s only because you are tempting me...” he speaks so quietly in that precious voice of his. It seeps into my ears like a poison, taking over my heart in a way no one else ever has, seizing control of the core of my being. Gods, I adore this kitten!

“Oh? Was I tempting you? With my talk of punishment? Is that what sounded pleasing?”

At my words, he sweetly blushes and bristles again. It’s a sharp contrast from his experience and what he enjoys—I can’t imagine it will ever grow old. And he looks incredibly frustrated that I’ve discovered his secret, his guilty pleasure.

“Come, now, let’s dress you.”

I choose the finest silk kimono I have for him—in a color that will suit his golden hue. Most of mine are accented with silver or black or blue, but I have a few that sparkle with golden thread. The underlayer is soft ivory silk chiffon, almost the same shade as his skin. He seems embarrassed when I dress him in it, but I’m not sure why.

“Do you feel uncomfortable?” I ask.

“Oh, n-no,” he stammers, but I see through his lie. 

“What’s the matter, silly kitten?” I look down at his face as I’m tying the datejime on the sheer silk nagajuban. I’m dressing him like I would a female, I realize—the sleeves look long on him, but he’s gorgeous just the same. His hair is so heavy and gorgeous, and I think I’ll release it from the plait. I pull out the gorgeous silk kimono—primarily dark shades of burgundy and deep red, striped with real gold thread and just a hint of ivory. I slip his arms through the sleeves and secure it at the waist with the datejime, pulling it up like origami so he won’t trip in it.

His gaze wanders down to the garment.

“This is beautiful,” he murmurs, his voice soft. “I-i c-couldn’t—”

“I would like you to have it,” I say. “It doesn’t suit me, and the colors bring out your hair and your eyes.” I have a gold and ivory obi with a geometric pattern, also wide for his small stature, and I tie it snugly around his slim waist. It has the effect of making him look taller and leaner, and he looks gorgeous. I tie the knot, leaving some of the long obi hanging down gracefully, in an elegant style, but it looks slightly feminine. I hope I don’t insult him for doing this, but Konoe doesn’t seem to realize.

I help him pull on a pair of white tabi socks and a pair of black zori, then nudge him toward the couch while I pull on my own kimono. I choose one similar in weight, in shades of blue, gray, and black—only mine has shorter sleeves. Watching the creature sitting on my couch, he settles in and takes a sip of juice waiting for him. I wonder if he knows it’s alcoholic. I won’t stop him in either case—the alcohol should help his nerves. He looks so sweet when he’s tense and uptight. I know it’s cruel of me to think such things, but I can’t help it. 

The diamonds on his collar are easily visible from beneath the kimono, as are the cuffs on his wrists—and the jewel on his ear glints seductively. I’ve only been watching him for a minute or two before he looks up at me and smiles softly. 

“Ah, you look nice,” he purrs. I wonder if he means it—and then I realize I don’t really care. He doesn’t have a say, after all. I can control his emotions, I realize, if only by touching him. Even if he doesn’t think he feels an attraction to me, his body certainly does.

I grab a brush from the vanity and peeking in the mirror, I run it through my long hair. I twist it up and stab in an ebony hairpin to hold it in place off my neck. Now, I will get to his gorgeous locks. Simply enchanting, I think. 

“You are so beautiful,” I murmur, running my claws and brush through the golden strands, and they are more precious to me than any treasure. His locks are slightly wavy from the plait, so I pin the long hair up, twisting it in a style similar to mine. Like this cat himself, his hair will do what it likes, trying its best not to submit to my will. But after my second try, I use a jeweled hair pin, gold with garnet trim, to keep it in place. Several long tendrils are left on either side of his face, giving him a truly ethereal look. The back of his kimono is draped low, exposing his nape and back, and allowing the wings sprouting from his shoulders freedom.

I do wonder what sort of impression he will make in the court.

I run my fingers lightly through the feathers, and they ruffle up in the wake of the trail of my touch. Enchanting! I also plant a soft kiss on the nape of his neck, inhaling his soft, sticky scent.

“Shall we?” I finish my own beverage in several gulps, and then pull up the kitten to stand, offering him my arm.

“Rai.”

“What is it?”

“I-I’m nervous.”

“Don’t be. You will enchant them, capture their hearts, and seeing you—like this, in this form—they will understand.”

“But—what about the legend? What if they believe I will be the cause of your death?”

“No one will believe that. I am not that devil, Konoe. I am the king, and I have been searching for you for a long time. I need you to trust me.”

He nods, bravely, but he is obviously afraid, sweet thing. I pull him after me to the dining room, where the entire court awaits. I wonder how much he worries about the legend. Those dreams I have had have never been nightmares, even though the demon dies in them. In the dreams, I am the demon, my troubled heart is finally put to rest by my lover—he is fulfilling the promise he made. I wake to feel relieved and at peace. I wouldn’t mind if the prophecy did come true, in fact, if I felt that peace. 

I am announced when the sentries open the doors. Of course, all of the court waits for me to start the meal, and I escort the kitten to the seat next to me. We sit at low tables on cushions on the floor, and I pull him next to me. While I usually have eyes on me when I enter, I notice eyes on the kitten and his gorgeous wings, along with unsubtle gasps and whispers this evening. I also feel the kitten stiffening as we walk together.

“Relax. You look gorgeous. They adore you.” I am confident in my assessment.

“Th-thank you, s-sir,” he mumbles quietly, but several people look up when they hear his captivating voice.

We head to my table, where my council waits. They haven’t seen his transformation—aside from Koujaku—and their jaws drop.

“Holy shit,” Bardo murmurs. “What in the name of Ribika has happened to you?”

“Ah, it’s the sign,” Mink murmurs. “I’ve heard of this transformation occurring during heat for particularly powerful Sanga, but I’ve never seen it myself, even after all these years. You are certainly fetching.”

“Would you show us your wings, little one?” Motomi asks. “Before you sit down? Oblige us old cats?”

I prompt my shy little kitten when he casts me a desperate, begging look, but I don’t let him get out of this. He’s absolutely gorgeous and he is deserving of all this attention. I want to get him used to this. I twirl him around—and I realize my older relatives and council are not actually only staring at his lovely blushing feathers. They are blatantly checking out his ass, which the kimono and obi show off quite well.

I click my tongue in irritation, and I figure now is as good as a time as any to make my announcement. I pick up a glass from the table and fill it with sparkling wine, pouring one for the kitten as well, pressing it into his hands. Then, I clear my throat and the dining hall goes silent. I wait until all eyes are resting on me.

“I would like to make a formal announcement and a formal introduction. Dear subjects, this is Konoe, the latest addition to my harem and former Prince of Karou. I’m pleased to introduce him as my fiancé and the Sanga I have been seeking all these years. Please, make him feel welcome, though he is quite a shy kitten.” 

The hall is instantly filled with murmurs and talk—the king is to be married? They can’t believe it! And little Konoe is gorgeous, his oversized ears blushing lovely pink, along with the feathers on his wings. He’s simply perfect. He can’t bring himself to look up, his dark lashes sparkle with tears. They look like diamonds—more precious, even.

“I’d like to be the first to wish you the best for your future happiness,” the Duke says, a slightly wicked smile playing in his lips. Konoe looks up to the Duke’s voice—he seems to hold him with a certain degree of contempt. “Although, to me, it doesn’t look like my wishes will be necessary.” Koujaku lifts his glass, and Konoe blushes even deeper.

“Sit next to me, sweetheart,” I urge him, and I pull him down next to me, on his knees. He is quite compliant, probably not quite believing that I won’t strip him or spank him publicly—and my gods, the idea of doing such a thing now nearly brings me over the edge.

I click my glass against his, and his oversized ears twitch cutely to the sound. I wonder, do they not do toasts in Karou?

“Little one, are toasts unfamiliar to you, in your culture?” Mink asks gently.

He nods, as though his voice is stuck in his throat. 

“Basically, it’s a well-wishing from the entire audience to the lucky couple. We tap our glasses together and take a sip upon hearing the wish to make it come true,” Bardo explains. 

“You have so much glass in this country,” Konoe says. 

“Glass?” I echo. 

“Yes—we ate from pottery and stoneware, but we didn’t have glassware like this. And our windows were much smaller. Glass was very rare.”

“I see. Perhaps the king will show you some of our glass artisans. We even have glassblowers, kitten,” Motomi says, smiling gently.

“Glassblowers?” Konoe echoes, amazed. I can almost hear the gears turning in his head.

“They heat up the glass until to its melting point and shape it, and they blow it into shape. This stemware, however—this is crystal, not glass. You can tell by its tone. It makes a lovely musical sound when it’s clinked together.”

“It is very pretty,” Konoe agrees.

“Speaking of lovely and musical,” Koujaku says, “Will you be singing for us this evening, young one?”

“S-singing?” Konoe stammers. Golden eyes peer up at me nervously, as if asking, Do I have to?

“Only if the mood strikes him and if he wishes it,” I say firmly. “I have not asked him to. But if he wishes, he may.”

“I’m sure the court would love to hear your song, Konoe,” Koujaku presses.

“As I said,” I continue somewhat harshly, “I have not required it. It’s exhausting, and we have a nice evening planned ahead of us.”

“Oh, of course.” That makes the brunette shut his mouth.

The meal is delicious—and Konoe is delighted with all the food brought out. I motion to the staff to serve him before me, and he is flustered by this. He also is introduced to many more members of my court, and he flinches when he sees the overseer of the slaves, Virus, sitting at the far table. 

“He will never hurt you again, kitten. Remember, I am the only one who can punish you now.” And his fur bristles when I remind him, and he blushes so sweetly I can’t help kissing his ear. A tiny little meow escapes his lips—the sweetest sound lets me know he doesn’t really dislike the idea. “And certainly, today you have the last word, especially after how he treated you—don’t you think?” 

Those golden eyes framed with perfect dark lashes gaze up at me earnestly. He can’t help himself.

“You’ve just announced a wedding to your court,” he whispers, awestruck.

“Yes, I have.” 

“Do you mean it?”

“Of course, I do. Plus I’ve made the announcement and you can hold me to it—look at all these witnesses! Didn’t you say you’d feel more comfortable as my spouse?”

“Um, well, yes, but...”

At his flustered response, I stand up from my place at the table and I rise for a moment, bringing myself to my full height in front of my gorgeous angelic Sanga. He starts moving his hands, trying to get me to sit back down, blushing scarlet when he sees me lower myself to one knee.

“Perhaps you need a formal proposal, my beloved,” I purr. “Will you marry me?”

From the collar of my kimono, I take out a small velvet-covered box and present it to the golden-haired Sanga. He places a hand in front of his mouth. As he is now, he looks exactly like the original Sanga of my dreams, only more youthful, softer, sweeter—and in person, his scent is overpowering and sweet. I desire him as I have never wanted another—and I have never had a problem in that department.

Almost afraid to accept the box from my hands, I pull his hands toward mine and open his fingers, resting the box within them.

He meets my eyes shyly—while all our guests watch. He opens the box, and his eyes light up with joy when he sees the ring inside. It’s a braided gold engagement ring—set with several diamonds—and it matches his collar and his cuffs perfectly. I can see his fingers trembling and tears floating to the surface of his eyes, shining as bright as the ring itself.

“Well? Will you have me?” I whisper softly.

“Yes, of course! Yes!” he purrs, and he throws his arms around my neck, kissing me full on the lips in front of the entire court, much to my delight and surprise.

I return his kiss with fervor, but I want him to put on the ring, too—so I don’t go overboard. As soon as I pull away, I take the box from his quivering fingers and slip the ring on the ring finger of his left hand, signaling that he is now mine. It’s a perfect fit—I had it measured while he was sleeping, but he doesn’t remember.

It’s gorgeous on him—but it doesn’t outshine the creature he is. I know this form will probably only last the week, and then it will disappear till the next season if I ever see it again.

“Thank you, Rai,” he whispers bravely, and he smiles, his face lighting up with joy. The court stands up and applauds, and he blushes so sweetly it nearly kills me. He’s so adorable!

I can hardly finish my dinner—I eat dessert impatiently, watching him take small, delicate bites and watching his gaze travel between his plate and the diamonds on his finger as though enchanted by them. Each time he sees them glinting, he glances back up at me and smiles—that warmth oozing through and melting my insides.

I want to hear him sing—and I want to hear it now. I drink another glass of sparkling wine and pour him another glass, which is perhaps more than he needs, since, by the time he finishes dessert and I stand up, he is wobbling just a little.

He seems quite confident when he walks from the room, giving a lovely curtsy to the court as well as a polite nod of his head, spreading his wings as he does so. I follow him from the room, but the moment we get to the hallway and the sentries shut the door behind us, I take him in my arms and kiss him deeply, making him sigh and purr.

I hope I can make it to the bedroom—well, it’s my castle. I can fuck him wherever the hell I want—in the ballroom, even, if I chose. I think about it and it’s quite a good idea, but I don’t think he would go for it.

I’m stripping off his kimono, leaving the obi in the hallway on the way to my chambers, and he is protesting softly but not resisting me. Instead, he is walking backward, meeting my lips with his and returning my kisses and urgent caresses, and he has pulled out my hairpin, letting my hair spill over my shoulder, nuzzling his face into the long strands. 

I bump his body up against the outside door to my chamber and let his kimono drop to the ground. His body shivers slightly, dressed only in that sheer silk now—and I run my hands along his sides, tracing his lovely waist and hips—able to see how aroused he is.

“N-not h-here,” he murmurs shyly. “P-please!” He begs so sweetly. I should have taken him somewhere more public—outdoors, perhaps, somewhere someone could see me claiming this ethereal creature, and they could be envious of what belongs to me and me alone.

“You don’t want me to touch you?” I murmur, licking his ears, feeling him stuttering under my touch.

“N-not here,” he repeats as he is desperately trying to get me to move, reaching behind him and trying to open the door. I let him slide around in my arms, allowing him to turn around in my embrace and attempt to open the door. I lift up the sheer underlayer of his kimono, though and caress his soft skin, making him cry out.

“W-wait!” he cries, trying to lower the fabric, pushing it down with his hand. My fangs are bared over my lips, rather desperate myself and growling—unable to control my own actions.

He gets the door open and stumbles inside, and I follow him, burying my nose and mouth in his ears, pulling the tie of the soft sheer fabric of his kimono open.

“Please—close the door—please!” With such sweet begging and pleading filling my ears, I can hardly resist, so I comply, and he immediately starts to settle. He’s such a shy creature, even as majestic and powerful as he is. Perhaps I should display him a little—perhaps just for an evening—but the thought that others might enjoy his body as much as I do fills me with a strange feeling. Is this jealousy? I don’t even like his staff dressing him lately, and a small growl leaks from my throat.

“Wh-what?” His tone is nervous and afraid when he responds to my growl.

“Mmm, nothing,” I purr softly. I don’t think I can actually talk to him about my silly jealousy. Since he has spent time in Aoba’s company, he is changed, and I didn’t realize how much the idea of another cat touching him bothers me. It’s ridiculous, really—and I’m the one with the harem here. A good way to solve it would be to enter into an activity involving another cat—with him as well—or watch him come undone beneath the touch of another’s fingers—but even that, well, it makes another growl leak from my throat! What is wrong with me? What is this feeling?

“Rai?” His soft voice whispers and two golden eyes peer up at me earnestly. “Have I done something to disturb you?”

“No, no. You are perfect,” I reply, and I kiss him gently on the lips and then enjoy the scent between his ears.

He’s trembling slightly—I notice that his quivering isn’t only something he does when he is afraid. And I don’t think I am frightening him, now. He often shakes like this when he is filled with excess desire and doesn’t know how to express it. I wish he would feel more free to touch me, and so I ask directly, “Do I frighten you?”

“Ah, n-no.” Even his voice trembles slightly like he can’t help it. It’s sweet and adorable.

“But you’re shaking. What is it? Nerves, even now?” I know that isn’t it, either, and I may be teasing him a little. 

“N-no.” He glances up at me, and he runs his claws through my hair. Then, to my surprise—as he is dressed only in the sheer gold kimono, which hangs open and drags on the floor, leaving nothing to the imagination, he uses his claws to untie the obi on my kimono at my waist, glancing up at me only briefly as though asking for permission but not waiting to get it. That’s my kitten!

I stand still at first, but then I pull the hairpin from his hair, letting his long hair spill down his shoulders and back. It’s just gorgeous—so very pretty and soft—smooth and soft as his fur. But I do not help him undress me. He pushes the kimono off my shoulders, letting it puddle on the floor—both the outer and inner layers, leaving me nude with my hair loose, and I pull him close to me. 

My fangs bare—I can’t help it—it’s as though I want to devour the lovely creature before me. I’m always stunned by his beauty and grace, each small gesture, his shyness, his timid looks, and his coy movements. But I know what he really is, what sounds can really come from those plush lips and from his mouth—and suddenly, he drops to his knees, taking my breath away.

He is licking me—the fur beneath my navel, my hip bones, and my gods, now, he’s kissing just the tip of my erection. Such a bold move! He tips his gaze up to me—to observe me, to watch me, and I smile over my fangs, letting them show in full—and I am very pleased. He’s groomed the fur below my navel before, but he’s never taken me in his mouth. A loud purr escapes my throat, mixed with an aggressive growl, which becomes even louder when he lowers his hot little mouth onto my erect member. I feel like I might be melting.

Seeing that angelic face, staring up at me, cheeks hollowed and his throat constricting, I restrain my movements. So tempted to thrust my hips forward, even a little, I know I would choke him. Instead, I comb my fingers through the long, golden strands of hair that sweep over his body and divest him of the rest of his garments. His tongue feels divine—soft and smooth and so wet—I am incredibly aroused and am tempted to release in his mouth—but then I gaze down at the small form giving me this pleasure. His mouth is not enough for me. I want to bury myself inside his body.

“Enough, little Sanga,” I murmur, filled with delight and pleasure. “Come here.” 

I pull him roughly to his feet by his arm—not taking heed of what he needs or desires—simply enjoying the feel of him as he slips off of me, and then I press my lips to his, delving inside that warm, willing mouth with my tongue and letting my hands wander down his body, and pulling him with me into the bed.

His wings flutter helplessly behind him, and he moans softly—shivering a little, sweetly, beneath my touch. I just love how he feels.

I pull him up into my lap, running my hands down his back and wings, ruffling up his feathers and messing up his hair, which drapes over me like pure gold. He isn’t aware of his allure, which makes him even sweeter to me, more attractive. 

He’s purring loud and I spread his legs over my lap, making him straddle me, and I line up my cock with his entrance. His entire body quivers with anticipation—and to my shock, he lowers himself onto me in one swift movement—without any hesitation or preparation—swallowing me up. A soft cry leaks from my mouth—one of surprise and pleasure both—and my body is overcome, as I can feel his very breath with every slight movement he makes. He is delightful and wonderful and perfect. 

“My gods,” I whisper against his mouth. “You certainly are bold this evening.”

He pulls my hair slightly and sits back a little, looking at me through his dark lashes, pupils blown wide with desire, and he huffs, a soft smile playing on plush lips. His wings are open wide behind him, fluttering softly—my gods—it’s almost like there is a third person in the room with us.

I grasp his hips firmly and thrust up, and he moans and shivers—his entire body giving a jolt of pleasure. I’m deliberately stroking that secret place inside his body that makes him come undone.

“Rai...” he calls my name like he is melting into me. Though I could listen to his voice all day, I waste no time.

I continue thrusting up into him, and he also eagerly fucks me, rocking his hips, his gorgeous tail bristled and seductively waving back and forth, as though beckoning me.

His eyes are almost orange—burning with intense heat—and I guess that he will start begging me for permission to come, any second now. I watch him with my eyelid half lowered. And sure enough...

“Please, Rai—I want...”

“What is it you want, precious kitten?” I murmur, nipping his throat and staring at his blushing face.

“I-i w-want to c-come... please! Ah!” Swept away by pleasure, indulging in it freely, this is what he is meant to be doing, his purpose. He is precious, adorable, and perfect.

“Then you may come,” I growl, still rather amazed that he feels he has to ask permission. It’s awfully cute.

And as soon as permission is granted, he releases—in climax as well as a song—which swells in the darkness between us, lighting up his face and his pink ears, much to his chagrin and embarrassment. It’s so sweet, so fitting—and so extraordinarily lewd. I adore it.

The song feels so dirty compared to the purity of the angel currently fucking me—his perfectly trim little body is simply so wholesome. As soon as I see him close his eyes for the incoming pleasure, indulging in it, I take his lips and release inside him, slowing my thrusts, pulling him close, feeling his body tightening around me as if swallowing me whole. He’s gorgeous like this, and I capture his lips with mine.

He is all mine.

Pleasure surges throughout my body and I claim him—it feels like sex is about me laying claim to this beautiful creature. Even when he willingly gives himself to me, begging me for what he wants, pleading for me to let him come—it’s as if he is giving me a reason to chase him. He is a stubborn little creature, a willful one. And I love him for it.

I announced our engagement to the court. He has everything it takes to wed me—the royal blood, the look, and more—he’s the Sanga I’ve been searching for all these years. He is magical. This form may only appear during the heat, or perhaps never again, I know. Witnessing it has been something truly special. He’s elegant and gorgeous, and I adore him. He is precious. 

“As lewd as your song is, I’d think you’d be able to let yourself go a little,” I murmur. “You know, give yourself some slack. You’re a captivating creature, Konoe.” He is currently collapsed against my chest, letting me hold him, but he bristles when he hears the word “lewd.” And yes, perhaps I am provoking him just a little. I like to see him bristle his fur. He’s pretty like that, and I can’t hide my smile. I lean in to lick his fluffy ears—so soft beneath my tongue. I love them.

“Maybe you don’t have to say everything that comes to mind,” the naked, enchanting creature on my lap huffs softly, as he is pulled against my chest. Honey and orange blossoms—the sticky sweet scent, unusual for a male—almost like a perfume—grazes my nose. It’s made for me. He’s obviously exhausted, and he’s trying to hide his exhaustion.

“Let’s get you cleaned up,” I whisper, “and get you some rest.” 

I lift his slender form off of my still erect cock—feeling him slide off is one of life’s little pleasures, and I will never tire of it. He gives a little shiver like he does every time, but he won’t look at me, as though he is embarrassed.

I lay him on the bed, face down, and he immediately protests, his tail lashing.

“What—what are you doing?” He has his face turned to the side, but I can tell he cannot move his body. So vulnerable—I could do anything to him and he wouldn’t be able to escape. It’s like capturing a magical creature with a spell—that’s what he feels like after singing his song. I’m purring, loud, as I stand up, trailing my fingertips down the length of his body, leaving little shivers in their wake.

“I said I was cleaning you up,” I say, walking into the bathing chamber, flicking my fluffy tail behind me, flashing my ass deliberately. I know he loves my tail and my ass even more. He watches it more than he would confess to, and when I peek over my shoulder I catch him looking. He blushes fiercely and looks down in apparent embarrassment.

Bringing out hot wet towels, I begin to clean off his body, folding his legs up beneath his hips. He is obviously uncomfortable, and he protests softly.

“Y-you d-don’t have to...”

“I know I don’t. You seem quite uncomfortable with my care of you.” Lowering my mouth to his ear, I ask, “Would you rather I lick you clean instead? I could lick you from the tips of your ears to the tip of your toes. Would you prefer that?”

Immediately, the tips of his ears fill with blood, and I hear a small gasp. And he stops his protesting, the sweet little thing.

“You are so beautiful.” I cannot believe how vulnerable I am. Never have I felt this way—so exposed. I still want to kill Mana for what she did to this precious creature—except... if she’s pregnant with his child, I cannot allow anything to happen to it. “Enchanting and beguiling—and all mine.”

I would give up my kingdom in exchange for this gorgeous creature. I can’t help feeling this way, and that’s what makes this kitten so dangerous. I know it, and my council is probably well aware of this as well.

“I want to set up your new rooms adjacent to mine. I want you out of the harem. Until they are complete, I want you with me or in my chamber. Do you understand?” He’s clean now, the round cheeks of his buttocks shiver slightly from cold, peeking out just a little from under his wings. It looks like he’s trying to warm himself with them—adorable!

He looks at me closely.

“Because you like my song?”

“I do love your song, but it’s your soul that draws me to you, Konoe. I feel like it’s your soul that I need.”

“M-my soul?” 

“Yes—we met long ago,” I continue, lying on the bed, “and my soul has been searching you out for many years—perhaps even centuries. You give my life meaning.” Even I’m a little shocked by my words.

“Hmm,” he murmurs softly, staring into my eye for a moment. I pull him on top of my chest, letting him melt into me. He’s so soft after he sings, so compliant, like putty. I love how he feels. He’s beautiful, and he’s purring softly. I lick his ears gently, grooming them carefully, while he closes his eyes and drifts off to sleep. Occasionally, I run my claws through the golden strands of hair—so precious to me—more so than any of my possessions. I feel something like a string pulling tight around my heart in my chest as this creature drifts off to sleep.

Should he trust me so readily? I really don’t know. Perhaps he should fear me more. At times, there is a part of me, deep inside my soul, that wants to devour him. But I keep that part locked away.

Chapter Text

The rest of the week goes pretty well, considering everything. I’m staying in Rai’s room with Tokino as my only attendant, and he doesn’t see me very often. Rai cares for me himself—more often than Tokino, much to my surprise and to Tokino’s as well.

I can hear construction next door—well, not exactly next door, but on the other side of the bathing chamber. Rai tells me not to use the baths unless he is with me, which I find strange. He seems rather possessive. But I comply, because of what I learned earlier in the week about obedience. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I am confined to the chamber unless Rai accompanies me. I don’t know if this is because the heat is lasting so long or because he is worried about what happened in the harem. I want to ask Tokino what is going on there, but I hardly see him alone—Rai has been with me almost every minute of every day, leaving only when I sleep. And I do have to rest—and often. I feel like he is exhausting me on purpose—with sex and with my song—so I have to sleep in the mornings, often not waking till afternoon, when he returns, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, an anticipatory smirk on his lips. 

Being surrounded by his scent seems to make my symptoms much worse than they need to be. Even when I try grooming, I can’t seem to get his scent off my body—he has marked me somehow. My hair, my skin, my clothes—everything smells like him, and that makes me feel hot and amorous.

I’ve noticed there is ice outside the windows in the early morning—usually when Rai wakes me. He often wakes me by gently grooming my ears or tail, which really excites me. He always expects physical connection of some sort, sometimes sweet and gentle, sometimes centered around my pleasure (he uses his mouth then), sometimes rough—but usually fast and furious, always pulling a song from me as well, just upon request. His voice, asking me to sing—it always produces a song.

When he sees me in the afternoons, or after dinner, it’s often a bigger production—demanding I strip for him or eat naked. This is when I learned it’s better for me to comply with his demands. I refused—once—and was subjected to rather extreme punishment. He did things to my body—arousing me for several hours and so intensely without allowing me release—using his hands, his tongue, his fingers, even his fluffy tail. He did eventually allow me to release, but it was so arousing that it was painful. And I eagerly submitted to him the next time he asked me to strip—and I did it exactly as he requested. He seemed quite pleased. 

Worst of all is that I don’t hate any of his treatment of me. His scent and touch are really arousing. Even his “punishments” are pleasurable—so much that I find myself thinking of them during the times he is not with me. Even (and maybe especially) that extreme punishment. 

In fact, this afternoon, I am finding myself in rather a state. I am yearning for him to return and he is a little late. I’m dressed only in a sheer cream silk robe, lying on the bed—though I’m now permitted to read as much as I like. But I am excessively distracted. I want him here—and I want him to touch me. I think I will kiss him when he comes into the room, and maybe I will instigate something. It will most likely please him, I think.

I don’t know what has me feeling so passionate today—but I am lewdly stroking myself through the silk fabric, and it feels nice. I don’t know if I am allowed to do such a thing, but I’m facing away from the door, so I will hear him when he enters and I can stop quickly. And I want to be ready when he comes in. I imagine how it feels when he touches me—when he puts his hands on me—and he feels really possessive—like he is claiming me, conquering me. When did I start to enjoy it? When did I stop being afraid? Or is it so enjoyable because I am still slightly afraid? 

The door creaks slightly and I stop moving my hand. I don’t turn around, however—just listening to the footsteps, and my ears twitch. Something... sounds different. It’s hard to tell in my current state of arousal, however. My pupils are blown and my fangs are bared, my mouth filled with saliva and my body is sweating. I fluff out my wings slightly and listen, hoping to bring his scent to the bed.

I’m surprised when I smell something that is not the silver cat. It’s sharply fragrant, like perfume, only spicy. It’s vaguely familiar, but I can’t remember when I smelled it—but suddenly, my stomach lurches unpleasantly, as though my body remembers even if my mind does not.

My body cools just a little, and I turn my head, looking over my shoulder. Sure enough, it isn’t the king standing there. Right at the foot of the bed, it’s the overseer, Virus.

I bristle my fur and my feathers fluff out, and I sit up. 

“You should not be here. What are you doing here?”

A soft, slow smirk crosses his lips—a creepy expression that doesn’t reach his eyes—and his sharp fangs peek out. Blue eyes peer through his glasses to examine me.

“I’m simply checking out the merchandise.” His voice has a slippery quality, and his gaze skates down my body. “You’ve certainly figured out how to increase your value since your arrival.” 

Hissing quietly at his remark, I growl, “What do you want? This is the king’s chamber. He will be back soon.”

“Oh—I don’t think so. He will be busy for a little while. I’ve arranged a small crisis for him to deal with. So I’m afraid you’re on your own. It seems you’ve been eagerly anticipating his arrival?” 

He is much too close to me, and I am paralyzed with fear. I don’t want him to touch me, but I can only watch as he grabs the hem of my robe and pushes it up, exposing my legs. His cold fingers skate along my body as he pushes the fabric off my knees and thighs, pushing it past the crease of my ass. 

My stomach lurches again. Why can’t I move? Why can’t I defend myself? I’m terrified of this cat—his brutality—of what he wants with me—but I can do nothing in my defense! Is the result of not being allowed to decline the king’s advances? A cold fear washes over my shoulders and down my spine, and my mouth dries up.

“These wings are gorgeous, too,” he strokes my feathers almost lovingly. “And your hair—it’s beautiful. And this scent? We could all smell you—and your arousal—in the dining room. I could hardly believe this was the same creature I had the privilege of trying to train only a few weeks ago—except I’d never forget this shapely little bottom.”

His hand strokes me—right along the curve of my ass. 

“I was so disappointed when the king claimed you. But now, you’re worth even more.” My wrist is suddenly pulled behind my back and I hear a soft clicking sound—and it’s connected to my other wrist. “You won’t fight me, will you?”

“G-get away from m-me,” I whisper—unable to call out or scream, my voice shivers in fear.

“Ah, now, that really is too bad,” Virus moves my hair out of my face and presses a cloth to my nose and mouth. It smells sweet and syrupy—and it makes me feel dizzy. What—what is this? 

“Mmmph!” I protest from behind the rag, but even that small effort makes me breathe more of whatever the cloth has been soaked in. My vision shakes and goes gray around the edges, and I panic. My panic makes me breathe faster and that makes me dizzier, and soon, my vision goes completely dark. The last thing I hear is Virus’ voice. 

“There, there. That’s a good kitten. You just sleep. You’ll be much easier to handle.” 


When I wake, I’m not in Rai’s chamber anymore, and it’s jarring. Not being surrounded by his comforting scent is really weird. I have a pounding headache and my neck feels heavy. My hands are bound behind me, and I’m lying on a straw mattress—it’s awful, out of control, and pokey.

And then my memory returns. 

I’m not so worried about discomfort from the straw mattress anymore and instead am filled with fear. I remember everything about Virus, how terrified I am of him, how much he seems to hate me—and I’m filled with confusion. Why am I here? Where am I? 

I sit up—or try to—but I’m pulled back sharply. There is a chain connecting my neck to the wall. And my wrists are still restrained. I realize my robe is askew, and my body has been indecently exposed as I lay unconscious, and I can’t fix it, because of how I’m restrained, and it’s incredibly uncomfortable. I wiggle around on the bed, trying to sit up against the wall, getting tangled in my hair, squishing my wings—then I turn toward the wall, trying to see how far the chain will reach. If I can stand up, I can straighten my clothes.

But I can’t get the chain to reach the floor and the door opens as I’m struggling. The sound of the door banging open—deliberately loud, as if to frighten me—makes my wings spread wide. 

“Well, would you look at that.”

I don’t recognize the voice, and I turn my head, my ears flushing in embarrassment. I’m practically naked in front of a cat I’ve never met. And he is giving me a look like he wants to devour me.

“He said you were pretty, but he didn’t specify exactly how pretty.”

The cat standing in the doorway is tall—close to Rai's height—and blonde. He has short red fur and blue eyes, and he weirdly reminds me of Virus—he’s dressed the same way—in the same black, white and lime green colors. Are they brothers? He is much broader, much more muscled, and much scarier.

“Wh-who are you?” 

“He speaks! And what a sweet voice you have, too. I hear you’re a Sanga. Is that true? Can you sing? I’ve heard you’ve enchanted His Majesty. You’re to be his bride.”

His husband, I think but don’t say. My fur probably says it for me, and I keep my mouth shut.

“You look a little uncomfortable. Do you want me to release your wrists?”

I soften my gaze slightly. Is this... kindness?

“Please,” I say quietly. I kneel on the bed, bringing my wings in. Currently facing the wall so I can offer my wrists behind me, I feel his hands brushing against my feathers.

“Your wings are something else—and my gods—do you have feeling in them?” 

I give a short nod, waiting patiently. I hear a soft jingle of keys and my wrists are released from their restraints. Immediately, I straighten my clothes—or try to—but my hands are grabbed.

“Ah, I didn’t give you permission to do that. You’ll obstruct my view.”

A feeling of dark foreboding floods me when I hear his tone. He is standing much too close, and what happened with Mana zooms up in my thoughts and emotions, paralyzing me. 

“Please—don’t—” 

“I think you have no power right now, kitten—or whatever kind of creature you are,” the cat growls in my ear and then follows his words with his tongue. It feels so wrong because he is not Rai—it’s disgusting! “I’ve never seen a creature as captivating as you—you smell like flowers and something kind of sweet and sticky—I want to wreck you!”

“Please—whatever it is you think I did—y-you have th-the wrong—”

“Oh? You haven’t captured our king’s heart?” The words are whispered low, in the same growl. “You haven’t enchanted him? Are you telling me there are two golden-haired kittens with wings in the palace, spending the night in His Grace’s chambers?”

My body trembles in fear, and I feel his hand traveling down my spine, pulling my robe up at my neck, revealing bare skin, between my wings to the base of my tail, which is grabbed. 

“You’ve made a mess of your hair, unfortunately. Your fur, too. Shall I fix it for you, kitten?” 

The last thing I want is for this stranger to groom me in any way—having him put his hands on me as much as he has is disgusting, and the thought of him grooming me is even grosser. 

“N-no,” I protest quietly. “Please, d-don’t touch me.”

“Ah, but you don’t have any say. So just sit quietly and be obedient, all right?” 

I’m not sure what to do, but I’m afraid he will hurt me if I don’t comply. On the other hand, I really don’t want him to touch me. The confusion leaves me frozen and unable to move.

“Let’s get you a little more comfortable first, shall we?” His other hand skates around to the front of my body and pulls the sash from my robe and tears spill from my eyes. I desperately struggle to keep myself covered, but he easily overpowers me. I don’t even know this cat’s name—I’ve never seen him before, and he scares me! Why do I have to expose my body in front of him??

“Please—What do you want? I don’t even know you!”  

“Isn’t it obvious, what I want?” He presses his body up against me, and I can feel his erection through his trousers. I don’t want this! “And how sweet—the king’s little princess wants an introduction! I’m Trip, a close associate of Virus’. Nice to meet you.” 

Instead of shaking my hand or bowing, he strips off my robe, leaving me naked on the bed. I can’t ever remember wanting to be covered so much, even if all he is threatening me with is grooming! I spread my wings and bristle my fur, desperately struggling to cover myself.

“Now, settle down, pretty creature, and mind me. I just want to fix your hair and your fur. You’ll be compliant, won’t you?” My ears are stroked and he pulls me into his lap. My wings are covering as much of my body as possible, but they become uncomfortably squashed. 

“Please! Don’t hurt me—just please don’t hurt me!” I beg.

“I said I was just going to fix this lovely hair of yours, kitten. It’s beautiful, but your struggle has made it quite tangled.”

I am facing away from him, trapped between his muscular legs, still connected to the bed with my collar. This is humiliating! But I don’t have any choice. I feel a soft touch against my ears and I think he has a brush in his hand.

“There. Doesn’t that feel nice? Your fur is short but so very plush and full.” 

After brushing the fur on my ears, he starts on my hair, and he is oddly gentle about it. It’s creepy, feeling his claws detangle the long golden strands, and then he runs the brush through each section, making it shiny. He doesn’t pull or yank my hair, and I find that I wish he would.

“You’re doing very well, kitten. Now, show me this sort of compliance for the rest of your stay, and we will get along just fine.”

My wings are wrapped toward the front of my body to cover my lap and belly—it’s cold in here and I’m naked—and my robe is now in a puddle on the floor. I have my legs curled up beneath my body, and my tail is twitching restlessly. The rhythmic stroking against my head is sort of hypnotizing and revolting at the same time.

“The king prefers to groom you himself, does he? I can smell him on you.” Trip buries his nose in the nape of my neck and inhaled my scent there. “His scent doesn’t quite cover your sticky sweetness, however. It can’t. You’re simply overpowering and delicious.”

I shudder—revolted and sickened—when I note the heat building in his tone and how he speaks low against my ear. Does he think I enjoy this? Still, I make myself be still. He won’t hurt me, he said, if I remain compliant and obedient, and so that is what I do.

“What do you want with me?” 

“Oh—we just want to make sure the king doesn’t do anything rash. You’re our insurance against that. Virus thought you’d be the perfect leverage.”

“Leverage?” I ask. 

“Yes,” Trip replies. “I’m sure His Grace will behave if he knows your welfare at stake.”

“My welfare?” I echo. 

“Hmph,” Trip hums, turning my chin, craning my neck to meet his gaze. “You have a pretty face, too.” My tail is grabbed suddenly and I bristle my fur and hiss quietly.

“Please—don’t,” I whisper.

“Oh, I’m grooming this lucky tail whether you want it or not. You don’t have a choice. Well, we can do it the easy way or the hard way.”

I narrow my eyes at his suggestion.

“The easy way is you hand me your tail obediently. The hard way is that you refuse, and you get punished, and then you comply.”

His sudden sharp threat makes all the fur stand up on my body, and my ears flatten.

“You don’t like the sound of that?” Trip purrs. “Then, hand me your tail.”

I hesitate—and in my moment of hesitation, my collar is grabbed from behind and pulled up and back. It scares me to death—I think he might kill me or break my neck because he is pulling so hard, and both my hands fly up to try to give myself a little breathing room. I’m too late, and my body is lifted slowly off my knees. As my airway is closed off, I lose my ability to breathe, and I start to wheeze and choke—and adrenaline floods my system.

Tears sting my eyes as they flow down my cheeks, and I gasp for air. I try to beg for mercy, struggling to have him release me, desperate for my life, even. And at that moment, unbelievably, I feel a large hand wrapping around to the front of my hips.

“Some people find asphyxiation quite pleasurable. Are you one of those?” 

No, I think—please, gods, no! But if I am touched so aggressively, of course, my body has been conditioned to respond, and as it happens and as repulsive as it feels, not only to Rai. My cock stiffens. I try to squirm away, but I can’t move. I can’t kick my legs—I can’t do anything except struggle with my collar. And my vision is going dim, and my breath hisses in desperation.

Finally, he releases me—and I fall back to the bed on my knees, my wings aflutter, and I rub my throat as I cough several times, trying to force air back into my lungs.

“Impressive, kitten,” he purrs. “I think I understand the attraction. You have a sweet face and an innocent look, but your body has been trained to respond like that of a whore. I didn’t know His Grace was into such things. I wonder what else he’s trained to you enjoy.”

Another bolt of fear rushes through my chest, even as I’m gasping for breath. A pair of strong arms wrap beneath my fluttering wings, headed to my groin, pinning me in his lap.

“No—don’t! You said you wouldn’t hurt me!” I plead helplessly, my voice croaking, strange and hoarse.

“Don’t worry your pretty little head, kitten. You’re still in heat—I can smell you—and I know you’ve been spending a lot of time with the Setsuran King. He’s not a small breed. He is probably, in fact, even bigger than me. You’ll have no trouble accommodating me.”

“N-no—don’t do this! Please!” 

“You’re not going to try to tell me that he gave you your first night with him to relax or get used to him, are you? The king is not a patient man, and I hear you readily accepted his proposal—you’re covered in his jewels, in fact.”

I swallow hard. Who is this cat? What have I ever done to him? I burn with fury in addition to my fear, and I scream when he grabs my dick, drawing my claws and digging into his arms.

“Don’t touch me!”

“Ouch—you little brat!” My torso is slammed down flat against the bed, my chin bumping the headboard, making me bite my tongue, and my legs are pulled over the side as my body is turned around. Wait a minute! How are my feet on the floor? I tried this and I couldn’t reach—but my head is right next to the headboard, so perhaps I was simply too far away!

“Now I heard my friend punished you quite harshly when you first arrived. It seems you are still disobedient—even after spending time with His Grace. Does he spoil you?”

I shudder at the memory—being beaten in the garden in front of all those people—and my memories are interrupted by a sharp, intense smack on my ass. It makes my ears twitch, and there is nothing pleasurable about it at all. A small yelp escapes, and I quickly press my lips together, shoving my hands in front of my mouth.

“I see. You have quite a lovely voice—and I suppose you’re much more compliant after a punishment as well?”

“N-no—Please! Don’t!” 

Smack! My hips pitch forward against his lap, and my head bumps the wooden headboard, and I cry out loud, my tail shaking helplessly from side to side, eager to comply, eager to escape the punishment. 

“Now, if you really wanted me to stop, you’d submit, wouldn’t you?” 

He is making no sense! Submit to a punishment—to this abuse? I don’t want to demonstrate my compliance! Who the hell in their right mind would do that?

“But you—you are squirming to get away, defying me, telling me no,” the large cat behind me is growling, and he spanks me again—and I wonder if I wouldn’t rather be spanked than let him fuck me. Maybe this is a better alternative? But is it a choice? Or is it first one then the next? 

“Get off me!” I yell, after the next blow, trying to crawl back up on the bed, but my tail is yanked harshly, and I’m smacked again—my thighs this time—and it really, really hurts, drawing tears from my eyes and a loud sob from my mouth. I don’t want to be subjected to this! I haven’t been punished like this since I first arrived, and it’s not just physically painful; it’s humiliating as well. Even if I struggle and flap my wings, I can’t escape.

I seem to be hanging off his lap somehow, and he has my legs pinned between his, and he freely smacks my ass and thighs—hard—and I scream with every blow, finally dissolving into tears and pitiful begging. I try to submit—I try to relax—and simply take the punishment. But it really hurts, and I flinch each time.

However, the blows suddenly stop, and I feel something cool pressed against my ass. Despite my best efforts, I sigh with relief at the sensation, and he whispers directly in my ear, which perks up instead of pressed flat against my skull, “Ah, do you like that? I bet it feels cool against your pink skin.”

My ears flatten suddenly. It feels nice, yes, but Trip’s words strike terror in my heart. What is that? And is he going to hit me with it?

I don’t struggle or resist—or even move my body except for my lashing tail. But I have to do something. I can’t take any more—although, the thought rushes through me again, what if this is a choice between him spanking me with whatever that is versus him raping me? Which would I prefer, and the answer is clear. A spanking would be much easier to recover from. That is why I don’t move.

“Please—are you going to, um, h-hurt me m-more? A-after...?” I can’t ask—and I’m not sure I really want to know. 

“I wouldn’t have had to punish you if you would simply submit in the first place, kitten.”

I did submit! I think angrily, and I feel my fur bristling but I do not move.

“Please,” I whisper. I know he was trying to grope me earlier, and that was when I resisted. I suppose I haven’t been obediently letting him touch me all he likes.

The cool sensation slides around my ass, moving a little lower—he is caressing me with whatever it is. It feels smooth and slightly curved. My stomach hurts and I want to throw up. 

“If I am injured, His Grace will be very upset,” I whisper, taking a huge risk.

Whatever it is on my ass stops moving.

“Ho? You think so? You have no idea how long we plan to keep you, however. As far as you know, we may give you plenty of time to heal.”

I gasp when I feel the cool sensation vanish. I know what is coming next—he is surely going to use it to spank me. My tail bristles and moves out of the way, my ears flatten when they are filled with a solid, thwack! The sound registers well before the pain—I’m struck centered on my left cheek, and it takes a split second for a searing, burning sensation to sizzle across my skin and shimmer around to the front of my hips. 

Despite my best efforts to stay submissive, my body jerks from the recoil of the hit and my legs kick up, and my hands fly back behind me to protect my burning ass. But they are quickly pinned at the base of my tail, which is also grabbed roughly, tipping my body forward and making me arch, and my right cheek is smacked just as hard.

It’s the hairbrush. He’s using the back of that wooden hairbrush to spank me! Right after the second spank, tears spill from my eyes, and that seems to be the reaction he is looking for. The strokes speed up and get more rhythmic—and I don’t understand how this can possibly be so painful when what the king does to me is so very pleasant and arousing. There is nothing pleasant about this, except that blood is pooling in my hips and groin rather dangerously, and that in itself makes the pain worse and also makes me half hard. 

By the fourth blow, I am wailing—loud—in serious pain—no longer able to form words. And gasping for air. Worse, he peppers strokes evenly on my ass, both cheeks, alternating between them and my sit spot, plus scattering several overlapping blows along the backs of my thighs. He even pulls my legs apart and punishes the tender skin on the inside of my thighs—making me scream in agony.

I don’t even notice when the door opens—but my wings are fully spread, and I’ve lost several feathers in my struggle, though I’m trying to submit obediently. But the punishment is just too much. It burns and stings—almost as much as that birching I got from Virus. My groin is heavy and hot, too—with every stroke against my sit spot a shivering sensation makes me feel like I have to pee, and my abdomen pulls painfully.

“Enough! Trip—enough! What the hell is going on in here?!” I hear a voice over my cries, and the blows slow down and come to a stop. I’m left in tears, sobbing and gasping for breath, and utterly exhausted. “What the hell are you thinking?!”

“He wasn’t being compliant,” Trip says, his voice flat. “I did try a hand spanking first, but it had no effect.”

“Trip, this is the king’s fiancé! We can’t bring him back damaged.” 

“Well, this is nothing worse than what we do to his slaves. I was just warming him up a little first.”

Through my tears, I hear that phrase, “warming him up,” and I shudder. Warming me up for what?

“This is plenty. Poor little thing is probably really spoiled—I mean, look at him. He’s crying actual tears—and his voice carries really well. Even if we aren’t in the palace, someone else may hear that. Even this far out in the forest.”

I’m no longer in the palace? Shit! My breath continues hitching with sobs, and my ass and thighs—my entire backside—feels like it’s on fire.

“You need to treat his skin, and do it quickly,” Virus says. “You don’t want to do him any permanent damage.”

Trip sighs, obviously disappointed and pushes me off his lap. I curl up in a ball onto the bed, shivering—covered in pain, fear, and chilled to the bone. My back and wings are stroked soothingly, and I shiver under Virus’ touch.

“I’m sorry about that. My friend can get overly enthusiastic sometimes. You’ll have to forgive him.” The hand drops to my ass, and I flinch, lashing my tail and holding my breath, trying not to let another sob escape. “You are quite nicely pink, however. I think His Grace should skip the marriage and just display you—as you are—like this. I’d even volunteer to keep your ass this lovely shade. My gods, it’s gorgeous. You know, I was devastated when you were removed from my care, Konoe.”

I shiver, several fresh tears spilling down my cheeks. My face is turned toward the wall, so I don’t look at him, but I know he can tell I’m sobbing because I cannot get my chest to take normal breaths. 

“Now, I need proof of having you in our custody, kitten. You don’t mind if I take a little something that belongs to you, do you?”

My ears perk up, and my eyes widen in fear when something silver flashes before my eyes. It’s a small dagger. Again, I hold my breath, terror washing over me. I’m afraid he will cut me! A small, horrified sound leaks from my mouth. 

“Oh, hush. I only want a lock of hair. Don’t move. I’d hate to slip.”

A strand of my hair toward the nape of my neck is yanked harshly, and I feel the cold blade sweep across my neck, making my skin shudder. Then, I hear the sound of it cutting my hair, and the pressure against my scalp is relieved.

“Good boy. Now, there’s a chance that he might not believe this is yours, so I’d like to take a feather as well.”

“Aahh—Please! Um, I think some came loose in the struggle earlier...” I begin, now truly terrified.

“I see that, but I want one of these,” Virus says. He is pulling on a long feather—a flight feather—on my right wing. It hurts—and not like the sensation of someone pulling my hair or pinching my skin. This is a much deeper pain as if the feathers are attached to the bone. It’s like someone is pulling a tooth or a toenail. It’s incredibly eerie and scary and very, very painful. 

“P-please, no!” I cry. 

“What?” Virus asks. “Oh—you can feel in your feathers?” 

“Please—I will do whatever you ask. The king knows I can feel in them, and if he is presented with them, he will know I’ve been tortured!”

Tortured? Surely it’s not as bad as that! Isn’t it like hair or fur?” Virus pulls at the feather again, and I scream. “Oh, so sensitive! How wonderful.”

“Please stop! You have all you need already,” I plead—and there are half a dozen loose feathers floating around the floor. Can’t he use those? 

“But then I’d have to bend down and pick them up,” Virus murmurs.

“Please let me! Please! I’m begging you!”

“Don’t make such a fuss,” Virus says. “We will take them as well. But I want a long one, too—one that can’t be mistaken for some other creature’s.” His hands move back to my wing and start yanking at that feather again.

I almost lose my voice in the scream that comes out of my mouth, and my claws are drawn, my fangs bared, my fur bristled—and he still hasn’t gotten the feather out yet.

“My, you are a stubborn little thing. I would have thought Trip softening you up might have helped a little. What else do you need? Be still.” My ass is smacked for good measure—and it burns and stings, since my skin is raw and red.

And Virus starts wiggling the feather he wants back and forth, as though loosening a tooth, and I am helplessly screaming into the mattress.

“Enough!” he smacks my ass again. “Just shut your mouth and stop this fussing. It’s a single feather, little one. You’ve dropped nearly half a dozen of them today already—one more can’t be that painful. Maybe a tool will be necessary.”

Virus gets up and leaves, and Trip enters shortly after. I narrow my eyes at Trip, and he smiles at me.

“Now, that is not a very submissive gaze, pretty kitty. So, why don’t you comply while you have the chance? This is a treatment for your skin—it’s for your benefit, after all. Lie down on your stomach, flat on the bed.”

After hesitating for just a second, I obey, my wing still sore from where Virus was pulling at me. I try to run my claws through the area, attempting to straighten the feather and make it lie flat, but before I can finish, my ass is slapped again. It hurts—and it wounds my feelings, too. My ears flatten, and I stop grooming my wing, flattening my body against the bed obediently and lying still.

“That’s not so hard, now, is it?” I hate that purring voice. He’s acting like I should be grateful he is touching me. I hate how it sounds. It’s repulsive! But if I disobey and resist, I will be punished. And I can’t take anymore. 

Trip applies some kind of cooling cream to my ass and my thighs. It stings at first and then feels slightly numbing. It makes me relax a little bit, at least at first.

“Doesn’t that feel better?” 

But then he starts rubbing it in, getting it in between my thighs and slipping his hands in between my cheeks, and other places it doesn’t need to be. My ears flatten, and I squeeze my thighs together—but my ass is spanked right away—and my gods, it burns even more with that cream on my skin! Fresh tears spill down my cheeks, and the door opens again. 

“That’s plenty, Trip,” Virus says. “I’ll need your help for a minute. Would you spread his wing for me and keep him still?”

“Ah!?” I gasp, as Trip’s heavy body crushes against mine, pushing me against the bed. I feel him peeling my wing away from my body, and then I see Virus, holding something that looks like a pair of metal pliers in his hand. Pliers? Oh, shit! “No! Please, don’t!” But I can’t stop my screams when Virus grasps that feather at the base and starts to pull it out. 

It really does feel like someone is pulling a tooth, and I’m devastated with pain. 

“Oy, is it supposed to bleed like that?” Trip asks.

“Er, no. Hold some pressure on it.” 

As soon as the feather is pulled, I’m left with a painful, prickling sensation in its place—but also a huge sense of relief, since the yanking has actually stopped. But I can feel something hot and liquid dripping along my wing toward my back. 

“Oy, the pressure—it’s not doing anything...”

“Okay, um, give me a minute,” Virus gets up and leaves the room—I hear his footsteps rushing down a hallway. I’m facing the wall again, tasting salt in my mouth from my tears. 

“Virus? Virus!” Trip calls, and I start to feel a little fuzzy. I feel even more liquid running down my wing—am I bleeding? I look over my right shoulder, and my wing is covered in red. “Shit! Virus! get in here!” 

The sight of all that blood terrifies me, and I flap my wings instinctively—spraying the room with flecks of red. The fluttering is exhausting—how much could I bleed from a single feather, I wonder? Am I that weak in this form? Losing one single feather could kill me? I start to panic, but I’m too exhausted to move much more.

I hear Trip yelling and Virus rushes back into the room. Both cats are pinning me down, and my hands must be thrashing around because I am suddenly restrained against the bed. 

“Be still—kitten—you’re making it worse!” Virus says I think—but my hearing is poor. It sounds muffled like I’m underwater.

I hear the two bickering for a moment, I think Virus says, “Do you have a firm grip? Don’t let him move!” And Trip says, “Yep, go!” 

Then I hear something sizzle—and I smell something burning—meat? What is that? The sound is frightening and brings my fading consciousness back to reality. Then—my gods—a pain unlike anything I’ve ever experienced scorches my wing. Right where the feather was pulled, I think the wound was just cauterized to stop the bleeding. Perhaps it helped, but I don’t care—it hurts so much and I am screaming at the top of my lungs as soon as I am able to gather my breath— 

And thankfully, my consciousness fades to black.

Chapter Text

When my consciousness returns, I wish it hadn't. It feels like a waking nightmare. I’m lying facedown on a bed—a different one—a real mattress, not a straw mattress—my hands above my head and my legs dangling over the side. I can’t move my body at all—I’m completely paralyzed: not even my ears or tail will move. My head is foggy and hazy, but unfortunately not so foggy that I’m unaware of what is going on around me.

I know—I know something violent is being done to me. I feel my wings and tail being caressed in an intimate way—but that isn’t what is so disturbing. What is really disturbing is that something is inside me—and is thrusting in and out of me—and moving my entire body against the sheets of the bed, and hard enough to squeeze the air out of my lungs, making rhythmic wheezing sounds come out of my mouth. It's disgusting!

My gods—I am… being raped?

And I am barely conscious? Who is this on top of me? I don’t even know who is doing this to me! I can’t turn my head and I can’t see anything! I can’t move any part of my body—I can’t even move my tail or twitch my ears—or even spread my wings. I try to make a sound—and all that comes out is a small, tiny meow in protest. It sounds pathetic! 

I try to look inside me, searching out a song. Maybe I can call for help. And that is what I’m trying to find inside me. I know it won’t be loud, but maybe there is a connection that he will feel if I can call for him. He heard me when Mana did something like this to me, after all... And I feel absolutely nauseated.

My body being thrust around like this is distracting and disgusting—it isn’t terribly painful since I am still in heat, but I hate the feeling of some other hot, sweaty cat’s flesh pressing inside me and up against me. It’s gross, and it makes me feel so utterly helpless and useless and powerless. 

I use those feelings—of helplessness and panic—to find a song inside me—and it bursts out of me, much to my surprise—and to the surprise of the cat fucking me. No—to the surprise of the cat raping me.

“Ah—what’s this, then?” I recognize his voice. It’s Trip. He is barely able to speak—his voice is husky, and he seems to like the sound of my desperate, pleading song.

But it gets louder, and it lights up the room around me—spreading out from my body into the crevices of the walls and boarded-up windows—spreading out as if searching for Rai. I wonder if he knows. It’s not a song for Trip. But he doesn’t seem to care. It makes my body vibrate in a pleasant way—the bones and flesh vibrate in tune with the melody, and he sighs in pleasure, now too distracted to hear the door open.

“What’s going on in here?” Virus’ voice asks suddenly. “What the hell is this?! What are you doing? Are you crazy?!”

But it’s too late now—Trip is already at his limit and he is coming—although he pulls out of me and comes over the top of my body, spraying me with hot fluid. It makes me feel dirty and used, and it makes me feel even more helpless—and my song turns into a cry or a scream for help.

“Someone is going to hear him! Shut him up! Shut him up right now!” Virus is hissing, but I can’t sing for very long when my energy is this low. Soon, my energy fades and I lose consciousness—exhaustion covers me—and with the drugged state I was in earlier, I lose my ability to even keep my eyes open. 

The light fades, my song fades, and along with it, all the hope I have for being rescued. I close my eyes and submit to the darkness. 


The next time my eyes open, I hear violence.

Hissing and growling—and fighting.

I’m terrified. I think it’s in the room next door, but I’m not sure. It could also be upstairs. I flatten my body to the bed or try to, but I’m still unable to move. I flare my nostrils when I sense a familiar fragrance—sandalwood—and I realize that the king is here. He’s not alone, either. 

“Help me!” I try to call out, but no sound will come from my mouth. Instead, I pull out a song. And with it—comes all the power I can muster. 

Help me. I lend you my strength. Help me! Take me with you—please!

I feel a strange connection—to Rai—when my song connects to him. It feels like an electric current running through my body. It feels like all of my power is surging into him. Is this the power of a Sanga—lending my power to a Touga in battle? I can’t see him, nor can I see the effects, but I can feel that my strength is certainly doing something. 

When I close my eyes, I can see through his. And he is furious—raging with anger and a desire to protect me. It’s a little overwhelming, actually. 

“You smell like him!”

I can hear his voice growling—and never have I been so thrilled to hear his voice, but he is angry!

“I can smell him on you! What have you done to my Sanga?!”

“Your Highness, please!” I think it’s Koujaku, but Rai won’t turn his head. I can feel the sword in his right hand and a dagger in his left, and he is facing Trip, growling with his fangs bared. Trip is rightfully nervous and afraid, but Trip isn't armed.

“Sire, please—we found him for you—wait!” Virus is pleading, and I’ve never heard him sound so desperate. “Trip, don’t fight him! He only smells like your Sanga because we’ve been tending to his injuries, sire!”

“This cat doesn’t smell like his injuries!” Rai growls, the words rumbling deep in his chest—and I feel a strange power emanating from his body—one that he feels an extreme pleasure in as well. It’s a new feeling, too—is it perhaps from my song? Is this from me? “I know this scent very well, and it’s not from injuries!” 

I’m here—I’m all right—please— 

I whisper softly—to his heart, using my song—and I feel him relax quite suddenly, and he lowers his sword. 

“Take both of them into custody,” he growls. I see Koujaku move swiftly into action and Virus and Trip both freeze—they are outnumbered.

Where are you?

His voice whispers back to me. 

I try looking around, but I’m paralyzed.

It’s a bedroom—it’s dark in here. I can’t move. Please—I must be close because I can hear you. I can feel you. I don’t see any windows or natural light. Please. Don’t leave me here. 

It’s only a few minutes and the door to the room I’m in opens, making my fur bristle and my feathers ruffle.

“Konoe!” It’s him—it’s my silver cat—my king—and since when do I think of him as mine

Tears overflow from my eyes and I want to reach out to him, but I can’t move. My song fades, however—and the light in the room starts to dim. Instead, the king lights a torch, and I flinch. I am terrified of fire.

“Ah—you are injured—what the hell—my gods! Your wing! Is this blood?” He sounds horrified, running his hand across the injured part of my wing, making my feathers tremble in the wake of his fingers—and the part of my wing that was cauterized is still very tender. 

“H-he pulled a feather, and it bled uncontrollably,” I whisper. 

“I was given that feather as proof of life,” Rai says quietly. “You are safe now. You are with me now, and I will need to improve your guard. I am so sorry—I can’t believe you were taken from my chambers. It was Virus who took you, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” I say quietly. “What did they want?”

“Don’t concern yourself with it. It’s all right now. It's over,” he says, gathering me up in his arms.

“Really,” I insist. “If I’m going to be your husband, I need to know. They don’t want me to marry you? Why not? What is it?” 

“There are some other families who would prefer I take a different spouse,” Rai says evenly. “And now that she has disgraced herself by throwing herself at you—hoping to get herself pregnant with your child—and again, while you were taken, she denied hurting you and tried to see me, again, hoping to get herself with child. This would improve her standing and hoping that I’d consider making her my bride over you.”

“This was about Mana?” I whisper. “For her sake?”

“She is afraid to lose status,” Rai explains. “She doesn’t want to lose her authority in the harem. And the problem is that now, she really may be carrying your child. I can’t exactly punish her. However, I can exile her until I know either way.”

“B-but it won’t be yours,” I say softly.

“My what?” 

“Your child,” I say.

“Not technically. However, if it is yours, then I will treasure him or her as if he or she is my own. He or she will be a prince or princess in this kingdom like my other daughter is.”

A small ripple of pleasure travels through my body. 

“And does Mana know this?”

“She does not.”

“Perhaps you should tell her,” I suggest. “I think it will calm her down—knowing that even that child will be treated well. I would like it if she would care for the child as well, that is—if she would like to. May I speak to her?”

“You would like to?” Rai asks. “That is generous, considering what she did to you.”

“I understand why she acted this way. If she lost her son, I can understand this. Perhaps she might like to raise the child away from the castle—or somewhere safer? Shall we see what she would prefer? Does she have family?”

“You would let your child be raised with her family?” 

“Well, if he or she would be loved, yes.” I am confident. “I want what is best for the child—and mother, too. I do not want the child to believe he or she was unwanted.”

“Right now, Mana is under house arrest in her quarters in the harem. I will let you speak to her once your injuries are seen to. And I would like to treat your injuries first. It seems you have been mistreated severely, Konoe.”

I lean my head against Rai’s chest and close my eyes. I don’t want this to be a common occurrence, but as his fiancé, it seems it may be one of the risks I face. 

“Why is our betrothal such a problem?” I whisper. “Am I hated because of who I am?”

“You are not hated, Konoe. In fact, the people adore you. My council adores you. I think the problem lies with those who have a relative in the harem, and a country backing him or her. They want the power that comes from being the head concubine, husband or wife of the king.”

Rai is carrying me as we walk through the forest on foot. I wonder how far he has walked—and then we approach a few horses. He lifts me up onto the horse, and I barely am able to hold on as he leaps up behind me. The horses of Setsura are much larger than the ones I learned to ride as a kitten. 

“My gods, your horses are huge,” I say, unable to hide my amazement. 

“What, larger than your breeds? I suppose they would have to be. Did you learn to ride ponies?” He sounds like he is teasing and licks my ear.

“Well, yes, when I was just a kitten, but I had a real horse when I was older,” I say, slightly offended. 

“A real miniature horse? How cute. What am I going to do with you? When we go into battle? Will you be able to handle a horse of your own, or am I going to need you to ride with me?” I notice that while he is teasing me, I feel his hands stroking my injured wing—and he is quite concerned.

“Are you worried? About my injury?”

“It was a flight feather, wasn’t it? What if it doesn’t grow back? And it bled enough that they cauterized the wound. You may not be able to fly because of what they did. You will need to tell me exactly who did what. I will punish those responsible for hurting you. I know Virus took you from my chambers. But who pulled the feather?”

I sigh softly, not saying anything.

“You do know I have my ways of making you talk.” The words are whispered softly in my ear, and despite everything that has happened to me in the past few days, a delightful shiver rushes through my body. How long has it been? How many days have I been separated from him? And surely, the heat must have passed by now!

If it has, why is my body sweating like this? 

“How long have I been gone?” I ask. 

“What?” Rai asks. “What do you mean?”

“How many days has it been? I had no way to tell. I couldn’t tell whether it was day or night.” 

“Did they feed you?” Rai asks, gently stroking my hair—and also slowing his horse to a canter from the rougher gallop.

“I was given water and bread, I think? I was also given some drugs, I think—something that paralyzed me and dulled my senses. I was very frightened, though.”

“I’m so sorry. I looked for you everywhere—but then I finally heard your song. You were gone three days.” 

“So… is the mating season passed now?” I ask.

“It seems the peak has passed in the harem,” Rai says. “But it lasts about a week, so for some cats, it still isn't over yet.”

“Why do I still feel symptoms?”

“Do you? Feel symptoms?” Rai asks softly.

“Yes. I feel hot next to you.”

“Hmm. As do I. I thought I just missed you. Yet—your body still has this form, too. You’ve kept your wings. And I suspect your wings will disappear as soon as the season passes. Perhaps because you weren’t satisfied by your partner, you are still experiencing symptoms. Shall we see how long we can make it last?”

“Um… n-no,” I stammer, refusing though I'm not exactly sure what he means. “What d-do you mean?”

“We could play a little game,” Rai murmurs. “See how many days we could keep you in this form—with these wings.” 

“What sort of game?” Though I’m afraid I understand what he is suggesting. 

“You know—the sort of game like Aoba played with you,” Rai hums.

“No!” I say. “I wouldn’t like that! At all!”

“Are you sure? Even if it pleased me?” 

“No!” I insist. I flatten my ears against my head. “Don’t even tease me about it!”

“But your wings are so pretty…” 

“I don’t care!”

“And you do usually ask before you, you know, well, come,” Rai points out indelicately. “I could easily refuse you. Then what would you do?”

“You wouldn’t, would you?” I want to turn around to look at him, to see how serious he is being—or whether he is just teasing me—but I can’t move. I’m still quite paralyzed.

“I could ask you to sing, again and again—and you wouldn’t be able to move or defend yourself, and then I could bring you to the brink of climax, over and over—and then you’d keep your wings, wouldn’t you?”

“I think I’d end up disobeying you,” I say, rather sullenly.

“Ah, would you? On purpose? To earn yourself a punishment?” His words send a shiver down my spine.

“Why are we talking about this now?” I ask, slightly irritated. “Don’t I have to get my injuries treated first?” 

“Of course,” he hums, “I just missed you. I wondered if you missed me. If you didn’t, I might punish you. But you might enjoy it too much, I suppose—which completely defeats the purpose of punishment.” 

Another shiver courses through my body. The fact that he can affect me like this irritates me to no end!

“Stop it,” I say, now annoyed.

“I’m just teasing you,” he says, his voice soft and gentle. “I’m sorry. I can tell you are tired and exhausted—and I am making light of our physical relationship because I know something happened. Are you all right?”

I sigh, no longer angry.

“I will be,” I say, leaning into the touch at my ear. Rai is grooming it—as we ride. He is quite talented to be able to groom me as we ride. I’m sure I couldn’t do such a thing, and I considered myself to be quite a good rider.

“You did really well as my Sanga today. You’ve exhausted yourself from the song—but I could feel your power, Konoe. It was amazing. You were amazing. Thank you,” he whispers. “Now, just rest till we get back to the castle. When we get you treated, I want to hear everything that happened to you. But until then, you may rest.”

He’s as good as his word. He lets me rest quietly on the ride back to the castle. I feel so safe in his arms—even though I am exhausted and powerless. If only there were I way I could stay with him all the time. How I wish I could!

And when did I get to be like this? When did I become so dependent on him? When did I even get to like him? It unnerves me.

Chapter Text

I’m given a thorough medical exam in the king’s chambers when we return to the castle. Aside from some bruising, scratches, and welts on my ass from that damned hairbrush, the only major physical wound I have is that pulled flight feather. Rai stays by my side while Bojyo examines me, pacing back and forth.

“He was lucky he was in heat,” the medicine man is saying.

“Luck had nothing to do with it. I’m executing them both,” Rai growls. 

“You do realize though his body is physically doing well, he has suffered mental and emotional trauma. You should be careful not to agitate him further. Perhaps it would be better for you to meet your needs elsewhere for the season, Your Grace.”

Rai bristles his fur and doesn’t reply.

"At least this youth needs a semblance of control," the medicine man continues nervously.

All I want is a bath. I want to rid myself of all this filth—all of Trip’s nastiness—from my body. I feel dirty—and worse than I felt even after Mana. This was so much more intrusive. I was used at both Virus' and Trip's hands like something was taken from me—something other than a feather. I am tired of being poked at and prodded—and that includes the intrusive exam as well.

Finally, the doctor leaves us in peace and I sigh. I have regained the ability to move, but I still have some of the drugs left in my system.

“M-may I bathe?” I ask.

“Of course. You don’t need to ask me for permission.” After a small pause, Rai glances at me, thoughtful. “May I help you?” Rai asks. “You are allowed to refuse me. Today.”

I smile—especially since he added the “today” so late in his sentence. He tries—but he has very little practice with being kind or caring, I realize. He looks a little helpless and I find his genuineness adorable. He brushes the fur on my ears.

“Please,” I reply. “Don’t leave me.”

He helps me from the bed and leads me to the bathing chamber, where he barks at the workers currently doing construction on the adjacent room.

“Out. Now.”

They obey him immediately, of course. He helps me disrobe and gets me under the shower. He also strips down and joins me, helping me wash my hair, my fur, my body—and he is excessively gentle. I can hear his soft purr resonating in my chest, and it makes me purr in response. It’s so wonderful to be home—but I feel sort of numb.

“Do you want to tell me what happened?” He asks. “It might help to talk to me. And it will justify my reasons for killing them later.”

I sigh, enjoying the feel of his strong hands working conditioner through my hair and fur. I don't really feel any emotions about the king killing Virus and Trip. I just am glad he hasn't done it already, while I was watching and helping him. I think something snapped when he smelled my scent on Trip and he was already agitated. I push the thought from my mind. He piles my hair on top of my head and sweeps me off my feet.

“How about a nice long soak?” He suggests. He really seems to be struggling with what to say to me.

“That sounds nice,” I reply, which is good since we’re already in the hot water.

“I missed you. I was worried.” The words are whispered into my ear. “And I have never in my life felt so much rage when I smelled your scent on that cat.”

I sigh softly.

“You know, there’s a reason you have a justice system in place,” I point out.

“Tell me what happened, Konoe.” 

I don’t want to rehash it, but he’s nervous and strange—and he looks so desperate. So I open my mouth. I decide on the abbreviated version.

“Three days ago, Virus entered your chambers when I was expecting you. I don’t know how he got in, and I don’t know how I was taken from the castle, because he pressed a cloth over my face and I passed out. It smelled sweet and cloying, though, so it was probably drugged. I woke in the room where you found me, and that other cat was there. I was chained to the bed. At first, I thought he was being kind when he released my wrists. He wanted me to submit to him and let him comb out my hair and fur—but he punished me.”

“Punished you? How?” I can tell Rai is deliberately trying to keep his voice even. 

“He spanked me when I resisted his advances and beat me with the hairbrush. He was about to do more when Virus stopped him, saying they needed proof of life. I’d lost several feathers in the struggle, but they held me down and pulled out that other feather with, um, pliers.”

“Oh my god.” 

“It bled—a lot—and I passed out when they cauterized the wound. I think they must have drugged me again because when I woke next, I was being raped.”

“By Virus?”

“No. By the other one.” I don’t want to say his name. “I was still suffering from heat terribly, but it was still awful. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t defend myself—so all I could do was call out to you from my heart—like I did with Mana.”

“I heard you, and I came running.”

“I sang for you when I heard your voice. I could… almost see through your eyes, and feel through your body,” I murmur. “You were… livid.” 

“I was. I nearly lost my sanity.”

“Rai,” I say softly. “This may happen again. If the world knows what I mean to you, it will happen again.”

The silver cat won’t look at me, but I can feel his hands on my leg under the water. I am sitting next to him, after all. To my surprise, his fingers are trembling slightly. A few more moments pass in silence, and he takes a breath. His next words are slow as though they are difficult to speak.

“Not if I can help it. I want to protect you. I’ve never had someone like you—someone I care about the way I care about you. I can do it, Konoe. Together, we make a powerful pair. Once you become my husband, no one will dare come after you.”

This is different—he is different, I think—I don’t feel like his possession at the moment. I feel treasured, and I tilt my chin up and kiss him softly. 

“You don’t have to do this for me,” Rai says, running his claws through my hair. “If you would rather wait—or do something else—or be alone—I understand.”

“I know.” I kiss his lips again, chastely, softly.  

“You could watch me with someone else,” he says in a slightly snarky tone.

“Does that appeal to you so much?” I ask, climbing up on his lap, staring down at his smirk. “Do you want me to watch you fuck someone else? Would you enjoy watching someone else fucking me?”

Those slightly rounded out-of-proportion ears flatten against his head and that ice blue eye narrows sharply. I can’t help my teasing.

“If you want me to watch you, you'll have to make me,” I say, keeping my voice soft and seductive. “But that isn’t what I want.”

“What do you want?” He sounds husky and breathless—and he is most definitely still in heat. I can smell his scent and it makes my mouth water.

“I want you to let me make love to you. Tenderly.”

His ears perk up and his eyebrows raise.

“Oh? That almost sounds like—”

“Like what?”

“Like you want to try something new or different.” Rai smiles up at me. 

I look away for a moment. The thought has crossed my mind before—why wouldn't it? And I'm being subtle about it now, possibly indirect. But this is the king of Setsura. He’d never allow me—or anyone—to take him, would he? My chin is nudged slightly and I look back at his face, seeing sharp, exposed fangs. My fur bristles and a shudder shivers down my spine. Fear? Just a little. But why would I be afraid?

“N-no,” I protest. “I just want something gentle and something in which I feel in control.”

“You will have anything you desire.”

I look away again, feeling my ears blush, but I feel fingertips touching my chin again softly. 

“Konoe,” his low voice purrs softly. “Anything you desire—it’s yours.”

The way he’s speaking is making my fur stand on end. That really sounds like he means he’d be willing to do anything I wanted. Should I take advantage? I don’t know. But if he’s in heat—and I am also, isn't it the perfect opportunity?

He kisses my lips gently—and lets me lead. It’s strange. He allows me entrance to his mouth, letting his tongue stay relaxed and letting mine stroke it and explore his teeth, those sharp canines. He is weirdly compliant,  though I can tell he is definitely holding himself back—and it’s fucking hot! I can’t stop purring. 

“Come on, then,” he whispers against my mouth. “Let’s get you dried off and see what we can do for you.”

He lifts me out of the pool easily, toweling off my hair and my body—but that isn’t what I’m thinking about right now. I’m just kissing him—his lips, his neck, his throat, his fingers—anything I can reach. Even the thought is driving me mad with desire. My purr is getting louder and stickier and wetter, and he is only making me hotter. I don’t know exactly what I want yet—but I like that he is letting me touch and do what I like.

“I should brush out your hair before it dries, shouldn’t I?”

“Mmm,” I complain softly. I don't want any delay!

“Won’t it tangle terribly?”

“I don’t care about that,” I whisper, licking his ear. He flicks it down against his head—and I love that sensitive response.

“You can do mine after?” He offers, looking up at me, wrapping his hands around my waist. 

I meow in complaint when he lifts me up again, but I don’t complain when he brings me into the bedroom. He settles me between his legs—and he is eager—I can feel his dick pressing against my ass as I’m sitting here. I flutter my wings, brushing feathers against the tip of his cock just subtly, and I hear a soft breath in my ear.

“Nice,” he whispers.

He works the comb through my long hair quickly and ties it up in a long braid. The braid reaches my waist, and I’m glad to have it out of my way. I have considered cutting it, but he seems to love it. Once he's finished, I stand up at the foot of the bed. 

“Turn around,” I order softly, and to my shock, he complies, curling his long, gorgeous legs up on the bed underneath himself. I run a brush through his lovely silver hair—and I braid it as well—a single, simple braid. I need it out of the way for what I have planned.

“Lie down on your stomach,” I continue, keeping my voice low—and I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. Precome is already dripping from my dick when I climb up on the bed.

“This is a new side of you,” he purrs softly, and he turns his head to the side, the pale blue eye meeting mine for a moment. It’s heated, and his fangs are showing over his lips in a soft smile. 

“Do you dislike it?” I ask.

“Not at all. I meant what I said,” he says, reaching out to me, stroking my thighs gently. "Anything you want." His eyes are not trained on my face any longer. He’s quite obviously looking at my cock right now, and while those sharp fangs make me slightly nervous, even his heated gaze itself—the very fact that he is looking at me like that—it makes me even more eager. 

I have to pull myself away, climbing on top of his legs, and then I start pulling my claws through the plush fur on his tail. He arches his back and purrs. He loves having his tail stroked, and I love to feel his long, plush fur. After a little while, I change my movements, keeping one hand at the base of his tail and brushing the fur backward firmly and bringing my other hand out toward the tip. I move up a little closer toward the top of his thighs and squeeze my legs around him. A small sound leaks from Rai’s mouth and he stretches his arms up overhead, relaxing into the sensation. The sound makes my wings spread and my feathers ruffle.

My mouth is filled with saliva, and I can’t resist grooming that lovely fur any longer. I start at the base and take long grooming strokes with my tongue. I know Rai’s tongue is much rougher and a little drier than mine, so it must be an odd sensation to feel my tongue against his fur. Have I groomed him before? He leaves his scent on me all the time, burying me with his scent, but I feel like I am marking him. He shivers slightly under the touch—and I love it. Perhaps he likes tail play more than I expected?

Torturously slowly, I work my way out toward the tip of his tail, and the silver cat is getting surprisingly worked up. I mean—he’s usually passionate, but he’s not very vocal. He has his tells, and I can read them by now. I know he is enjoying this. When I have reached the tip, licking his tail like a sweet, I can feel his skin shivering beneath my thighs. I feel like melting.

“Gods,” he whispers softly.

His hands are right where he left them earlier, curved overhead, though I see his claws are dug into the mattress as though to control himself—and that gives me the most lovely view of his muscular back and shoulders, his neck, the thick silver braid of hair, his narrow waist, and his perfect ass. His fur bristles—not just his tail, but his ears, too—giving him a plush look—and my gods, I think a slight pink is dusting his cheeks. He’s gorgeous, fangs exposed over plush lips, his eye half-lidded, thick lashes quivering slightly, his breath panting faster and faster.

Pinching the tip of his tail between my fingers, I lean over him and lick his nape, feeling a shiver course down his spine. It’s a visceral reaction that makes the hair on my own body stand on end and exposes my fangs. I nip his shoulder and the space where his shoulder and neck connect—licking, kissing, nipping gently.

Then, I run my hand down his back to his ass, stroking him gently, cupping his cheeks. He’s much more muscular than I am, I think—not that I spend a lot of time feeling up my own ass. But I don’t get a lot of chances to caress him like this. He’s very much in heat—and in that case, this shouldn’t hurt, I assure myself. Maybe I should be sure this is okay?

“Do I need to prepare you?”

“Mmm—n-no. J-just fuck me,” he murmurs softly. The words, though spoken softly, come across as a command to me, and it’s really hot. Even if I am supposedly in the dominant position right now, it doesn’t feel that way—not when he speaks to me in that tone. However, it’s definitely not a turnoff. Instead, it riles me up even more.

I don’t wait for him to change my mind, and I grab the base of his tail and pull it slightly.

“All fours,” I whisper, urging him up against me, then I press him lower against the bed so I can reach properly. I spread his cheeks and I feel him relax—and it occurs to me then that he’s probably done this before. Especially when I push inside of him—I move slowly, pleasure crashing around inside my body as I advance—he isn’t uncomfortable. In fact—it’s as though he enjoys it. He’s so hot inside. I’ve felt his mouth around me many times—and it’s hot and wet—but this is different. Tighter, hotter, and amazing. Does he feel like this when he takes me? It's slightly frightening to have this responsibility, however. I am afraid of hurting him and anxious for him to feel as good as he is making me feel and as good as he makes me feel, and I've never done it in this position before. I am nearly breathless by the time my thighs are resting on his ass.

I am not quiet—I never can keep quiet—and a vulgar-sounding song spills from my chest almost immediately. But I can only base his reactions on the soft sounds he makes—increased panting, a louder purr, a soft sigh, a growl. The amount of control I have right now is overwhelming me—and it’s nice but strange. I feel like I don’t quite know what to do. My song reflects my feelings. It's not as submissive as my songs usually sound, but still quite obscene. I thought what made my sex-song so obscene is how taken it sounds, but that isn't it. There's something very sexy about this, too, even if I'm a little nervous.

“Are you all right?” I whisper, nipping the tip of his ear, enjoying his scent, and moving his braid off to the side. 

“Mmm,” he purrs, and he pushes back against me, making more pleasure rush through my already overwhelmed body. He lowers his torso nearly flat against the bed and straightens his knees, changing his position a little. “Move.”

Again, I won’t last very long if I don’t start moving soon—and so I do, reaching my right hand around to his dick, which is incredibly hard and wet. It's a little weird to touch him this way. I don't handle his dick very often, really. I mean, I have licked him several times, but I'm almost on the receiving end of things. But still, he is enjoying this! I’m shocked, actually. I keep my other hand at the base of his tail, trying to think about what he does to me—but it seems he knows what to do better than me, and within a few minutes we are moving together in a slow, steady rhythm. Suddenly his knees wobble and I hear a gasp escape his lips.

That’s what I want to hear. The sound changes my song making his ears twitch, and I move again, trying to provoke the same sound. And I get it. And that’s the end of it.

Well—it’s the end of any last bit of self-control I have, anyway. I start thrusting into him with abandon—no concern for gentleness—my one goal is to hear that sound again, to make him feel that pleasure—my own pleasure mounting and mounting all the while. I lean over his back and bite the nape of his neck because I can’t quite reach his ear. He feels so good inside—and he’s getting tighter and tighter—and then, a loud sigh spills from his mouth.

He clenches up around me and spills into my hand. And I am so close—even my song is saying so—and yet I can’t climax!

“Rai—please…” I beg. I'm in a rather desperate state.

I hear him chuckling softly.

“Just come, kitten!”

And I do. It’s wonderful—a relief as well as an indulgence—waves of pleasure spilling throughout my body… and into him. I just cannot believe he allowed this! It’s unreal, in a way. Except that I couldn’t actually climax without his permission. I wonder if that is normal as I collapse against his back, exhausted, pulling myself out of his body. Is anything about our relationship normal?

I find myself pinned beneath his heavier body almost immediately, the sudden movement making my fur fluff out in surprise, while I am smothered with kisses and nips and licks—controlling and possessive—as though he is putting his scent on me. My ears, my face, my neck and throat, my collarbones—everything is his to taste, and I have to allow it. I’m helpless to resist again. I’m exhausted, trembling, and oversensitive to his caresses.

“Mmm,” he purrs softly, once he has calmed down enough. “I didn’t get to touch you enough. But it was nice.”

He pulls me against his chest and holds me tight, running his hands down my wings, his hand stopping short of touching the injury or cauterization. 

“You are enchanting,” he whispers, and it makes me blush. It also makes me curl up a little so I don’t have to look at him. “And so cute when you asked me for permission—even when—”

“I know!” I burst, completely embarrassed. “I don’t know what is wrong with me! I think you’ve ruined me!”

“I rather like it. Because even like this, you’re still very much my kitten.” He licks my ears gently now—still leaving his scent on me, marking me, caressing me. “Gods, I was so worried for you, Konoe. If anything ever happens to you—and those cats who hurt you—I can’t believe how angry I was.”

“I’m all right, though.” Heavy sleepiness is taking over my body, but his tone frightens me a little. He sounds so serious. And has the sex not taken care of his heat? Why is his body still so warm? “Are you okay? Do you need some water?” I ask. 

“Well, you won't be fetching it for me now, will you?” He chuckles softly. “I’m fine. You just sleep. I’m fine now that you’re here with me.”

We drift off to sleep, letting the fire burn out. My wings cover both of us like a down blanket. I’m relaxed. It’s good to be home. But what was that, exactly? I wonder if it will ever be repeated. I didn't mind it so much, actually. It felt almost as though I was a partner or an equal—not just the king's favorite plaything.

Chapter Text

Rai:

That was a new experience for him, I think, and something I haven’t done in quite a while. As I’m lying in bed with the kitten in my arms, stroking his wings and his shoulders, he is sleeping, though not soundly. He is shifting around, so the exhaustion from his song has worn off by this point. It wore off much more quickly than the last time, I think.

Because he isn’t having pleasant dreams, I consider waking him. Instead, I groom his ears. That often calms him—he suffers from occasional nightmares—even before this most recent incident. If I can’t keep him safe, do I have a right to keep him here?

It breaks my heart—it makes something deep within my chest ache—when he struggles in his sleep, or worse, cries out in his sleep. And today while I am grooming him, it doesn’t seem to help as much as usual. It soothes him a little at first, but he immediately gets worked up again.

Should I wake him?

He may remember the dream if I wake him in the middle of it, I suppose, so I keep grooming him. But it angers me to think his nightmares are caused by what he has suffered while under my care.

Then, I consider what he has been through in the past couple weeks—really, he hasn’t been in my care for a full month yet.

He’s gone from being untouched—literally—no one even seeing his body, much less touching his skin—to being my lover on a daily basis. He didn’t submit to me very eagerly, either, and I'm demanding. I remember the first day I saw him after he was prepared for me—beneath the sheer curtains of the bed, through sheer chiffon and ivory silk against his creamy skin, golden hair, and golden eyes, watching me with fear and defiance. He had promised himself not to submit to me and ended up falling right into my hands.

Have I been cruel? Perhaps I have been. If not cruel, I have been incredibly arrogant. I have expected too much from him—expected eagerness from a kitten who had never known a loving or tender touch, given him the status of The Favorite in a harem that was already on thin ice. I put so much pressure on him, even before the incidents with Mana and Virus and Trip. Giving him to Aoba for training must have been overwhelming.

How do I know he isn’t having nightmares about what he has suffered at my hands right now?

Tonight he couldn’t let himself come without my permission. Do I have any right to hold a powerful magical being captive? He’s a Sanga. What right do I have, even if the original Touga's blood runs in my veins?

I run my claws through his fur, gently and tenderly. I don’t usually dwell on guilt, but that is certainly my primary emotion tonight. 

It’s my fault he was taken from the castle, my fault Mana raped him, my fault his wing was injured, my fault Trip raped him. The fact he is still in this form, still in heat after so many days—that is my fault, too. I need to do something—take responsibility or give him some freedom. But giving him freedom will put him at even higher risk, now that the kingdom knows how much I value him. So how do I take responsibility?

Tonight might have been a start. But even so, he wasn’t in control. And really, he’s a concubine. He shouldn’t be in control. It’s not his role to be in control. His role is to please me. Isn’t it? 

But as a Sanga, his role is to support me with free-flowing power and magic. Can I demand both from him? Perhaps I do expect too much. He’s a kitten—really. A youth. He has so little experience. 

If I let him roam the harem, what would he do? Would he play with the others, or would he end up being used and abused by them?

The thought terrifies me. That he might be taken against his will or have something done to him he does not wish—and he’d submit to it for my sake, believing I ordered it—it frightens me. What should I do?

And yet—he called for me. When he was in trouble, he still called for me. 

Destiny, perhaps—yes, because of who he is—but really, do I believe that? I think he hoped I would save him, and that is why he sang for me. I felt a powerful connection with him when I was fighting, and I have never felt anything so powerful. It was a power that felt close to insanity. I could feel him inside my head, in my heart—even touching my very soul. But aside from that, I felt something else inside me: insanity and rage—because someone else had touched him, had hurt him, had my Sanga's scent on his body. 

I let my hands caress him, now resting calmly in my arms—finally, he's resting calmly—and I stroke his wings. They shiver under my fingers, ruffling one feather at a time. His hair is still mostly in that braid, but it is rebelliously trying to escape its restriction, just as much as he does. And again I wonder—am I suppressing his power by forcing his obedience and compliance?

If I had met him on equal footing—if I could do this over—and he could choose to be by my side of his own will—what would his power feel like? Would he be more powerful? Would he trust me more? He trusted me enough to convert to this “true form,” as the shaman calls it. But surely, these wings will disappear by the end of the week. 

Although—why does he still have them? What else is he waiting for? I feel like he is waiting on something from me. 

Sighing softly and breathing in his soft scent, I relax my body, keeping the kitten in my embrace. I can’t go back and change things now. I didn’t know who he would become when I met him. I didn’t know how much of a difference that song would make when I fought. So for now, I’ll just work with what we have and let the future come.

Thinking such thoughts, I drift off to sleep and have a dream. 


No. It’s not a dream—it’s a nightmare.

When I open my eyes, the village of my home is burning. Everything is burning—I can hear the faint, dying screams of the people who raised me and loved me, my beloved family who raised me to be the strong fighter I have become—and they are burning in their beds. And I, the powerful fighter, can’t save anyone. I am too late to save anyone. 

This fire—it’s not an accidental fire. It’s not a forest fire. It’s not even a natural fire. This fire burns with a green flame. Hotter than the flames of hell, it incinerated the house of my youth in seconds, taking my parents quickly rather than letting them suffer and burn to death, I hope.

When I come across their charred remains, I don’t recognize them. Not a single cat survived this fire—and why? Who has done this? A demon? For what purpose? 

Tears stream down my face—and I know these are not my (King Rai’s) people. For I had no parents who raised me kindly, no family who treated me with love, unlike the person currently shedding these tears. But someone is here with me, at my side, keeping me from rushing into the flames and killing myself along with them. 

I could never leave him alone. He is my lover. I turn to look at him—and he is almost angelic. He shares my tears and sorrow. He loves every part of me, even this rage I feel. And I know this is Sanga. He has been with me for many years, perhaps decades, as we traveled together. We had just returned to my village for tomorrow’s festival. The inn was booked, so we planned to stay with my family—who welcomed him as their own son now. 

He looks like an older version of the kitten sharing my bed. I know this is a dream, or a memory, of Touga’s. Why am I remembering this now? I had this dream once before when I first lost my eye to that demon who escaped my grasp—but now? Why does it have to be this dream?

I can’t seem to wake, either, so I calmly remind myself this is only a dream.

I hear myself vowing to get revenge.

“I will find those who did this and exact revenge on everyone involved. These were innocents!” I hear my voice swearing. Sanga manages to look sorrowful and defeated as well as supportive at the same time.

“Whatever you need,” his soft voice assures me. How like Konoe he sounds. It’s eerie. His wings flutter softly behind him, and he brushes away my tears. He has no right to brush mine away when his still flow, I think. He is too tenderhearted to be a fighter, I have always thought. He only paired with me for my sake and safety.

We had come to announce our retirement—only to find this disaster. And now, I won’t retire. I will hunt down the bastards responsible for this massacre. And that—I know from the history books—is what leads me to become possessed and eventually be killed by my lover’s own hands. But for now, in this dream, I am still a cat. I do not have horns. I do not have wings. Only Sanga does—and why? He grew them like he grew his power and magic.

In the dream, I feel him stroking me, caressing me, soothing me, calming me, telling me he will take care of me.

Even when I am no longer myself—he will take care of me.

I know what he means, and it soothes my soul. It grieves him, however—but my choice is already and selfishly made.

In my dream, the world goes dark, and I feel a burning pain between my shoulder blades—and this is new. I haven’t dreamed of this before. But my bones and flesh are creaking—ah, I must be remembering growing the wings, and my gods, it’s painful!

I cry out loud from the pain and hope the horns don’t grow in tonight as well. I know when the wings come in that they will be black and featherless, like those of a bat, much unlike Konoe’s gorgeous iridescent wings.

I am currently bowled over in pain, and Konoe—no, it’s Sanga—is comforting me, soothing me, singing to me softly, trying to take the pain from me.

“Please—don’t take it,” I hear myself say. “I’ve earned this. I should reap what I sow.”

I know when he sings to take away my pain that he takes the pain upon himself, and I can’t let him do it. But he continues to sing just the same, without my permission. I do not control this cat. He will do as he pleases, regardless of my commands, also unlike the kitten at my side today. Perhaps Konoe is more obedient than his predecessor.

But my gods, it still hurts!

“Rai…”

My dream world is being interrupted by a different, softer voice, speaking my own name. It’s a beautiful voice—familiar—but I must still be dreaming.

“Wake up, Rai! Please.”

I shuffle around and try to push the small hands away from me. Then, my ears are filled with a soft, gentle melody—and it sinks into my heart. It’s his song, my kitten’s song. It feels so realistic, not like a dream at all. This is Konoe’s song, not Sanga’s.

“Please, wake up, Rai!”  

Is he weeping?

I open my eyes and his face is close to mine—he is somehow pinned beneath me—and I am burning with heat. I have never seen a more attractive cat that the one in front of me right now. He is beautiful and he smells delicious. There is a part of me—something frightening and deep within me—that wants to devour this kitten and his song—entirely.

I lick the cheek of the cat in below me, and he stops his tears.

“Are you awake? You frightened me.”

I’m not awake. I am still dreaming. Because he can’t possibly be so perfect in real life. I hear growling—coming deep within my chest—and I cannot stop. My fangs bare, my claws draw, and my wings unfold behind my back—ah, it is a dream! The wings must mean this isn't real—and I can’t help myself. I have the small cat pinned beneath my body and he is so delightfully available right now—perhaps I will have just a small taste…

So I lick his lips. He tastes sweet—as sweet as honey. Even his taste inflames me.

He responds gently at first, trying to kiss me. He struggles to release his hands, which I have pinned overhead, but I don’t let go.

“Are you all right? Why are you growling? And your fangs…” He flinches when my wings flap open behind me. 

I cannot seem to form words. I also can’t seem to stop kissing and licking him. This feels like my very first mating season, only worse—like the worst mating season I’ve ever suffered, and I can do nothing to curb my appetite—except the ideal partner is right in front of me, ready for the taking. His body will soothe my desire. I can smell him.

“Rai?” His voice lowers—and I hear another emotion creeping into his tone—fear. And it delights me. It enthralls me. It captivates me—even more than his beautiful body does.

And he’s so gorgeously naked. 

I rip the sheets off the bed, throwing them off my body—it’s much too warm in here—and his wings flutter out to the sides. He groans softly—probably from the weight of my body pushing him into the bed. I want to lick those wings. 

The beastly growl leaks from my throat again, and I roughly flip over his body below me, pressing him into the mattress, pushing his legs up underneath him, and yanking his tail to straighten his hips. He is now trapped on his stomach, on all fours but pressed low against the bed. His scent is even stronger now—irresistible—and covered with fear.

He gasps and then meows in protest at the sudden movement.

“Please—Rai,” is all he manages to murmur into the bed, but I interrupt him with my tongue. I do not stop, not even to breathe. My shoulders are burning up and I nip his nape and the side of his neck—while he anxiously lifts his chin, exposing his throat to me in desperate submission, turning his face to the side. He gets out a few more words, leaking out of his mouth like the tears dripping down his cheeks. “Please. N-not like this.”

A refusal? I’m his king. I’m his master. He has no right to defy me! I growl low and loud and he flattens his ears against his head, his pupils blowing even wider than they did on our first night together.

Just a tiny part of my heart screams at me—what are you doing? You’re acting like a beast! You’re frightening him! But I can’t stop. I’m well on my way and I cannot stop myself. Besides, why should I stop? This is only a dream! I know this because I feel the strange weight on my shoulders—those black wings—which finally have broken through my skin. It’s a huge relief and I spread them wide. 

The kitten pinned beneath my body flinches when he sees them again, and he blinks his eyes.

“R-rai—y-you—your b-back!” His words are uttered softly, but he is filled with terror. I can even taste it in his sweat, and it is delicious. “Wh-what is happening to you? And please—n-not so rough!”

But I yank on his tail again, straightening his back and watching his wings unfurl into their full glory. I want to lick them. My eyes are drawn to the place which has been cauterized. A burn mark was left there—most likely to stop copious bleeding, I’d guess—but this means someone else touched my kitten, hurt my Sanga—and I can’t have that.

I need to reclaim him and make him mine.

I continue grooming him roughly—licking and nipping at each feather, making them ruffle and flutter. The sound of his musical sighs stutters—and the song coming from his body vibrates inside of my body. It’s lovely. But it’s still laced with panic. He should be afraid. He allowed another cat to touch him. I am his master, and he belongs to me. Now, he must allow me to reclaim him. 

I nip at his shoulder, sucking against the tender skin, feeling him force himself to relax underneath my touch. He shivers but submits.

“Please!” He begs softly.

My wings flap noisily behind me—they sound very different from his almost silent fluttering. My claws are still drawn and they look strange and sharp—like someone else’s hands, and I drag them down his sides, leaving soft scrapes tracing his narrow waist. He is such a gorgeous creature. He is a delicious creature.

That beastly part of me insists on devouring him—and it won’t be denied.

I crawl around on top of him as my mouth reaches the bottom of his wings and his song shifts when he feels my lips against his ass. Fear shudders through his body when I drag my claws through the plush fur on his tail. He smells like himself now—not a trace of that other cat I will kill for even thinking he could touch my beautiful kitten—but Konoe should smell like me. So I bathe him with my tongue—allowing my tongue to slip between his cheeks and circle his entrance, which looks a little pink and sore—probably from that earlier rough treatment. 

But I too plan to take him roughly. He needs to learn not to disappear from my sight. These are simply the consequences of his actions.

And whose thoughts are these? I wonder, as my tongue delves inside his hole, pressing him open and hearing him meow sweetly in response. He is submitting willingly to my touches, but his song is terrified. His entire body is glowing, soft tendrils of light floating from him to me, and my body absorbs them, rather than glowing like it usually does when he sings for me. I cannot get enough of his song.

I purr against him and insert a finger alongside my tongue, hooking it deep inside him and making him moan and shiver. He is still suffering from symptoms of heat—but I suppose he did fuck me only a few hours ago. Perhaps he is not yet ready to go a second time. However, he keeps his body obediently relaxed.

I can no longer wait. 

I am the king and I wait for no one.

I kneel on the bed behind him and pull his hips up against my own, pressing my cock inside his tight hole. A tiny meow escapes—and grief spills into his song. His claws draw against the bed and he is terrified. 

He should be terrified of his king and master. He should never have run from me. This will teach him to never again leave my side. (Did he run from me? Just a tiny part of my mind asks, but the question goes unanswered.)

As I press inside the warmth of his body, I take my time—and he feels so good, melting around me, hot and willing, relaxed. But a quiet alarm sounds in my mind when his wings spread in desperation and when I see his claws draw against the sheets.

“Please!” He turns his head to the side, trying to make eye contact with me. His face is shadowed by my dark wings, and he looks scared to death.

I pull up on his tail and he shivers with pleasure, allowing myself to sink myself inside of him up to the hilt. And he gasps with delight—and more fear. The song he is singing—I’ve heard it before—only when? I am searching my mind—when did I hear him sing like this before?

It’s sinking into my ears, making the fur fluff out and my hair stand on end, even my tail bristles. But the emotion makes my heart uneasy.

Why? This is only a dream—isn’t it? 

I snap my hips out and push back inside him, pressing a meow from his lungs. He is now facing forward, straining his neck and looking at his hands, which are clutching the bed and the sheets in desperation. I have a good hold on his lower body, however, so I can fuck him as I like. And he feels good. I know he feels it, too, when he shivers and wheezes the next time I slowly drag myself out of his body. He described it to me like a falling type of pleasure, but his knuckles are still white, gripping the mattress.

The song—it’s flooding the room and making the space between us as bright as a fire—and it feels like it is burning me. His body is almost hot enough to burn me—but I can’t stop now. I hurry and continue fucking him, moving faster, thrusting more roughly, making him cry out, watching his wings shiver, his knuckles clutch even tighter against the sheets.

“Please—not like this—Rai—please, come back to me!”  

When I hear those words, spoken softly but in such desperation and covered with tears, the quiet alarm that has been ringing in my head increases in volume.

What the hell are you doing?

This is your precious Sanga! You are taking him against his will! You are traumatizing him!

But this is only a dream! It has to be a dream since I don’t have wings like these in real life. I stretch them wide again with each thrust, and they make a breeze in the room, blowing out the candles I lit when I first entered the room. A strange detail for a dream, I think. It blows his hair, the errant strands that have not remained in his braid—and is my hair still braided? Why would it be braided in the dream, I wonder?

But he is coming now—I hear it in his song. And I encourage his release—but his song is so filled with sorrow and desperation, it’s unlike any other song I’ve heard from him, except then I remember. It was our first morning together after he had spent the night in my bed, he resisted me. He did not wish to give himself to me or to the pleasure I was giving him, and I forced it on him anyway—and I took his song and his climax. That is what this sounds like—as though I am stealing something from him—stealing his power—and that is when my body starts to come undone as well. 

And the reality of what I am doing, that this is no dream—it hits me all at once. I see scratch marks all over his pale and delicate skin, bite marks on his neck and throat, even right where his legs and ass meet, there are small bite marks there. Did I do that? What the hell is happening to me? Am I possessed? But I know those are left from me—and whatever beast inside me wants to devour him whole.

These thoughts rush through my head and I climax, hearing his song and his desperate voice cries out.

“Please—not like this!”

My vision changes abruptly—from where I am on top of him, to staring at the sheets close up, staring at hands with cramping white knuckles and claws that are not my own. They are his. I am flooded with fear such as I have never known—helplessness I have never known—and worst of all—betrayal. I feel I have been betrayed by the one person I love and trust, and I don’t understand why he is doing this to me. And my heart breaks. I feel tears slipping from my eyes, the song spilling from my body, and I realize he (Konoe means me) conquered my body long ago, and I can’t resist him, even now, not even when he takes me forcefully and against my will. 

When my own climax hits, I am forced back into my own body, and I watch as he shivers and shudders—and though he came, he is sobbing, overcome with grief. And that song spilling from him—it hurts my chest.

This is no dream, my mind tells me. You’re a monster. You are that monster the demon said was hiding inside you all those years ago. You can’t deny it. You will kill this precious kitten before he has a chance to save you if you don’t release him.

I am filled with remorse and devastation for what I have done, but it is too late. I know—it is too late. I have no idea what actually happened—I don’t remember waking from the dream. But telling him I thought I was dreaming, well, is that any better? Telling him I wanted to take him, devour him, in my dreams—is that any better than doing it in real life? Either way, he knows I wanted to subdue him.

As soon as I pull out of his body, he curls up defensively, pulling his wings over his body as though to protect himself from me. It kills me—breaks my heart—seeing him feeling like he needs to defend himself from me. But he should. I am a monster.

What can I do? Can I even fix this?

“Konoe.” He flinches even in response to me calling his name, but my fangs are still drawn—and they feel different like they have grown in length. Fearfully, I put my hands on top of my head, afraid my ears might have disappeared and in their place, I might find long, black horns. I wouldn’t be surprised, because I feel like that demon I’ve seen in my dreams. But no, my ears are still there, soft and fluffy. 

“What has happened to you?” Konoe whispers, looking at me with wide, frightened eyes. I have hurt him. I need to make this right—but there is still something inside me that wants to devour him still. 

“I-i d-don’t know. Konoe, I’m sorry. I w-was sure I was just dreaming, and—”

To my surprise, the kitten unfurls his wings from around his body—those wings enchant me and glimmer in the darkness, a beacon to my brokenness—and stretches his arm out to me. Seeing his hand approach me—so slowly—he isn’t going to hit me. It feels like hope, like a lifeline. He touches my face, and he reaches out to touch my fangs.

“Your body has changed. Does it hurt? You were groaning in your sleep. I tried to sing to you, but I made it worse. I—um—I think I did this.”

He’s worried about me? Does he think this was his doing? That floods me with guilt.

“Konoe, no. This is not you—this was not you. This was all my fault. I hurt you. I am sorry." 

“You were not yourself. There is something else inside you—I could feel it—it frightened me, yet—but now, you are still you.” He still looks a little spooked, but he is smiling kindly at me. Why would he look at me this way—after what I have done to him?

“I am so sorry. I couldn’t stop—I lost control. It was like I was possessed. I can’t ask you to forgive me for what I did to you—”

His expression softens even more.

“You don’t have to. You are already forgiven. I know—I also felt different when my wings came in. Only you weren’t here with me when they grew in. It was painful and strange, and I don’t know how I would have reacted with you in the room.”

“You shouldn’t forgive me. I was cruel—and I hurt you. I am so sorry.”

He takes a deep breath.

“It’s mine to forgive. Rai, you are still you. And I love you. For now, let’s just leave it at that.” His hand skates across my body to touch my wing. It’s very sensitive—and so strange to have feeling there. “Ah—they are so much larger than mine. They are beautiful.” 

When I spread them open, the kitten flinches. And I don’t like that at all. But I should have thought about that before now and controlled myself instead of taking him so violently.

“Don’t,” he whispers. “I’m fine. I’m all right. Please, don’t cry.”

He touches my face, and sure enough, there are tears on my cheeks. He reaches toward me and kisses them softly. Even having him so close to me now—that beast inside me desires him. It wants to pin him against the bed and take him roughly again, biting him and making him submit to me. What is wrong with me?

I need to protect him. I need to protect him from me.

“You shouldn’t be here with me,” I say, taking both his hands in mine. “I’m afraid I might hurt you again.”

“Rai—I think you have those wings because of me. It’s my fault. Please don’t leave me. I don’t want to be away from you.”

“You will be safe. I just need to keep you away from me until this heat passes.”

“No—please—don’t,” he begs. “You can… hurt me, if that is what you wish.”

“I don’t want to hurt you! It isn’t that I want to be away from you,” I whisper. “There is something inside me—a monster—and it wants to devour you.”

Konoe’s fur bristles and his feathers ruffle. He looks incredibly uncomfortable.

“Devour me?”

“I don’t know what it is—but it is eager, and I can’t control it."

“Perhaps I can, with my song?”

“You can’t. I think it wants you because of your song.”

“But you said—you promised me—you would fight your destiny!” Konoe bursts out, tears shining in his eyes. “Please, fight it for my sake. Please! I sang because I was afraid. Now let me try to soothe you with my song. Please.”

“Why do you want to put yourself at risk?” I ask.

“It’s not that—I just…” his voice trails off a little. “I just can’t bear to be apart from you. Please. Let me try.”

He scoots over closer to me in the bed, curling his small body around me. He smells sweet and floral—strong—and he is relaxed and comfortable. Even when my wings move, he doesn’t flinch. He is powerful. He is brave.

“Close your eyes,” he whispers, running his fingers through my hair, undoing the braid and letting it fall loose across my back. It tickles my wings and feels foreign. But I do as he asks. It’s the least I can do. I am tempted to have him restrain me, but I don’t think of it soon enough—because he is singing now.

Even after singing once before, he was able to move closer to me—he didn’t become paralyzed right away, I just realized. Usually, he collapses and is unable to move. And now, he is relaxed, but he is not paralyzed. And this song—it’s different.

It’s soothing.

I’ve heard it before. It sounds like the song Sanga sang to Touga when he took his life in the grove of cherry trees—but this is more gentle, less powerful. But it’s so soothing and gentle. 

This kitten is filled with power. He has the power to bring demons to heel—and that is the blood that runs in his veins. I wonder if his parents knew this, and that is why they kept him hidden.

My heart is calmed, my eye drifts closed, my forehead relaxes. I haven’t forgiven myself for what I’ve done, but the beast inside me is listening to that song, and he loves it. He is being sung to sleep by this gentle, loving melody. And before I know it, so am I.

The King's Favorite by Julie Lilith

Artwork by Julie Lilith.

Chapter Text

Konoe:

The next morning when I wake, I am alone in bed. Was last night just a terrible nightmare? I would think it was—except when I feel down the length of my body, there are thin scratches along my waist and hips. I know exactly who left those there. Because I’m still suffering from symptoms of heat, I’m not sore where he entered me—but I do remember being afraid—nearly as afraid as I was during our first time. 

Sitting up in the bed, I notice his tall figure standing at the window, gazing out into the garden. On the back of my silver king are a pair of giant black wings, currently folded up snugly against his body. He still has long white fur covering his ears and his tail—no horns—but when he turns to look at me, I notice his fangs have grown in length. I think his claws have as well, but I can’t see them right now. He can no longer hide his fangs.

“Good morning,” he says—his voice low and difficult to read. “I’ve come to a decision.” His voice is slightly more sibilant because of the growth of his fangs.

“What kind of decision?” I ask, nervously.

“I will be spending some time apart from you. Mana is no longer in the harem, and I will send guards down to protect you from intruders while you are there. But I cannot be with you. Not like this.”

Tears flood my eyes and spill down my cheeks. He really is all I have now, and he wants to spend time away from me? Now? And for how long?

“But—what about the season?” I ask, trying to keep the desperation from my voice. 

“You will manage.”

“And you? I can help you—we can help each other,” I say. 

“I’m sure you could, and there is nothing more than I would love,” Rai says, walking toward the bed and sitting down next to me. His hands feel nice in my hair, soothing and gentle. “However, I do not wish to put you at risk.”

“What about what I wish? What if I want you to?” I ask. “Please, Rai. Don’t leave me alone!” I’m unable to keep the despair from flooding my pleas.

“Listen.” My ears are gently brushed and caressed, and my body is pulled into his lap. “Kitten, I know you want to help me, but I need to wait until the heat passes to be intimate with you again. You will not get better otherwise—and I may stay like this as well. Comply with my request, and don’t make this harder than it has to be.”

“You are my king!” I burst out, letting my sobs take over. “I don’t want to be away from you! I don’t want to wait in the harem—I am afraid—”

“You will be safe and protected. It's only for a few days, till your heat cools off. Do you understand?”

“B-but this is m-my fault!”

“Hush. It is not. And I am your king. You will do as I ask.”

“Have I displeased you?” I whisper.

“Of course not. I just want to keep you safe—from me and everyone else.”

“But I want—”

“This is not about what you want,” Rai growls softly in my ear. “This is about your obedience. You will do as I ask because you are mine. As mine, you may sometimes have to choose between my desires and your own. I expect you to choose me. It is your role here.”

I jerk my body away from him and look him in the eye.

“I don’t really want to be away from you,” I say, unable to conceal the hurt and pain I’m feeling. “You may call me yours—and yes, I suppose that is my role—but I love you. I do not want you to leave me alone!”

“Kitten, you will hush now. I’ve called someone to fetch you. You should get dressed.”

“I don’t want to leave! Please,” I beg.

“You do realize what happens to those in my harem who disobey me, don’t you?” Rai growls again, watching me on the bed.

Punish me, then! I will stay and accept any punishment you deem acceptable—just… I know you don’t want to be alone, either. I don’t want to lose you.”

“You will not lose me,” Rai says. “You are my favorite, my fiancé and my Sanga. I would never leave you alone. Just for a few days—till I can trust myself. I have to protect you.”

I’m sobbing when he slips my arms into the kimono, and I keep grasping at his hair, his tail, his hands. 

“You act as though I am sending you away permanently, kitten. This is only for a few days. And I promise I will visit you if I deem myself trustworthy enough. But I cannot allow you to stay here in your state—and my state.”

The door knocks, and Koujaku is standing at the door.

“Majesty!” He exclaims when he sees the wings. “My gods—what happened?”

“I will explain it in detail at the council meeting this morning. For now, I need you to return the concubine to the harem—and leave him under guard for his own protection.”

“Of course, Sire,” Koujaku says. He walks over to the bed and my claws come out and my fangs bare—I find myself growling at him. Koujaku lifts his dark eyes from me to the king. “Your Grace? How would you like me to handle him?”

“Gently, please,” Rai says softly, and he leans down to kiss the tip of my ear. “I’ll see you soon,” he whispers.

“Please—don’t—please don’t send me away!” I cry—but Rai has stood up from the bed and is headed to the bathing chamber. “Rai—please!”

“Hush, now, kitten,” Koujaku says. “It’s your place to follow his orders, isn’t it?”

“Don’t touch me!” I snarl. 

“Konoe, you will obey the Duke because I am commanding you to. Submit. Do not make this harder on the both of us than it already is,” Rai turns to me from the door of the bathing chamber. His fangs are on clear display.

“But please,” I whisper, but I stop fighting.

“Come,” Koujaku whispers, trying to soothe me, scooping me up in his arms and carrying me from the room. I am sobbing loudly when we leave—but I am no longer fighting him actively. I simply weep, trying to get my breath under control.

“It’s for the best, kitten. He adores you, I’m sure, but he has his reasons. It’s best not to fight and just comply with his wishes. Do as he asks of you.”

I calm my loud sobs to silent tears before we reach the door of the harem. The guards move aside and I am brought into my room, where I am deposited on the bed.

“You will stay here as requested,” the Duke reminds me.

I just look at him as he takes a single step away from the bed.

“May I roam the gardens?” I ask. 

“Not until you have express permission from His Grace.”

“So what—I’m to just stay here? In my room?”

“You may bathe, of course. But you are confined to your quarters,” Koujaku confirms. “I will let him know you’ve requested access to the gardens. If he grants you permission, I will be sure to let you know.”

“But he needs me!” I say urgently.

“He knows that already. But something has changed his mind—and he won’t be dissuaded. I suggest you obey. You know what happens to disobedient concubines, don’t you?” There’s a certain lecherous tone in his voice when he speaks of punishment, and that makes my fur bristle. “How very pretty! Has your fur grown in length as well as your hair and your wings?”  

I feel fingers brushing through the fur on my ears, and it’s distasteful. I think he's attractive, sort of in a dark way, but his touch feels repulsive.

“Please, leave me,” I say.

“It might serve you to request some company, kitten.” 

“I’m fine,” I insist, and I flop down on the bed. “Goodbye.”

I turn around to face the wall as I lie down (and yes, I'm pouting) and I curl up on top of the sheets. I wait for Koujaku’s steps to depart.

“As you wish,” he murmurs. I hear his footsteps departing and my door is closed heavily.

I lie on top of my blankets for a little while, trying to soothe myself. I turn toward the wall of glass—and there is ice on the corners of the windows, I see. Is it so cold already? It seems to get much colder here than it Karou. It would make sense, then, why so many Setsurans have long and thick fur. It might feel nice to feel a chill against my hot skin.

I stand up from the bed and stretch, then walk over to the window to gaze out into the gardens. There is a soft knock on my door, and Tokino pushes it open.

“May I get you anything, Konoe?” 

“Mmm. No,” I reply absently.

“You ought to eat something and drink some juice,” he suggests. “Let me bring you something to eat.” He excuses himself and returns a few minutes later, carrying a tray.

The food looks good—warm oatmeal with honey, nuts and fruit, toast, hot tea, fruit juice, and milk. Perhaps I am a little hungry. 

“You look so sad, kitten,” Tokino whispers. “Don’t worry. I’m sure he is only letting you rest. I know he loves you and is crazy about you. This is for your benefit.”

“I want Rai,” I whisper stubbornly.

“And you shall have him—I saw what he was like when you were taken from the palace. If he has you placed here, he has a good reason.”

“Wings,” I murmur, taking a sip of tea.

“Excuse me?”

“He grew wings last night. I’m sure it was my fault—I wasn’t here during the peak of his heat, and now his body is suffering because of it. Something in my blood that made him change—”

“Konoe, listen,” Tokino says carefully. “His Majesty has been through many seasons before your arrival. Perhaps he instigated whatever was in your blood with his own. Did it occur to you that he might be the one instigating your changes?”

My ears perk up and my tail poses into a question mark.

“Or perhaps it is just that you are meant to be together—that you bring out these supernatural powers from each other. Overall, it's all right. Don't worry about it.”

I sigh. I hadn’t thought of either of these options, really. I eat my breakfast in silence, and Tokino suggests a massage after. I agree—and he leaves.

But really, I’d rather take a turn in the gardens first. I don't give a shit what the Duke said. I want the cool air on me.

As soon as he leaves, I unlock the glass door and wander outside—feeling the icy breeze on my skin and in my fur. My heart feels like it is breaking—even out here. I try to take deep breaths to soothe my pain, but no amount of breathing helps ease my suffering, and it's physical pain. I let the tears fall freely down my cheeks as I wander a little further into the gardens, looking at the ravage of the crisp winter temperature on the foliage.

I feel a little like one of these leaves—one decoration of many—beautiful in a group, but alone, I’m about to fall off the tree and be trodden upon, forgotten from history and from Rai’s heart. How could he send me away from him? Does he not love me? 

In my mind, I know better—I felt his desire and love for me in the bonds of my song. I know he loves me. I could feel what he felt for me. It was lust, yes—and fire—but also something deep inside of his heart that yearns for me and wants me by his side. And he is king! Why would he deny himself?

That leads me to what happened between us last night. He took me with force and violence—and I was afraid. I felt some other creature lurking beneath his skin—a creature I don’t know—and whatever it was, it wants to devour me.

Have I been naive in thinking I’d be enough to satisfy him?

If he takes me as his husband, will the concubines stay? Will I just be one of many to him? Perhaps that is my weakness. I don't have a right to complain, but my heart does just the same. 

“Konoe.” A familiar voice startles me from my thoughts. It’s Aoba. “What are you doing out here? Tokino is looking for you.”

“Ah—I was just taking a little walk,” I say.

“And you find yourself back in the harem with us, then,” he says matter-of-factly. 

I don’t appreciate his tone, and I stare him down. Aoba just smiles, however.

“You cannot let this shake you. Even if he requests the presence of another concubine, you must learn to live with it. Or better—work with it.”

“Work with it?” I furrow my brows. “How do you mean?”

“Well, perhaps you suggest bringing someone else into his chambers—and bed—with you. You might learn something.”

I roll my eyes. 

“I have no desire to watch him fuck someone else!”

“You might learn something. I’ve been here longer than you and I have the experience that you do not. I was brought up to please a king. I’m sure what I have to teach you is something you could learn.”

Grumbling a bit, I allow Aoba to take my arm and guide me back to my rooms. I have wandered quite far from the palace, it seems—and I’m not exactly sure where I am. I should be more careful when walking outside, I suppose.

“I've found him. He was only stretching his legs and enjoying the fresh air. Call off the guard,” Aoba’s voice rings out cheerfully when we step back inside my chamber.

Tokino looks terribly worried. The massage table is already set up for me. 

“Let me do it,” Aoba says. “I have something that might be able to teach him.”

Tokino bows his head—leaving me alone with the blue-haired cat. I find myself strangely nervous, but I didn't protest when Tokino left.

“Go on. Strip and get on the table,” Aoba orders, looking through the massage oils to find something specific.

My hands move to my waist to untie the obi, but they freeze. I don’t think I want him to touch me. It will only make me feel worse, I think.

“Didn’t you hear me?” Aoba asks. “Get up here and get naked.”

“I-i’d rather not,” I say quietly.

“I wasn’t asking your preferences, Konoe. Get over here.” 

“I belong to the king and only he can tell me what to do,” I say valiantly.

“Is that what you think?” Aoba asks, chuckling softly under his breath, walking up to me. He stands just a little taller than me. 

“Don’t touch me!” I protest, trying to slip away from his arms, but his hand has already grabbed me.

“Do you want to play the hard way, then? I could get someone else involved if you like?” Aoba suggests. “Perhaps you would learn even more having Koujaku come in and help. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”

My bristled fur ruffles at the threat. I feel hot and bothered already, but his touch is rubbing me the wrong way. It feels like he’s stroking my fur against the growth. I can’t escape him now, though.

“I was going to give you a little treat, kitten. But I forgot just who I’m dealing with. I can meet your tastes easily enough, too.”

My obi is untied and my robe pushed off my shoulders. I fluff up my tail and bring it in front of me.

“Climb on the table,” Aoba says. 

I finally comply since I really am left with no choice. Plus I will feel much less exposed if I'm lying on the table. I climb onto the padded surface and lie down, face down.

My arms are roughly grabbed and pulled out to the sides. I feel a soft clicking sensation at my wrists, and it makes my ears twitch in discomfort.

“Wh-what are you doing?” I whisper—I realize I’ve been restrained on the table, and I can’t move my arms. I'm trapped. Fear floods my body when I feel Aoba stroking my wings. Each feather rustles in the wake of his fingers, and I am terrified. “What do you want with me?" 

“I want your submission and relaxation. It’s what you are made for, your purpose, your sole duty. I want you to learn how to enjoy this sensation of helplessness. I think it’s what the king enjoys about you.”

“I have been sent here for my safety,” I growl. “You are not helping!” 

“Oh, you’ll relax,” Aoba assures me. “I have no constraints on your body this time. So just hang tight for a little while. You’ll do just fine. But my, these feathers are gorgeous! Do you have feeling in them?”

He also runs his fingers through my hair after undoing the messy braid, then rebraids it. I feel utterly humiliated—restrained on this massage table with my arms underneath my body—I can’t move and I can’t fight him off. But I am already tired—and I grow weak quickly from struggling with my cuffs.

“That’s better. Relax. It makes you so much prettier.”

“Please—don’t,” I whisper. I really don’t want him to touch me. I don’t have a choice—and I want to be able to choose, or not choose, him.

“Konoe, it’s fine. Just relax and be calm. I will take care of you.” Slim hands wander up and down my body, my wings, my hair, and my tail. He draws his claws a little to comb them through my fur and my hair. It doesn’t feel awful—except that this isn’t what I want. 

“I want Rai,” I whisper. “Please—stop.”

The more I try to resist, the worse it feels—the more it feels like my fur is being brushed the wrong way and my feathers are being pulled and mussed. So I relax, and I just allow it to happen.

He is not massaging me—he is stroking me in order to get a sexual response. I don’t want to respond but my body is still in heat. However, it desires its mate and not some substitute. Despite my efforts to resist, I can’t. Feeling fingers on my butt and my thighs, I gasp with effort to restrain my voice and my heart—but I cannot resist his tender touch.

“You struggle too much, kitten,” Aoba murmurs into the back fo my neck. “Do you need an incentive to obey?” 

When he says the word "incentive," my ass is slapped—a single time—and it makes my skin shiver and my butt jiggles. A rush of heat floods my groin, and a moan escapes my lips. It doesn’t indicate pain, however. My back arches and I can’t keep my legs still.

“Please—Aoba—don’t,” I sigh.

“Are you going to try to tell me it doesn’t feel good?” He asks, murmuring into my ear. He’s climbed on the table with me and is sitting on my legs—also, I think he’s lost his pants since the smooth bare skin of his legs brushes against my body as he straddles me. “Because if you try that, I’ll call you a liar. This is what we do during mating season when the king has chosen someone else. Relax and enjoy.” 

As nice and sweet as his touch is—I still resist. Something like revulsion and fear raise their head and it makes my chest ache. It’s a familiar ache—but then, I realize a song is surfacing.

My body bursts out in song quite unexpectedly. The room lights up around me, and my wings fluff out—it’s painful, this song. 

Grief, sorrow, loneliness—all combine into a call for help. It pours out of me, feeling like relief, actually—a cool glass of water for the heat surrounding my body.

“Oh, my gods,” Aoba whispers. “I’d heard that you sing but I haven’t actually heard your song before. Your skin is vibrating—does your flesh vibrate, too? Like… inside your body?”

His fingers slip down between my cheeks, prodding me and poking me gently, and as much as I try to resist—lowering my tail in desperation—I can’t. The song remains my only protest. 

“Please!” But even the song is louder than my words. From my place on the table, I can look down and I watch as tendrils of light slip under my door. I know they are looking for my Touga.

And within minutes—less than five minutes—of starting to sing, I hear a commotion outside, which Aoba ignores. He’s got two fingers thrusting in and out of me now, purring and sighing to the tune of the melody coming from me. His desire is hot behind me, looming at my entrance, waiting for his fingers to stretch me apart enough to enter me, and I’m filled with fear. And that’s when the door to my room bursts open.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” I hear a growl and I see black boots approaching the table. Aoba’s weight suddenly disappears from my body, and he is slammed against the wall roughly. I try to look up—and it’s Rai. He's furious.

I’ve only ever seen him this angry once before—when he was dealing with Trip. 

“Why is it that you cannot understand my commands?!” Rai growls, and I see Aoba lowering his ears and cowering before him. He doesn’t speak at first—I wouldn’t either, if I were in his position.  

Those wings on his back unfurl and Aoba flinches.

Tokino pushes the door open and tries to reason with Rai.

“Sire—Your Majesty—please! He said was only going to give Konoe a massage!”

“What I walked in on was not a massage,” Rai growls again, pinning the smaller cat against the wall. “I know you haven’t been in my favor lately, but I can take care of what is ailing you right now, if you wish.”

Finally, Aoba finds his voice.

“What the hell has happened to you?” He whispers softly. “Those wings—and your fangs…”

Rai growls low and terrifyingly. "Turn around and brace your hands against the wall." Aoba complies immediately and without hesitation.

“Please, don’t,” I beg from my place on the table.

His ice blue gaze falls over to me and he looks at me.

“Are you restrained? My gods, what is going on in this harem? Does no one understand they are here for my purposes?!” I flinch when he slaps Aoba's butt. It's loud and harsh, but Aoba seems to curl into the punishment, rather than shying away from it.

“Sire, please,” Tokino says.

“What? He just got carried away?!” Rai snaps. He still has Aoba pinned against the wall, and his long fur is fluffed out and bristled. Several more hard spanks rain down on his ass. To his credit, Aoba lifts his chin, turning toward Rai, and presents his neck, his pupils blown wide. “Do you think showing me submission is going to help you?”

“Please, Your Majesty,” Aoba continues. “I only wanted to help. You left him in a terrible state!”

Rai sighs and lands several more blows against the blue cat's rump. But he seems remarkedly cooler as I watch him gather his wits and calm down.

“What I do—and why I do it—is not your concern. Your only purpose is to follow my orders!”

Aoba sobs quietly—there are tears running down his face.

“Please! I was only trying to—”

“I don’t care what your intentions were. The moment you heard his song you should have been able to tell that he wasn’t pleased by this touch. And this one belongs to me! You are not to touch him unless I give you express permission! Do you understand?”

“Of course, yes, Your Highness.”

Aoba sounds miserable. Was he really trying to help? If so—shouldn’t I intercede on his behalf?

“Rai,” I whisper, and I see his small ears bristle and flick toward me, even as he still faces Aoba. “It’s all right. Nothing happened—and I’m all right. Please. Have mercy on him. I think he was only trying to help.”

“Konoe, you aren’t even safe in your own rooms! Don’t you understand this? And you!” Rai glares at Tokino. “You are paid to look after your charge, not allow others free access to him!”

Tokino lowers his ears and his tail droops.

“I am sorry, Your Highness.”

“Please, Rai,” I insist. “I’m fine. It was probably my own fault—”

“No,” Rai growls. “This is not you. This is at the result of the heat and season. My concubines and staff should know better. And now—damn it.” He lets go of Aoba and walks to where I am, releasing my wrists from the restraints under the table. “What am I going to do with you?”

I sit up, rubbing my wrists and bringing my tail in front of my body.

“You two, get out of here before I change my mind and come up with another punishment!” Rai snarls. 

Aoba and Tokino both scurry out of the room as quickly as possible. I thought this is what Rai wanted for me—by leaving me in the harem, I thought this is what was supposed to happen.

“I heard your voice from the council meeting. I came as fast as I could.” Rai is caressing my ears gently, pulling me into his arms. I’m exhausted but not paralyzed from my song. I’m getting better at singing, I think.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “I didn’t mean to alarm you. The song just kind of spilled out on its own.”

“No, it’s good to know I can hear you anywhere in the castle. But for now—I think I’ll keep you by my side. Let me help you get dressed.”

He helps me into my robe and drapes it so it doesn’t drag on the ground, ties the obi and runs his claws down my waist.

“If you stay right by my side—even during the meeting today—it will be boring for you, but at least I will be able to keep you safe.”

“Rai—won’t someone notice your wings?”

“What about them?”

“Well—won’t it look bad? Didn’t you grow them because of me?” I ask quietly.

“That isn’t something to concern yourself with. Let’s get you a pair of shoes,” he says calmly. He finds them and helps me slip my feet into them. “Can you walk?”

“Oh, um, yeah.” I stand up from the table, swaying a little, and he takes my arm.

“If you are tired, you will tell me.”

“Of course.”

I follow him out of my room and out of the harem. He growls at Aoba when he leaves. Tokino has made himself scarce. I still hear a little rumble in his throat when we reach the council chambers.

“Bring me something for my Sanga to sit on,” Rai says, pulling me onto his lap.

“Sire, it is extremely irregular. It's against protocol for your concubine to attend these meetings,” Motomi says quietly.

Rai glares him down.

“Uncle, I appreciate your concern. He won’t bother you. Just keep your eyes to yourself.”

Everyone at the table drops their eyes as he continues petting me. A cushion is brought out and placed at his feet. I can easily sit there, and I curl myself up and lay my head down on his lap. My wings are closed behind me, and I rest quietly, letting his claws run through the fur in my ears.

The meeting starts, and I let the voices flow in and out of my ears like clouds in the sky on a windy day. For now, I am comforted by Rai’s touch and scent. The soft hypnotizing touch of my ears being caressed makes my fur fluff out, and I feel a soft purr buzzing in the back of my throat. The more relaxed I feel the louder that purr becomes. I can’t be bothered with it—I’m just too relaxed now—especially after singing and the stress of being touched by someone other than my king. So I am enjoying myself.

Then I hear and understand some of the words.

“It’s very distracting, Sire. I mean, consider the timing!” I think that might be Bardo.

Rai sighs with a touch of a growl in his voice.

“It is highly irregular,” Motomi says.

“For now, however, there is no safer place for him that at my side. And if you don’t like it, go find another king to serve.”

My ears flatten suddenly. Are they talking about me? I look up—or try to—but Rai pushes my head back into his lap. I submit, but I’m still listening.

“It’s just his scent is very strong—and yours, too, Sire. Maybe you ought to take care of that before continuing with business.” I recognize that voice as Koujaku’s.

“I’d rather not make public appearances in my current condition. I know the court is much less crowded this time of year, so it shouldn’t hurt anything if I don’t make an appearance in the throne room this afternoon.”

“Hasn’t this season gone on a long time?” Mink asks. “You should be cured of your symptoms by now. Have you spoken to the shaman?”

“I have. He says my appearance may be a result of the exposure to the Sanga. It’s a price I’m willing to pay.”

“But the people—”

“They will do what I tell them to do.”

“Sire, you haven’t changed your mind? What if his presence here influences your decisions? I mean, you know the history of Sanga and Touga well, don’t you?” Bardo asks.

“Of course I know it,” Rai snaps. “But there is no turning back now. I will have this kitten—this Sanga—as it is my purpose. You should come to terms with this.”

“Don’t you think you ought to invite his parents—at least to the wedding? We may be able to discover his lineage, if they even knew about this,” Mink suggests.

“I’ll consider it, but I’m not sure I want a sorcerer at court,” Rai replies. 

“Especially not after you’ve stolen their son from them,” Koujaku says. “Among other things.”

Rai growls softly.

“Has a date been chosen, Sire?”

“I want to run it by the shaman first. But yes. A month from now." 

“That will make it difficult for travelers to attend the ceremony,” Bardo says. “It’s in the middle of winter. Wouldn’t you prefer to wait till spring?”

“No.”

There is silence from the members of the court.

“If that is all, then I will excuse myself.”

Everyone stands up from the table when the king stands, pulling me to my feet. I’m sleepy now—and a little concerned for my future. They do not wish me to marry the king—of course. I thought I had support—and I would have kept it, had Rai not transformed. It’s only natural, I suppose—to think I influenced this change. But it’s nothing I could help.

He picks me up in his arms, and a small meow leaks from my mouth. 

Chapter Text

We return to the king’s chambers, where I notice the noise has stopped on the construction for the rooms next door. I sigh quietly and Rai sets me down on in a chair, and he echoes my sigh. 

“I’m sorry,” I murmur quietly.

“Whatever for?” The king turns to look at me before heading into his wardrobe. He’s probably about to change into something more comfortable. 

“Your council doesn’t want me to marry you. It was fine until your wings showed up.”

It saddens me to think that he doesn’t have the support he needs. Should I try to back out of the engagement? At least for now—

“Little Sanga, this is my kingdom, despite the turbulence you have witnessed. Those lords are here to serve me. They have to do as I command and as I wish.”

“I know, but wouldn’t it be better—” I am suddenly facing the king, and he looks extremely displeased. “Um, what? Please, make yourself more comfortable. Would you like me to help you change?”

“I believe you were about to give me a piece of advice. I’d like to hear it,” Rai says, his voice is soft and quiet—and threatening.

“Oh. Um,” I cast my eyes down so as not to meet that icy blue gaze boring into me. “I was just thinking we could wait till your council supported me as a viable candidate as your spouse.”

“Were you?” I still do not look up at his tone. It’s frightening me. “When do you think that might happen? I mean, in your expertise?”

I realize now that he thinks I stepped out of line.

“I just thought—I mean—now that you are exhibiting signs, er—well, you know, the wings? It might be better if you waited a while. Maybe they will disappear?”

“How wise of you. And why would I care what my council thinks of my wedding plans? They are here to serve me and do as I command.”

“I know that. I just don’t want to be the cause of any rift between your advisors, and it seems, um, trouble follows me.”

He huffs exasperatedly.

“Do you think I haven’t considered that? Even when I first proposed to you?”

A small chill creeps down my spine, and I look up at him again. Is this really the king I fell for, or is this that other creature living inside him speaking now? I start to feel slightly nervous.

“I’m sure you are wise and you considered everything—” I try again, unsuccessfully. 

“But you don’t trust me? You don’t trust my judgment?” His voice is still eerily calm and collected in spite of the words coming from his mouth. 

“N-no! I do trust you,” I say quietly, dropping my gaze. “I w-was just trying to help.” 

“Help. I see.” There is a small deliberate pause before he speaks again. “Have you changed your mind?”

“About what?” I ask, trying to keep my own tone from rising. He is frightening me a little.

“Look at me.”

Obediently, I raise my gaze to his face and meet his eye. There is something simmering beneath the surface of that eye that really scares me, but I obey him just the same. 

“Do I frighten you?” This is asked very softly. 

“N-no,” I stammer, but I can’t hide my fear.

“Do you think you have a choice here?” His voice increases in volume but still remains calm.

“Excuse me?” I ask, my fur bristling. I can feel my fangs poking out over my lips in defense.

“Do you think you have a choice in the matter of marrying me?” Rai growls. His voice is not terribly loud, but I find it threatening. 

“Well, you did, um, ask me,” I point out. I struggle to keep my bottom lip from sticking out in a pout when he asks this question. He did ask me!

“And you agreed. But you are not the king here. I asked you publicly for a reason.”

I curl my tail questioningly behind me.

“You’d never defy me in front of the court. You would be too bound up in etiquette to refuse my hand, wouldn't you?”

My ears flatten. Was he really going to do whatever he wanted—regardless of my wishes? This entire conversation is awfully strange. Because I do want to marry him, I think—but he is scaring me right now.

“Why are you so angry with me?” I whisper. “I am not trying to defy you.”

“And yet, you manage to do exactly that by second-guessing my plans!” Rai snaps, and his wings unfurl from behind him with a soft snap, making me flinch. His fangs are definitely longer and sharper than they were before this change.

“I-i wasn’t second-guessing,” I protest. “I was trying to be helpful. I thought—”

“When I want your opinion, I will ask for it,” he growls low, and his fangs bare completely.

“Yellow.” The word pops from my mouth and his ears and tail twitch. There is a long pause before he speaks again.

What was that?”

“My safeword,” I say. “You gave me a safeword to use when the situation between us got uncomfortable for me. And it’s uncomfortable now! You’re scaring me.”

“Am I? You are safe-wording me now?”

“Yes,” I insist, standing my ground. In fact, I stand up from the chair, my fur bristled and my fangs bared. I struggle to keep my wings still.

“In the middle of our conversation?”

“Yes.”

He takes two steps forward, moving right up in front of my body and grabs my chin. Another shudder rushes down my spine, making my feathers ruffle.

He stares—rather, glares—down into my face, and his free hand strokes my hair, running down my back to my wings. His fingers toy with individual feathers and the touch is gentle.

“Tell me, kitten. Who exactly do you think you are? And what exactly do you think your role is here?” The words are spoken kindly, but he is demanding an answer and how I answer will surely determine his next course of action.

“I am your concubine and your fiancé, Your Grace,” I murmur quietly, meeting his gaze briefly before dropping my eyes. Still, my chin is not released. 

“And what is your role, do you think?”

“To please you, sire?” My voice quivers slightly.

“How do you think you are doing in this regard?”

“Rai,” I plead. “I was only trying to help—”

“Answer the question.” My chin is nudged gently when he interrupts me, bringing my eyes up to his face again. He looks so calm, but I can tell he is pissed underneath that facade. “How do you think you are doing, as far as performing your role?”

“I’m sorry, Your Grace, but I am certainly displeasing you,” I admit. “I am only trying—” 

“I don’t care what your intentions were, kitten.” He takes a deep breath after interrupting me yet again. “How do you propose to remedy this displeasure of mine?”

“Your Grace?” I ask, my body is trembling obviously now.

“You have lied to me. You have displeased me.” 

“I-i haven’t—”

“You have. You told me moments ago that you were not afraid of me, and then you used your safeword during a simple conversation! And you are not submitting to me. You do not trust me or my judgment.”

Tears brim in my eyes. Is this a real conversation we are having now? What is happening here? I do not understand what is going on. 

“Tears? I feel blessed," Rai murmurs with a slight smile, while his fingers sweep across my cheeks when my tears spill over.

“Rai, please,” I beg. He tilts his head to the side—and his face is calm and gentle, but I am still afraid. “What do you need from me? I will do anything to fix this.”

“Hmm. What I need? Perhaps you could tell me what you’re willing to do to make this right?” 

“I’m asking what you want. I don’t like to see you so upset,” I say. 

“And you’re afraid,” he purrs softly, rubbing his fingers on my chin and my throat.

“Um, I-I h-haven’t seen you like this before.” 

“Like what exactly?” 

“You seem very upset with me, and I don’t know why,” I murmur, forming my words quickly to keep from stammering, and my chin is nudged again. I lift my eyes, and the king is towering over me.

“You don’t understand why I’m upset, kitten?” He looks really threatening and he strokes my ears, which are pressed flat against my skull. “Even after talking to me? You’re a smart kitten, Konoe.” When he says my name, my heart flutters a little, but I shiver in response. “You were raised as royalty, weren’t you? Can’t you put yourself in my shoes for a moment?” 

A small sob escapes my mouth, and I am anxious and ashamed. I don't know what to say to appease him!

“Well, go on,” he urges me. “No need to weep, kitten.”

“I-i a-am n-not being c-compliant?” I whisper.

“In what way, do you think?” 

“B-because I d-doubted y-your plans?” I ask again. Another sob slips out.

There you go,” he purrs softly, stroking my ears and hair. My body shakes under his fingers. “And why would that upset me?”

“B-because m-my role is to p-please you?”

“Exactly. That wasn't so hard, was it? So what do you think you ought to do?” His voice is honey smooth and sweet in my ears, but his words are threatening. It’s an unusual combination and I don’t know how to respond.

“I, um, I really don’t know?”

“I do enjoy you asking me so many questions and hesitating before you speak, but if you’re trying to get my approval, you are much too late.”

Not having anything else at my disposal, I drop down to my knees—which is hard to do, since I can’t really kneel while he is holding my chin. So I end up partway on my knees, but my chin is lifted up and staring at his belly—which is right in front of my eyes.

“I’m very sorry, Your Grace,” I mutter softly.

“This is nice, but try again.”

My ears prickle. Try again?

He pulls my arm so I have to stand. What else can I do?

I glance up at him and he motions slightly with his chin—and I think he’s motioning to my obi. I move my hands just a little in that direction and his ears perk up. My gods—he wants me to strip?

“O-of course, sire,” I mutter quietly, and I remove the belt from my waist with trembling fingers. This makes my kimono hang open, since I rely on the obi to keep the fabric in place—at least when it is tied for me. When I dress myself, I have to use datejime to keep the fabric in place, but I was helped into this one. I lower my face while I am taking off the obi, but I have to look up at Rai when I’m undressed.

“I think you know where you need to be,” he hums softly.

I curl up my tail questioningly again, but he nods his chin towards the small closet next to the wardrobe. A shiver rushes through my body as I move toward the door, and I hear him speak again.

“Leave your clothes outside.”

My neck prickles slightly and I don’t look at him, but I drape my obi and kimono on the chaise as I walk toward the room. Upon entering the room, I kneel on the floor where he indicated I should kneel last time—and I lower my face to the ground. I am very exposed—wearing only my piercings, collar, and cuffs—and the hairpin, which I forgot to remove when I first came in. I have my wings tucked behind me, and a chill rushes through me when I hear him enter the room and close the door softly.

He approaches and removes the hairpin from my hair, letting it spill down my back and shoulders. But he immediately combs his claws through it and ties it back in a quick and simple braid, so I can’t even hide behind my hair. 

I haven’t felt this nervous since he pierced me—and I was frightened then. I struggle not to speak, though I hope he asks how I am doing so I might give him my safeword. It didn’t go over well the last time, however—so I am reluctant to try it again. I am way past yellow, at this point.

“Even when you defy me, I find you irresistible.” The voice comes from above me and I don’t dare lift my face. I feel like I should defend myself and I am unable to even open my mouth. A soft touch brushes the fur on my ears. “You enchant me. Do you do it on purpose?”

“S-sire?” I ask, unsure of how to answer.

“Answer the question.”

Who is this creature in the room with me? It isn’t the king I love. This is some other creature I don’t know—someone firm and cruel-sounding, despite his soft tone.

“I do not enchant anyone, sire.” But then—it occurs to me that I might be able to sing to this creature and put him to sleep like I did last night. If only I could pull out a song of my own. “But if you would like, I will sing to you. You only need to ask.” 

It’s the only way I know for sure I will be able to sing.

“You will have to pay for your rebellion.”

I keep my eyes on the feet pacing in front of me. I don’t even know how I “rebelled.” Is it because I asked if he wanted to postpone the wedding? I was only soliciting for his sake—as his councilors obviously were uncomfortable with me.

“Shall I invite your parents?” 

My stomach feels like there is a cold stone inside of it, which drops to my feet when he mentions my parents. What would they think of me if they saw me now?

“If you so desire, sire. Of course. I, um, do not believe they would own me as their son, however.”

“Well, with that thought in mind, how shall you repay me?”

“Repay you, sir?”

“Yes. How will you settle my mind, assure me of your trust and that you want to obey me, and desire me as your husband?”

“However you wish. I only want to make you happy,” I say nervously. Then I dare lift my face for a moment. I wish I hadn’t when I do, however—because the icy blue gaze is colder than I have ever seen it when he glances at me. But I’m committed. “Your Grace, please be gentle with me.” 

“Gentle? Do you think you deserve gentle?” His hand lands on my neck, his fingers curling around my throat—softly, but suddenly enough to make me flinch. He lowers his face to mine—almost close enough to touch my nose with his. “I don’t think you even desire gentle.”

My body quakes under his touch and at the sound of his words, and my ears and tail droop.

“Come.” My fear rises when I am pulled to my feet and dragged over to the horse. I have pleasant memories of this thing—because the last time I was laid out here, he was kind to me. But I cannot predict this Rai’s move, and I’m frightened. But I comply. I have to comply. Fighting will make it worse. 

I am pushed up against the horse and bent over at the waist.

“Raise yourself up on to your toes and stay there. Keep your wings still or spread them if you must.”

I obey, keeping my wings at my side. I feel like I might be sick. It feels like the bottom of my world has dropped from under my feet—this must be a nightmare.

“Spread your legs a little, for now. Do not move from this position till I tell you otherwise. I’ll be disappointed if I have to use your restraints.”

A sickening, nauseous feeling curdles in my stomach—but it shouldn’t. This is Rai—my king—my lover. I need to trust him. But I don’t understand what is happening!

Smooth hands caress my ass and my legs, making my tail bristle with pleasure—but this pleasure is only a reflex. I’m still scared out of my mind. One hand leaves my body and something else is pressed against me. It feels slender—not at all like the leather-covered paddle. This is a small, wooden stick—it’s pliable, too. It is too pliable to be a cane. This feels different—gods, a switch?

I’ve never been beaten with a switch before, but I remember its effects on the whipping boy of my youth. Before I can stop myself, tears start to flow and I start to sob softly—but I do not beg to get out of this. My heart is pounding so fast I feel it may burst, my pulse throbs in my ears.

“I’ve barely touched you. See how afraid you are of your loving master and soon-to-be husband.”

I shake my head and whisper, “I’m sorry—please—I’m sorry,” over and over.

“Hush now. Do not move from this position.” He pushes my braid over my shoulder exposing my back even more.

His hand leaves my body and I hear a soft swishing sound in the air. A sharp snap makes my ears and tail twitch, and then pain registers. It is a light impact that spreads in a cutting narrow line across my ass—across the fullest part of both cheeks. It’s a burning pain, too—as though the entire pain from the paddle has been condensed into a slim stripe. At first, it hurts so much I forget to scream. Only a hiss escapes my mouth and fear rises.

I’m pretty sure I cannot handle this.

But I maintain my position enough so that I am whipped several times in a row—I count a total of five before my wings are open and my feet start lifting off the floor. I manage to stay on my tiptoes, however, as requested. I almost don't hear the soft approach of that switch over the sound of my rustling feathers and my voice—and I am crying out by the third blow.

He stops for a moment—and to my surprise, I feel a smooth hand touching me—fingers tracing the welts on my ass. It feels good, familiar. But this is not like the last time he punished me. This is a real punishment to put me in my place and soothe his anger. I feel humiliated and ashamed, and it hurts my heart because I know I have displeased him.

“Bring your thighs together, kitten, and point your toes inward a little.”

This raises my ass into a higher position and exposes my sit spot and the inside of my thighs—which receive the next five lashes. I am screaming by the first strike, tears streaming down my face, and I am grabbing the horse underneath me to steady myself. These blows are hitting my body in much less padded places and distributed throughout my sit spot and lower—to my upper thighs—in even lines.  

I am wheezing when these are complete, and to my shock, when I feel the fingertips exploring the stinging raised welts he has left behind, I also feel his breath huffing against my ears.

“Please—red,” I manage to breathe softly. “Red!”

His hands stop moving suddenly, freezing on my skin, and fear races down my spine. I do not wish to displease him anymore than I have already. I hear a strange soft snap—I realize his wings have sprung open.  

“Hmph.”

A slight exasperated sound escapes his mouth into my ear. 

“Lower yourself back to your heels and open your legs."

“Please! Red!” I protest—but I obey just the same. I am too afraid not to obey at this point. I also feel strange sharp fangs grazing my ear—it almost doesn’t feel like the king I know—but I realize it’s because his fangs have grown in size. 

Two fingers suddenly slip inside me, taking my breath away with a quick burst of pain. Even moving my skin even a little—where the rest of his hand touches my ass on the outside, it burns and stings.

“Open your eyes, kitten.”

I obey—and there is a mirror in front of me. I can see myself, disheveled and in tears, and his reflection, standing behind me. He looks strange with those long fangs and those black wings open behind him. He is dressed—as far as I can see, but I know what is coming next.

“Please—red!”

“You certainly are red back here, kitten. Now whenever you sit down the rest of the week, you will remember your duty to me. Surely you will not forget your duty. Allow me to clear away any hesitation and doubt now.” 

My ears twitch again when I hear fabric rustling and his fingers press around and then pull out of me. Within a few seconds, I feel his cock pushing inside me. It isn’t painful but it is very tight. He enters me in one sharp thrust. I gasp when I feel him impale me—and I close my eyes. 

“I think I told you to keep your eyes open, kitten.”

I try to open them, holding on for dear life to the horse as he fucks me—hard and fast and without mercy or tenderness. Small gasping sounds spill from my mouth with each thrust, and his face softens into something erotic and sexy rather than angry. It's surprisingly hot.

“Now you will sing for me," he says the words in between violent thrusts, and I am thanking the gods I am still in heat, though I am sure I will be incredibly tender tomorrow.

But regardless of my own will, a song spills from my body, just as he requests. It’s painful—it hurts—and its focus is submission. I am begging for mercy in song, but obedient to his command. Trying to change it as quickly as I can, I work hard to shape it into the soothing melody I sang earlier, and I can’t. But my body lights up and glows—I haven’t ever seen myself sing before—tendrils of light flowing from my body to the creature in my lover’s body, violating me.

What if this is Rai, only a part of him I’ve never seen? Shouldn’t I love him just as much?

To my utter surprise, I am hard and dripping—and eager. I want to come, actually. It frightens me how well this cat knows my body. 

“Do not come, kitten,” he whispers into my ear, meeting my eyes in the glass. And to my dismay, he quickly fucks me to completion and leaves me hanging. My heart feels like it’s breaking, and tears slip down my cheeks. “You are so gorgeous.”

When he is finished—with a soft purring moan, during which he doesn’t take his eyes from me—and after he pulls out, I feel his seed inside me and dripping down my legs. My dick is throbbing with desperation. My song fades out, and I am left feeling desperate and hot.

He grabs a damp towel—it must be warm but it feels cool against my bruised skin, wiping away the seed dripping down my legs. I flinch and try to suppress my cries when it touches the welts on my ass, and the pain brings me back to my tiptoes. However, I am still hard and ready—and eager.

“What shall I do with you?” He whispers to himself as he watches me fight my instincts to protect myself. He sits down on a large throne-like chair a few feet behind me, leaving me where I am, exposed and indecent, for a moment. I can still see his reflection in the glass, and he is watching me carefully. “Stand up and turn around.”

Exhausted from my song, I still obey.

“You look exhausted. Perhaps you might lower yourself to your knees. But raise yourself without resting your ass on your ankles.”

I obey—and I realize from my position on the floor he can see the welts on my ass and thighs in the mirror.

“Touch yourself.”

My ears bristle fully. If I weren’t feeling so horny, I would never even think of obeying him. But I am desperate and his gaze isn't helping me at all.

“If you hesitate a moment longer, you’re about to lose the privilege of release tonight, kitten. I’d obey if I wanted relief.”

That makes my hands move, dropping my right to the base of my cock and my left toward my tail, reaching out to the tip. 

“That’s nice. Put the tip of your tail in your mouth and suck on it. Don’t come till I permit it."

Whining softly, I obey. I’m mortified—of course I am—but I am incredibly aroused. When he commands me to meet his gaze, I obey. My hand feels good moving against my cock, pressing into the head. 

It flashes in my brain for a moment that I would never have been allowed to do something like this in Karou. Even if I were alone, I would be severely reprimanded and punished. And this way, I am not only pleasuring myself but exposing myself in such an unseemly display. I quickly push the thought away and I hear him remind me to open my eyes. I hadn’t even realized I’d closed them.

“Please,” I whisper. I’m getting more than desperate.

He doesn’t reply. He keeps watching me.

Soft sweet sighing sounds—lewd noises—come from my mouth and fill up the room with an incredible suggestiveness. I beg again.

Please.”

Tears are flowing freely down my cheeks, and I taste their salty flavor while I am sucking on my tail. 

“Please!” I beg again, more urgently. I am a mess—falling apart, coming undone, unraveling mentally and emotionally. And physically, I need to come.

“Go ahead and come, my pretty little Sanga.”

Instantly, I comply—feeling relaxation and relief flood into me even before my climax has finished—but instead of the usual pleasure and indulgence, just the relief is so much sweeter. I’m left exhausted and spent—and Rai tosses a towel to me.

“Clean up.”

I obey immediately—using the towel slowly since my body is exhausted. But I crave tenderness and forgiveness. I cannot stop my tears.

He stands up from his chair and closes the distance between us, where I am sniffling and lonely—wondering what I am doing here and if I’ve made some horrible mistake on the way. I tremble when he leans down to whisper to me again.

“You did very well, kitten. I am satisfied.”

Relief close to what I felt when I was allowed to climax floods my body, and I bow down to the floor and kiss his boots.

“That isn’t necessary. Come.” 

Instead, he helps me up to stand, carrying me as though I am something precious in his arms. He lays me down on the bed, face down. I do not move, since he hasn’t allowed it. He moves my braid aside, and my wings ruffle when I feel something cold and soothing on my buttocks and thighs. It’s an ointment, perhaps—but it soothes my tender skin. 

“You understand who your master is now, don’t you?” 

“Yes, sir,” my voice quavers.

“You will not question my judgment again, will you?” 

“No, sir.” 

“Good. Because I would do this to you publicly and set an example of you if you even thought about it.”

A ripple of fear flows from my ears to my tail, ruffling each strand of fur and each feather along the way. Having the king punish me—in the dining room or even in the harem or council chambers—frightens me like nothing else. My heart feels shattered into pieces—although I realize that I am indeed his property. I have no choice here.

Kindly, I am offered a glass of juice, which he helps me drink and fed a few grapes, which I accept eagerly, without biting the fingers that push into my mouth. He has never treated me so cruelly and distantly—not even that first morning we spent together. I crave connection and I want to touch him. But I would never dare ask.

He allows me to drift off to sleep while he sits by the lamp and reads for a while. I watch him carefully, hoping he will change his mind, soften his heart, come to bed and groom me, but he doesn’t. Not until after I am asleep does he turn in—and I wake in the night held tightly in his arms pressed to his chest. I am still naked and my buttocks and thighs are burning, even exposed to nothing but air. But that is my secondary concern. I mostly want to enjoy his touch and closeness—so I don’t move. I just listen to his heartbeat, slow and steady, keeping my own breath even so as not to indicate I am even awake.

The second time I drift off to sleep is much more restful.

Chapter Text

The quality of my life seems to be degrading since the appearance of Rai’s wings.

I’m reminded of my position here in the castle—and exactly what my purpose is—the following morning when I’m woken by an invasive touch. As is appropriate for my age and development, it’s not uncommon for me to wake with an arousal in the morning. But this touch feels rough and violent. I’m being pushed into the mattress face down as my consciousness rises from sleep. My tail is being stroked firmly, pulled harshly to straighten my hips. Fingers damp with lube sneak between my cheeks and bristle my tail. 

As I (or anyone!) would naturally do, in my sleepy bewilderment, I fight off this touch at first, confused as to who would be touching me so violently so early in the morning and why. But my fight is not welcomed. In fact, my scruff is grabbed—I can feel long claws digging in at the base of my nape—making my body powerless and limp long enough so my legs are roughly folded and pushed up underneath my body. 

“Do you really think you can resist me, kitten?” Rai’s familiar voice drips into my ear in a honeyed tone, slightly huskier than normal. It feels like he’s injecting my soul with that voice. “Do you think you should? Did you forget your purpose, your role?” 

He nips the back of my neck with his fangs—much too long and sharp for a cat. It frightens me and a shudder rushes down my spine. When he releases his teeth, he digs his claws into the back of my neck, paralyzing my body once again. My wings fall uselessly to my sides.

“Why don’t you tell me—and think really hard before you answer—what you think your purpose in life is?”

I lick my lips—my mouth is dry from sleep—and I do not like be handled so roughly first thing in the morning. But I don’t have a choice. Part of me hoped I’d been forgiven for last night and it seems I haven’t. Tears burn in my eyes and I feel humiliated. I am definitely being reminded of my place in this castle—I’m a slave here and without any rights—and I also realize I’ve become much too comfortable in my position as the king’s favorite, believing that I held some power of my own. Surely, everything is about to change.

Because Rai ended up cuddling me for part of the night, this realization—and the violence— hurts even more. He is forcing me to accept my status as his slave, and specifically his sex slave, and my only purpose in pleasing him. I don’t have another choice if I want to get out of this unharmed.

“I’m yours, Rai,” I whisper, trying not to let tears fall. “It’s my one desire to please you.” I feel much stronger than what my words are saying—I know my song is strong and powerful, and I know he wants it for himself—aside from whatever sexual purposes I am to fulfill. A small meow escapes after I finish my answer, and Rai’s fingers comb through my hair tenderly.

“I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning, kitten. Bear with it for me,” Rai whispers.

My ears flick backward when I realize what he means—but he enters me in a single quick thrust before I can prepare myself. It’s shocking and painful, though not as bad as it was that first time. He is taking me without my consent and without preparation. But in my place, I can’t resist or protest, nor can I even give permission and consent since I am technically his slave and I do not have any rights, the little voice in my head reminds me. I must still be suffering from the heat to a certain extent since, while it hurts, it’s not nearly as painful as I expect it would be otherwise. But the emotional effect this has on me isn’t negligible. 

Again, the thought rushes through my mind: Who is this cat? Because certainly he’s not the kind king I have grown to love and adore. This Rai wants me to submit at all costs. What if this is who he is—who he has always been? And I agreed to marry him? I agreed to marry a demon?! Well, it wouldn’t matter if I’d agreed or not, as he pointed out to me last night. He’d do just as he likes.

I do my best to relax but I am frightened. He takes just a moment to just rest inside me, stroking my hair and ears, my wings, my shoulders, my back, and my hips. The touch feels incredibly tender and it breaks my heart. I want to love this cat—I really do—but when he forces himself upon me, it makes it hard for me to submit. 

“Are you resisting me, kitten?” That low voice murmurs once again. 

“N-no, Your Grace,” I whisper, and tears really do leak out of the corners of my eyes at this point. I probably am resisting, as I’m not relaxed. 

“Then please me. As is your role. And your destiny.”

“Whatever you wish, Your Grace.” The words drip from my lips as a desperate attempt to satisfy him, and I am afraid of what is to come.

Faster and harder than he ever has before—taking me with violence—Rai ruthlessly pounds into me. His pace is rough and punishing—his only goal to please himself rather than make me feel good. I feel like a hole in the wall—or a doll—and I try not move an inch. Every thrust pushes a pained grunt from my mouth, even when I try to suppress it. Even when he first woke up with these wings he didn’t take me this hard.

There is nothing loving about this touch, and I am terrified and heartbroken.

My body stiffens, which makes the thrusting even more violent. The only good thing about this experience is that he quickly finds his release, even if he ignores mine.

And he doesn’t ask me to sing. It wounds me—even more than the violence of the act.

When I feel him stuttering and spilling inside me, I realize I should have tried to sing anyway. If I had, perhaps I would have been able to soothe him. Now, it feels as though part of me has been devoured, and there is little left of me to tempt whatever creature this is. But I know he won’t be satisfied till I am completely his.

After he pulls out of me—he rests for a few moments—a quiet sob escapes my lips. As hard as I try to suppress it, I can’t keep completely quiet. And my emotions quickly run away with me. At least when I sing I release and express my emotions. Soon, I am shaking with effort to restrain my voice and keep myself in check.

“Tears? Are you displeased with your role here, kitten? Would you like me to put you back to work in the gardens? Would you rather be my prisoner than my concubine?” His voice is calm and collected—covered with ice. I’m afraid he really might discard me, make a slave out of me, and send me back to an overseer like Virus. At least here, I know I have a chance to please him. I won’t be beaten to death for incompetence on my first day.

“N-no, sir,” I whisper. “Please.”

“Well, get up. Get yourself dressed and help me.”

I can hardly move my legs. I’m very sore, but I’m afraid of him—so I obey despite my exhaustion. I’m not as exhausted as I would be had I sung for him. I pull on the solid ivory silk robe he hands me and try draping it myself. He sighs in irritation and turns to help me drape it appropriately. His hands move fast but don’t hesitate to touch me and brush against me. It doesn’t help my current state, either.

He didn’t satiate me this time—I can’t remember him ever doing this before. Even last night, when I was punished, he let me come, even if it was just me touching myself. Today is different. And I’m still incredibly aroused. As I look down at my feet in shame, I notice the ivory robe is slightly sheer. If a person were to look, they might be able to see my state of arousal.

“Um, Your Grace?” I ask softly. “Please, m-might I have some underclothing? I’d hate to bring shame upon you for my, um, current state.” 

I don’t raise my gaze when I make my request. I flinch—visibly—when he touches my chin. I hear a soft growl from him—and it makes me flinch a second time and it raises all the hair on my nape.

“Do you fear me?”

“N-no, Your Grace,” I lie—and quickly. He lifts my face up to meet his eye, and I stubbornly drop my eyes low to avoid his gaze.

“Look at me.” 

I comply, staying quiet and still. My fur is still bristled and my hair is shivering at the back of my neck.

“Do you trust me?”

“O-of c-course, Your Grace,” I whisper. My gaze is now trained directly on his single pale blue eye. I see a darkness, a void, behind his usually peaceful blue iris. This creature frightens me!

“Then you should understand it’s your job to see to my pleasure. I will see to yours when I see fit. For now, I’m pleased with that robe.”

He dresses in his usual uniform of slim-fitting breeches, black leather boots, white silk blouse, and a matching jacket and waistcoat of navy brocade and silver. I help him with the buttons as he instructs. He is gorgeous. To my surprise, he also wears a silver ringlet today, and he pulls some of his hair through the crown to keep it in place.

“You aren’t to worry about a thing except pleasing me. Do you understand?” His voice is soft and gentle, as well as icy.

I nod my head and my chin is grabbed more tightly.

“I require an audible answer when I ask you a question.”

“Yes, Your Grace,” I whisper.

“Then your issues should be cleared up. Come along. You’ll be shadowing me today. And let me remind you: your only purpose is to please me.” 

My issues? I’m not having any issues. But after how he treated me this morning, I’m afraid to defy him. I comply and go along with him after slipping on a pair of geta. To make sure I obey, he keeps his hand on my elbow, leading me out of his chambers.

We head to the throne room—which is crowded with cats. I’m terribly self-conscious about my robe and how sheer it is. I attract attention—of course—additionally because of wings and my long hair, which is floating around my shoulders to my waist. I do not look at anyone except my king and I don't even meet his eye. I have never felt this nervous before. 

He heads to the dais and takes a seat on the throne. I stand quietly beside him, and he barks at a servant to bring a cushion for me. I lower myself onto my knees on the cushion, keeping my eyes low or on the king. He is given a plate of food and feeds me from it, expecting me to lick his fingers. It's a vulgar display. Never would royalty appear this way in Karou. 

I can’t relax. I remain obedient and quiet, but I am terribly anxious. I’m relieved when Rai's attention is diverted by the supplicants for his justice. I let the conversation fade into my ears and out. It’s tedious but Rai doesn’t hide his feelings very well, so he frequently startles me with his voice.

Silnetly, I sit there with him, as a decoration or a distraction for the waiting supplicants. The duke, Koujaku, appears on the dais, offering both Rai and me a drink. When I accept gratefully, I look up at the duke in thanks but do not speak.

“You are not to interact with my Sanga unless I expressly command it,” Rai growls at the duke.

“Sire? I apologize. It was ale. I was sure it would help him. He looks quite tense,” Koujaku replies. He glances at me curiously—almost with concern.

“You are not to do anything unless it pleases me,” Rai says, his voice low, looking at me.

“I-i’m s-sorry, Sire,” I purr softly.

Leaning over from his chair, Rai grabs the edge of the pillow I’m sitting on and yanks it closer to his throne. Panic floods my entire being—there are too many cats in here, and the duke is still standing next to where my pillow once was. I’m terrified of what he may have in mind to “please” him.

I can’t meet his gaze, but as I stare down at my hands in my lap, I see his pale hand reaching out to the sash around my waist. I get a nauseated feeling, fearing I may actually throw up. When I see his fingers toying with the tie, I glance up at him with a desperate, pleading look. I just can’t bring myself to do anything else! I don’t dare say anything, though, for fear of inciting him more.

“What,” Rai purrs softly. He meets my gaze boldly. “You don’t wish to please me?”

My body trembles in fear and rage—I will not be stripped here! I will not be exposed to his entire court just because he’s in this crazy mood!

“Please,” I whisper urgently. I feel my leg muscles tensing up, and I tuck my tail in close behind my body.

Before he can untie my robe, I spring to my feet and dart to the closest door. I keep my tail close to my body and my wings folded in behind me. I don’t move quickly enough to miss Rai’s pupil dilating fully.

Just running, I don’t look behind me—I just bolt for the door and down the hall. I make it to the doors that lead outside to the gardens and I throw open the doors. I hear guards chasing me—and then…

My wings flutter open and stretch to their full breadth. They make a soft sound in the chilly breeze, and I feel like I could possibly fly… but my feet stay on the ground. The cauterized part of my wing burns terribly, and my heart sinks. I look out into the grove of cherry trees, now having lost most of their leaves and head in that direction.

In just a few minutes, I hear something behind me—and it sounds… scary. I look over my shoulder, and to my utter shock, I see Rai right behind me. He doesn’t look angry—but he is definitely in pursuit. And he takes me over in just a few seconds. The strange sound is his wings—flapping in the air—the thin skin making a bone-chilling, whispering, fleshy noise. He catches me by my tail and pulls me to the ground.

A pitiful meow slips out of my mouth and a soft grunt as he lands on top of my back. 

“You think you’d escape?” His voice purrs softly behind me.

“I wasn’t—”

“You were and you did. I just chased after you! What were you planning to do? Fly home to your kingdom?” His lips are touching my ear. “Do you think they would have welcomed you with open arms, kitten? As you are now?”

“N-no—I wasn’t—”

“You have displeased me!” He snarls low in his throat.

The tone frightens me and makes me feel sick.

“P-please—you were going to…”

He sits up on my hips and lifts my chin to meet his gaze, craning my neck so I have to meet his eyes. He’s pinned my wings beneath him firmly—there’s no way I can move. His eye is dark and his pupil blown, but that darkness—that strange void—floats just beneath the surface. He looks hungry and he makes me feel like prey.

What. What was I going to do?”

A burst of rage floods me—overcoming my fear and panic, and I yell, “You were going to strip me naked—in front of your entire court!”

“What of it?”

“What do you mean, ‘what of it’?!” I’m so angry (and scared) I can barely speak.

“Your job—your entire life—is at my disposal. You dare disobey me in front of the entire court?!”

My ears flatten at his tone, but I stand my ground.

“I’m to be your husband—and you would strip me in front of your court?! Expose me to everyone there? Humiliate me?”

Rai looks slightly taken aback—at either my words or my anger.

“You have a complaint?”

“I will lose all respect for my role as your lawful husband if the entire court has seen me naked!”

There’s a small pause from Rai, and I hear a soft chuckle. It’s shocking. As though he is laughing at my indignation, at my anger… at my feelings! How dare he! I’m so mad I can’t even form the words!

“What exactly do you think your role as my lawful husband will be?” His voice is smooth and silky. “By that, I mean, do you think your role will change when I marry you?”

My fur bristles broadly when he says those words—also, my wings flutter, escaping his grasp. But I’m still pinned beneath his body on the ground, the mossy scent of faded, dying grass flooding my nose.

“Of course it will! Why else would you marry me?!”

“Konoe, kitten. You are mistaken. The only change in the status of my wedded spouse pertains to the management of the harem. Unfortunately, I can’t trust that task to you—at least not at this point—because of your current and captivating form and your youthful inexperience. Things will stay as they are.”

I feel his fingers combing through the fur on my tail and ears, which is still thick and bristled. He’s enjoying my rage, I realize.

“I refuse.”

“Excuse me?”

“I refuse! I will not marry you if you insist on humiliating me in front of the people we are to govern together!”

We?” Rai’s voice is close to a whisper. “Do you believe we will be governing together?” 

“Yes! Of course! Why else would you marry me?”

“To make you mine by a legal manner, so I can have an excuse to keep you by my side at all times, and to settle your feelings and morality issues. Plus, an official match will eventually appeal to your former kingdom, and perhaps they will make me the heir as well.”

I struggle hard against him and manage to turn myself over. I need to be able to look at his face as he tells me these things.

“Are you serious?”

“I cannot believe you are speaking to me in this tone, kitten. As though I am not the king and you are not my slave—with whom I can do anything.” He is smiling just a little, and he doesn’t look that surprised at my outburst. He sighs softly. “I suppose I will have to punish you.”

“I am being serious! I will not have you as my husband if you plan to abuse me publicly!”

“Abuse you?” Another soft chuckle. “No, darling. Discipline. Do you remember? Your role at this castle depends on your compliance to my demands. Plus, I believe I mentioned last night that you do not actually have any say.”

I shake my head and push up against him with all my strength—and he doesn’t even budge. He is frightening.

“I will not accept any discipline from you unless you treat me civilly! What is wrong with you? What has happened to you? It’s like… you are a corrupted version of yourself when I compare you to the king I first met!” I feel my eyes burning with tears, much to my chagrin.

“Look at you, so earnest in your protestations. And tears? Royal tears from my royal slave—I’m moved,” Rai whispers, and he licks my cheek—a trail of tears that leaked out despite my best efforts.

“Who are you? And what do you want with me?” I am pleading again—desperate and scared.

Rai glances up from where he is staring at me—somewhere around my chest, I think—or gods, no! My throat!

“For starters, show me your throat.”

I keep my chin pointed down, refusing his request.

“I see. However, kitten, I can force your obedience. Is that what you want?”

“No. Please,” I beg softly and I lift my chin just a little.

The moment I move—even that tiny amount makes him move toward me. His fangs graze the skin on my throat, landing soft bites and nips along my throat. I also feel his claws digging into the nape of my neck, and that paralyzes my body and makes me feel strange. It’s as though he is forcing my submission by scruffing me.

“That's better already,” he whispers, meeting my gaze with that pale blue eye. “Now, stand up." 

I obey as soon as he moves his body off of me. I did manage to reach the grove of cherry trees. Fear and anxiety are building once again, but I still feel much more submissive, even after he releases my scruff.

“Turn around and dig your claws into that tree.”

I shoot him a desperate and pleading glance.

“Please! Rai!”

We are easily within view of the throne room—one entire wall is glass, and even from where I am standing, I can see Rai’s subjects watching our interaction.

“You have an audience. I suggest you obey instead of making this worse for yourself.”

I do as I am told, and I am quivering. Tears are streaming down my face. And I feel Rai brush my ears gently.

“I haven’t even touched you yet.”

“Please—I will do anything—please—would you please do this in private?” I beg through my tears.

“I would, except that your disobedience appeared in public. And don’t you remember what I told you? I told you I would punish you publicly and make an example of you if you even thought about defying me again. You’re lucky I’m not dragging you back to the court.”

Sobbing softly, I try to relax my body. My yukata is pushed up over my hips, exposing my bare skin. It’s actually still tender from the whipping he gave me last night. I don’t want to live like this, and my heart is broken. Where is the cat I love?

I hear him unbuckling his belt and my ears twitch fearfully.

“Ah. You still have a few welts from last night. Stay nice and relaxed like that. I won’t give you more than you can bear, kitten.”

“Please,” I whisper again. “I’m s-sorry.”

“I know you are. But you’re not as sorry as you will be.”

The belt cracks in the air, flattening my ears, and smacks my ass—full and center—and I howl in pain, sobbing as the initial burn starts to fade. Another two snaps of the whip come faster than I can process, and my knees buckle. I can barely breathe, but I let out a wail as soon as I do catch my breath.

“Don’t move. Maintain your position.”

Two more cracks of that belt bruise my sit spot and upper thighs, making me raise up on my tip toes. I’m humiliated, in pain, and crying.

He stops for a moment—caressing my ass.

“Perhaps… this is enough for now. Do you feel you’ve learned your lesson?”

“Y-yes, s-sir,” I stammer. I'm so relieved the punishment is over!

“So what will you do the next time I reach for your robe in public?”

“I will submit. I will obey. I will comply,” though I cannot believe I am agreeing to this. What is wrong with me?! I am exhausted and want to have a nap. 

“Good.” He pulls my robe back down over my now welted and sore bottom. Even the silk hurts as it brushes against me lightly. He pulls his claws through the fur on my tail, and then reaches up to my arm, encouraging me to unhook my claws from the tree. “Then let’s give it a try, shall we?”

Wait... What? A sinking feeling rushes through my stomach and I think I might be sick. But I comply when he tugs my arm, pulling me behind him and ignoring my limp, toward the throne room. I should have known this would happen—but I just didn’t see it coming.

"What good is a punishment if not to enforce the desired behavior?" Rai mutters under his breath.

Walking back through the garden, I feel the crinkling grass beneath my shoes, but I hardly have time to observe my surroundings. He’s taking long strides, and all I can do is skip and hop to keep up. I’ll be facing all those cats I just tried to escape—and I am going to be exposed. He is going to strip me and display me naked, like he has done in the past. I’m sure of it!

Worse, it’s not even lunchtime. How could this day have gotten so bad so fast? I swallow thickly, feeling my body tighten up, when we enter the hallway. I keep my eyes on the floor in front of me—watching Rai’s black boots walk briskly. He has a slight bounce in his step, his tail swaying proudly, as though he is mightily pleased with himself. 

The sentries open the door to the throne room and announce him, and like this morning, all the assembled cats bow. However, I see many, many pairs of eyes sliding toward me, watching me limp, and some look way too curious in my opinion. But what can I do?

Rai takes a seat on the throne with a flourish—Koujaku is up on the dais as well, and his eyes watch me—and his face looks full of genuine concern. I quickly look away, hoping Rai will let me sit down on the pillow beside him. I’m honestly exhausted. But instead, he pulls me in front of his throne, making me face him.

“Kitten. Look at me.”

Keeping my face pointed at the floor, I lift my eyes, looking at him through my lashes. He is smiling.

“Disrobe.”

My fur bristles. Can I get out of this? There has to be a way... and my ass is really smarting, almost as a warning.

“Do not delay, or I will repeat that lesson I just gave you.”

I can’t avoid it. My claws drawn, I reach for my obi. This is somehow more humiliating than having him strip me since he is making me do it myself. I untie the sash carefully and let it slip from my waist. Rai catches it in his claws before it can touch the ground, and he fingers it gently, still watching me.

My robe is basically hanging open—and really, I shouldn’t be so concerned. I mean, really—all the cats in this room can probably already see my striped ass through the sheer silk anyway.

“Go on.”

I slide my shoulders out of the robe carefully and fold it up neatly, holding it in front of my body. The assembled cats murmure quietly when my ass is exposed—the evidence of my punishment fresh and burning. My ears heat up, and I know I’m blushing. His hands reach out and touch my body gently, stroking me from my arms to my hips. He also brushes away the tears that have slipped down my cheeks.

“Good boy. This is much better. Now sit.”

He watches me carefully as I kneel down gingerly on the pillow. And I wrap my tail around my waist, ruffling my wings as I feel the cold air whisper against my skin. It is chilly outside—and inside this room isn’t much better. My feathers serve to keep me warm, at least for a while.

“May I offer you and him a drink, Sire?” Koujaku asks.

“Please. Give the Sanga a glass of juice. He needs to replenish his strength.”

I’m given a glass—and Koujaku’s fingers brush mine gently, almost as though he is encouraging me to look up at his face. But I don't. I keep my gaze low and submissive. 

“Perhaps he needs some care or some rest—”

“He needs to learn to obey,” Rai responds harshly, making my ears flatten.

Then—I start to dissociate. I can’t really help it. If I remain too much in the present, it hurts too much. My chest hurts. My ass hurts. My eyes burn. I feel like I will start sobbing—and I need to relax and withdraw from reality for my own sanity. I lose track of time after I finish my juice. Supplicants kneel before the king with their requests, their eyes sliding over to me—and I can’t handle the intrusive gaze. I focus my eyes on Rai’s black boots, and then let my mind slip away.

I’m not sure how much time has passed—but the light outside is different. My body is cold, even despite my feathers—and I am shivering. I try to keep my teeth from chattering but they won’t stop. Rai can hear my discomfort, but he doesn’t say anything.

Eventually, Koujaku leans down to whisper in Rai’s ear and he sighs after a click of his tongue. He gives a short nod, and Koujaku disappears. A few moments later, Tokino returns at Koujaku’s side and approaches. Rai turns to me and gives me instructions in a cold, quiet tone.

“Listen, little Sanga. I will allow you to return to my chambers for a bath and to treat your skin. When I return, I will have expectations. If you don’t want to suffer, I suggest you prepare yourself for me.”

“Expectations?” I whisper.

“You know what they are. I will expect you to see to my needs.”

I can’t believe he is saying this here. Tokino and Koujaku must be able to hear him easily, as can many of the cats standing within a few feet of the throne. Blood rushes to my cheeks in an instant.

“Yes, sir,” I reply. My ears are drooping and my tail lies listless on my lap.

“Go.” Rai nods at Tokino, who very carefully helps me to my feet. 

At first, I hope he will allow me my clothes, but Tokino picks up the neat pile in his other hand. Before I am pulled from the dais, I drop to my knees in front of this cruel king, and I bow my head in the most submissive posture I can manage. I hear a soft gasp escape his mouth—and that’s enough to give me a little hope. 

“I’m sorry,” I whisper. “Please. Forgive me.”

He doesn’t answer right away, but to my relief, his hand reaches out and touches my ears.

“You are already forgiven. Now go. Make sure you follow my instructions.”

A tear slips down my face when I get to my feet, and I am quickly pulled into Rai’s arms for just a moment. He feels really nice—warm and gentle like he has in the past—and his hands travel down my back to my tail, stroking it softly. A gentle, tender feeling stirs in my heart, and a few more tears leak from the corners of my eyes. 

When he releases me, I allow Tokino to guide me from the room by my arm. Letting him guide me means that I don’t have to look up at any of the other cats currently staring at me. I don't have to watch where I am going and can stare at the floor below my feet. 

I can’t remember another time I’ve ever felt so ashamed, but I manage to make it back to Rai’s chamber—with Tokino’s help. I think about what Rai has instructed me to do—to prepare myself—and I hope he can’t possibly mean what I think he means. But as Tokino draws me a bath, I know I’m right. I'd be a fool to disobey.

Chapter Text

Tokino helps me bathe and treats my very sore skin. He leaves me dressed in a sheer robe, urging me to comply with Rai’s suggestion. He’s worried that I didn’t understand what the king meant by having “expectations.” I do understand. I just haven’t done this before myself, and I’m not feeling very compliant at the moment.

“Really. Even if you haven’t done it yourself before, you should. He’s giving you a chance.”

“Tokino, I don’t know what is wrong with him! I thought I loved him! No. That's not right. I do love him, but I hate how he is treating me! What can I do?”

The orange tabby rubs his chin for a moment and then touches my arm.

“Just do your best to please him. He adores you—even when he treats you in a way that looks cruel. He may seem out of character to you, but I have seen this side of him before, only not quite so extreme.”

“Could it just be a phase?” I’m secretly afraid Rai has become like this permanently because of me. Maybe it’s my presence has made him crueler. My hope is that once the heat has passed completely, things will return to normal.

“Perhaps. Hang in there.”

I nod, knowing I don’t have a choice. Tokino leaves me, and the moment he leaves, I strip off the robe, leaving my body indecently exposed on the bed. My skin is still incredibly sore. I’m scared Rai will demand another punishment—or worse, I will earn one for lack of compliance—upon his return. I don’t know what I’d do if he did.

Of course, I’d do my best to obey. But out in the gardens, I tried to resist. I said I wouldn’t submit to his discipline if he refused to treat me with respect and dignity. However, now I’ve learned that neither respect or dignity is on the table. And I need to get to work on pleasing him.

Part of me worries that if I do submit, he will get even worse. My compliance might encourage his abuse. And I’m not sure I can take much more. It hurts my body—sure—but more than that, my heart is suffering. Really, this morning's refusal to submit to him was because his treatment of me felt so cruel and heartless, just as I am realizing my true feelings for my silver cat.

Did he really mean what he said about his reasons for marrying me? If he did, have I made a mistake by committing myself to him? Even if I have, what can I do about it, at this point? I can’t go home. I would never be accepted there. My only other option is to wait until he tires of me and leaves me in the harem, where I will suffer under his other concubines. And really, he’s already let me know that I don’t have a choice in the matter of my marriage or what happens to my person. My choice is to comply or disobey, and one has much more serious consequences than the other. 

I’m lying on my side in the large bed, and I start preparing myself. This feels humiliating—but he gave me a chance to save myself from pain (and possibly even a chance at pleasure and maybe getting back in his good graces) and I won’t waste it. I grab the lube off the bedside table and close my eyes. If I think about him as he was before this transformation—his gentle smile, his warm voice—my body starts to heat up quickly. I give my cock a few gentle strokes to start, still hesitant to prepare myself as he’s commanded. 

Sighing softly, I bring a lubed finger to my entrance, pressing inside almost immediately, careful to avoid any of the welts back there. It feels almost business-like—not particularly good or bad. But I know if I don’t, I may be incredibly sore later. It’s only a matter of time before sex starts to hurt again, at least as soon as the heat wears off. It makes me feel slightly sick to my stomach, and that isn't helping.

Letting my thoughts wander, I work another finger inside. With two, I can spread my insides apart and it starts to feel a little good. I wonder if I have started too soon. I have no idea when Rai will return, and I worry that I might become incredibly aroused in a short amount of time and then have to suffer while waiting for him.

After a few minutes with two fingers, I add a third. Now, my dick is hard and dripping, and occasionally, I give myself a gentle stroke with my free hand. My thoughts are running wild now… What if I attacked him when he entered the chamber? Would he enjoy it? Would he appreciate my affection? Does he want me more active? What can I do that would please him?

I think he might enjoy me a little more active—if he really believes it’s my purpose to please him. So I run through several scenarios of what I could do. I might jump into his arms. I might kneel at his feet. I might just pose on the bed naked, exposing myself to him. In any case, I realize I have to sing. And I need to find that soothing melody I discovered the first night he transformed, somewhere deep within me. I know that is the key to making things better between us.

After almost thirty minutes, I am more than prepared, I think. If I don’t stop, I run the risk of finishing myself off before he comes in, which I'm sure would displease him. So, I fish the glass plug out the drawer of the bedside table and put it inside of me. It glides in easily, as I try to catch my breath and calm down.

What started this mess in the first place? 

I wrack my brain for answers. Maybe if I can figure out how this cruel streak started, I would know how to fix it. I was returned from the Virus and Trip kidnapping, and Rai was so kind to me. In fact… he even switched roles with me. As I recall, it was during that night—after we switched roles—that he changed. His wings grew in and he took me with violence. Passion, of course, but a lot of violence. 

What does this mean? That I should never switch? Was this really my doing? At first, I was sure it was my own transformation that brought about his. And now, I'm thinking it's because I topped. But really... could I be giving myself too much credit? For everything? Maybe it doesn't have to do with anything except fate and who we both are.

If this version of Rai is really the same king I fell in love with—only a piece of him I don’t yet know or understand—if I truly love him, I will learn to love this part of him, too. Perhaps he really is the reincarnation of Touga. My heart stops for a second at the thought.

Will I have to kill him?

Will I have to put him out of his misery before he marries me? Or worse, after he marries me? After we grow even closer? Is this going to get worse?

I could never do that. My song isn’t strong enough. But more importantly, I wouldn’t be able to do it, even if I could. The idea of cradling Rai—even as he is now—in my arms, while I sing away his life-force… I can’t. I can’t imagine doing anything to displease him, much less physically hurt him—ever. 

Tears spring unbidden to my eyes. I would rather die first. I would rather he kill me. I wouldn’t want to be left with his blood on my hands. My heart aches and pounds painfully in my chest, and my ears ring. I don’t know what to do.

What can I do?

Sing. I can sing. I am a Sanga, and that is what I do. And that I will do. I will do my very best.  


 

I manage to drift off to sleep for a few moments, and I am woken gently by the sound of the door creaking open. Slightly fuzzy from my interrupted nap, I miss my chance to attack him as I’d planned. Before I realize where I am, he has approached the bed, and his scent floods my nose. He still smells so tempting—just as delicious as when my own wings first came in, enough to make my mouth water. I can’t stop my ears and tail from twitching in delight.

However, my fur bristles in fear when I hear a low growl. It raises my hackles and it’s scary—though I know it’s Rai whose entered.

“Sleeping, kitten? Those aren’t the instructions I gave you.” His voice is low and calm, but laced with that purring growl. A shiver ripples down my spine.

“Um…” It takes me a moment to gather my bearings and wake up fully. I’m still a little groggy. Then I open my mouth. “N-no… I did! I did as you suggested! I just, um, needed to rest.”

My body is roughly pulled toward the foot of the bed. Despite the high quality of the bedding, the skin on my stomach burns when my body slides down the sheets. A small meow escapes—and yes, it sounds frightened.

“Let me see if you’ve done a good enough job.”

Without any prep or tenderness, two fingers slide down the base of my spine to my entrance. Thankfully, they slide in easily, and Rai purrs softly when he touches the plug inside of me.

“Good boy,” he whispers. That tone… I mean, even if I am afraid, hearing his praise sends a pleasant little shiver through my spine. He grasps the glass and pulls it out of me. “Now… help me.”

My feet touch the floor and Rai pulls me up to stand. I turn around to face him, my eyes level with his throat since I’m standing on the platform with the bed. He is staring at me with his fangs poking out over his lips. It’s so sexy—despite how scared I am.

“Go on.” 

Confused, I’m unsure of what he expects from me, but when he pulls my hands up to the button of his waistcoat, I understand immediately. I start to unbutton the buttons. I slide his jacket off as well, hanging both over the back of a chair. Then, he sits down on the bed so I can pull off his boots and stockings. When I return from putting his boots next to his clothes, I get to work on the small buttons of his silk blouse. I work quickly as he is purring impatiently, his tail lashing from side to side. Then I slide his shirt off his shoulders, being careful to touch his skin gently and tenderly, leaving him in his breeches.

After unbuckling his belt (which makes my ass tingle a little when I touch it), I unbutton his breeches and I slip them off his hips, leaving him in his underwear. I’m already naked, keeping my fluffy tail wrapped around my waist for modesty. He allows me to fold his clothes neatly and hang them off the side of the chair. 

When I turn back to the bed, he’s already slid out of his underwear, leaving them on the floor. He gestures for me to return to the bed.

“I’ve been eager for you.”

Those soft words send arousal to my hips. I am still unfulfilled from this morning, and I hope my satisfaction is in the cards this evening. Instead of waiting for him to push me down against the bed, I decide to take initiative. I may have missed the first chance when he came in, but now, I have another.

Walking right up to him, I encourage him to sit at the foot of the bed, his legs hanging over the edge. I don’t waste any time. I climb on top of his lap, letting my tail go, and I grab his cock—which is hard and ready—pushing against him with my own. I stroke us both together and enjoy a soft sigh from his lips. I will need a little more lube, I think, so I reach over for the jar and lube him up—and me in the process—while kissing him.

I'm sure if I am an active participant, it won’t possibly feel like it did this morning. I also start searching inside my heart and my soul, trying to pull out a song from that well. I’m looking for a specific one, a soothing one—and I find it almost immediately. My skin starts to vibrate and my body trembles. It feels a little like static electricity across my skin when it finally spills forth.

Rai’s ears bristle and perk up, and his tail waves behind him in a happy arc. He is pleased.

“Come,” he says, nudging me forward as he moves back on the bed. I fold my legs up beneath my body, kneeling outside of his thighs, and he lines up his cock at my entrance. He feels hot, and I tease him just a little before dropping down on him hard.

It hurts—a little—a slight burn when I impale myself on him. This must mean the heat is nearing its end if it hasn’t already. My wings spread wide, my fur fluffs out—and his scent increases. He smells so nice, like cool fresh snow and warm sandalwood. I can’t help myself, so I purr softly and taste his lips, his tongue, his chin.

Allowing me a moment to adjust to his size, he is watching me—that icy blue eye searching my face. His hands move from my shoulders to my wings and tail, stroking me gently. It's tenderness. I have longed for a tender touch from him. I need it. I don't think I can live without it.

I begin rocking my hips forward—and I start a little before I’ve completely adjusted to him inside me, so there is some slight discomfort. I don't want him to have to wait, however, and I can handle this. He seems pleased, though—and it’s so bright in the room. Both from my song and the current time of day—the moon of light is setting outside, the sky a lovely red that makes the grove look even more gorgeous.

He is patient for a few minutes, and then he thrusts his hips up inside me, brushing that spot inside me that feels so nice. Not bothering to suppress the growling meow of delight that escapes, I notice my purr has changed into something hotter and wetter. I also take a moment to deliberately increase my song’s intensity.

Ignoring my feelings of apprehension and anxiety, I focus on trying to soothe him instead. I want him to feel good and safe—loved—for the creature he is right now. My melody doesn’t sound particularly submissive, but I do add elements of the desire to heal and relieve pain.

My mind is flooded with images, thoughts, and feelings—me outside, claws dug into a tree trunk, my kimono hiked up, my ass red and welted, crying from the whipping he gave me earlier; me slipping out of my kimono in the throne room while standing between his knees; another image of my body face down on the bed this morning, my knuckles white from gripping the sheets. The feelings are surprisingly tender—even when he was punishing me. It’s as though he loves me… in a terrifying, overwhelming way.

I reach out to him as well—sharing my own experiences without filtering out my fear and anxiety. His ears twitch as my song changes.

I only want you to be happy and safe.

My song seems to have lyrics that echo in my heart.

I love all of you—even the parts I don’t know very well, even the parts that frighten me.

It goes on and on.

I never want to hurt you. I don’t want you to suffer. I am not the original Sanga, even if his blood flows through me. I would never hurt you, even if you demanded it. I would sooner have you kill me than harm even a hair on your head.

Even I’m a little surprised at how direct my song is. Our interaction is getting faster and rougher, with him thrusting up into me and me dropping down on his lap and rocking my hips. My sighs and gasps are increasing, and I am approaching my limit.

“Konoe…”

My ears twitch when he says my name. It sinks into my heart—this voice sounds like the Rai I originally met and with whom I fell in love. I may be his slave, but that doesn’t mean he owns my feelings, and I really do believe I love him.

“Rai,” I whisper in reply, touching his ears, his hair, his face—allowing him to kiss me and take me as he likes. There is no pain—well, except when he brushes the welts on my ass. But even that soft stroking makes me hotter. “Please… soon… can I?” 

“Mmm… wait for me, kitten,” he purrs softly, grasping my tail firmly and wrapping his hand around my cock. It feels so good—being trapped here on his lap—in some ways, maybe this is my true purpose—just to please him… It's not a bad feeling.

How strange that realization actually is doesn’t occur to me till later.

“Please please please…” I am whispering, nearing desperation, and Rai growls low in my ear. I find myself in a strange space of suspended pleasure, overwhelmed by touch while my body searches for an outlet and release. Instead of fighting the feelings, I move them into my song, and the space between our bodies lights up and glows even brighter, the tendrils actually move his hair and fur.

Finally, Rai’s wings spread open with a sharp snap. I know he’s close—I can feel it as his cock gets harder and thicker and it’s a little harder for me to move as freely. 

“Go ahead, little Sanga,” he whispers, and I don’t delay. Pleasure seems to rush forward—into my song, into my chest, into the palm of Rai’s hand—and my body stiffens. Unusually loud sounds, vulgar sighs and gasps, fill the room as pleasure shivers through me. My fur bristles up, and I sigh softly, closing my eyes, letting relief wash over me.

Rai spills deep within me, and I fall against his chest, taking his lips as I do—and he kisses me roughly, nipping my lip and clicking our fangs together softly. Then, he starts to settle, stroking my hair, my fur, my wings, and my tail. Each time he touches the base of my tail, it shoots straight up in the air and shivers. 

I sigh softly when Rai shifts, lifting my hips off of his body. I can feel his come deep inside my body, dripping down my thighs. I don’t hate the feeling. In fact, this kind of feeling is pleasant, just resting in the afterglow. He lays me down on the mattress and curls up behind me, still purring, and starts to groom my ears.

We lay together for some time in silence. It’s a lovely, peaceful sensation—the terror and humiliation of this morning are nowhere in my mind. It’s as though he is a different cat than he was then. My heart feels full and satisfied.

“Your song,” Rai murmurs, startling me from my near-doze. My ears flick up. “It felt different today.”

“Hmm,” I hum.

“Do you choose those lyrics?”

“Choose? No. I sing from my heart—from my innermost feelings—and the lyrics come out on their own. I don’t really control them.” I guess I hadn’t realized he could hear the lyrics so clearly.

“So… those are your innermost feelings? Your true feelings?” Rai’s voice is soft and tender.

“Yeah,” I admit. I know my ears are heating up again. “Why? Did I say something you didn’t want to hear?”

“Not at all. So it’s true you don’t want to hurt me?”

My body is still paralyzed from the song and the sex, but I really wish I could see his expression. I can’t turn my head, but my tail bristles and my ears turn toward him. 

“Yes, that is true. I would never hurt you. I don’t think I could ever hurt you, even if you asked me to. I would sooner die than see you suffer.” 

“Even after…”

I don’t respond. I just wait for him to finish. 

“Even after how I treated you this morning?” His fingers trail down my back and linger around my butt, the curve of my cheeks, and where my thighs meet my butt. He is tracing a welt. It stings just a little, but the ointment soothed me and it’s long been absorbed.

“You punished me for disobedience,” I say. “I had no right to disobey you. And I am sorry for my actions. I regret them.”

Rai sighs softly.

“Perhaps you’ve noticed, kitten, but my current level of self-control seems to be a little unpredictable lately. I can’t seem to help myself around you.” 

This shocks me—his words surprise me. It almost sounds like an apology. Almost. I can’t speak, so I simply hum in acknowledgment. 

“I… was hard on you.”

Again, I don’t know what to say. Tears sting my eyes.

“This morning, too, I rushed and did not see to your comfort or pleasure.”

There’s another brief pause. I am confused—because of this sudden change of personality. Then I wonder if it could be a result of my song. Did it work? Is that why my Rai is back? 

“Forgive me. You are precious to me, kitten. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I hold you dear and I adore you. I don’t have any excuses. But I am sorry I was so rough and careless with you.”

My entire body shudders when I hear his apology. The tears in my eyes spill over in relief and I am completely overwhelmed.

“Thank you,” I whisper. “There is nothing to forgive. You were within your rights, of course. It is, um, my role to please you after all. I thank you for giving me another chance.”

Rai sighs softly, running his hands through my hair. He’s doing something to it, I think—maybe braiding it. It feels comforting to hear him purr, to have his fingers combing through my hair, and I close my eyes.

“Just sleep, kitten.”

I stop my tears—and snuggle my body (well, with the motion that I have regained anyway) against his, letting myself become absorbed in the feel of him, the weight of him, his scent. My wings ruffle, and I enjoy his touch. He continues grooming me—moving to my wings after he finishes my ears. Every touch sends a wave of relaxing pleasure through my body. But I’m exhausted. The relief I’m feeling is exactly what I needed. 

All I have to do is keep singing to him. If I can do that, I know I can live with him. We can get through this, I think. I know it.

Chapter Text

I sleep through the dinner, apparently. I’m exhausted. When I wake, I find myself alone in Rai’s chambers, still naked in bed, curled up on my belly. After a nice long stretch, I get up and notice a tray of cheese, fruit, and bread has been left for me, along with a small carafe of red wine. It looks good, so I settle down on a chair to eat, pulling a soft blanket over my body. 

It’s starting to get cold at night especially—and I feel a chill as I eat my dinner. The fire hasn’t been lit—and there’s no way I’ll be doing it. I hate fire with a passion and have recently realized that in this country, I will probably have to deal with it more than I did at home. Karou is some distance south of here, and our winters are rainy, wet, and mild. Surely, the winters in Setsura are much more extreme. I should be able to tell from all the cats around here with long, thick fur. And wow—I am actually taking time to think about the weather instead of this impossible situation in which I find myself. It’s a nice change.

The meal is nice and light, perfect for my current needs. I feel much better after eating something and having the wine, and I drink a little water as well. Then, I run a brush through my hair and crawl back into bed. I spend the next half an hour grooming my ears, my tail, my arms, and my wings. It’s tedious to groom my feathers, but I am very relaxed by the time I’ve finished. I’m so relaxed, in fact, that I drift back to sleep. 

I don’t wake until the morning, and my ears are flooded with a soft growling sound. It sends shivers down my spine, and I know it’s Rai—or the creature he is now. It’s terribly unsettling to go to bed with one cat and wake up to another. But I remind myself that if I love him as much as I think I do, I need to love all of him. 

Instead of resisting, I turn toward him, spreading out my wings and moving closer to him, rather than pulling away—despite what my instincts are telling me to do. Every bone in my body seems to be resisting my efforts to comply and submit, but I need to sing again if I can—and soon—before he does anything to me. 

Another soft growl comes out of his lips—and to my surprise, when I look closely at his mouth, his plush lips closed, his fangs look even longer than yesterday. What is going on? Is he changing? A slight disappointment and heavy apprehension flood my chest, but I try my best to ignore it, and I lean up to kiss him—licking his fangs gently.

He responds quickly, and I feel his arousal against my body. I want to maintain some control in this situation, so I quickly climb on top of him, kissing him more deeply and running my fingers through his silky silver strands of hair. They reach well past his wings. I haven’t spent much time touching his wings, but I wonder if they are as sensitive as mine are. The tender skin feels delicate and vulnerable beneath my fingertips and warm, too—like the rest of his body. Tracing a vein on the inside part of his wing, I can feel his blood pulsing to the rhythm of his heart.

He sighs softly and shivers—he actually shivers—from my touch, and that gives me a little boost of confidence. But then, his hands reach out to my hips and grab me firmly. The sudden movement surprises me, and my wings extend. Even now, the cauterized wound burns when I make such sudden movements. 

I’m positioned on his stomach, but I can definitely feel his erection behind me. I flutter my wings softly, allowing the tips of my feathers to caress the tip of his dick, and I am rewarded with another subtle shiver. His fur bristles on his ears and I lean in to kiss him gently. 

However, I am again taken by surprise by his fervor. He lifts up his upper body—with me sitting on him—to meet my lips, his long fangs crushing my lower lip and bruising it. It’s not an entirely unpleasant sensation, but again, slightly unnerving with its ardor. Also, Rai sitting up so suddenly has the effect of sliding me lower against his body, his cock pressing at my very much unprepared entrance.

My body feels a little different today than it has the past few days. I’m not sure if this means I’m afraid or if it’s the natural effect of the season passing. And the thought frightens me a little—especially when I feel him pressing against me. It’s not painful—yet—but my body doesn’t seem to have the same willingness to yield as it has the past few days. It feels like I am tense and nervous—his presence there feels strange. And I’m afraid it’s going to hurt. But I do my best to relax.

His hands move from my hips to my thighs to spread them wider. I’m already straddling his waist, but he pushes my legs apart even further, making me feel incredibly vulnerable. My goal is to submit—and submit willingly—to his touch, even if it’s rough. I want to show him that I mean what I say about loving him and wanting to please him. But a strange uneasiness flows into my body at his advance, and I stiffen slightly, my wings fluttering. 

Maybe it would be better if I were at least a little prepared? As I am now, I am sure penetration is going to be painful.  

I open my mouth to say something, and my lips are taken immediately. My tail is grabbed firmly, and my hips are pushed down against him with his other hand, trapping me in place. And I was correct in my assumption—it is painful. It easily as is painful as it was the very first time he entered me, my body stretching uncomfortably and that tight ring of muscle refusing to loosen up. 

“Relax, little Sanga,” his husky voice floats into my ears. 

I try to obey—I do! But even my relaxation doesn’t ease the passage, and tears squeeze from my eyes. This is too much! I also understand that if I fight him, he will take me even more roughly, and I cannot and should not resist him. So I bear with it as best as I can, trying to submit.

Actually, submission has nothing to do with it. I do nothing at all and just let him do as he likes. My soft cries are smothered by his lips, as though he is swallowing them, consuming them, and my insides are pried open. I feel like even my heart is being flayed, and it wounds something deep inside when I think of the tender care he has taken of me before. This is so different—but he is the same cat. This is the cat I want to please. I taste the salty flavor of tears in my mouth as they drip down my cheeks and the silver cat licks them clean.

He isn’t being incredibly rough; that’s not it. It’s just that he has to know this is painful, and he isn’t doing anything to ease my discomfort. It’s incredibly distracting, the insides of my thighs are burning as well as inside my body—so much so that I can’t concentrate. I have forgotten I intended to sing for him. I need to soothe that beast inside him, and so I try to refocus, distancing myself from my physical body for a moment so I can find the music inside me. 

I search inside myself—quickly before our interaction gets any rougher—and I dig out a song that spills from my body, overflowing from my heart into my hands, my wings, my legs, bristling my fur. It brightens the space under the bed’s canopy, making Rai’s hair shine gold, and he inhales deeply almost as though it is painful when my song escapes. His fur bristles his tail sways widely, and he sighs into the crook of my neck.

Reaching out both hands, I grab two fistfuls of hair, and I pull him in close for another deep kiss. My body is still throbbing painfully, but I am not resisting. Instead, I allow myself to enjoy the sensation of my song, and my body feels a strange lightness. Instead of being completely absorbed by the painful physical sensations tearing through my body, I just float along and allow myself to exist, concentrating on the melody, on the meaning of the song getting through to my silver cat as he is right now. I want him to understand. I want him to love me. And I want his tenderness—which is currently nowhere in sight. 

My ass is resting solidly on top of Rai’s hips now, and I am breathing roughly, tears pricking my eyes but no longer streaming down my cheeks. I try to slow my breathing and soothe myself—stroking the soft white ears in front of me. That strange, low growl is still spilling from the cat beneath me, and he starts to become impatient. I’m still trying to adjust to his size and the sudden penetration without preparation, but I am not given a chance. My ass is grabbed firmly, both his fingers brushing the outside of my entrance just below my tail, and an odd trapped feeling floods my chest. Rai starts to thrust up his hips, moving underneath me as though some restraint has come loose, and each thrust sends a sharp pain through my lower body. The last bit of arousal fades, but he continues to caress the base of my tail to try to bring it back.

To my surprise, he succeeds, though he keeps me firmly pinned in place on top of his body while he works me from below. The more excitement I feel, the louder my song gets and the more I relax into the pain. While it still hurts, the pain reminds me a little of when he took me over his knee and spanked me—or no, more like when he used the paddle or belt. Despite the pain of that punishment, I became aroused and excited, even when I knew he was angry with me and that I’d disappointed him. In the same way, some part of me enjoys his attention—any attention at all—and I crave his touch, even if it’s violent.

Maybe I am the perfect partner for him. Maybe my ability to enjoy pain is what makes our destinies entwine. Maybe he wants someone to enjoy the punishments he metes out.

But is this what I want?

I don’t mind a little pain play. But what I crave is tenderness. And there is none forthcoming—even as I sing my heart out. I am tiring quickly, and I realize that tendrils of light that extend from me to Rai aren’t wrapping around him. They are being absorbed, sinking into his body. His expression is close to ecstasy—but to have my song received this way is exhausting. It’s much more taxing than when I’ve sung for him before. Did he absorb my light and energy like this yesterday, too? 

My mind blurs and my body starts to sink—and he speeds up his movements, grabbing my cock and stroking roughly. Pleasure courses through my hips and into my spine, and I start to breath harder. I close my eyes and lean back against him—his legs are bent and raised up slightly behind me—and my wings start to spread out as my climax approaches.

And I can’t come.

A surge of independence grips me suddenly, and I realize I don’t want to ask if I can come. I don’t want to ask for permission. I’d rather be left hanging than beg for release if I can't come without asking. A sense of deliberate rebellion floods my body with that thought.

A small sound comes out of Rai—it almost sounds like he says my name, but not quite. And it is enough to make me open my eyes. His gaze—that icy blue eye—is staring at me, and I can see the darkness behind it. A shiver rushes down my spine that I think is revulsion, but my body certainly isn’t acting as though it’s repulsed by him. 

He is smiling at me—not a maniacal smile, but one that looks a little smug. I see his eyebrow quirk up softly, expectant. He is waiting for me to beg and plead. He expects it. And he wants it.

I purse my lips and look away, and my chin is grabbed forcefully and my lips are taken. I think I can hear him chuckling through the kiss—as though he knows I am resisting him, resisting my compulsion to beg to come—and he finds it amusing. This only distresses me more, and it makes me dig my heels in. My resistance is obvious even in my song, which has changed slightly.

The king shrugs his shoulders briefly and hugs me tight against his chest, grabbing the base of my tail painfully. My cock is pushed up against his stomach, but that isn’t enough for me to let go. But he does. I feel his body unwinding as he spills deep inside me, continuing to thrust roughly through his climax, purring and growling softly, exhaling loudly in my ear.

Though I haven’t climaxed, I’m exhausted from my song, and I fall against his chest powerless with his cock still inside me. I know I’ve missed my chance—my opportunity—and I realize this puts me at a disadvantage, depending on how the rest of the morning goes. I wonder if I haven't made a grave miscalculation.

Rai’s hands sweep down my wings, smoothing my feathers and cupping my ass. He makes a point of feeling up my still-erect cock, sending a shiver through my body. I can’t move—I am paralyzed from the effort of my song, so I just sag against his chest until he moves me onto the bed beside him. He curls up on his side and meets my gaze, touching my chin gently but forcing eye contact.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cat as stubborn as you.”

My fur bristles at his remark. It’s spoken gently, but that gentle tone is what frightens me. I know he often hides his displeasure under that exact tone, and I am beginning to regret my actions. 

But really—what did I do? I did nothing. I simply didn’t beg for release. That shouldn’t be any of his concern! If I want to be uncomfortably aroused for the rest of the day—or until he sees fit to approach me again—it should be my business and not his! I set my jaw firmly and clamp my lips together.

“What a pretty little pout.”

He touches my bottom lip with his fingers and lets his claws scrape down the front of my throat to my chest. 

“What was that?”

“What?” 

“Was that your last little bit of stubbornness? Your last stand? It seems there are many ways you could defy me that would be of much less discomfort to you, kitten.” His voice is purring, and that purr feels amazing—it’s at the perfect frequency to vibrate me from inside out. 

I tear my eyes away from his face, arranged in that soft smirk only to have him lift my chin up again. 

“How long do you think you can hold out?” 

“I’m not holding out!” I insist, and my voice comes out surprisingly loud and desperate. The king blinks his eye in surprise. 

“Oh? Well, perhaps I should remind you of your purpose here, once again. It doesn’t seem to be sinking in.”

My fur bristles in fear and I squeeze my eyes closed, my tail lashing, my ears twitching—the only movement I have right now. His words are cruel, despite that soft tone.

“What do you think would prevent me from punishing you—right now—for your little act of rebellion?”

“I-i w-wasn’t rebelling!” I protest loudly. 

“No? What would you call it?”

I purse my lips and don’t answer. I also try very hard not to let my fear show, but I’m a cat. My fur bristles, my ears are flat, my tail is lashing nervously. It's obvious.

“Withholding?” Rai purrs softly into my ear, pulling me up flush against his body. “Withholding your pleasure to show you still have a free will?” 

“N-no,” I whisper. I am afraid now. I am afraid he will spank me—and I am too vulnerable right now. I wouldn’t be able to defend myself or escape. 

“What then?”

“I j-just couldn’t bring myself to… ask.”

“Your pleasure pleases me. Asking for permission to come is the perfect kind of submission. And yet, you refused.” He is still speaking into my ears, but his tail is fluffy and agitated. “It surprised me since you seemed committed in your song and in how you connected with me. You didn’t resist my advances. And still, you managed to displease me. Do you do it on purpose?” 

“No!”  

“It looks like you did it specifically to earn yourself a punishment.”

“That’s not—”

“Hmph.” The hum vibrates in my body, and I certainly am regretting that I didn’t ask to climax. My balls ache and my cock is still straining. “I’m guessing you’d prefer a little spanking right here and now. Is that what you wanted?”

“No,” I whisper. But that is probably the easiest punishment he could mete out, at this point. I am starting to realize that is not what he has in mind for me. Fear creeps up my spine and I am cursing my stubbornness. “I-i’m s-sorry,” I stammer. 

“Oh, I know you are. But not nearly as sorry as you’re going to be. I think after today, you won’t ever hold yourself back or resist me again.”

Fear shoots through my body like an electric shock, and I flinch.

“Please…”

“This is the perfect learning opportunity for you.” Rai stands up, leaving me in the bed, kissing my ears softly as he gets up. His black wings open wide when he gives the rest of his body a long stretch.

“Rai…” I can’t seem to hold back tears.

“Hush. You’ve earned this. And truthfully, I’ve been waiting for this. This is something you need. Something that will help cement your role deep within your heart. A part of you knows it, too. It’s probably why you were so stubborn this morning.”

“B-but I d-didn’t do anything!” I whimper.

The king turns to look at me, sitting back down next to me for a moment. With utter tenderness, he strokes my ears at the base and lets his hand creep down my head, fingering a long lock of hair gently between his fingers.

“I haven’t even done anything to you yet. Are you really so afraid of me?”

I am. I am terrified. But I have brought this on myself—and the song I had intended to sing in order to quell the beast inside him has backfired. I think I’ve managed to enrage him. And that really wasn’t my original intention. I don’t know what to do, and I meow softly.

“What a lovely submissive sound. Now, rest here for a while.”

He brushes his hand over my eyes, sweeping my lids closed. My lashes flutter and fight to stay open, but when I meet that blue gaze, he looks so stern that I close my eyes again obediently. There is no way I can sleep, though. I’m much too frightened.

Rai heads into the bathing chamber, leaving me alone on the bed. I watch him retreat but close my eyes immediately when he looks over his shoulder.

“I said rest.”

I swallow thickly and close my eyes. I can hear him in the shower—he takes his time. And part of my heart wishes he would have brought me in with him. I know I have displeased him and I don’t know what I can do to make it better. The moment I hear the water shut off, I squeeze my eyes closed again, trying to calm my breathing. Of course, he knows I’m not sleeping, but at least my eyes are closed.

A soft jingle of a bell makes my ears twitch, and soon, Tokino and another cat I don’t recognize arrive. Rai meets them at the door and speaks softly to them—his voice so low I can’t understand what he is ordering them to do.

I can’t control my body, but it is shaking nervously. I am starting to be able to move again—it didn’t take as long to regain my mobility as it has in the past, and I am tempted to sing again. But I know it’s too late. 

“I’ll see you soon, little Sanga.” My ears are kissed lightly—and it startles me. I thought he was over by the door, and I didn’t even hear him approach since my pulse is beating so loud in my ears. My eyes fly open and I think about entreating him for mercy until l see his expression. He is decided. And he gets up and leaves the room, my belly filled with fear. 

The other cat has headed into the wardrobe, while Tokino comes up to the bed and strokes my wings.

“Can you walk?”

I nod, but I’m frightened.

“Let’s get you cleaned up.”

I allow Tokino to lead me into the bathing chamber, my legs still slightly unsteady and wobbly from the song and my ass incredibly sore from the sex. I let him help me wash my hair and condition my fur, and he even helps me dry off. When I come back out to the bedroom, I see a tray of jewelry glittering in the morning light. I also can’t help notice that there is ice on the outside of the glass again, and it’s cold in here.

I don’t see any clothes, however. 

“Here, settle down here while I take care of your hair and fur.” I’m ushered into a soft chair—still naked—and Tokino throws a blanket over me to keep me from shivering. I’m cold, but not cold enough for my teeth to chatter. I’m shivering from fear, not from the chill.

Trying to relax, I let Tokino comb out my hair. His touch is mesmerizing—even more so because of its gentleness and the stark contrast to what I felt from the king this morning. It brings tears to my eyes.

“Hush. You need to be brave. You will be fine,” Tokino says softly, and it sounds more like he is trying to convince himself than me.

“What is he going to do to me?” I whimper softly.

“Relax. You will be fine. His Majesty only wishes to teach you where you belong.” Tokino continues brushing through my hair, his fingers styling it carefully. He pulls several strands from the side of my face back into a braid and then braids them into a single, thick plait. He talks to me as though he is soothing a wounded animal. “He adores you, Konoe. He only wants to show you where you fit in, what your role is.”

Somehow this is even more terrifying than a physical punishment would be. 

I am guided back over to the bed and encouraged to lie down on my stomach. I am covered with lotion—it smells fresh and minty and feels a little cold—and then I am turned to my back. I can see my reflection in the mirror, and when the lotion is applied—all over my body—I see it has a soft, gold shimmer to it. My belly piercing is cleaned, and a delicate chain is wrapped around my waist. Attached to the chain are several jeweled clamps, two of which are promptly attached to my nipples. I hiss quietly in surprise—it looks positively indecent, the gold chain dripping from my nipples to my navel, and it sends an odd sort of desire into my hips. The other two clamps are attached to the collar on my neck, leaving two more gold chains sparkling from my neck to my belly.

In addition to the gold collar and cuffs on my wrists and ankles, I am given thick gold bands around my upper arms. Several other jewels are attached to me—small gems are glued to my skin down the right side of my neck and the opposite hip. I am not given any clothing.

Gold rings slip around both my middle fingers and attach to my wrist cuffs by the same gold chain. Additionally, my big toes are both encircled with gold rings, and a slim chain attaches those to my ankles. When I see my reflection in the mirror, I look even more exposed and naked with the gold dripping from my body than I did without the jewelry, and I start to become a little more worried.

The door opens again, and I recognize the king’s scent—freshly fallen snow and sandalwood. My body responds to him immediately—probably because I am flustered and embarrassed but also because I’m still aroused from this morning’s activities. 

“Perfect. I’ll finish him up. You may go.” He dismisses the servants casually, and Tokino gives my arm a squeeze when he leaves. “Stand up and let me admire you.”

Despite my shame, I do as I’m told. I’m too afraid to disobey. I keep my eyes glued to the ground, and Rai motions with his fingers for me to turn around. Again, I do as I am bid.

“Lie face down on the edge of the bed.”

A violent shiver courses through my body, and I am made to wait for a few moments. I think I hear the soft sound of fabric rustling—maybe it’s a curtain. But I startle when I feel a soft touch on my bare skin. I think it’s the leather-covered paddle.

“A few finishing touches,” Rai says softly, and he leans down to kiss my ears. 

I can’t help letting a soft meow escape my mouth, as though pleading with him for forgiveness, for mercy, for tenderness. But I know what is coming when the paddle presses against the lowest part of my exposed ass, and it's not tenderness or mercy.

“Please…” I breathe softly.

“You’d dare beg for mercy? Now?” Rai hums softly, and I feel his fingers tracing down my spine and gripping my tail. His touch is excessively tender—so tender than it brings tears to my eyes.

“N-no,” I whisper. “I-i’m j-just sorry.”

“I know.”

With those soothing words, his presence disappears from my body, and within a second I hear the loud slap of the paddle connecting with the fullest part of my ass. I can feel my flesh trembling, but I try to stay relaxed. However, the next blows rain down on my skin—and there is nothing gentle about it. It’s a business-like volley of spanks, making my body shake and pain shoot through my ass and thighs. I lose count quickly, crying out after the third blow—but the punishment doesn’t last very long.

When he stops, his hands caress my burning skin as though checking his work. It feels like he is feeling the temperature of my skin.

A few more spanks rain down, and I dig my claws into the bed and try my best not to protect myself. I’m flooded with relief when his cool fingers touch me again. To my dismay, the gentle touch adds to the pain pooling in my hips, and my arousal is back full force.

Rai pats me on the butt softly as though encouraging me to stand up, and I obey, keeping my gaze on his boots. Something sparkles in his hand—a variety of gold rings, it looks like, with a sparkling diamond and something that looks like a bell in the center of each. He pulls my tail through one of the rings, and I can feel something resting just below my tail—just at my sore entrance. Surely, I would feel this if I sat down. I flick my tail gently and I hear a soft tinkling sound.

A bell?

Then, he takes another ring with a bell attached and connects it at the center of my collar. I feel my ears heat up in embarrassment. And finally, he grabs my rising erection and pushes the final ring around my cock, all the way to the hilt. I look down, and there’s a sparkling jewel at the top and a small bell at the bottom. All my fur fluffs out and I flick my tail in discomfort—my erection immediately becomes more intense, and I hear another soft jingling sound from the bottom of the ring. 

Then, he pulls my plait over my shoulder to the front of my body, and I see thin gold ribbons have been woven into it. He looks pleased as he leads me to the mirror next to the wardrobe. The creature I see in my reflection is unrecognizable.

My cheeks and ears are blushing. My nipples are erect and red. My cock is straining against the gold ring, and my body looks incredibly vulgar and indecent. I am glittering and shimmering with gold on my skin, dripping with jewels that look like diamonds. The clear stones adhering to me only add to the strange sexual allure, and my eyes are sparkling with tears. My wings fluff out broadly in discomfort, and another purring meow escapes my mouth. 

“You are perfect. My perfect pet.” Rai fingers the chain clamping my nipples, and it leads me forward without hesitation. When he even just touches the chain, it sends a ripple of desire through my hips and adds to my arousal. “Gorgeous.” 

I hardly have time to consider exactly how humiliating this is when he lowers his lips to my ear and licks it.

“Next time, perhaps you will remember not to withhold any part of yourself from me. I will drag any part of you out to the open for all to admire if you do not give yourself to me freely.”

A shiver of fear rushes through my body and I open my mouth to beg for mercy, but he places a finger on my lips.

“Today, I should like very much for you to restrain your voice. Unless I specifically give you a reason to raise it.” In the mirror, Rai’s chin motions to his hand, which is holding that leather paddle. “Now come. I have work to do.”

He gives the chain between my nipples a soft tug, and a strange, lewd sigh leaks out despite my efforts to control myself. I can’t believe it, but I follow him, jingling musically with every step, keeping my eyes on his boots as we leave the chamber. A surge of nausea rises up when we walk into the hall and down the corridor, and it mixes strangely with desire. 

Chapter Text

Once we get to the throne room, I really regret my actions from this morning. Decorated as luxuriously as my body is, it only serves to make me feel more naked and exposed. I can’t get away from the exposure, either—every time I move, the soft bells attached to various parts of my body jingle softly, making me only more aware of how much skin I’m showing. Skin… and other things. 

The ring Rai slipped onto my dick earlier only serves to make me more aroused. I’m unable to prevent my reaction as I sit on the soft pillow on my knees—he has asked that I sit on my knees for now, and I have obeyed without protest or question. I keep my gaze on his feet—dressed in soft leather boots—so I can avoid all the glances that come my way. 

There are a few times during this morning’s session that the king barks at the supplicant making his request for staring a little too long at me. Of course, I’m right here. I’m very hard to miss—especially in the state I'm in. Plus, who wouldn’t want to stare at a humiliated concubine of the Setsuran king?

To my utter dismay, I hear a familiar voice from the supplicant’s area about an hour into this session. And gods, I recognize it from Karou. I think this is one of our ambassadors. He works for my father and I can’t quite remember his name, but I am certain I know who it is. I make the mistake of looking up when I hear him speak and sure enough, I recognize his face in an instant. 

My ears flood with heat and I lower my face as quickly as I can, hoping he won’t notice me. But of course, he’s here on my behalf. Up till now, I’ve been trying to dissociate as much as possible, simply letting the words flow in and out of my ears. But now, I have to pay attention.

“Your Highness, the prince is a valued subject to both the kings of Karou. I’m here on their behalf with hopes you will reconsider his, um, capture, and perhaps allow him to come home.”

If my parents knew what had been done to me and what I have done the past few weeks, they wouldn't have sent this ambassador.

“You’ll save one of our messengers a trip,” Rai comments casually. I’m sitting close enough to his throne so he can run his fingers through my hair and the fur on my tail, and my wings if he so desires. “He’s found his true purpose at my side.”

“Your Highness?”

“He’s a Sanga! Which was a fact completely concealed from me when I first made an offer for his hand six months ago. Can you explain that?”

“Your Highness, I’m sure he just hadn’t come into his song yet and he wasn’t yet of age…”

“That may be, but he is certainly taken on his new form in my presence.”

“As have you, Your Highness.”

Rai shifts a little in his throne, staring down at the ambassador. 

“You may include a message to your kings. I’ve decided to keep Konoe at my side and will be taking his hand in marriage.”

The ambassador doesn’t speak for a few moments. I’m sure he’s surprised.

“Your Highness, I’m not sure you are aware, but the princes of Karou are raised in a very sheltered environment. I’m sure he isn’t ready to meet your standards and demands as he’s so young and inexperienced.”

“I know. I also know very well there were no plans for him in his home kingdom. Was he going to remain a prince all his life? He will have a chance to flourish and develop his gifts at my side.”

“But, Sire, please—I think you may not understand how sheltered he has been raised!”

“He’s been adjusting to life in the harem easily enough,” Rai says.

“The harem? Sire, I cannot take that news back to my masters!”

“What you tell your sovereign is your decision. But the kitten will remain by my side until our wedding.”

The soft rustling of fabric makes my ears twitch, and I glance toward the ambassador. He’s taken a knee and is bowing his head. 

“Might it be possible—with your permission, of course, Your Highness—for me to lay eyes on the young prince? The kings wish to hear from my own lips how their son is faring.”

His words confuse me. Is it possible he doesn’t recognize me? I mean, I do look very different from what I used to be, but even so… It’s awfully strange.

“Of course.” Rai gestures with his hand in my direction. Even the small gesture sends an icy chill down my spine, making my fur bristle. “You may see for yourself. He is happy here. Little Sanga, please make eye contact with the ambassador and answer his questions.”

Completely mortified, I glance up, thankful that my tail bristles and is in front of my lap. My wings ruffle slightly, and I nod my chin at the ambassador, watching as recognition lights up in his eyes and he flushes with embarrassment. 

“Your Grace! My apologies—I did not… um, I did not recognize you in this form.”

I’m sure he means in my lack of dress instead of my long hair and wings, but I don’t say that. I nod again, but I don’t look up again. 

“Are you indeed happy and healthy here, Your Grace?”

“You’d question the word of a king?” Rai asks sharply.

At his reply, I know I’m not supposed to answer. Perhaps if the ambassador had visited another day, I wouldn’t feel like I needed to say anything. In fact, I might have been able to admit that yes, I am happy with Rai. But today is not a good day to be asking that. I’m feeling vulnerable, helpless, and utterly… disciplined. 

“Only with your permission. Of course, I wouldn't, Sire. I just would like to hear it from His Grace’s own mouth.”

I glance up at Rai, and he says briefly, “Speak.”

Trying to collect myself and hold back tears of shame, I nod first and then speak softly. It’s evident in my voice that I am extremely aroused, even if I am able to hide myself with my wings and tail. I sound like a different cat, soft-spoken, slightly husky.

“Ambassador, you may send good tidings to my parents. I have, um, found a home here. I…” I glance up at Rai and he is watching me as I answer. I’m so scared I will say something he will not approve, and he appears to be waiting for me to trip on my words. I won’t be able to take a punishment from him here—not in front of the ambassador. So I swallow and continue, “In fact, I believe I no longer have a home in Karou. I am settling in well here.”

“And do you wish to be married to His Highness?”

Today, fuck no! But there’s no way I can say that!

“Um, yes. It is my purpose in life to serve as his Sanga.”

The ambassador gives me a sideways glance as if determining how serious I am about staying here. With that monster. 

And yes, I do see Rai as a monster right now.

“You are sure, Your Grace? I may be able to work out an alternative if you prefer.”

My fur bristles when I hear a low growl next to my ear. Rai seems displeased with my answer and also the ambassador’s words.

“What do you have in mind, Ambassador? Certainly, you are not suggesting the kingdom of Karou would invade here?”

“O-of course not, Sire.” He takes a low bow. 

“As you can see, the prince is in excellent care and excellent health.”

When I glance at Rai, he is staring at my crotch, much to my dismay. I bristle a little more and ruffle my wings, trying to cover myself a little more. His eye jumps to my face and it narrows sharply. I stop moving immediately.

“I see, Your Grace.” The ambassador is embarrassed on my behalf, I’m sure. What is he going to tell my parents?! “I will return to Karou with the happy news of your, um, betrothal.”

“Both the prince’s parents are welcome to attend the ceremony. I’ll have the duke give you the details,” the king adds as an afterthought.

“Thank you, Your Highness. I am sure news of His Grace’s impending nuptials will be well received. I’ll forward their reply as soon as I speak to his parents in person.” 

The cat bows low, and I watch his eyes shoot up to me once more. I can’t help feeling shame. Then he backs away from the throne, which isn’t something he does even in my home kingdom.

Before the next supplicant approaches—Rai holds up a hand to stop him—the king turns to me and touches my chin gently with his fingertips. I have to meet his gaze, and I comply as best as I can.

“Did that displease you?”

“Um, n-no, sir.”

“Hmph.” He seems dissatisfied and my body starts to sweat, expecting him to punish me publicly for whatever I’ve done that displeased him. I can’t do that today—not while I’m dressed like this. “You do understand your role here, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir,” I whisper quietly. 

“Then, please tell me what you think it is.” He sounds impatient, and I’m afraid. 

“I-it’s to p-please you, Your Highness.”

“Go on.”

“U-um, to meet the desires of your heart and your body?” I whisper very quietly.

“Do you find shame in this position?”

My ears flatten and I meet his gaze suddenly.

“N-no, sir—”

“Then why are you refusing to relax? You being here, at my side, as you are displayed right now, pleases me. That is your purpose. You need to accept it.”

“I-I do, sir.”

“You’re strung more tightly than a bow.” 

“I…” I’m ashamed to continue but of course, I’m tightly wound! After this morning, anyone in my place would feel the same!

“Yes?” 

“I regret my rebellion this morning. I’m very sorry I displeased you,” I manage to whisper.

His ears prickle slightly.

“And yet, you’re ashamed to make up for your mistake?”

“N-no, I-i…”

“Your Highness,” Koujaku interrupts. “Perhaps the young Sanga might be permitted to return to your chambers. It’s obvious he was taken aback by the visitor. He’s still becoming used to the ways of our life, after all.”

Rai shoots a glare to his duke, and it’s sharp enough to make me flinch. But I can’t help noticing that Koujaku doesn’t flinch.

“You have an opinion about this?” Rai growls softly. “You also have an opinion about how I should deal with disobedience in the harem?” 

“Your Highness, it isn’t that as much as I worry you may overtax the kitten. He’s so very young, inexperienced, and sheltered.”

Rai sighs heavily.

“What do you think?”

It takes me a moment to realize he’s addressing me, and I swallow thickly before answering. Of course, I want to get out of here! But if I admit it, he will think I’m rejecting his rule of me and my punishment—and at this point, the idea crosses my mind to do just that. Yet I don’t want to get in anymore trouble. 

“Your Highness… Rai…” I start, keeping my voice soft and quiet. “I am uncomfortable here. I am uncomfortable with my own nudity even in private just because of how I was raised. However, I am extremely eager to please you. Those two sides of me are clashing right now. I was simply reminded of my sheltered upbringing—and what would have been done to me had I ever appeared in public like this at home—when the ambassador spoke to me.” I lower my gaze humbly. “My feelings aren’t what’s important right now. I will work through my own issues and strive to please you, Sire.”

I feel a blush forming on my cheeks, and I am sorely tempted to glance at Rai’s face—just to see how my answer was received. I was honest, at least.

“Kitten, I appreciate your honesty. Perhaps the duke has a point. Come.”

He stands up suddenly, taking my arm firmly and pulling me to my feet. I stumble ungracefully as he pulls me out of the throne room. I’m frightened—and I search inside me for a melody as quickly as I can. I don’t know if I’ve displeased him or not. I can’t see his expression, and he is walking so fast.

Before I realize what’s happened, I’m pulled back into Rai’s chambers, and he pushes me against a chaise—bending me over slightly. I feel incredibly vulnerable, my body trembling in fear—but this is my Rai, my Touga. I need to love this part of him, too. He’s just handling me so roughly I hardly know what to do. I’m afraid he’s going to spank me like this—I’m in the perfect position. Worse, I'm not sure I'd hate it...

I hear a soft rustle of fabric—is he kneeling behind me? Then I feel both his hands on my ass and tail, cupping my cheeks and pulling at the base of my tail. The sudden touch is both unnerving and extremely arousing, and a pleasured gasp escapes my mouth. Then, I feel something wet and warm lapping against my entrance. It sends shiver after shiver up my spine and bristles my tail.

It feels weird but also really good. I’m not sure I’m totally comfortable with the touch, but I keep my body soft and submissive. The hand on my tail moves to the front of my hips, stroking my cock gently. I’m still really hard—throbbing almost painfully against that ring—and the bells jingle softly in my ears.

Rai is growling behind me, spreading my legs a little wider, lapping against me with his tongue. If it didn’t feel so nice—gods, his finger is sliding in next to his tongue—I would protest or try to struggle. Instead, I just relax and enjoy the sensation, and a song spills from inside me. 

It’s taken a while, but I’ve found that healing song I sang for him—the one that sounds like Sanga’s original song from that dream, only more gentle. When it spills from my body, making my body tremble and my skin shiver, Rai makes another sound—it’s between a growl and sigh, and it sends a delightful tremor through me and I moan in response.

With a violent motion and the soft jingling of bells, I’m turned around and pressed into the seat of the chaise, a gasp of air pushed from my lungs from surprise and the force with which I am held down. Rai’s hands are still at the base of my tail and my entrance, and the one at my tail moves toward the front of my hip as he kneels in front of me. He is looking up at me—watching my face—as he licks my straining cock from base to tip, making the cock ring jingle softly.

A visceral shiver flows through my body to the tips of my ears and my tail, and my toes curl under. I know I can’t find release with that ring on me. I consider pleading, but I just wait for now. Instead, I allow myself to float in the overwhelming sensation of his tongue on me and his fingers inside me. 

This perhaps is more my purpose than singing for him, I suppose—and if it didn’t take my breath away, I might be annoyed. But for now, I’m so desperate for anything—for any tenderness—I allow this. No, more than allow. I encourage it with my song and my moans.

The hand at my hip lowers to the ring encircling my cock, and it’s gently removed. A sense of relief comes over me to have that thing off me, but I don’t have time to enjoy it when the two fingers inside me scissor apart and send a wave of arousal through my body. A loud sigh falls from my lips and I keep my eyes open—my lashes fluttering softly—so I can meet his icy blue gaze. 

I see warmth in his eyes—from the way he is looking at me, enjoying me, loving me. And he sinks his mouth around my cock while keeping his eye on my face, and then scissors his fingers apart again.

“Please!” I gasp urgently. I’m not going to last long—I am still waiting from this morning and really feeling it.

Rai lifts his eyebrows slightly, but he keeps suction tight against me. An obscene slurping sound comes out, and I see the corner of his eye lift in a smile.

“Please—I want to…”

He doesn’t say anything—I’m sure he’s waiting for me to ask for release, especially because I didn’t this morning.

“I want to come, please!” My voice is a soft and desperate plea.

Even with my dick in his mouth, I detect a smile on his lips. He lifts up his mouth a little, pressing into my slit hard with the tip of his tongue.

“As you like,” he murmurs and then sinks his lips around my cock again, scissoring the fingers apart inside me. Also, his black wings suddenly spring open, much to my surprise and delight. I realize I like the whispering sound they make. They frighten me, but I adore them.

Like magic, my body unwinds quickly, moving from arousal to release—and I don’t repress my gasps of pleasure. My song changes as well, and for the life of me, it sounds grateful.

I suppose I am grateful, in a way. I am also regretting that I was too stubborn to beg for it this morning—and relieved I’m able to now.

My vision blanches white suddenly when another chill zips up my spine. It feels like pleasure spills inside my body—starting at my hips and flooding into my limbs and neck, my tail and ears, bristling all my fur and making all my hair stand on end.

I am softly gasping and completely spent, leaning back in the chaise when he is through with me.

“That was much better. Was that really so hard for you?”

His voice is coming from the wrong direction—below me and still around my hips. I shiver when his tongue licks me again.

“N-no. I… I’m sorry about this morning. I regret it.”

“I’m sure you do. But you’re forgiven. Perhaps I’ve been too hard on you and expected too much. However, you certainly pleased me this morning in the throne room. You handled yourself very well, despite your hesitance and shyness.”

I blush deeply, now suddenly aware of the soft jingles the bells are making on me.

“Let’s take these off. You rest now.”

I allow him to remove the jewelry and bells from my body—and when he lifts me up to the bed, I realize he’s left the bell on my tail on. He grins softly down at me.

“It’s to remind me you’re a Sanga. My Sanga.” 

“Um… Rai.”

“What is it.” Again, he doesn’t sound mad, but he doesn’t sound very open to new opinions. I hesitate. “If you have something to say, just say it.”

“My parents… if they don’t come, will you still want to marry me?”

“Why would you ask that? I don’t give a damn about your parents. Their castle was completely undefended and vulnerable. You shouldn’t give a damn about them either! Do you know what their plans were for you?”

I shake my head softly.

“I don’t. But… I know if they decide not to come, that’s the same as them disowning me. In Karou, if your parents don’t attend your wedding, it’s the same as them rejecting you as the heir. I just want to be sure you will be all right with that.”

“I’m well aware of that tradition. It’s why I gave them a chance and invited them in the first place. But I don’t need Karou. And if you want it—later on—we will take it from them, together.”

I’m a little surprised to hear him speak like this. He has laid me down on the bed, still kneeling next to me, almost like he is hesitating to get in beside me. But his claws feel hypnotic on my ears.

“I love you,” I whisper, feeling tears in my eyes.

“I know you do.”

I can’t move after my song and my climax, but so much I want to stroke his ears, lick that thick plush fur, kiss him.

“Will you kiss me?” I ask softly.

“I will kiss you whenever you like,” he says. He’s like a different cat than he was this morning. Or maybe he isn’t. Maybe this is who he has always been and I haven’t been able to tell. In any case, I know I still love him and I really do want to be with him. I just have to figure out how to deal with these violent and controlling moods.

“That song you sang…”

I perk up my ears and try to meet his gaze and to my surprise, he’s looking off to the side.

“It was beautiful. It felt… healing.”

I smile with a sense of satisfaction flooding my chest. I’m useful to him. He isn’t going to discard me. I’m good for more than just sex to him.

“Thank you.”

I hardly know what to do when he thanks me, however. It’s weird. I don’t think he’s ever thanked me for singing. He’s praised me, but he’s never thanked me. I’m not sure how to respond, so I just go with what I’m feeling.

“My songs are just my feelings. I sing whatever I am feeling to you. You don’t need to thank me. It’s my purpose after all.” 

He looks at me now, leaning down to kiss the tips of my ears, my lips, my nose, my cheeks, and my eyelids, my chin, and my forehead.

“Sleep,” he says, and then leaves the room.

Chapter Text

I do sleep—for most of the afternoon. Rai wakes me when he enters the room—I’ve been left alone all this time, and I am hungry when I wake.

“You probably needed that extra rest, kitten.” Rai sits down heavily on the side of the bed and traces my waistline through the sheets. I’m still nude—except for the bells on my tail—which jingle whenever I flick my tail back and forth. “Would you like to take a little walk outside?”

My ears perk up, my tail flicking again. I do want to go outside. I want some fresh air. I hesitate only a moment, remembering what happened the last time he was outside with me which sends a little shiver down my back.

“I’ll help you dress.” And he helps me slip into a light silk robe, tying the obi deftly. “It’s getting a little colder these days,” he explains softly as he drapes a fur-lined cape over my shoulders and ties it at the neck. It’s warm like his tail is wrapped around me. It feels nice.

I wouldn’t say that I’m used to this version of Rai, but that I’m becoming more comfortable with him as the days progress. I’m nervous he may suddenly become displeased with my behavior and I struggle to keep a smile on my face—though I’m sure I look nervous. I slide my feet into a pair of geta and wobble along next to the silver cat. I reach out and take his arm once we’re outside and I lean on him a little, hoping he will slow his gait enough for me to keep up with him comfortably. He does, thankfully. I’m grateful. Every step I take is accented with the soft jingle of bells, making my ears twitch.

But the fresh air is nice—in my hair and my fur, it feels icy and chilly—and the clouds look fluffier than what I’ve seen before. It smells cold—almost like it would in Karou before a snowstorm. But it really didn’t snow much at home, so this is a new scent for my nose. 

I spread my wings—letting the fresh air ruffle through my feathers—and when they pop open, I feel Rai’s gaze on me. He is watching me carefully, as though appraising my movements and my wings, specifically.

“After the visit of your ambassador… I wonder… Do you wish to return to Karou?”

I’m taken aback by the question. The look in his eye is sharp, so I wonder if he has something in mind as to how I should answer his question. I figure I should be honest.

“Sometimes, yes, I do get homesick. I’d never been outside Karou before Setsura, er, before I was taken. But I know I would never fit in there now. I’m too… changed. I would not be accepted by my parents, by my people.”

“So you don’t have the urge to take to the skies and fly home?”

“Oh—no. I was just stretching my wings.” 

“Because I’d be upset if you decided to try to leave.”

My ears flatten a little.

“I won’t leave you. I don’t have anyone else in the world but you now.”

“And the ambassador. Who, much to my surprise didn’t even recognize you.”

My tail sags a little—when I think about what the ambassador will tell my parents. I want them to be here—to give away my hand in marriage—but somehow, I know in my heart that they will not come. I wonder what they had planned for me, had I remained in Karou. Was I going to be a captive prince my entire life? Did they have another arrangement in mind?

“Do you disagree?”

“Well, no. I think the ambassador was surprised and was only trying to help. I apologize if he offended you.”

“Hmph.” 

A few minutes of walking—and we are headed into the grove of trees. Even being here makes the skin on my butt tingle a little, and shame burns my ears. I look down to avoid being seen, pulling the cloak around my neck a little more tightly.

“Are you cold?”

I nod my head slightly.

“Mmm. Your winters are not as mild as I’m accustomed to.”

“Do you want to go back inside and warm yourself by the fire?”

I shake my head.

“It feels nice.”

Rai watches me as I close my eyes—we have stopped in the grove of trees—and I lift my chin and open my ears. The wind sings a little song of its own—rustling the remaining leaves of the trees and the branches. It’s a surprisingly warm melody—despite the chilly temperature of the wind. It prickles the skin on my cheeks as though caressing me with drawn claws.

When I open my eyes, I see Rai appraising me again. The way he is looking at me is curious. 

“What is it?” I ask, lowering my gaze. I'm worried again. What have I done now? “Is something wrong?” 

“I’m just considering… What would I do if you decided to fly away from me?”

“I’d never do that,” I murmur softly. “I have nowhere else to go.”

“But the next time I punish you, wouldn’t you be tempted to run away—fly far from here?”

I can’t imagine doing anything to displease the silver cat any more than I already have. I would never want to dig myself even deeper if he was upset with me.

“I could prevent it—easily.” His fingers reach out and stroke my feathers—the longest ones at the very tip of my wings—sending a little chill down my spine. “We could clip these flight feathers and take away the temptation.”

Wait a second. What? No! That would be painful!

“You’d clip my wings?” I ask. “B-but I can’t even fly with the missing feather here.” I indicate the cauterized wound on my wing. I actually did try to take off yesterday, I think—just before he punished me for disobeying him in the throne room. And I couldn’t lift off the ground. 

“I think it’s a matter of time before you can fly even with your injury. Why wouldn’t I take care of the temptation for you if I could?”

“Because it would hurt me!” I burst out. “I have sensation in my feathers.”

“That’s odd since you don’t have sensation in your fur or your hair, do you?” He combs his claws through the fur on my ears and then runs his fingers through my long hair. 

“I don’t, but I can definitely feel it in my feathers. Please—you wouldn’t hurt me, would you?”

“What if a little bit of pain up front saves you from further punishment and temptation?” Rai says, his voice soft. “Wouldn’t it be worth it if you could please me?” 

“Well, of course, I want to please you,” I say. “But you don’t want to hurt me, do you?”

“Nothing I did would prevent you from flying permanently,” Rai says. “Just until your feathers molt and new ones grow in. Here, shall we see if it’s even a concern?” He takes my hand firmly, and the wings on his back spring open and start to flap—sending that whispering sound sinking into my ears and making me shudder. But I feel a strong upward tug on my arm, and I am lifted off the ground when he takes off into the sky.

At first—my wings spring open but don’t do much except glide and assist, but soon, I am surprised to find myself flying beside him and holding my own in the sky—and the freedom of the cold wind feels amazing. 

Rai smiles at me for a second, allowing us both to glide hand in hand for a while before he drops back into the glade outside the grove of trees. 

“It seems I was right. You can fly.”

My wing is slightly sore where that feather is missing and both are tired now, but I nod softly. And then I realize what this means.

“I wouldn’t, though,” I insist immediately. 

“So you claim. But I thought you would always submit to me in the bedroom, too, and you definitely didn’t this morning.” 

He is walking back toward his chamber, pulling me behind him, and I am getting more and more nervous.

“Didn’t you tell me no one would hurt my wings?” I ask, trying not to sound like I am begging or pleading when I am actually doing both.

“Did I?” Rai asks, nonchalant. “Come along. Let’s not delay.”

“Please!” I beg—openly, still not resisting him as he leads me back inside. “I-i really don’t think you need to do this!”

“But I think it would wise. And it would please me. You do want to please me, don’t you?”

“Of course, but—”

“So go lie down on the bed, face up, and spread your wings.” 

“Rai—please,” I whisper—but I do obey him, lying down on the bed as he’s requested. He walks over to his wardrobe and comes back carrying his dagger.

He’s serious! I've never seen anything as frightening as that dagger! Even when Virus brought back those pliers, I had no idea how much it would hurt. Now I do know and I'm scared!

“Please—wait—I promise I won’t leave,” I say, sitting up suddenly.

“You’re choosing to make this difficult?” Rai asks, folding his arms across his chest. “You are going to disobey me on this? Kitten, this is for your own sake. This is to save you from a punishment you’d almost certainly receive if you did try to escape. Lie down.”

“I… I really don’t want you to hurt me,” I say. I’m not lying down. I’m sitting up on the bed, and I have scooted all the way back against the headboard.

“If you really want to do this the hard way, we can. I just thought you’d had enough for the day. But okay.”

My arm is grabbed and my body is dragged off the bed in one fluid movement. Rai yanks me to my feet, my wings spreading fully and resisting as he does. He pulls me roughly through the door behind the curtain and pushes me down to the floor on my knees. 

“Strip.”

I look up at him, unable to hide the tears in my eyes.

“This is all you, kitten. I gave you a chance to do this the easy way. Now strip, I said.”

A small sob I’m not able to suppress comes out of my mouth. It sounds a little like a plea, but it’s laced with a meow—such a submissive sound, I think.

“I-i’m s-sorry,” I stammer while I’m struggling to untie my obi. “Please, you don’t have to do this.”

My chin is grabbed firmly, and my gaze is brought up to meet Rai’s icy blue glare.

“I believe I explained this to you already. Your role is to please me.”

“Clipping my wings will please you?” I ask, unable to keep my voice calm. “Please—it’s painful. Please don’t do this.” 

“I’ve told you I don’t like to punish you,” Rai whispers, stroking my fur gently, watching my fingers work off my robe. “But I will because it makes submission a little easier for you.”

When my robe is hanging open—but I haven’t let the silk fall from my shoulders yet—Rai says softly, “Stand up.” 

I get to my feet, keeping my eyes on the ground in front of me. My feet look incredibly vulnerable right now, and I am struggling to keep myself from crying. I’m terribly afraid when Rai pushes me over to the horse and leans me against it.

He leans up to connect a chain to my collar, and it suddenly pulls me forward and down, so I am bent over the horse roughly. My breath escapes in a frightened gasp.

“Please…”

“As much as I like the sound of your voice, calm yourself till you have something to complain about.”

I press my lips together desperately and tears spill from my eyes. My robe is pushed off my shoulders, slipping down my body to the floor. I feel the soft silk at my feet.

“Keep your legs just as they are,” Rai whispers in my ear, and a hand strokes my thighs and buttocks gently before it disappears. I am trying to watch what he is doing in my reflection—but I don’t like him to see my face. He’s reaching over to the dresser in the room and he’s pulled out a paddle—a flexible paddle covered in leather. He rests it on my arched back and then drags it down my body, pressing it up gently between my thighs.

“When you think you are ready to submit to my care, I will stop.”

“I will submit right now! Please!” I beg, tears running down my face.

“Hmph. But you need to pay for your earlier disobedience.”

“It’s just—I didn’t want you to hurt me!”

“And you displeased me. You should trust me. I’m your king, your Touga, your fiancé. Trust me and do as I command.”

“Yes, sir! I will, sir!” I plead, and another meow escapes. I try to stretch my neck and arch my back, to let him know I submit—but the chain on my collar doesn’t allow me to move even an inch.

And then, I feel the first few cracks of the paddle. They are loud and mortifying—and then, pain zaps through my body. I’m gasping for air within the first two strokes, and by the fourth, I am yelping out in pain.

“Please—please!” I beg. “I’m sorry! I submit! Please!”

He probably only spanks me half a dozen times before he runs his hand over my skin. His touch feels cool—probably because my skin is so hot and sore. It still tingles even after he stops. 

“This seems quite effective. Are you ready to submit?” 

“Please,” I whisper.

He walks back to the dresser and I see that dagger flash silver in the light as he comes back. Fear floods my body and I flinch.

“Open your wings.”

I obey, clenching my teeth, trying not to watch as the silver blade slides through the feathers on my left wing. Rai has grabbed the top of my wing, and he is holding it open.

“Deep breath. It will only hurt for a second, and it will save you from future grief and temptation.”

I inhale desperately as though I’m gasping for air like I'm drowning, and then a rush of heat flashes through my left wing. He’s sliced off the tips of several flight feathers—and I scream out loud when pain floods my wing and shoulder. I also flatten my wings against my body, pulling the left out of his grip, leaving him standing there with the blade in one hand and the tips of several iridescent feathers in the other.

I am gasping and sobbing, unable to open my wings again.

“Give me the other wing,” he murmurs into my ear. I open my eyes and he is leaning over me, threatening me. And I can’t seem to open my wing. He doesn’t even give me a minute to comply before he has the paddle in his right hand again and a volley of painful spanks comes raining down against me—I scream right away—my skin is already hot—and he is punishing my sit spot more now than before. It’s painful—and weirdly, also slightly arousing. Or it would be arousing if it didn’t hurt quite so much.

I manage to keep my posture, however, and he slows after six loud spanks, watching my reflection.

“I-i’m sorry,” I sob. “Please—let me try again.”

“Spread your wings, then.”

This time, my wings are shaking in fear, the feathers ruffling in my ears.

“It will only hurt for a minute. Then you won’t be faced with this temptation ever again.”

“Yes, sir,” I say miserably—though my left wing is still shuddering with pain. He grabs the top of my right wing this time and then slices through the feathers in a single blow of his dagger. I scream again—an ear-piercing scream—and a song explodes from my chest.

It’s that same song of healing—and this time, my wings glow bright and they are filled with heat. It’s a relief—from the pain, I think. I try to send some of the light to my ass and thighs, but for some reason when I feel the palm of the silver cat’s hand resting on my skin, it doesn’t seem to work. I realize I really cannot use my song defensively against Rai. In fact, I can’t seem to protect myself from his discipline, either.

But at least my wings feel better. He shushes me after a few minutes, running his hand through my hair.

“That was good, kitten. You did well.” 

He runs his claws through my feathers and suddenly, the chain on my collar is released. I stay right where I am, however—trying to submit and be obedient. It leaves me terribly vulnerable, though, and I am reminded exactly how vulnerable when I feel Rai’s fingers slip between my cheeks softly. 

Please—just don’t fuck me now. I’m scared he will take me violently—hurting my skin even more and my heart, too. I'm afraid I might not be able to relax enough to enjoy it and piss him off even more.

I let my tears fall, and I quietly try to calm myself, choking off my sobs as best as I can.

Rai just continues petting me for a moment, then he pulls me up to stand and leads me out of the room. He has me sit down on a chair—which makes me wince after that paddling—but he hands me a glass of either sparkling wine or juice. It’s bubbly and sweet in my mouth. He also hands me a piece of chocolate. I’m quite hungry I realize when I guzzle the wine and snarf down the chocolate.

“Are you hungry, kitten?”

My stomach growls in response, embarrassing me mightily. But it’s an honest answer, at least. I nod shyly.

“I’ll call for food. Why don’t you lie down in the meantime?”

I nod again and get into bed, lying down on my stomach since it hurts when anything touches my butt or thighs. My legs won’t relax, but I try to take deep breaths. I still sound like I am sobbing with my rough breathing.

Rai walks over to the door and opens it—I know I am exposed on the bed, but I just stay where I am, not bothering to cover myself. Whoever is out there knows what was just done to me, I’m sure. And I am comfortable where I am. 

The silver cat barks a few words at whoever is outside the door, and then he returns to the bed. I hear him opening something—a jar of cream, it seems—and he spreads it on my butt and thighs, rubbing it in carefully to my sit spot. The touch is gentle—and heartbreaking—considering what he has just done to me.

And yet… my heart feels at peace. I know I have pleased him now. I did what he asked me to do. It was very hard, but I did submit to him in the end, even knowing how painful it would be. 

“Good kitten. Just rest for a while.” He lets his fingers wander over my bare skin while we wait for the food to come. When a knock at the door comes, I hear him turn toward the door, but I don’t even look. I’m too ashamed to show my blushing cheeks and ears (and ass and legs) to whoever is here serving us food.

“You can leave it right there,” Rai says to the servant. My ears twitch when I hear the tray being set on the dresser right next to the bed.

“Your Highness, may I get you anything else?”

“That will be all. Thank you.” He dismisses the staff and I hear the door close. But I still don’t move. “Aren’t you hungry?”

“I am, sir.” 

“Eat.”

I turn to look at him, and he stands up from the side of the bed, gesturing for me to sit up and hang my legs off the side of the bed next to where he was sitting before.

I wince when my skin touches the sheets, but I comply.

He pushes a grape into my mouth and I eat it hungrily. I’d like to serve myself—but it seems he wants to feed me. So I allow it. I don’t have much choice. I know if I tried to grab the food myself I’d be risking displeasing him again, and I don’t want to do that. The bread is still warm and served with a hot soup—which he dips into the bowl and gives me one bite at a time.

I try not to sniffle, but the gentle care is so tender compared to that spanking—and the wing clipping—that I can’t seem to control myself. Also, I’m very tired—exhausted from my song—but I still manage to stay sitting up on my own—which is a change. I wonder if I’m getting stronger? Perhaps I will be able to sing more than one song after a while.

A few tears drip down my cheeks, and Rai wipes them away with a napkin. Once I’m finished eating, he pushes me back down to the mattress and turns me onto my side. He pulls me against his body—his shirt is lifted up so I can feel his chest against my back—and starts to groom my ears.

Again, that tender touch makes me feel like I’m melting. Not for the first time today I realize that I am submitting my will to a cat who is more often than not violent with me. He clipped my wings. I mean—he knew it would hurt and he did it anyway. I understand what he was trying to do—but I realize that my comfort is not his primary concern. And that makes the gentle touch grooming my ears even harder to bear.

I stifle my sobs as best as I can, but he can probably tell I’m weeping. I’m not sad. I just feel confused and conflicted—and worried that I actually ended up submitting to something that caused me physical pain. I guess it isn’t as though I haven’t done that before—but I can’t remember him doing something quite this painful before.

Eventually, my heart settles down and I drift off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Sometime in the middle of the night, I wake up. Not from a nightmare or anything frightening. It just seems I’ve shifted in my sleep and the king is no longer in bed with me. I don’t get up nor do I move, but I open my eyes and notice there is a gentle fire in the hearth. Usually, at this time of night, the fire has burned itself out. Perhaps it was the crackling of the flames that woke me. In all honesty, I am terrified of fire when it close to me. It’s an uncommon fear, but I can’t seem to do anything to prevent it.

Once my eyes get used to the flickering light, I notice Rai is still in the room with me. He is sitting on a chair with his back to me, facing the fire, and his shoulders are slumped.

For a second, I question whether the figure I see in the chair is actually Rai, King of Setsura, at all. I’ve never seen him with such a posture, and it’s oddly disconcerting. Even when he lounges around, he never slumps his shoulders. He keeps his back straight and regal—all the time—as though he were the most confident ruler in the world.

But as my eyes focus a little more closely on his silhouette, I can see his long silver hair as well as those giant black wings, currently folded against his back. It is the king I know… and the king I believe I love. As well as the king I currently fear.

But something in that slumped posture makes my heart ache. He looks… sad. Or lonely. Or depressed. And I have never seen this cat display any of those emotions. In a way, any cat with a harem full of concubines ready to serve him at a moment’s notice would never be lonely.

The chair is at a slight angle and before it, he rests his elbows on a low table. Perhaps he is sleeping—and that would explain his slumped figure. But when he sighs softly, it’s a surprisingly sad sound. That sound also sends a surge of physical pain directly to my heart—it hurts enough so I have to catch my breath.

Apparently, my breathing was loud—I did just gasp for air—and he turns his head toward the bed I’m in. Even with the fire behind him, I can see the glint from his pale blue eye as he looks at me.

“Did I wake you?” His voice is soft—and gentle—and pained. He doesn’t get up from where he is and he doesn't shift his body.

Suddenly, I wish I could see the strict Rai—the cat who clipped my wings and spanks me for disobedience—in place of whoever this is right now. I feel a little like the rug has been pulled out from beneath my feet, and my sense of reality twists and shifts.

“Um, no. I just woke up and you weren’t in bed with me.” I wait a few minutes and then I ask, “Are you okay?”

He sighs softly again—repeating the sound that sends pain through my chest, but he doesn’t reply. Instead, he rests his head in his hands while his elbows are on the low table in front of him, looking even more depressed than before.

I sit up in bed, jingling the bells at the base of my tail when I move, feeling uncomfortable with the sadness spreading through the room. And that’s when I see something is on the table in front of him. They have a slightly iridescent sheen to them—and then I realize that he is looking at the tips of the flight feathers he cut off my wings earlier today. 

At this point, I don’t feel any pain in my wings. Well, the feather that Virus pulled is still slightly sore, but that is probably from the short flight in the air in the afternoon. But my wings are no longer bothering me otherwise. My ass, however, is a different matter. It still feels hot, and I imagine it is probably welted.

When I look more closely at Rai’s face, as handsome as he looks in the dim light, I think I sense regret from him. That feeling is confirmed when I hear him sigh again.

Regret. When has this king ever expressed regret? Possibly when I was assaulted in the harem and also when I was stolen from the castle. But this is different.

“Rai…” I whisper softly, feeling tears come to the surface of my eyes. I’m terribly frustrated with my tears. And I’m also frustrated by my sympathy. But I can’t help how I feel.

By all rights, I should be angry with him. I should never forgive him for how he has been treating me. Konoe, prince of Karou, would dig in his heels and vow to never forgive him for the public punishment he meted out mercilessly—in the grove of trees and even in front of the entire court. The old me would never forgive him for clipping my wings and doing something to me that he knew would be painful.

But I don’t feel anger or resentment. Instead, I feel deep sorrow and pain, and my heart is filled with regret and remorse.

“Konoe.” He says my name in the same soft voice, turning back to look at me. I notice he flinches slightly when he meets my eyes. However, he gets up from the chair and walks over to the bed, sitting down next to me, filling my nose with his pleasant scent. He smells even more like winter now, I think, mixed with a touch of warmth of sandalwood.

For a few minutes—painful minutes—he simply sits next to me, acting as though he is afraid to touch me. He doesn’t touch my tail or my hair or my ears, nor does he softly run his fingers through the feathers on my wings. He just keeps his distance, which causes even more pain to course through my body. When he finally does open his mouth, he reaches out his hand to touch my forearm, grasping it gently under his fingers and moving slowly—as though he is approaching a wounded animal.

“I hurt you,” he whispers low. He doesn’t meet my gaze at first, seemingly looking toward that low table again. Then when he brings his eye back to my face, he searches it and swallows thickly.

“I’m fine now,” I reply softly, relieved to feel his skin against mine again. I touch the fingers touching my arm with my free hand, lowering my face to the bed, turned to the side so I can watch him.

“That’s… not what I meant.”

He doesn’t speak for a little while, and I still sense this sense of desolation pulsing from his body.

“I…”

When he still doesn’t continue, my tail lashes softly. He is never hesitant to speak his mind before me. It’s weird, and I feel like I might be in another universe—with a cat who looks and sounds and smells like my king but is really someone else entirely.

Unable to stand the silence between us, I sit up suddenly, ruffling my wings as I do. The moment my butt touches the sheets, I wince—and I notice his brows furrow when he sees my pain. Of course, it’s natural I’d be sore after he paddled me. I don’t understand why he is surprised. I’ve been punished with his belt and also the paddle three times in the past two days. It’s no wonder I am sore. Also, I don't hate the feeling. It sort of reminds me of his touch even when he isn't actually touching me. And right now, it feels like he disciplined me so I would get better, get better at pleasing him, and that feels weirdly loving.

Maybe I'm messed up in the head for thinking such a thing. But it is what it is.

“Konoe.”

I meet his gaze boldly—like I would have if I were still a prince of Karou. I let the ice-blue gaze sink deep into my heart—and I feel like I am about to burst into tears. I have no idea why—I just feel emotions pouring off this cat before me and I can’t do anything to prevent it.

“Please.” 

It’s the only word I say, and I reach my hand out to touch his cheek. He nearly flinches away when I touch him—as though he expects me to slap him. He drops his gaze. It’s a weird response, very unlike him, I think, and it sends another burst of pain through my chest. I have to touch my chest with my other hand, rubbing it to disperse the strange painful sensation.

Rai raises his gaze to mine and opens his mouth.

“I’m sorry.”

He grabs his hair in both his hands—he is really frustrated—and he pulls it, closing his eye as he does.

Immediately, I respond by reaching my fingers out to stop his hands. I stroke them softly, trying to get them to loosen their grip on his hair. I just want him to relax.

“It’s all right,” I whisper. “Everything is okay.”

“Nothing is okay!” Rai suddenly meets my gaze with a ferocity that makes me shrink back, pulling my hands into my chest and shying away from him on the bed. And when I do shrink away, he looks incredibly wounded—again, I feel that stabbing pain in my chest.

What is this?

“Please, Rai… don’t do this. We will work it out.”

“You have no idea what you’ve become involved in. And you can’t go back. You can’t go home. Because of me, you can’t ever go home.”

“I… I don’t want to go home!” I raise my voice, making him look at me directly. “I may belong to your harem now, but I am still my own person.”

“Don’t I know it,” Rai murmurs almost sardonically.

I glare back at him fiercely without speaking.

“Oh, don't worry. You show me your free will at least twice a day. As though you are purposely provoking this beast that lives inside me!” He sounds utterly bitter and defeated and I hate it. “You should know better than anyone else! You can’t even sit properly.”

I blink my eyes in surprise. Wait just a minute. Was he apologizing for spanking me? For disciplining me? I don't want that!

“I can’t rectify who you are with what you are and what I want you to be.”

The honesty of his words is shocking and rings out so very true. Is that the problem?

“I am trying to control and own a magical being—and your nature is to fight against any sort of control. You can’t sing your best if I am trying to control you or subjugate you to my whims and desires.”

Swallowing thickly, I don’t know how to respond. Feeling at a loss, I sit silently on the bed, after having pulled my knees underneath my body so my ass and thighs don’t touch the bedspread.

He reaches out and touches a lock of my hair.

“I need the season to pass. I think it may have passed for you already—possibly yesterday even.” He looks away again, keeping hold of my hair before continuing. “I can’t allow myself to hurt you again.”

He looks at my eyes in all seriousness.

“I may end up doing you permanent damage or even killing you.”

I should shiver in fear when he says those words, but I don’t even think I feel an ounce of fear—or even an ounce of self-preservation. My foolishness is obvious to me, even before I open my mouth to speak.

“Rai…” I whisper, reaching out to touch him again. I brush my fingers along his collarbones, gently moving up his throat to his jaw. He doesn’t resist me, but he doesn’t look pleased, either.

“Why didn’t you run away from here?”

I flatten my ears at the question.

“I have nowhere else I want to go. And…” I exhale a breath I’ve been holding. “And I love you. I can’t allow you to suffer through this alone.”

“Have you no sense?!” Rai snaps at me. I flinch a little from his harsh tone, but I don’t back away or move my hands.

“Do you want me gone?” I ask softly. “Do you want me to disappear?”

Rai purses his lips—quiet and thoughtful. 

“I want you to have a sense of worth and self-preservation. I want you to live. You have to live.” He brushes his hair from his shoulders impatiently. “You are a precious Sanga. You have to live. I don’t want you to suffer at my hand.”

I think about his words for a moment. Before I can answer, he speaks again.

“I’ve punished you—sure—but unjustly. Perhaps maintaining discipline in my harem is important, but you haven’t done anything other than what you have been accustomed to do. Your behavior has been appropriate and predictable, to a certain degree. My expectations of you are too high—and I’m much too controlling. There is something deep inside me that wants to devour you.”

Devour me? My fur bristles slightly. But looking at the cat on my bed—this is still my king, my Touga, my silver cat, my Rai.

“You’ve suffered here—from the first day at this castle, you’ve suffered at my hand. And growing closer to me has only increased your suffering.”

I can’t really deny his words, but I want to. More than anything, I want to assure him. I feel like I have to assure him. I give my words careful thought before I speak.

“What about what I want?” I ask, keeping my voice very soft. "What if I’ve learned things about myself—about powers I had, sleeping desires and pleasures dwelling inside me—that I never would have learned otherwise? Surely, what I want should play a part in all of this.”

Rai meets my gaze when I speak and he is quietly waiting for me to continue.

“I don’t want to return to Karou. I feel… my heart feels like it belongs here with you. I feel like you have brought out a part of me I never knew existed. And it’s visible even in the form I hold now. I’ve never had wings. I never knew I was a Sanga. I never knew I had any magical ability. I never knew physical pleasure. I think I never would have discovered these parts of me except for you.” I swallow again before going on. “I never knew or understood love before I met you.”

Rai drops his gaze—much to my irritation.

“Listen to me,” I urge him, putting my hands on his cheeks and making him meet my eye. “I love you. I never want to leave your side. Even if…”

“Even if I make you suffer?”

“Perhaps it is my destiny. And honestly,” now I drop my gaze in embarrassment and lower my voice. “Honestly, I don’t hate the discipline.”

Even with my gaze lowered, I can tell his fur fluffs out. But I force myself to continue.

“I don’t think you could find a more suitable partner than me. And I know I could never find a better partner than you. All I want is your tenderness. Discipline me all you like—just please, offer me your tenderness as well.”

“I am sorry I clipped your wings. I would make an excuse—like I don’t know what came over me—but I do know. I understand very well. I wanted to control you and your destiny. I wanted to force you to stay by my side.”

“You don’t have to force me,” I insist, crawling a little closer to him. “I want to be here with you. I would have tried to escape long ago if I didn’t want to be here.”

“Do you want to suffer at my hand?”

“I don't think I will. I think you are healing. I think this overwhelming desire to control and have power over me is fading. I think it fades a little each time I sing for you. I am willing to suffer whatever it takes until you are healed.”

“And if I can’t return to the way I was?”

“It’s still my destiny to be here beside you. I have the blood of the original Sanga in my veins. Not until my power has been stabilized and established will you have the authority to claim you cannot return to the way you were. Rai, I think I am here for a reason. You captured my kingdom—invaded it—but you didn’t know what I was. You didn’t know who I was. And yet, I’m here now—my powers have manifested only in your presence. Please. You have to agree that this is a heavy coincidence if it isn’t destiny.”

Rai shrugs softly.

“Who knows what would have happened if I had let you be? If I had left you in your home—if I hadn't been tempted by the rumors I'd heard about you—and you had gone through the season on your own.”

“Well, maybe you are exactly why my power manifested. It happened even the first night I was with you—even before the mating season. Sure, my form didn’t change until I went into heat. But still. I think it was your presence that made my power spill forth.”

“And what if it’s your presence that makes my greed for control manifest?”

It’s a good question.

“That’s for me to decide and deal with, isn’t it? I am the one who will suffer from that greed, so I should be the one allowed to decide.”

“And?”

“I’ve already said. I’ve found my place here, by your side. And I won’t leave you. I love you, Rai.”

I think I see his eye sparkling—it’s definitely glossy. I really don’t want him to cry, though.

“I love you, Konoe.”

I wait a moment for something else to follow his words—a “but” or “however.” But nothing else comes. I exhale roughly again, feeling relief well up inside my chest.

“Let me sing for you then.”

He nods his head almost imperceptibly. With that, I let my song spill from my body. Light pours out of my fingers and the tips of my wings—maybe even my ears, since I feel warmth there—and a soft, gentle melody fills the room. 

It’s the same healing song I’ve been singing, only it comes much more naturally now—and I watch as the song sinks into Rai’s ears. He relaxes somewhat and closes his eye to listen.

I only want you to be happy and safe. I love all of you—even the parts I don’t know very well, even the parts that frighten me. I never want to hurt you. I don’t want you to suffer. I am not the original Sanga, even if his blood flows through me. I would never hurt you, even if you demanded it. I would sooner have you kill me than harm a hair on your head.

As it the lyrics fade into the gentle melody, I hear Rai shifting around next to me.

“What if we are ill-fated, the same as the original Sanga and Touga?”

“Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. I don’t think they would allow their spirits to return, again and again, to this earth, if there wasn’t some chance to change their destiny.”

Rai smiles softly—a little bit of a sad smile, but a smile nonetheless.

“Anyway, it’s my decision," I insist stubbornly.

“Didn’t you consider begging the ambassador for help?”

I bristle my ears and my tail at his words.

“Maybe for a second. But you forget—I can never go back to who I was. Even if I returned to my home in this form, I would never be welcome. I fear my parents would see me as a threat to their rule. I would be disowned. And I do not have the same value they forced on me. And anyway, it would be as though I was leaving half of myself here, with you. Let me carry this burden—for now.”

Rai nods again softly, his face glowing in the light of my song. I let it go on as long as I am able, feeling the silver cat unwind more and more, and he eventually snuggles his head into my lap, his eye closed, his face no longer tense, his body relaxed and at peace. It reminds me just a little bit of my dream: how the demon Touga laid his body in Sanga's arms and allowed his own life to be sung away. It’s frightening—a frightening power and responsibility. 

When my song fades out, I am exhausted, and my body topples over onto the mattress.

“Groom me?” I ask softly.

“As you wish.” He purrs gently, pulling me up tightly against his chest, beginning with my ears and hair, then my neck, my back, and even my wings. I stay awake as long as I am able—my body relaxed in his arms—finally feeling safe again. Either safe or brave or possibly stupid. Perhaps staying involved with him isn’t as smart as I think it is.

Regardless, I’ve made up my mind. And I remind myself again when his tongue licks along the longest feathers in my wings—the tips of which still rest on the table.

I have come to the conclusion that the pain I suffer—any pain I have suffered at his hands—will be worth the price of saving his life. It never occurs to me that this is a sacrifice for me. It seems like the only option and a risk I am willing to take.

For the first time in a long while, I fall asleep in his powerful arms feeling safe and secure—and the sheer foolishness of my decision doesn’t surface, not even in my dreams.

Chapter Text

I wake early in the morning—for once before the king. Perhaps it’s because of our conversation late last night, but I slept very well. And I wake feeling slightly amorous. 

While I was in heat, I regularly instigated sexual relations with Rai—but since he grew those wings, I haven’t really had a chance. This morning, though I feel the heat is somehow diminished, I need to connect with him. And I decide to take a risk and wake him up to something sexy.

We both slept naked, and I’m quite aroused—which is totally normal for a cat my age. So why not take advantage? I’m not sure exactly what I want to do to him, though—and even with his black wings tucked behind him, he looks so peaceful and so calm and sweet—he looks like the cat I fell in love with.

Although… has he ever really been sweet? I wonder about that. He certainly didn’t take it easy on me my first week here—especially not the morning after our first night together. And shortly after that, he punished me. And what is wrong with me, that I remember our first morning together with such longing? As I recall, he took me against my will. And right now—that feels incredibly hot.

Trying not to move around on the bed too much so as not to wake him, I scoot down under the blanket—we’ve had to use a blanket the past few days since it’s been a little chilly. I even see ice sparkling on the glass windows outside—it shimmers in a lovely way under the low moon of light. But I’m not really thinking about the weather right now.

Instead, I snuggle my body in between Rai’s legs—he’s been sleeping on his side and I push him onto his back. To my surprise, he stays asleep. Normally, he’s awake before me and more than interested in some sort of morning activity. In fact, he’s already half-hard—just from whatever dreams he’s been having.

I take full advantage of that and start grooming him—the soft silky fur just beneath his belly, running my tongue along the fur and straightening it all out perfectly, leaving my scent behind. My fingers caress his cock—which stands to full attention almost immediately—and I hear a soft sigh from above me, making my skin shiver and my fur bristle. But I don’t look up—instead, I concentrate on the task at hand.

Landing a kiss on the tip of his dick, I follow it by pressing my tongue into his slit. Even when he isn’t in heat, the clear drops of precum leaking out taste a little sweet to me. And he’s purring—I can feel his entire body vibrating with a low purr, and that in turn makes me purr, too.

I tease a little bit—licking his hip bones and the inside of his thighs—his skin there is very soft and smooth—and I run my claws through the fur on his tail. I always think I don’t play with his tail enough when I do touch it. It’s so silky soft and amazingly sensitive. I love how he feels against my fingers and my tongue, too. I bring his tail to the front of his body so I can groom it in between long grooming strokes to his cock.

A strange sound escapes from his lips—it sounds like a confused protest, actually, which is what makes it sound so weird. He never makes sounds like that—though he will often communicate desire and lust. It sort of makes me feel… powerful.

“Oy.”

Now that I do recognize as a protest. But I tastefully ignore it and continue working him with my tongue—grooming him rather than sucking him off. I’m not deliberately trying to frustrate him, but to tease a little and lavish him with attention and care before I get to the main event.

“Hey—what are you…?”

And I feel the touch of his hands on my ears and in my hair. I peek up from what I’m doing, and his eye is completely dilated, dark and sexy, and his fangs are peeking through his lips. But he looks almost helpless, definitely unable to resist.

It turns me on so much my claws draw and my fangs bare—that makes me extra careful with how and where I am licking him. Also—my wings unfurl, knocking the blankets off the bed, and I can hear his trying to do the same—though he is on his back so it takes a little more effort. I ruffle my feathers when I feel his claws brush through them, making me shiver pleasantly.

Finally sinking my mouth around his cock, I hum softly, letting the vibrations of my mouth surround him, and I let pleasured sighs escape my lips as I suck him off. He is already trembling underneath my touch—and I keep one hand at the base of his cock and the other wrapped around his tail. I am feeling the length of his tail, going from its base to the even-more-sensitive tip, and he bristles his fur and goosebumps rise on his skin.

I feel a gentle feeling in my chest, pushing against the constraints of my heart—it’s a song, floating up from the depths of my being, but a very soft one. I think it’s the one I have been singing to him—again and again—as much as I can deliberately, anyway. It’s a healing song, one wishing him well and also offering comfort and peace.

It spills from my body with surprising violence, making me jerk and shiver—I think I accidentally nip his cock when my body moves so suddenly—but even that doesn’t cool off his pleasure. Even when I quickly draw him out of my mouth, he is still eager and aroused, dripping precum which I lick and press from his slit. He bucks his hips just a little—as though to encourage me to continue—and I do, grabbing his hilt a little harder and his tail a little more firmly.

His body quivers and shakes—and I hear a soft sigh escape his lips just before he spills into my mouth. I lick him after swallowing his cum, and he sighs softly, gently petting my ears and then suddenly pulling my body up on top of him, crushing me against his chest.

Even when he’s relaxed he’s so much more powerful than I am. It surprises me—that strength.

He purrs gently into the ear he’s grooming, and I relax into the touch. I’m still aroused but I don’t feel like I need to come like I sometimes do. I wanted to do this just for him—to let him know I really did mean what I said yesterday.

And then suddenly, he stops purring, stops grooming me, and his arms relax completely—almost as though his body has gone limp.

The sudden cessation of all touch frightens me—it startles me first, and then it really scares me. I look up at his face—and he’s terribly pale, his eye closed.

I worry that perhaps the song I was singing—and still am singing—has made him pass out. Is this song that I think of as healing really a bad thing? It sticks in my throat, stopping abruptly.

Rubbing his sternum roughly, I call his name.

“Rai! Rai! Wake up!”

I listen at his chest, and his heart is still beating normally—slightly slower than I’d expect—and I can feel his chest moving up and down.

Did I do this?

Fear shivers through my body and I shake him, trying to get him to wake up.

“Rai! Open your eyes!”

But I get no response. I don’t know what to do, so I jump out of bed and ring one of the bells—actually, all three of the bells—he uses to call staff. My fur bristles and I’m naked, but I grab his robe from the chaise and throw it on.

In a few minutes, there’s a knock at the door.

“Help me! Please!”

Several servants come in and are followed by the guard—including the duke, who narrows his eyes at me when he sees Rai.

“What have you done?!”

“I-i… N-nothing!” I insist, but Koujaku nods his chin at the guards and I am roughly grabbed, my arms restrained. My wings open in protest. “Wait!”

Koujaku takes charge immediately—calling the shaman and his medical team—and then he says, “Let me deal with the kitten.”

My wings flutter helplessly, but I don’t resist. 

“You’re going to cool off for a while—in another part of the palace. Then, I will ask you exactly what happened here,” he growls at me then addresses the guards. “Take him to the dungeon.”

“Wait! I think I can help—”

“Hell no! Get him out of here—now. If you resist, I won’t have the same compunctions as His Grace does about punishing you. Behave!”

I feel so helpless—and honestly, I feel guilty, too, my ears lowered and my tail drooping. What if this was my fault? I know that song is similar to the one the original Sanga used to kill his Touga—but I had nothing but positive, calming feelings behind it. I was trying to heal him, not hurt him!

Tears fall when I am removed from Rai’s chambers, the guards walking quickly, one in front, one behind, and one at each side, dragging me along behind them.

“Don’t struggle,” one of them growls at me.

I’m not struggling! My legs are just too short to keep up with their gait.

We walk down a few hallways I haven’t seen and down several flights of stairs—which means the dungeon must be a dreary place indeed. Worse, the only light is from several torches on the wall—and I can’t stand fire.

I hear the creaking of a rusty metal door, and then I am thrown into a cell, the door clanging shut behind me.

It’s cold in here—and all I have is a robe. It’s no time at all before I am shivering. I’m sure it’s colder outside, but it’s chilly and damp in here. I’m underground. And I’m terribly upset. I feel like I need to be with my cat—my Touga, my king—and no one will listen to me.

I’m left alone in the cell, sobbing softly.

Then, I hear a disgusting, familiar voice drifting from my right. It makes my ears bristle because it’s much too close. It’s Virus! He’s not in the cell with me, is he? I look around quickly, frightened and sickened. I don’t see anyone in the cell with me, but it's dark and my eyes aren't yet used to it. It seems my cell shares bars with the one on my left—and he’s right there, peering down at me.

“Didn’t I tell you it was only a matter of time before he figured out how dangerous you were? Now, perhaps he will forgive me. It was obvious you were bad news. He should have left you in my care.”

His voice ruffles my fur and makes me feel sick.

“Why not come a little closer? I can make you feel better, even between the bars.”

I don’t respond to him—in any way. 

“Really? You gave yourself to my friend but not to me? How cruel.”

Just the sound of his voice makes me want to throw up. But I resist—as long as I can—ignoring the sound of his calm, level voice. It seeps into my soul like poison, because part of me agrees with him. I am bad for the King of Setsura. Somehow, I’m sure all of this is my fault.

But I can’t do anything from here. Instead, I am quiet—trying to rein in my tears since I don’t want Virus to see them and mock me. And I wait.

Chapter Text

I spend the next hour or so ignoring Virus and Trip and their heckling. They are nothing if not persistent. When I first saw them in the cell next to me, I was surprised since I thought Rai had already killed them. However, when I thought about it, I felt relieved, knowing that the king didn’t actually put them to death or worse, kill them himself. That must mean he still has some rationality and sensibility about him. Perhaps they will get a trial.

Finally, I hear a gate creak open, and I recognize Koujaku’s gait and soft scent before he appears in the darkness.

“How’s the king?” I murmur, once the tall brunette cat is standing before me. While I’m relieved to see someone familiar and what I think should be a friendly face, the duke looks mightily displeased. Maybe it’s not a good thing that he’s here.

“That isn’t how this is going to go. I’ll be asking the questions.” His voice is covered in ice, and he nods his head at two guards who have accompanied him. The door to my cell is opened and even though I don’t resist, the guards grab my arms roughly and drag me out of the cell, not even giving me a chance to go willingly. My fur bristles in fear—what is going on?

We are taken to another room—and it is set up a little like the king’s workout room with all kinds of equipment I don't recognize—though this room doesn’t smell nice like that one. This room smells like blood. And death. It makes me tremble.

A chill creeps up my spine as I look around. Up till now, I’ve never really thought of the duke as frightening, but in this light, his dark hair looks almost red and his fangs look much longer than a normal cat’s. Well, I guess he has at least intimidated me before, but since I know I belong to Rai, he can’t touch me without Rai’s say-so. Right now, Koujaku looks angry—his brown eyes flicker red in the light of the lamps on the wall.

“Restrain his arms,” Koujaku growls at the guards. They obey, and I hear the soft click of my wrists locking together behind me. Then he addresses me. “Get on your knees.”

I obey quickly—that icy tone of his is scaring me!

“Is Rai all right? Did he wake up?” I ask softly.

“Shut your mouth, little whore. You have no right to ask questions here.”

A shiver ruffles through my fur and feathers and I drop my gaze quickly. I remember briefly how violently this cat stripped off my clothes—during the bath just before that first night I was presented to the king. And all the time he’s gazed at me with an open expression of lust, warning me to obey the king and not resist him, threatening to take me for “further training.” Tears burn in the back of my eyes and I am shaking with fear. Surely he won’t do anything to me physically? Rai would never allow it! Don’t my piercings discourage him from doing such a thing?

“That’s better. Now. You need to tell me what exactly you did to His Grace.”

“I didn’t do anything—”

“You were the one who called for help. No one else was in there with you. It’s obvious you did something to him. Did you hurt him? With your song? Before you deny it, you should know we can hear you sing outside the king’s chambers every time he fucks you, and I know he’s infatuated with you unlike he's ever been with any other concubine, despite your status as a slave. I suspect you've enchanted him somehow because I've never seen him like this. So. Think carefully before you open your mouth.”

Wait a minute—I’m extremely embarrassed by the fact that my song can be heard outside his chambers. That means anyone and everyone in the palace knows exactly how often he fucks me (or punishes me). And the songs I sing for him are private—sexual and explicit, demonstrating my love for him or begging for mercy or release. Despite my shame, I still manage to meet the duke’s gaze.

“Okay. Yes. I, um, sang to His Grace this morning,” I reply, keeping my voice soft.

“While he was fucking you?”

What difference does that make? I don’t understand what that has to do with anything! Why would he need details like that? I ignore the question.

“I’m sure if you let me see him, I could wake him—I just need to call out to him with a different song.”

“So it is your doing, that he is unconscious. You just admitted it! I should let you know now that you won’t be allowed in his presence again until he himself requests you.” Guilt flooding me, I drop my eyes because part of me thinks it probably was my song that made him lose consciousness. But he really should be awake now, shouldn’t he?

“So he isn't awake yet?”

“That’s not your concern. Your only concern right now is to tell me exactly what you did.” My chin is grabbed harshly and tilted up to meet that angry glare. It makes me shiver in fear. “I have ways of making you talk.”

“I belong to His Grace! You can’t touch me!”

“Correction. You did belong to His Grace until you hurt him. Now, since the king is currently unable to command you, I will be deciding your fate and seeing to your discipline. You’re at my mercy. So tell me. What did you do?!”

A moment or two passes in silence—an awkward silence—especially since those red eyes are staring me down. His hand grips my chin a little harder, and it frightens me.

“I was merely singing to him—a peaceful, soothing song—he called it a balm to his soul. He said it made him feel at peace, and I only ever sang upon his request!”

“Listen. I know you have been resistant since your very first day. I saw you with my own eyes—when you resisted the overseer’s commands in the garden. I saw you punished for it. And you didn’t learn. You’ve still never learned your place. I warned you not to resist him—he’s punished you again and again, even publicly, and you still don’t learn. This time, though, you went too far.”

“Um…” I do remember the details of that time in the garden and our first night together. I was scared out of my mind. And didn’t Rai just say something to me last night about my resistance? Maybe I did do something to hurt him, but I didn’t mean to!

“So were you singing while he fucked you?”

I bristle up and growl, but that is a stupid move. Koujaku drops my chin and backhands my face quickly—hard enough to send stars bursting through the backs of my eyes. I stop growling immediately, stunned. I can’t believe he hit me! I thought my piercings would protect me from this kind of treatment! Rai said that he would be the only one to order my punishment. But if Rai isn't conscious, does that make me the duke's property? I become terribly afraid and my stomach turns over sickeningly.

“Answer the question.”

“H-he w-wasn’t fucking me,” I stammer, ashamed to look at him. I look down at my lap, wishing I could fidget with my fingers. But my chin is grabbed once more, craning my neck uncomfortably upward, forcing me to meet his gaze. “I-i w-was, um, t-taking initiative.”

Koujaku quirks up an eyebrow, bewildered.

“Taking initiative? In what way?”

“Um… I-i w-was, um…” I can’t make my voice sound any softer, and I can’t stop stuttering.

“Stop this stammering and answer me!” He yells harshly.

“S-servicing h-him,” I whisper, unable to raise my gaze, though my face is directly pointed at his. “I was, um, servicing him.” My cheeks flush with heat, my ears filling with blood and when I brave a quick glance at the duke, his pupil is dilated wide. A bolt of fear shoots through my body at his lust-filled glance.

“Orally, you mean?”

“Y-yes.” I feel so ashamed, and I really don’t want to discuss the details. It’s private! It’s none of his business!

“How the hell can you sing like that? I don’t believe you. You’re a small cat, and I heard that song. How could you possibly even say anything, much less sing, with him in your mouth?”

I flatten my ears. Has he never seen me sing before? I guess he’s heard me but he hasn’t seen me.

“S-sir, I don’t sing with m-my voice. I s-sing with my body.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, the melody resonates from deep inside my body, not from my throat or my voice.”

“Show me.”

“I-i can't. I, um, I n-need the king.”

“Out of the question. But why would you need him to sing?”

“H-he is the o-only one who can pull my song from me. I really can only sing in his presence,” I say quietly. This isn’t exactly true, however. I did manage to sing—when Mana raped me and when Trip and Virus were hurting me—but I was under extreme duress at that time.

“That’s a lie. You sang for him while you were kidnapped. I heard it myself.”

“I was being injured! I-i was c-calling for help!”

Suddenly, the duke nods his chin at the other two guards, dismissing them and closing the door behind them. It’s a soft, muffled sound when the door closes, but it feels very final.

“In that case,” Koujaku whispers, “I can set up an environment in which you feel you need to call for help. Or I could give you to Virus and Trip. They seem particularly anxious to have you.”

“Please! I belong to His Grace! I’m his fiancé! You can’t hurt me! My piercings signify only he can punish me! He will kill you—” Words come spilling from my lips in a torrent, but I know I hold no power here.

“Not if he doesn’t wake up because of something you have done! I can smell the guilt rolling off your body! I know you must have done something to him. And you realize that I am an expert at training his concubines to submit. If you were at all wise, you’d take this into consideration before refusing my order. I’m in charge of your discipline when he isn’t available.”

A repulsive shiver rushes through my body. I don’t know what to do. I can’t escape this situation. My chin is released and instead, I feel his claws pulling through the fur of my ears, combing through my hair, brushing my feathers. I feel vulnerable and helpless, and the touch disgusts me.

“You will sing to me, or I will make you.”

“Please! I-it’s not something I c-can just do on m-my own—”

I give a small protesting whimper when the duke reaches out for the sash on the robe I’m wearing.

“Let’s see if I can encourage you to try. This needn’t be a painful experience for you, although I wouldn’t mind disciplining you a little bit. I’ve heard some things about you and your proclivities from Aoba, after all.”

His words sink into my ears and another wave of nausea rolls through my body. He slowly pulls the sash from my body, and I feel like I might be sick. I don’t want him to touch me—and I’m in a panic and for sure, I can’t sing like this.

“I-i shouldn’t sing for you! H-he forbade me from singing for any other cat—”

“Well, then call for him. Call for help. Perhaps it will wake him from his slumber.”

The robe I’m wearing falls open, but I quickly cover myself with my wings.

“Such a shy little thing. No reason to be shy. If I were the king, I’d have trained you out of this ridiculous shyness. You really ought to expose yourself a little more. It’s your purpose, after all. You’re no different than when you first arrived at this palace.”

I bristle up my fur and glare up at him, and he meets my angry gaze with a derisive smirk.

“You don’t agree? And yet—your body is trembling.”

I try to settle my anger and resume my pleading.

“Duke—Your Grace—I really… I don’t think I should sing for you. Please, don’t humiliate me.”

“I’ll do much more than humiliate you if you don’t comply with my request.”

“If I could just be in his presence, I could help him. I could try to sing again, and I’m sure I could wake him.”

“He is suffering—even while unconscious. And that is your doing. You won’t be permitted in his presence again unless he requests it specifically. So you might as well do as I command. Or… I will force you.”

I don’t like how he talks about forcing me. Especially since I really can’t seem to sing in front of him.

“Strip. Lose the robe. I think that will help you get in the mood.”

“Wait—please…” But I don’t have time to protest since he leans down and pulls the silk roughly from my shoulders. I fluff up my feathers and wrap my wings around my body. I can feel heat filling my wings, too, and Koujaku gives me a hungry look.

“So… pain or pleasure? That’s the question. Which will instigate your song faster?”

“Please…”

“You know, I’ve wanted to touch you since the first day I saw Virus whipping you in the garden. Perhaps you’d prefer I leave you with him?”

“No! Please—don’t!”

“Listen.” My chin is stroked gently, lifted up a little more kindly, exposing my throat. “I’ve never had a complaint in the bedroom. I don’t mind giving you what you really want if it will make you comply.”

My skin shivers with goosebumps—and I am terrified. The hand stroking my chin moves down my throat and to my chest. His other hand moves to my head and strokes my ears. It feels wrong—and I am scared. I lower my gaze, but my chin is nudged up so I have to expose my throat.

“Sir… please…”

“You do have a nice voice. But as much as I enjoy your soft pleas, what I want from you is your song. Show me.”

I try to search inside myself—trying to find the place in my chest where the pool of emotion rests—and I can’t do it. The harder I try, the more stressed I get. My arm is suddenly grabbed and I’m pulled up to stand. Koujaku grabs a red rope and starts to tie me up—my wrists are released for just a second, but almost immediately my arms are restrained and bent at the elbows, my wrists tied together a few inches above my tail. The rope is tight—uncomfortable on my chest and scratches my fair skin.

Koujaku does this expertly—leaving my wings unbound—and they flutter in discomfort and pain.

“Keep still, or I will have to restrain them, too.”

I try my best to stop moving—but I’m not really fighting him. I can’t bring myself to resist, knowing that any resistance I show will only make the binds tighter. After my arms are restrained, I feel a strange intrusive sensation when the rope is bound between my legs—and when I look down, the red lines crossing my body make me shiver—it isn’t exactly painful, except for the scratching on the insides of my thighs, but it’s certainly humiliating. And each time Koujaku places his hand between the rope and my skin, I shiver and blush.

“This should make you feel a little more submissive and willing to answer my questions,” he whispers directly into my ear. Now, I can’t even move away without danger of falling. “Lie down here.”

He has me lie down on my back on a flat table—it’s uncomfortable on top of my arms and wings, which I try to keep tucked behind me. My collar is locked to the table as well as my ankles. I’m terrified.

“As much as I’d like to try to do this with pleasure, I think pain and fear will be much more effective for you, kitten.”

I glance up at him in horror—and he simply smiles softly. His eyes and hair look even redder now than they did earlier.

“Please—I j-just can’t—”

“Keep your plush little lips closed until I ask you a specific question or unless you are ready to sing, kitten.”

He turns away for a moment and returns with what looks like a bucket of water. He throws it on me—soaking my hair and my fur—and it’s ice cold. It feels like melted snow or ice water, and I immediately stiffen and start to shiver. I suppress the tears in favor of a loud protesting cry—though the second bucket makes my body ache.

“Please… I’m s-sorry—j-just please—”

A third bucket is thrown at me, interrupting my pleas and making me wordlessly beg for mercy.

“Ice water is certainly uncomfortable, but it won’t do you permanent damage,” the duke says, his voice slightly husky. “And this restraint certainly suits you. If I can’t get you to sing in here, we can repeat this in the public square, if you like.”

“I-i’m t-trying,” I insist—and I am. I just cannot sing, especially not with my body chattering in the cold.

“Now. Let’s try again. Why don’t you reach inside yourself and pull out that song? Call for your master.”

He has another bucket of water, holding it directly over my face, and he douses my face with a splash. It burns when it gets into my sinuses—and my eyes water. Plus, I end up inhaling a bunch of it, and I start to choke.

Before I can get my breath back, he douses me again, making fear and panic rise in my chest. I can’t even inhale without getting a huge gulp of water. I feel like I may be drowning and my entire body resists and fights. He’s going to kill me—I struggle against my restraints, making the rope tighter against my body—and trying to pull away, but I can’t move.

While I’m still sputtering, Koujaku lowers his face to me.

“Are you ready to sing for me yet, kitten?”

“P-please…” My voice trembles with fear and cold. “I-i’m t-trying!”

“I’m not asking you to try. I’m asking you to sing. Or… do you need something a little more stimulating?”

“Please!” I cry out helplessly, but he reaches down and disconnects my ankles from the table, and I hear the chain at my collar clinking. My body is roughly pulled off the table and bent over it, my feet on the floor.

I shiver in revulsion when I feel his claws scrape down my back and pulling at the ropes restraining my arms.

“Don’t…” I whisper, but that hand keeps moving lower, stroking the base of my tail and slipping between my cheeks. “Please don’t…”

“You know what you need to do.”

He presses a finger—thankfully with his claws withdrawn—against my entrance. I stiffen my body in fear—is he going to rape me?! I think about the look I saw in his eyes, and I remember when Trip did the same… and I am shaking.

“Sing.”

I shake my head and spread my wings, and he takes hold of a feather and grasps it—pulling it hard enough so I scream in pain.

“Stop moving around so much and it won’t hurt. Now… give in and sing. As far as I can tell, you have two purposes in this castle. The first is your song. The second is your body. I want your song, but I will use your body if you refuse.”

Suddenly the finger below my tail increases to two and quickly invades me—making me sicken with pain and fear. I cry out—and then I feel it.

The song in my body—it’s right there. I know I just need to grab hold of the single thin thread I see deep in my heart and pull. My body starts to tremble, my chest lurches suddenly, and a bright light bursts from me with violence. I jerk hard enough so Koujaku pulls out his fingers from inside me right away.

“Holy shit...”

The melody is desperate, helpless, hopeless—filled with despair and guilt. I can’t quite hear the lyrics, but it is definitely calling for Rai.

I hear Koujaku make a strange sound—almost as though he is impressed or in awe—and he strokes my ass tenderly.

“I see.”

I try to change my song—calling out to Rai, begging him to wake up—and I sing for some time without any further painful stimulus. This particular song is exhausting, however—and I feel my energy draining—like my very life force is being drained. It’s an awfully strange sensation—but it feels like something is absorbing my song and life force.

Suddenly, I hear a bang on the door, and Koujaku calls, “Enter!”

“Your Grace, you need to get the kitten to stop singing. Now! The shaman says it’s giving His Highness side effects!”

I can’t believe my ears! I’d never purposely hurt the silver cat!

“Stop now!” Koujaku yells at me, grabbing my collar and pulling it, making me choke. “Stop this at once! What do you think you’re doing?! You’re hurting the king!”

It doesn’t take long—as I was almost exhausted anyway, and as the song quiets, my body falls limp against the table. I can’t support my own weight.

“Your Grace, please—put return him to his cell and come!”

I’m grabbed roughly and dragged back to my cell. I am terribly vulnerable and I’m afraid that he will throw me in with Virus and Trip—but instead, I’m thrown on the floor of my own cell, helpless, still bound and naked. I think of begging him to untie me, but the door is slammed and locked, and I hear the footsteps depart.

Did I hurt Rai? I meant to sing for healing and call for help. I’d never hurt him!

I wish I could plug my ears—I hear Virus and Trip start heckling again, telling me they knew I was bad for the king the moment they first laid eyes on me. I feel devastated and alone—and confused. What on earth is going on? Where is my king?

Chapter Text

It’s about two hours—on the floor with my teeth chattering in the cold, and I’m still naked and bound in that rope, listening to Virus sweet talk me. He’s telling me how red is my color and if I’d just scoot over to the bars between us that he’d help me out and untie me. Needless to say, I ignore him, though I’m terribly ashamed of my current state.

The door to the dungeon slams open and I hear fast footsteps approaching. My ears perk up nervously—because I can tell by the gait that the person who is coming is angry—and also, that it isn’t my king.

It’s Koujaku and he looks even angrier than when he left. I swear—in the dim light of the dungeon, his hair looks red and his brown eyes almost glow.

“Take him.” His voice comes out in a sharp, low growl that crawls across the floor to where I am lying helplessly.

As before, two guards yank me up to my feet.

“Ah. That’s right. I left you bound. I’d almost forgotten. Please, fetch his robe.”

I’m turned around roughly and pushed up against the damp wall of the cell, while his hands deftly untie the ropes. I notice he deliberately slides the ones wrapped around my legs and thighs—and they chafe uncomfortably.

“Now we know for certain it was you. And you’ve been sentenced.”

“Wh-what?” I tremble in fear. “Is His Grace awake?”

“No,” Koujaku says, and he grabs my chin and cranes my neck over my shoulder to meet his sharp gaze. “Actually, he hasn’t woken up.”

“B-but what—?”

“He’s grown horns. Due to your song, he has horns. Are you pleased? Was this your intention all along? Enchant him, sing to him, force that demon blood to rise up?”

“What?! No!” I’m horrified. Horns? Like… Touga in my dream? I can’t believe my ears.

“The council has sanctioned your punishment in his place. We know he has declared you his fiancé and you are marked as his slave”—but I’m his concubine, not a slave, I think!—“but we cannot let this offense go unnoticed. You’ve caused nothing but strife in the harem since you’ve arrived and are entirely more trouble than you’re worth!”

His harsh words make my ears flatten—and my fur bristles with anxiety and fear.

“P-please—I d-didn’t—”

“Oh, but you did, you see? We have all the evidence we need. So now, you must simply submit to your punishment.”

“W-what—?”

“Just shut your mouth. You’ll be wanting for breath in a moment, I’m sure.”

Rai’s lovely silk robe is wrapped around me briefly and I am dragged out of the cell. I can never remember being more terrified than I am right now. Even when I was first captured or even when Rai was angry with me—when he punished me in anger and when he took me without my consent—at least I knew he needed me and wanted me.

The duke has no use for me. He doesn’t want me here. He said as much. He has nothing to lose—and he even mentioned my markings. He knows he is stepping out of line!

“Please—sir—don’t do this,” I beg as the guards drag me up the stairs. “When His Grace wakes, I am sure he will explain that I did nothing he did not request—”

Koujaku stops in his tracks and turns around to glare at me. The ferocity of his glare alone makes me flinch—and gods, his hair is red!

“You will say nothing else. If you wish to cry and wail during your punishment, save it for then. But your fate has already been determined. You’re lucky we haven’t decided to kill you—yet.”

Goosebumps shiver down my arms—and I am absolutely horrified. Kill me? 

“I-i am the c-crown p-prince of K-karou,” I stammer. “Y-you cannot d-do this—”

“You are no one’s crown’s prince. You belong to the country of Setsura, and your only purpose is to serve and please His Grace. You failed your duty and have injured him. It’s only right we return that injury to your person!”

I think I’m going to be sick—I am so scared—and I get even more frightened when I’m dragged out into the central courtyard. I’m led through a hoard of people, and I can hear their remarks:

“Ah, this was the king’s intended, isn’t it?”

“He’s so petite—but his wings are lovely, aren’t they?”

“He’s the former Karou prince, I think.”

“They do not sanction public punishments of His Grace’s personal slaves unless they’ve done something unforgivable.”

“The kitten must have enchanted the king.”

There’s a scaffold set up in the center, and I’m brought right up the stairs. While I no longer have ropes binding me, my wrist cuffs are grabbed and connected to a chain hanging from the top of the scaffold, suspending my arms above my head. My body breaks out in a nervous sweat and I can hardly hear anything.

I don’t have time to think or breathe or plead—I’m much too distracted by the large crowd gathered around the scaffold. And then the duke addresses the people.

“This is one of the king’s former sex slaves. He has done the king harm and will now be sentenced to a public flogging. In the country of Setsura, the council takes retribution on those who harbor ill-will toward His Grace.”

The crowd murmurs and cheers a little—jeering at me as well.

“Please,” I beg softy—hoping Koujaku will hear me. “His Grace said only he would be permitted to punish me—or even touch me…”

“And yet, here you are, thanks to the council’s decision. Prepare yourself. This isn’t designed for your pleasure or His Grace’s pleasure, for that matter.”

My stomach lurches when the sash around my waist is untied, letting my robe fall open. I close my eyes—squeezing them closed against the people staring at me—at my body, which in Karou, no one was permitted to touch or see. Heat fills my ears, my cheeks, my chest, my wings—and then to my horror, the silk robe is torn from the nape of my neck to my thighs. The flimsy fabric hangs limp around my arms, completely exposing my body.

My feathers fluff out and bristle, and the tips of my wings are grabbed, and a single feather from each side pulled out roughly to my sides—making me scream with pain and fear. I’m scared my wings will be ripped off my body the guards are pulling so hard. But instead, my wings are lashed to the ground—painfully—when nails are driven through the feathers onto the wood platform. When I look—unbelievably—there are stakes holding my wings to the floor. I can still try to flap my wings, but doing so causes even more pain since I’m trying to pull the feathers out from underneath the nails.

I’m already in tears—wailing in pain—even before the punishment begins.

“Begin.” Koujaku’s ice-cold voice sinks into my ears—and he is standing slightly to my right and in front of me, just behind the scaffold. 

I don’t see who is holding the whip, but I feel it come down in an instant against my back. It stings more than anything Rai has ever done to me—worse even than the birch that Virus used in the garden. More than one whip lashes against my skin at a time, and it sears me, pulling the skin from my flesh as though flaying me.

Again and again, that flogger comes down on me—on my back, my ass, my thighs, the backs of my legs—and I scream after every blow. Soon, I am simply wailing, not even breathing in between blows—and it goes on and on.

I don’t know how many lashes I receive—but it must be fifty or more—and I feel like I am losing consciousness. But before I do—my body jolts as though vomiting—my stomach is upset and my heart lurches in my chest. And a bright light spills from my body, out my fingertips, out of the tips of my injured wings—and a loud song rings out like a scream in the courtyard.

Please—forgive me—everything I have I would give to you—just please—help me. Save me!

As before, once my song leaves my body, I see it floating up and away from me—as if searching for Rai—and I feel it when it finds him. But instead of the warm bond I usually feel between us—at the other end of my melody is something dark and heavy. It sucks up my song as though in a vacuum, and I can literally feel it draining my body. It’s as if I am singing away a part of myself—and whatever is on the other end of my song is sucking up my vitality and my very life.

Is that Rai?

What the hell has happened to him?

Worse—what have I done?

My vision goes gray around the edges—and my ears sound like they’ve been submerged underwater. My body throbs rhythmically in time to that flogger—and soon, I am simply hanging from the chains, all power lost and my legs unable to bear my weight. My song pulses in time to the rhythm of that whip.

Just before I lose consciousness completely, that’s when I hear it: the soft, fleshy snap of wings—large bat wings—and a gust of breeze brushes my face. I’m filled with Rai’s scent suddenly—freshly fallen snow and sandalwood—more powerful even than when I was in heat—and I hear a loud thump, the sound of boots hitting the wood platform.

The beating stops—and I hear a commotion—but I can’t see or hear anything. I can only feel Rai’s presence with me and his scent surrounds me like a blanket. I can tell when my arms are loosed from the chains overhead, and I scream in agony when the stake pinning my right wing is pulled from the floor. I drift away into unconsciousness before I can feel him pull the second stake out from my left wing, but I don’t miss the soft feeling of long silky strands of hair caressing me. 


I wake with a start—thinking I am falling—but I haven’t fallen exactly. More like I have landed—or specifically, Rai has landed while carrying me in his arms. Of course, that weightless feeling just before we hit the ground would wake anyone.

It’s freezing cold—and yet my back and thighs and ass are on fire, despite the freezing temperature.

I open my eyes and I can’t see anything but silver and black. Perking up my ears and trying to move—my body is paralyzed, it seems—and I hear the squeaking of a door and wooden floorboards. Rai has walked into something that feels like a lodge.

I’m placed on a soft surface and my hair is brushed out of my face. I’m so filled with relief—because when I am finally able to focus, I see the pale blue eye, pale skin, and silver hair of the one I love in front of me.

And then, I flinch.

His ears—they have turned to horns on the top of his head. Long, spiraled horns—a glossy black like ebony—poke up from his head. And on the side of his head, fleshy pointed rounded ears without any fur covering them are new additions.

When I flinch away, his wings unfurl for a second and then flutter against his back. His expression… it looks different. There’s a strange darkness floating in the back of his eye.

“You called for me.” Even his voice sounds different—much huskier and less dignified.

Then he stands up and turns away, walking to the hearth where he starts a fire. I watch him carefully—and extremely nervously since he is working with fire and I hate fire—trying to figure out if this is really Rai. He still has the long white fur covering his tail, unlike the Touga in my dream. If it isn’t really the Rai I know, could it be possible that this is a part of him that the blood of the original Sanga pulls from him?

And in truth, he saved me from that ordeal—and I realize suddenly how sore and tired and thirsty I am. I also smell something sharp and metallic—and it must be blood. My blood.

“You will freeze if we don’t light a fire. You are not ready for Setsuran winters, Little Sanga.”

My heart leaps when he calls me Little Sanga. I’m relieved to hear it, and tears spill down my cheeks. My Rai is still in there—he just… looks different. But surely, this is the one I love.

Once the fire is roaring, Rai turns to me and touches my face again.

“You will dislike it, but we need to treat your wounds before we do anything else.”

My ears flatten when I am rolled to my stomach.

“It’s good you can’t move yet. Sing if you will—it might help the pain.”

It feels like he has something like saltwater pressing against my back and my thighs and my ass—and it feels even worse, burning even more intensely than the original beating. I am sobbing breathlessly and quite thankfully end up losing consciousness after only a minute.

Chapter Text

When I wake, the room is dim and I hear a fire crackling a little way away in the hearth. When I give a small stretch, the skin on my back feels painful and tight—and what was done to me freshly floods my mind. For just a moment, I felt at peace, but then the public, humiliating, and painful punishment appears from where it has retreated into my memory.

Before I can suppress it, a tiny meow slips out like a sob.

That’s when I notice there is another presence in the room with me, and it feels unfamiliar. Well, not entirely unfamiliar—I recognize the wintery scent—but this presence feels markedly different from the king I know.

I open my eyes a little wider and I look around, trying to find him. I can smell him on me—he must have groomed me while I slept. And then, I see him, sitting a short distance away, completely still, in a chair. This reminds me of when I woke up last night—or was it two nights ago now? He was brooding by the fire. Just like before, his shoulders are slightly hunched—and I gasp softly when I see the horns on top of his head.

I’d forgotten—he has horns now.

Is this really all because of me?

He turns to me, slowly—and there is a dark light shimmering in his eye. It’s hard to tell his expression—but to me, he looks angry. I shiver just a little—frightened by his anger—but then his face softens into something that looks more like bewilderment.

That sends a soft, warm sensation through my chest, and the icy tension I thought I felt between us melts with relief. But he doesn’t speak. Even after a few minutes, the room is very quiet.

“Does it hurt?” I ask, my voice hoarse from tears and screams. I hadn’t realized my throat would be so sore after yesterday.

“What.” He doesn't really ask, and his voice is slightly huskier than usual, as though he hasn’t spoken for some time.

“Your horns. Do they hurt you?”

“It’s tolerable,” Rai answers.

“May I sing for you?”

Rai stands up and walks over to the bed.

“You should sing for yourself—for your own healing. My council went completely overboard. Of course, they rule in my place when I am incapacitated. But I’m afraid they were too eager to punish you. They are afraid of your power.”

I look down to avoid his gaze. I want to ask if he wants to cancel the wedding and send me away. But I can’t help remembering what happened the last time I asked him such a thing. He punished me severely for questioning his judgment. As things stand, though... this can’t be sustainable. Instead, I think of another question.

“Is it my song? Is it my song that brings this form forth? Am I the one causing you pain?”

Rai doesn’t answer, but he runs his claws through the fur on my ears. It feels nice—soothing and comforting. But I’m really afraid. I don’t want to be the one causing him pain. I don’t want any of this to be my fault.

“Who can say, kitten? Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to avoid it, in any case.”

His words surprise me, and I jerk my chin up to meet his gaze. He looks calm.

“Who knows if I would have found this form eventually, even if I hadn’t met you? I can’t imagine you not being here, by my side, right now. I can’t imagine any other way.”

“But your kingdom…”

“The council will see to the matters of the state while I am away.”

“Do they know where you are?”

“I sent word when we arrived. They will know shortly.”

“Where are we?” I ask—realizing again that this is not the castle.

“It’s a mansion we use for hunting in the spring and fall. I haven’t been here in some time, and we don’t have much staff. However, they keep it ready for my use. Are you hungry?”

I nod, and he stands up and rings a bell on the wall.

“We are in the mountains,” Rai explains. “And I don’t have much clothing for you. It may not be an issue, seeing the state your skin is in. I know you don't like fire but we need to keep it lit for your own health and comfort.”

I sit up in the bed and look around. There isn’t as much glass or as many windows here as there are at the palace, but when I look outside, it’s dark. 

“It’s a nice view. Would you like to see?”

I nod again, and he walks back to the bed to help me up, draping a soft fur cloak over my shoulders. My legs wobble a little when I get to my feet, and he leads me over to the window. There is ice covering the edges of the windows. And when I look out, the moon of shadow is high in the sky and the view takes my breath away. A small gasp escapes my lips.

Snow—the entire landside is covered with snow. It gathers in the treetops—all tall evergreens and fir—and it’s deep on the ground, too. It sparkles gorgeously—like diamonds—under the light of the moon, a crystal clear night sky. When I touch my nose to the window to look out a little more, I flinch back from the chill on the glass. 

Karou winters are mild and wet. This is not only further north, but it’s also on a mountainside, so of course, there would be snow. I've never seen so much snow before.

“It’s beautiful. Setsura is really beautiful. Karou winters are wet and rainy,” I say—and then I wonder why Karou is even still on my mind. I can’t help thinking about the ambassador and whether he sent word to my fathers or returned to my kingdom to tell them in person. I feel slightly sick to my stomach thinking about my parents. I think they would judge me harshly and hold me responsible for being where I am.

“Come back to bed. Stay warm. I think you may have a fever,” Rai says, and he walks me back to the bed and tucks me under the covers. That tenderness is something I have sorely missed and longed for with all my heart. A few minutes later, after I’ve snuggled into the blankets, there’s a soft knock at the door.

“Your meal, Your Grace,” comes a soft voice. I am turned away from the door, but I look up when the servant comes in. He seems hesitant around Rai—and Rai is quite intimidating. He looks more like a devil now than a cat—except his tail is still soft and fluffy.

“Thank you,” Rai says, ushering the servant cat into the room. He throws a glance over to me on the bed, and my wings ruffle a little.

“We’ve contacted the local shaman and he will be arriving later tonight.”

“Good,” Rai replies.

“I hope your fiancé will feel better soon. I’m glad to see he is awake. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“That will be all.”

“Good evening, then. I’ll send up the shaman when he arrives.”

Rai nods, and the servant takes his leave. He’s left some simple comfort food—soup or stew with meat, vegetables, and potatoes and some fresh bread and butter. Several pieces of dried fruit are on a different plate. I’m able to serve myself, and I get up again and kneel in front of the short table—Rai has laid out a cushion for me—keeping the warm cloak around my shoulders.

“Are you in a lot of pain?” Rai asks.

“A little,” I reply—and I’m hesitant to tell him how much my body aches. My skin is really sensitive and my chest is heavy, making it hard to breathe. I feel feverish and achy as well.

“After we eat, you should sing for yourself. To heal yourself. I’ll help you. We can wait till the shaman arrives to dress your wounds.”

I nod compliantly—suddenly aware of how much I enjoy this cat. In spite of everything, I want to be at his side. There is nowhere I’d rather be—I want to be with him. Even if I was allowed back home, I’d never want to go unless he was with me. I feel like I belong here. I don’t really care if it means I will live a life of pain and suffering.

But I would like to know Rai’s thoughts on the matter of our marriage. Does he still want to go through with this?

After eating, I’m very relaxed and warm, and exhausted as well, so I lie down in the bed again on my stomach and sleep for a while.

When I next wake, I hear a soft, unfamiliar voice. It’s an older cat with silver hair and white-tipped gray fur. His voice is soft and musical, and he is speaking quietly to Rai.

“Ah. Your concubine has awakened. How are you feeling, kitten?”

“A little better,” I admit.

“Will you permit me to examine you?”

I nod.

“You may stay where you are.”

I’m on my stomach, laying my head on the pillow but keeping Rai’s fluffy tail in view. I take a deep breath when the covers are lifted off my body.

“Oh, my. I had heard the Sanga of old had made an appearance, but I had no idea how accurate his incarnation would be.”

I feel the gentle touch of the shaman’s fingers caressing my wings.

“You have sensation in your feathers?” I’m a little surprised he can tell just from a single caress—but I suppose my wings ruffle as his fingers travel down one of my wings.

“Yeah.”

“Hmm.” He fingers my clipped flight feathers for a moment. Next, I feel his hand resting on my head between my ears. “A fever? How long has he had a fever?”

“At least since yesterday. I’m not sure what was done to him, but he seems to have difficulty breathing.” Rai’s voice sounds nice in my ears. I have missed hearing him—and I realize I don’t really care what he is saying. I just want to hear him speak.

“Have his symptoms worsened along with yours? I see you have some new additions since last I saw you.”

“Perhaps. I was unconscious for at least a day or two. His song woke me.”

“And he was punished, I assume, because your council thought he was at fault for your state?”

“Yes.”

“I see. Has he been singing to you regularly?”

“Often.”

“In my experience—which isn’t much in person, but from what I have read—a Sanga who has bonded with a Touga during the mating season is never the full cause of their illness. In fact, it’s often an outside factor, such as an external injury, that also shows up on the Sanga’s body. That is, in well-bonded pairs.”

“Hmm. Are you saying he’s ill because of his song? Or because of me?”

“He is most likely suffering the same ailment as you and is probably not its cause. Of course, singing in a weakened state will make him more vulnerable, and his symptoms may be different from yours. However, the bond works both ways. You have the blood of the ancient Touga in your veins. And so, when this kitten suffers, you will also feel pain. Your suffering may not be identical to his, and it may show up at a later time.”

“I see.” Rai doesn’t sound very optimistic. I notice his tail swaying back and forth agitatedly.

“I see his flight feathers were clipped. And he has some serious damage on his back—it looks like he was flogged. That would naturally affect you, as well, just as any injury you’ve sustained will also show up on his body.”

“Are you saying that his current condition is because of my own illness?”

“It’s not exactly like that. It’s difficult to determine whose illness predates whose—which of you was suffering first. For example, undue stress would also have a negative effect on both of you. The symptoms may appear as stress or as something else entirely. I assume since he is from Karou that his current position in your harem is a new experience for him?”

“That is accurate.”

“Well, I would have advised starting him slowly—letting him adjust—or not having him exhaust himself with song during that time. Kitten, do you sing frequently?”

“I try to, yes. I am trying to improve.” I have been listening and I find it hard to believe that stress could have caused Rai to collapse. “Excuse me, but are you sure this isn’t just from the treatment in the dungeon?”

“Of course, that would have affected both of you as well. And your current condition is most likely exacerbated because of the winter chill in addition to stress and trauma.”

Rai sighs softly.

“What can be done?”

“Let him rest. Have him sleep as much as possible, keep him warm and comfortable, feed him healthy meals, and let him be quiet and still for a few days, perhaps a week. His fever should go down with the help of some medicine I will leave for you, and I’ll leave you some additional salve for the wounds on his body. Groom him, but don’t tax him further than that, sire.”

Again, it’s quiet in here—only the sound of the fire in the hearth. I try not to flinch when it pops.

“It’s important that he feel safe. And don’t allow him to sing. For a week.”

“A week?” I ask doubtfully. What about Rai? Won’t he get worse if I don’t sing for him? I can’t imagine even spending the night with him and not singing at least once…

“I understand. Thank you. I’ll see you out.” The blankets are tucked around me once again and I’m left in the room alone.

I have sort of an emptiness filling my soul—and I’m not sure what exactly the shaman meant with his words. That my illness and stress may have caused Rai’s collapse? Or is it that the stress of being pushed suddenly into a new role may have caused my own health issue and change? I don’t understand. I want to know if I will go back to the way I was—and more importantly, if Rai will return to the cat he was before he grew wings.

I am too nervous to ask specifically, since Rai heard the same conversation I did. So I end up taking the draught that the shaman left and then drifting off to sleep while Rai spreads the salve over my shoulders, back, butt, and thighs.

Chapter Text

I wake up in the morning to a knock at the door, as usual slightly confused as to where I am. I am feeling a little bit better than I was yesterday. Thankfully, the king is in the room with me, and he opens the door to a servant bringing in food. He’s the same cat from yesterday, and to my surprise, he looks a little like an older version of Tokino. I wonder if he is related, maybe his uncle or his father.

He efficiently sets up the meal at the table and then heads over to the hearth to stoke the fire and add more fuel. He also exchanges the small barrel of water with another fresh one from outside.

“Please let me know if you’d like to bathe, Your Grace. If you'd rather not leave the chamber, we can easily bring hot water in for you, though we need a little time to get it heated properly.”

He takes his leave with a formal bow.

In addition to the meal, which the servant leaves at the table, I’m given a medicinal draught, and that makes me awfully sleepy, though I’ve just woken.

Outside the window, against the icy edges of the windows, I can see the sky is bright but overcast. There are large fluffy clouds in the sky. Draping a blanket over my shoulders, I climb out of bed and look outside. It looks like we will be getting more snow. I see a steep trail snaking down the mountain through the thick forest of evergreen trees. I’m pretty sure we didn’t ride here, nor did we take a carriage or walk. I am trying to wrack my foggy brain for how exactly we got here, and I remember waking up when Rai landed at the door. I think he flew. The thought sends a little shiver down my back, and I look over my shoulder, feeling his gaze resting on me.

“What do you think? It looks like we are in for another snowstorm.”

His voice is mostly back to normal, soft and calm, and incredibly sexy.

“You look a little better today than you did last night. How are you feeling?”

“Um, I’m fine,” I say, still a little nervous about letting him know how sore my skin is from that flogging. I hate to even think about it, remembering the humiliation and pain.

“And your skin? Shall I treat it after we eat?”

“Please.” 

He has gestured toward the table and so I head over and sit down across from him. The meal is good—a tasty warm porridge with dried fruits and nuts, cream, freshly baked bread and some cheese. I notice Rai puts the dried kuims on a plate for me. I’m grateful.

As I eat, however, I become more and more drowsy. Rai offers me a cup of hot tea—something herbal—which I drink happily. It’s sweetened with honey and settles my stomach—perhaps it’s a blend of peppermint and chamomile. As I’m drinking it, the cup slips from my fingers—and to my utter shock, Rai catches it, spilling only a single drop. How quickly his arm moved across the table as the cup slipped from my hands is unnerving. Has he always been able to move so quickly?

“Ah, it looks like the medicine is working. Did you get enough to eat?”

I nod sleepily, feeling my body relax unnaturally against the chair.

“Let’s get you back in bed.”

He helps me stand up, realizing quickly how unsteady I am on my feet, and so he scoops me into his arms and brings me to the bed, kissing the tips of my ears gently as he does. I want to ask—so much—about what the shaman said. Are we causing each other pain? What does this mean for our future? Will we always do this? But I don’t dare. I’m afraid.

I’m placed on my stomach and the blanket is removed for a moment. My feathers bristle and my wings spread at the cool air, and he strokes me soothingly.

“Let me treat your skin. You just rest now.”

“Um, shall I sing for you?” I ask, still sleepy. 

“No. You should be quiet and rest,” he hums softly.

“But aren’t you feeling off as well?”

“Don’t worry about me. You were here when the shaman explained this, weren’t you?”

I’m quiet for a moment, but I nod my head.

“So you realize I have brought this transformation and my illness upon myself.”

What? I can’t believe the words coming from his mouth. I don’t know what to say or how to respond.

“Don’t worry about it. We will do as he suggests—let you rest and recover for a week—and then we will see how things stand between us.” Rai sounds calm as usual, but his words are strange. I wonder—when he says rest, what does he mean, exactly?

“What do you mean, rest?”

Rai chuckles softly.

“I mean exactly that. You will rest and eat—sleep with the draught the shaman left for you.” He pets my ears gently and runs his claws through the fur on my tail.

“But you will stay with me?”

“Of course.”

“Will you groom me?” I try to keep the edge of hysteria from creeping into my voice—because I really don’t think I will be able to please him if I just rest.

“Hush and relax. You will be fine.”

“I’m sure I will be fine,” I protest. “I just worry about you. I should be singing for you—”

“No. You should not sing for me. You need to rest. Calm down and sleep. I’ll be here when you wake.”

“But—”

“Really. You are the most stubborn creature I’ve ever met. Just be quiet and close your eyes. I can see how sleepy you are. You nearly fell asleep at the table. So rest and let your body recover. That is what will please me now.”

I feel him caressing my wings—letting his fingers touch the tips of the trimmed flight feathers. I wonder what he’s thinking when he touches me. And yet, I yawn and I can’t help it. I’m relaxed and warm with the blanket snuggled around my body, and I drift off to sleep. 


When I drift off to sleep, I dream. It’s the same dream I had before—in the sakura grove outside of the palace—before the palace was even built. I wonder if the palace was built there because of what happened in my dream. Perhaps the first ruler of Setsura wanted to be close to this place.

Again, I am waiting in the gorgeously blooming woods for my lover to come. I no longer feel like just an observer in this dream—while I am aware that I am not actually the original Sanga, this dream feels like my memory.

My heart lifts and breaks when Touga arrives—when I see his horns, his black wings, his slick black tail, his red eyes. And I notice how grateful he is—how he rues his previous decision and yet is resigned to give me his life.

And while my heart shatters when he dies at my hand, I notice how at peace he is and despite my overwhelming grief, how at peace I am as well. And I sing myself to death, just as before. 


When I next wake, it’s dark outside. The moon of shadow is not visible through the clouds, however. Somehow the clouds make the night seem less dark, and there are thick snowflakes falling from the sky and blanketing the trees, the earth, the trail, the walls surrounding this mansion. It’s beautiful.

The fire is stoked and there is a meal waiting for me. As before, Rai feeds me more of that draught, and I nearly fall asleep during the meal again. Also as before, he tucks me into bed after treating my skin, grooming my ears gently.

And as before, I am afraid to ask about the status of our relationship.

I dream the same dream—even more detailed, feeling even more like Sanga and less like Konoe—and then wake again to more snowfall, but now it's morning.

I can’t tell how many days pass like this. I sleep, I dream, I wake, I take my medicine, I eat, Rai treats my skin, and I sleep some more. It’s impossible to tell the time. Every time I fall asleep, I have the same dream. And every time, the dream becomes more detailed, more colorful, more realistic, more like my own memory. It also has become much less terrifying and more like something that happened in the past.

The fact that it no longer frightens me—and how normal and natural it feels—is what starts to make me feel nervous and frightened. But I’m afraid to tell Rai about it.

After passing many days and nights like this—and it snows and snows and snows, the drifts now almost to the top of the wall, and certainly over my head, I wake up slightly earlier than usual.

It’s the shaman—come back for a return visit to check on me. When I wake, however, he is looking carefully at the king, examining his mouth and his fangs, touching his wings and his horns, talking softly to him, asking questions. It’s a little strange to see him touch my king this way—it looks intimate. It sends a feeling of jealousy through my body, and I can’t hold back my growl.

Immediately, I catch both cats’ attention, and Rai’s pale blue eye glances at me—and his eye is blue! And the right eye is missing—I know this is what my king looks like, but something pulls at my heart when I see his eyes are blue and not that blood-red color I almost expect it to be.

“What a greeting! Good morning, kitten. Are you feeling a little more energetic?”

His lips curve up at the corners. Fortunately, my growl has not displeased him, and I exhale in relief. I also stretch out long in the bed. My back and shoulders are sore—the base of my wings is very sore and stiff, and I hope stretching will help. I see to my grooming—I’m a little surprised by the shiny state of my fur. It’s thick and plush—a fresh undercoat has grown in, filling it in even more. I haven’t been grooming myself at all over the past few days—I haven’t had the energy and I have not been given time. But it’s beautiful. Clean and perfect—and it smells like Rai.

I’m getting to work on my feathers—and my wings flutter slightly as I try to get comfortable. But they ache. All the grooming in the world won’t help them feel less stiff.

Soon, the shaman walks up to the bed where I am grooming, and he leans down and puts his hand between my ears.

“Much better. But your body is probably still quite sore. Perhaps your wings?”

I look up and nod in surprise. I don’t think I was holding them as though they were aching, but I am slightly concerned I was wincing as I groomed.

“It should be nearly time. I will be doubling your dose for the next two days. Sire, you should make sure he eats when he wakes—but he will be sleeping more and more soundly. You should allow him to sleep and rest for the transition.”

“What transition?” I ask.

“I’m not positive, but I believe the wings will soon no longer trouble you.”

I shudder slightly. They are terribly uncomfortable, but I’m not sure I want anyone to surgically remove them.

“You won’t, um, do anything to them?” I ask nervously.

“Of course not, kitten. Consider them like antlers. You will more than likely see them again next season.”

“…” I’m not sure what to say. But then, I look up at Rai. “And His Grace? What about his body? Will he suffer the same?”

“He will not suffer. I will make sure to leave some medicine for him as well. You don’t need to worry. Neither of you is meant to keep these forms for long. While you may have the blood of the original Sanga and Touga flowing through your veins, you are not the original Sanga and Touga. You have your own choices to make, your own lives to live. Do not be afraid.”

I don’t speak for a while, but I do nod my head. My chin is nudged lightly—and I bristle my fur at the unexpected touch. It’s the shaman, pointing my face up to meet his pale green gaze. He looks a lot like the shaman at the palace. I wonder if they too might be related.

“You have been dreaming, haven’t you?”

I nod slowly.

“And the dream is becoming more and more like a memory?”

I nod again, taken aback that he knows this.

“Keep in mind that this is a memory, but not your memory. Just because you remember it does not mean you have to take it as your own. It is part of your soul's history, certainly, but that does not mean it is part of your future. Look at your partner.”

I gaze over at Rai, sitting by the fire and staring back at me.

“That cat, His Grace, he loves you. He cares for you. He too has been having the same dream. But I’d remind you that dreams of the past are simply that. Memories are just memories. Perhaps yes, it was fate that the two of you should meet again during this time. But you do not have to repeat the past.”

My heart lifts—I feel hope I haven’t felt in a long time, and tears burn my eyes.

“I don’t want that for us,” I whisper, meeting Rai’s gaze. “I couldn’t… I would never want to hurt you. I do not have the strength Sanga had to follow through on his promise.”

Rai takes a deep breath—almost as though he has been holding it—and he nods.

“I agree. I will do my best for you.”

The shaman clears his throat.

“Perhaps it isn’t my place to say so… but it’s possible you may need to change how you relate to one another.”

We both look at the shaman—and Rai looks almost offended. It frightens me for a moment—I want to get up and touch him, and I do, bringing my blanket with me.

“Oy, get back in bed, kitten,” he says, guiding me back to bed. I’m pleased he’s coming along with me. And his rebuke isn’t terribly harsh.

“I—I just…”

“I know what you were doing. You have nothing to worry about. I pay this cat to tell me the truth, even if it isn’t what I want to hear.”

He smiles at me and leans in to kiss my nose.

“I’m glad you understand,” the shaman says. He goes to his bag and takes out two bottles of dark liquid. I recognize one as what I’ve been taking. “When you suffer symptoms, take a dose of this and rest. Have your servant come to check on you both and bring you meals. I will inform him as I leave. Be sure to keep the kitten warm. He is not used to the cold winters here.”

Rai nods and the shaman bows low as he leaves.

“Come, let’s get you your medication and some food.”

I obey—compliantly swallowing the medicine and sitting down to eat. This time, however, I am much sleepier much faster than before—and I do actually fall asleep during the meal, even before Rai can get me to the bed. He tells me later I drifted off right in the chair, dropping my spoon on the floor.

My dream is the same as before—if even more like a memory now. And I rest a long time. When I wake, it’s the following morning, and my shoulders are even sorer. I can’t stretch my wings without groaning. I’m given more medicine and more food, and I can’t help noticing Rai looks a little haggard himself. I wonder—he woke up in the bed next to me. Has he been feeling ill?

“Are you all right?” I ask softly.

“I am fine.”

“Have you been taking your medicine, too?”

“I have. You don’t need to worry.”

“Shall I…?” I hesitate a moment and he lifts his eyebrow as if to encourage me to continue. “Shall I sing for you?”

“Kitten,” Rai says, brushing my ears a little. “I would love nothing more to hear your song. But I think you heard as well as I did that you should be resting and recovering. Not wasting your strength on singing for me.”

My ears droop a little.

“But I think I could help—”

“I would love to hear you sing. But I will wait till we are both recovered.”

“What about… um, what about, um, connecting with me?”

Rai chuckles a little.

“I’m not sure I should even acknowledge that I know what you mean if you can’t even say it directly.” He smiles at me. “As with your song, I would love that, too, but I want to wait till we are both recovered.”

“But… it’s been so long.”

“You don’t need to remind me,” Rai whispers into my ear. “Let’s eat and get you back to sleep.”

Once we’re sharing a meal, I can’t help bringing it up again. It’s the middle of the night again, snow still falling but the flakes are smaller. It’s gorgeous outside, cold and frozen, and more than anything, I want to feel the warmth of the king’s arms.

“I really think my song would help.”

Rai looks up at me, slightly sharply.

“Didn’t you hear what I said?”

I look down at my plate in front of me, feeling guilty.

“Don’t look like that. You just need to wait. Surely—you felt it, too. The last few times you sang for me.”

“Felt what?”

“Your song—it was powerful and beautiful—but instead of wrapping me in its warmth, it was more like… I don’t know… like my body was absorbing your power.”

His words are definitely true. Unable to feel the warm bond from before, it felt almost like I was singing into darkness, into a void. It was spooky. And exhausting.

“Surely, that does you more harm than it does me good. So let’s wait. I’d like you not to discuss it again.”

“I’m sorry,” I offer up an immediate apology. “I didn’t mean to defy you.”

“It’s not that. You don’t have to apologize. I’m just… Well. I’m not sure I trust myself not to take you up on the offer. So it’s better if you don’t tempt me.”

I nod, meeting his eye. And his face… it looks so loving. It’s so strange, heart-wrenching, really, to see him looking at me like that. It warms me from my insides, a melting sensation flooding my body.

Thankfully, the medication I’ve taken is starting to work—all at once, now—making me feel like I’m drowsy. Otherwise, I might find myself unable to resist, and I might actually attack him, kissing and caressing him, against the shaman’s instructions.

Rai watches me—with that indulgent look—as I start to fade away, nearly falling asleep. And he moves me back to the bed, grooming my ears and eventually falling asleep with me on his chest.

Chapter Text

I’m not sure how many days we’ve been in this mansion now—but when I next wake, I see daylight outside. When I stretch out in bed, I feel much lighter and much better than last night. My shoulders don’t hurt anymore and I realize my wings aren’t sore, either. And then I try to stretch them—wanting to extend them fully—and nothing happens.

At first, I think I may be dreaming. But then I sit up in bed, and I realize my wings are gone—like, they have completely disappeared. My body feels frightening light.

I’m a little freaked out at first—till I remember what the shaman said about my wings being like antlers.

“Rai,” I whisper, still trying to look at my back. My skin is much better—healed, practically, from that flogging earlier. “Rai.”

I look down in the bed beside me, and Rai is watching me. To my surprise, his horns are gone—and in their place are his regular ears.

“Oh my gods, your horns—and your ears are back!” I lean in and kiss them—licking the tips gently, wanting to spread my love all over them. When I reach behind him, I notice his wings are gone, too. “What the…?”

“Are you feeling better?” 

Rai is smiling softly when he asks, running his claws through my hair. My hair has retained its length, and I can feel him playing with the strands. I think he’s braiding it.

“I am. Are you?”

He nods.

“What is going on?”

“From what the shaman said, I think the original transformation was a natural response to the mating season. It got so completely out of control because of me, I think.”

“What did you do?”

“Well, I rushed you. I pressured you. I disciplined you.”

“Isn’t that my role here?”

“See, here’s what I’m thinking. I think I need to change how I interact with you. Kitten, you are a powerful Sanga. It’s not my place to force you to stay by my side and obey me.”

My ears droop slightly. 

“You want to get rid of me?”

“Kitten, no,” Rai says, continuing to caress his ears. “I want you to stay by my side—but as a partner.”

“What?” I can’t believe my ears. We’ve talked about this—I thought that is what I was agreeing to when I accepted his marriage proposal, but he let me know what his intentions were actually quite different. 

Rai just looks at me, lifting his eyebrow.

“You want to share your rule with me?” I ask.

“Haven’t you been brought up to be a prince?”

“Well, yes.”

“Yet your parents didn’t teach you about ruling, did they?”

“Um, no.” They really didn’t let me become involved in anything having to do with running the kingdom of Karou. I was quite a spoiled prince, I think.

“I will teach you.”

“Okay.” I feel awfully hesitant.

Rai smiles again. 

“You seem less pleased with this idea than I was expecting.”

“I’m just… I’m not sure what to think.” Truthfully, I’m not sure I can believe him. After everything he’s said about my purpose—how my sole purpose in life now is to please and satisfy him—it just sounds unbelievable.

“Are you unhappy with the idea?”

“Not at all. It just seems…”

“What?”

“Well, it’s not what we discussed earlier.”

Rai chuckles softly.

“No. It isn’t.”

“I have to say, I don’t even know exactly what you mean.”

“I mean exactly what I said.”

That really doesn’t help. He’s said a lot of things that were directly contrary to what he’d told me and impressed upon me before.

“What you just said? Or what you said while we were still at the palace?”

“Hmph. It sounds like you don’t believe me.”

I don’t reply. I don’t know how to reply.

“Don’t you know me to follow through with what I say I will do?”

“Well, yes.” He certainly has followed through on all sorts of things with me, I have to admit.

“So what’s the problem?”

I don’t know how to answer that. It isn’t that I don’t believe him, I think. Since having arrived at this place, I have learned to believe what he says. But I suppose that doesn’t negate the possibility he might change his mind.

“I feel as though you’re trying to get me to say something specific.”

I perk up my ears.

“I haven’t said anything,” I reply. 

“You don’t have to.” He pauses a moment before continuing. “You know, if we are going to do this thing—rule side by side—perhaps it would serve you to be a little more direct.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say, but I won’t meet his gaze. He sees what I am doing—that I am indeed being avoidant.

“Kitten, if you want me to say something, ask me to directly.”

Still, I refuse to respond. I’m unsure of what will happen to me if I were to say anything offensive. A heavy silence drops between us, and it’s apparent to me that Rai has already decided his position and is waiting for me to acknowledge it.

“What do you want from me?” I ask. I’m feeling frustrated and confused and insecure. “I don’t know what you want.”

“I want you to be direct. I want you to tell me the truth. I want you to feel you can be who you are around me.” His voice is soft—and his response is immediate. “Listen. I need to apologize to you. Perhaps that will help you know I’m serious. I’m sorry I treated you so harshly. I’m sorry I enslaved you. I want things to be different now. I didn’t realize what I was doing would affect you in the way it did—or that you would affect me the way you did.”

I stare at his face, lying back on the pillow. His blue eye is meeting my gaze firmly. He isn’t flinching and his ears are still.

“Will you forgive me?”

My mouth drops open at his request, and tears burn the back of my eyes. I have to drop my gaze for a moment to gather myself.

“Is it too much to ask?” He insists. “What do you need? What do you want from me? Do you want to go back to Karou? Or do you want to remain by my side? I should warn you, I’ve been brought up to take what I want and assume it’s fine since I’m the king. I would like to keep things as they were—but we can’t sustain ourselves this way. So I need to change something.”

“It’s not too much to ask. I don’t think you’ve done anything worth asking forgiveness for. At least not more than I have done,” I say softly. If it really was my fault that he nearly turned into a demon, I should take responsibility.

“You only did what I asked of you. And you were put through much worse. I am sorry.”

“It’s fine—”

Let me apologize. Also, I want to assure you that I will try to change. If this is what you want. I am asking what you want.”

“I…” I have no idea. What do I want? Certainly, I don’t wish to return to my kingdom. Even thinking of the past day, I realize I don’t want to be away from him. “I want… I want to sing for you. I want to be yours.”

“Be my what?”

“Whatever it is you wish.”

“But what about what you want? I’m certain you don’t wish to be my garden slave.” I glance back up at him to see him smirking slightly. “That wasn’t a good fit for you.”

I feel his hand brushing my ass just lightly, and it startles me—and also makes me remember exactly what was done to me in the garden. To my shock, it arouses me. It is embarrassing, too, but the arousal that rushes through my lower body is so strong it’s uncomfortable.

“It may have been an adorable look for you, but it's not where you belong.”

“Okay,” I say, wanting him to stop talking about gardening. “That’s enough of that.”

“So if you are not picking my fruit trees, what do you want to do?”

“I want to be by your side.”

There’s a brief pause before Rai lifts his eyebrows again and says, “Go on.”

“Um…”

Why is this so hard? Have I been conditioned not to consider my own needs or desires?

“I think I want to sing for you. And I want to have sex with you.”

Rai’s expression changes to one of surprise.

“What? Really?”

“Yes.”

“Like, now?”

“Yes.” I am really ashamed. I can barely raise my face—but I can hear he is smiling from the tone of his voice. “Is that so wrong?”

“I’m just surprised.”

“Why?”

“Well, I forced you. I have been forcing you.”

“And?” I sigh softly.

That was wrong.”

“Do you want to fuck me or not?” I ask, now boldly meeting his gaze.

Again, a look of shock covers Rai’s expression.

“Well, of course, I do. There hasn’t been a time since we’ve met that I haven’t wanted to fuck you. Do you even have to ask?”

“You haven’t touched me since we’ve been here.”

“I’ve touched you.”

“Groomed me, perhaps. But not… not like you were.” I can’t keep a slight tone of resentment out of my voice.

“Are you angry?”

“No. I think I’m… hurt.”

Rai swallows—and he doesn’t speak for a moment.

“Come here.”

He doesn’t wait for me to obey. Instead, he pulls me into his lap and pushes my face against his chest. He is very naked—and gods, he’s as aroused as I am. I didn’t see before since he was under the blankets. But shit—easily as aroused as me.

Caressing my ears and letting his claws draw, he drags his fingers through my hair and down my back. It’s an utterly tender touch—and terribly arousing.

“You know, you were in the room when the shaman gave us his orders.”

“You’re the king!” I burst out. “You wouldn’t have listened to him if you really wanted me.”

“I want you—I desire you. And yes, I want to fuck you till you can’t breathe. I just also wanted you to get better. And I wanted to wait till I was sure it was what you wanted.”

“I do want it.”

When Rai doesn’t respond, I repeat my feelings a little more urgently.

“I have been waiting. You have kept me waiting.”

Rai actually laughs now.

“What’s so funny?” I feel slightly insulted.

“Nothing—it’s just a surprise.”

“What is?”

“You are.” He lowers his mouth to my ear and licks it—and not in a grooming fashion. This is expressing sexual desire. “I mean, I know you are responsive. But you spend a lot of time resisting me in the bedroom. A lot of time and energy resisting me and, it seems, your own impulses.”

I sigh exaggeratedly.

“What am I supposed to do?!” I burst. “Just attack you whenever I’m in the mood?”

“That would be much more direct. Yes.”

My ears bristle up and I tilt my head slightly. Does he mean this?

“I didn’t know you wanted this. I thought you were… putting up with me. Perhaps you had a good motivation to do so. Like to save yourself from punishment.”

“I actually, um,” I lower my voice quite a bit. “I actually don’t really mind that part.”

“What part?”

“The discipline part.”

“I’ve noticed. But your actions are confusing. It’s as though your body tells me yes while your mouth and actions tell me no.”

I sigh again and click my tongue. My chin is touched softly and I raise my face. I realize I just made a really disrespectful noise now—and I didn’t hold back at all—and Rai is just smiling at me.

“You can’t blame me. You have to admit your actions have been confusing. Not so much when you were in heat, but before and after.”

“It’s not as though I never touch you,” I start again. “I think I just don’t know how. Perhaps you were raised to take what you want. And if that’s the case, I think I was raised to obey my parents and my customs.”

“Don’t the royalty in Karou make the customs? They set precedent for their people?”

“Well, yes.”

“And so…?”

I blink a few times. I guess he has a point.

“I wonder if my parents didn’t consider me royalty. I think you were right—I was not being groomed to rule. I was being groomed to obey and serve.”

Rai laughs again.

“That’s rich. I would not call you my most obedient concubine.”

Hearing the word—concubine—makes me think of the other cats in the harem. I seethe inwardly when I think of them—not because of who they are, but of the fact that they are here to satisfy Rai’s sexual needs. I think I alone want that job.

“Would I be enough for you?”

“What do you mean?” Rai’s voice is much softer now.

“I mean if you marry me, will you still keep the harem?” I’m horribly embarrassed to ask the question. “I realize I can’t bear your children. And I may not have the experience that… some of your other concubines have. I wasn’t raised to be one. But might I be enough?”

“You wouldn’t want to include, say, Aoba in our bedroom activities?”

I glare up at him—in disbelief—and then I see he is teasing me.

“I’m kidding. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t tease you. But I find I can’t help myself.” He rubs my ears again. “Yes. If you wanted me to dissolve the harem, I would. You only need to ask.”

I blink in surprise.

“You’ve had people serving you sexually for… well. How old are you?”

“I’m 22.”

That’s a surprise. That means Aoba is older than he is. He has had that harem for seven years, however. That is a long time.

“Do you think you could be happy with me—and me alone?”

“I would try for you. I would try anything.”

Again, I’m surprised. 

“Though we might be able to have some fun if we kept the harem in place, too.” He is teasing me again. “You could be in charge of it if you like.”

“I don’t like.” I know as well as he does that I’d be a terrible manager of that place.

“I’m not sure you know what you like unless you’ve tried it. And I’ve spoken to Aoba.”

“About what?”

“Your behavior—when you spent the night with him.”

I blush and look down, feeling my ears get all hot.

“I have to confess, if you continue to blush like this, I’m pretty sure I will be fine with you and you alone. So tell me. Would you like me to dissolve it?”

“Maybe once we are married.”

“So you’d be happy if I were to, er, make use of it up until the wedding?”

I bristle my fur again.

“Gods, you’re adorable when you’re jealous. I should keep it in place just so I can see you get all cute and fluffy and jealous like that all the time.”

I don’t appreciate the teasing.

“You can tell me, you know,” Rai murmurs into my ear. “I think I want to make you happy. Will you let me try?”

I nod in response, feeling warmth fill up my chest.

“I can guess what you want—or you could save me the trouble and just tell me.”

“Would not having a harem make you unhappy?”

“Not if you were willing to serve me whenever I liked.”

Again, I hear his teasing voice.

“I’m being serious,” I whine softly. “I don’t want to ask you to do something you don’t want to do.”

“I’m asking you to do exactly that. I’ve had what I wanted for most of my life. Perhaps waiting or not having those things would be all right, too. And so, I will ask you again. Do you wish to marry me? Do you wish to be my partner? My equal?”

I really can’t believe I’m hearing this. It makes my heart ache—in the same way I remember Sanga feeling about Touga in those dreams. I feel like that is what we have.

“Yes. Please. Marry me.”

“Would you like to be engaged to me for a little longer than I planned? Do you want some time?”

“I would be happy to marry you today.”

Rai smiles.

“We are royalty and require a ceremony. So… let’s keep the timing. Would you like to write to your parents?”

Again—shock and surprise.

“Yes. Please.” Tears spill down my face and Rai clicks his tongue.

“Oy, oy. This is a happy thing, isn’t it? It’s a good thing, right? No tears. Don’t cry, little Sanga.”

I sniff a little but I can’t help it. My heart feels like it’s about to burst. And I turn around on his lap, straddling him, naked and completely aroused, and I throw my arms around his neck, kissing his lips, letting my tongue explore his mouth, letting my body melt against his.

Chapter Text

It’s a little weird—connecting sexually after that last conversation.

Not weird, really. It’s just different. Rai seems sort of hesitant—I mean, maybe more careful than hesitant. I can tell he’s eager to connect with me this way.

It’s nice that we both start out naked and in bed—and it’s a little chilly in the room. But instead of Rai just, well, helping himself or telling me what to do, he is spending time touching me, caressing me, and waiting for me to make a move.

“Why don’t you just do what you enjoy?” He suggests softly.

I look up at him, feeling a huge pressure on me. It didn’t occur to me that I would have to instigate things with him, but he is looking at me with an utterly indulgent expression.

“I, um, like what you do to me,” I start.

“I suspected. But it might be good—if you agree—for your sense of who you are to figure out and do what you want. And honestly, it would be helpful for me, too—both in terms of knowing what you like most and seeing you simply take it for yourself or ask for it.”

“Um, okay.” It’s really not okay. I’m not sure how I feel about it. But we are here now—and it feels like it’s been forever since we've had sex. Really, it hasn’t been more than a week, I think. It was hard for me to count the days with my recovery and medication. So it feels just a little unfamiliar and a little frightening.

“Relax. Just… take your time.”

I’m not afraid he will hurt me. It’s just I’m overwhelmed with the options and choices before me. So for now—I gaze over at Rai’s face and feel extremely drawn to his ears. It feels like forever since I groomed them. I reach out my hands and draw my claws, gently pulling them through the fur.

They feel a little different—fuller, somehow, and maybe plusher? A winter coat? They are so fluffy and soft, and he starts to purr when I pet them. That is only encouragement, in my book, so I get a little closer and start to groom them—tentatively. They are twitching more than usual. I wonder what it felt like—having immovable, permanent horns in their place. It’s a relief to twitch my own ears, as though being able to express my emotion with the movement of my ears and tail gets the feelings out of me. It feels to me like he is making up for the past week of not being able to twitch his ears, even as reserved as his movements are.

Soon, my tentative grooming turns to something a little wetter and a little hotter. It feels really good to groom him. It feels right. I’ve missed it. And I’m purring at this point and not bothering to suppress my voice when I do. I’m sure it’s loud, since I’m sighing right in his ear, and I’m also noticing a subtle pull of his shoulders as I lick each ear carefully. Is it sensitive? Ticklish?

He turns toward my body and licks my collarbone, tracing it gently. Usually, this kind of touch feels controlling—the desire to dominate me and control my sexual release. But today, it feels tender—and very welcome. Not that the controlling feeling has ever really felt unwelcome. I lift up my chin and let him trail soft kisses and gentle nips along my throat. I know in the past, it’s felt like I’ve been forced to submit to him this way—exposing the most vulnerable part of self to him. But today, it feels different. Almost as though I am choosing to reveal this part of me and offer it to him.

Rai pulls away for a moment and meets my gaze.

“Are you deliberately showing me your throat? Or have I conditioned you to do this?”

“…” I really don’t know how to answer.

“Which is it?” He’s insistent.

“Can’t you just shut up and take it as it comes?” I growl softly. I don’t want to discuss it. I have other priorities.

“I could,” he replies with a smile—and he keeps kissing me, this time meeting my lips. Touching my top lip first and then the bottom, my chin, my nose, my cheeks—he waits for me to open my mouth and let our tongues tangle. His gentleness is nice but grows slightly infuriating after some time.

I end up pushing him back against the bed and climbing on top of him, straddling his hips so my ass is resting against his erection. He feels utterly hot and hard—and so nice. Perhaps I want to take him in my mouth—but a flash of fear shoots through my chest the moment I start to shift around on top of him. I remember the last time I did that he passed out and grew horns. How do I know it wasn’t my doing?

Confusion shivers through my body, and my own hesitance becomes more than obvious.

“What’s the matter?”

I feel uncomfortable and my skin starts to feel tingly—it takes a moment to realize that it’s a song trying to escape my body. It wants to come out and connect to Rai—but I’m afraid to let it. What if it’s my song that brought all of this on?

“Konoe.”

My ears twitch when Rai calls my name softly. He’s watching me.

“Do you need a little more time? You seem… frightened.”

“N-no, not frightened. I just… I don’t know. I think I want to sing for you.”

He hasn’t asked me to sing—and he doesn’t—but he doesn’t look displeased at all.

“What if it’s my song that brought on your transformation?”

He watches me without replying.

“What if I sing for you and make you sick again?”

“You did not make me sick. If anything, it was me forcing you to sing that brought on any change at all. I think you should do what you want.”

“What if…?”

“Trust your instincts. I do. Do as you like.”

I don’t say anything for a moment, just sit on top of him and watch him, then look away, then watch him some more. Eventually, Rai sits up, keeping his hands on my waist so I slide down a little further against his cock. He also bends his knees so I can rest my back against his legs. Gods! His cock is so hard already!

“Are you waiting for me to give you a command?”

Am I? Maybe I am. I’m not sure what to do.

“Kitten, anything you want. I will say yes.”

I twitch my ears at his words. They are tempting. But I’m still nervous. For a moment, I wonder how he’d like it if we switched places, but I don’t feel confident enough to do that. He seems to be able to read my mind, though.

“I mean it. Anything.”

“Maybe, but I have to say it?” I whine softly. And I’ve since decided against switching positions and roles. I’m sure he grew those wings the last time I topped, and I don’t want to risk it happening again.

“Yes. You have to say it. Or just do it.” He is smiling at me—and I’ve missed this look when we’ve been together. It isn’t that he wouldn’t smile before. It’s just that this smile looks a lot more passionate and indulgent than the other one. The other one looked like he was anticipating something or was about to do something he knew better about doing. Actually, I didn't dislike that mischievous smile, either.

“You’d do anything I ask?”

“Sure.”

“Then take me like you did after I spent time with Aoba.”

The silver cat peers up at me—I’m still on his lap—and his eyebrow quirks.

“And how was that?”

“You, um, warmed me up first.”

Rai shifts underneath me, pulling away and moving back to the headboard. It’s a surprising reaction, I think, one I’ve never seen before.

“Wait just a minute,” he says. “Look at me.”

I look up at his face—I may have been staring at his chest and then lower at the silky white fur below his navel. He touches my chin.

“You didn’t find that felt like… punishment?”

“I want you to treat me like you did then," I insist, but I'm not answering his question. It did feel like punishment. But I think that's what I want right now.

“I think you’re going to have to be specific,” Rai states, crossing his arms. “I need to hear you say it.”

I click my tongue and look away—and he chuckles.

“So resistant. Almost as if you’re trying to be bratty.”

When he says the word “bratty,” my fur ruffles up—from my ears to the tip of my tail. I am, in fact, doing just that.

“I see.” He hums softly.

“Just…”

“If you can’t bring yourself to actually say it, why don’t you get in the position you want to be in, and I will play along.”

I sigh exasperatedly, but I obey. I feel my ears blushing as I do, however. First, I stand up from the bed, ignoring (to the best of my ability) that I am naked. I pull his legs over to the side of the bed, and he helps me along. He is sitting up on the side of the mattress, and then I kneel down in front of him, on the right side of his legs. I glance up at him as though to check this is okay.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” His voice comes out huskier than I expect.

I nod.

“Go ahead, then. Come on.”

I squeeze my eyes closed for a moment and then climb on top of his lap, face down, letting my legs hang over the side of the bed and my erection press against his thighs. I am resting my upper body on the mattress beside and behind him. I'm terribly embarrassed to be doing any such thing, even after being given permission to do just that!

At first, I’m afraid he isn’t going to do anything, but then I feel a gentle touch—which immediately becomes firmer—on my tail. Both hands—claws drawn—run from the base of my tail to the tip, one following the other. It feels so good, and I try to settle on his lap.

I can’t, of course, since I’m much too aroused and only getting more excited.

“Do you want it to hurt?”

“Um… just what I deserve.”

Rai chuckles again. 

“Hmpf. What you deserve…”

And then his hand moves to my bare skin, stroking my butt and my thighs, tracing the line where they meet.

“If we’re going to play like this, I need to know you remember your safewords.”

Shuddering with desire at the mere mention of safe words, I nod. I'm sure Rai notices my body's reaction when I hear another soft chuckle.

“Tell me.”

“Yellow if I am approaching my limit, red if I want you to stop," I reply, speaking directly into the mattress. I wonder if he remembers ignoring them before. But now, I have decided this is what I want. I am willing to risk this. It's what feels right. At least right now.

“Good boy.” My tail is caressed again and a wave of pleasure crashes through my chest at his praise. “You see, I don’t think it’s too much for you to ask for what you want. All you have to do is say, ‘I want you to spank me’ or ‘I want you to spank me till I come.’ Is that really so hard, kitten?”

Another shiver courses down my spine and fluffs up my tail. I am trying to keep my lips closed tight to prevent any sound from coming out.

Suddenly, the hand caressing my butt stops and moves away, landing right at the sit spot below my tail, catching both cheeks. The sound it makes is loud and embarrassing—but it feels amazing since he spreads out his fingers right after spanking me. I don't have time to suppress a sexy little sigh.

“I asked you a question, little Sanga. I expect an answer.”

“Mmm. No,” I murmur into the blanket. My hands are folded underneath my head, and I am waiting to dig the claws into the bedspread to keep me in position. My tail is tugged up at the base and I’m spanked again—a quick light slap—and his opens right afterward, sending little waves of pleasure through my body.

“No what?”

“Um. No, it’s not too much to ask.”

I’m spanked again—a little harder this time—a loud slapping sound that makes me twitch my ears and gasp again.

“Then ask. Nicely.”

“Um…” 

Spank, spank, spank. Three blows in a row—with his hand opening up and caressing me, while he pulls on my tail to force me to arch my back. It feels amazing!

“Ask.”

Breathlessly, I manage to reply.

“I—um—I want you to spank me. Please.”

“Why?” He is caressing me now, and gods—my body is heating up. Even after this little bit of play, I am hotter than I have been since I first went into heat!

“Because I have been disobedient.”

“Disobedient? In what way?”

Smack, smack. 

I gasp indulgently and rub my cock against his thighs.

“Don’t you come just yet. I haven’t given you permission to come. This is a punishment, kitten.”

“Ah—um… I grew wings? I made you grow wings?”

He spanks me another four times in a row—each cheek and then slightly lower—keeping his movements soft and pleasant, but not so soft that my skin isn’t tingling with heat. Each time he spanks me, my voice spills softly. My embarrassment at my reaction starts to dissolve into pleasure.

“And you think the wings displeased me?”

“I don’t know.”

Another four slaps on my ass make me claw the bedspread underneath my body. I kind of want to cover myself up—but I want him to keep going, even more.

“I think you do know.”

“Um…”

And a volley of rhythmic spanks follow my hesitant words—my skin heats up and tingles with just a tiny bit of pain, but even that pain dissolves into pleasure when his fingers spread against my skin. My cock is dripping onto his lap—and I know he can feel my arousal pressing against him.

I feel like I am awfully close to coming—but I hold back.

It doesn’t occur to me that I am actually crying out now each time his hand connects with my body, or that he is massaging my tail hard and rhythmically.

The blows stop suddenly—just in time, too. Since I am afraid I won’t be able to come back from this. I’m panting loud breaths, gasping loudly.

“Stand up,” he growls softly, and he pulls on my tail to encourage me to stand. “You know, if it’s been a while since we’ve connected, I should probably prepare you carefully. Why don’t you bring me the lube from the bedside table?”

I obey in an instant—realizing that this isn’t very different from how he was in the bedroom before. Except for one big difference. I’m not afraid. I’m not scared of him—at all. All I feel is pleasure and passion and more than extremely horny. 

“Good boy,” Rai says as he takes the jar from my hands. “Lie down on the bed, kitten. No, no. Keep your legs hanging off over the side. Yes, like that. Good kitten. Lift your tail.”

His brusque commands send something like electricity shooting from deep inside my ears through my chest, where it pools in my waist. He is caressing my entrance lightly—then suddenly pushes a cold (and lubricated) finger just inside the ring of muscle. The sudden intrusion isn’t painful, but it’s surprising. So I lower my tail for a moment.

In an instant, I’m spanked again.

“It’s your place to obey, little Sanga. I said to lift your tail. And… turn your face to the side. I want to watch you.”

My ears burn with heat but I obey. I want him to watch me, too. A small protesting sound escapes my lips when he sinks his finger deep inside me. I can feel my insides grabbing him—and I am anticipating this, eager for this. I lift up onto my toes and try to thrust back against him and smack! I’m spanked again, making me cry out in a strange voice.

“Just relax, kitten.”

My chest is humming and vibrating and I want to sing—but he hasn’t asked me to. And part of me is afraid since I think I may have caused his initial transformation. And now, the cat I fell in love with is finally with me again. So I hold it in.

Soon he has two fingers inside my body and is spreading them apart. He also guides my body away from the bed slightly—which feels frustrating since I lose contact with my cock against the mattress. But I’m pleased—and can’t help expressing this pleasure—when his other hand wraps around my cock and starts to stroke, matching the rhythm from his fingers inside my body.

It isn’t long before two fingers are comfortable—and I want more. I get it when he pushes a third finger into my body, deliberately dragging them against that magic spot inside my body. That makes my legs stiffen and my back arch, my tail waving side to side in a demanding way.

And soon, I want him inside me—all of him—but he is still tending to my preparations.

“Please…”

When I beg, his fingers slip out of me and he slaps my ass again, making me cry out in what is certainly pleasure—and then pushes back inside.

“Patience, kitten.”

After another few minutes, I’m sure I’m ready and I beg again.

“Please—”

He pulls out of me again and spanks me, twice more. My fur bristles up and my fangs draw against my arm. I’ve been trying to muffle the vulgar noise spilling from inside me.

“You need to be specific with your requests. I told you. If you disobey, I will spank you again.”

To be on the safe side, he does indeed spank me again—lightly and flattening his fingers out against my skin. His hand feels oddly cool—though it must be because my ass is so hot.

“Gods, you’re a gorgeous creature. Your cheeks are pink—both sets—and they match your ears.” He lowers his mouth to my ears. “Even the base of your pretty white tail is flushed.”

“Mmmm…” I purr softly. “I want…” I lower my voice a little. “I want you inside me.”

My chest feels heavy and light at the same time, and I feel his weight disappear from the side of the bed. He pulls his fingers out of my body and spanks me twice more, making me gasp lewdly. My fangs dig into my forearms—and I love the feeling when he grabs my hips with his fingers.

A second later, his cock—erect and hot—presses inside me. For a few moments, it’s painful. It has been a while, after all—but the feeling isn’t only painful. A rush of desire heavy enough to make me lightheaded floods my lower body, making my cock stiffen uncontrollably. For a minute, I’m afraid I might come right then—right as he is penetrating me—and so I wait, biting back the urge.

He leans over my back—his body radiating warmth in the chilly temperature of the bedroom. A soft, indulgent gasp slips into my ear and goes straight to my hips. He licks my ear and bites the tip—harder than I expect—and one of his hands moves around to my front, grasping my cock at the base.

“Shit.” It’s whispered very softly—and I agree with the sentiment entirely.

Gently, he rocks his hips. He isn’t moving very much, but any pain I was experiencing has melted into pleasure—and I am waiting for him to move his hand on my cock or brush that spot inside me.

“Mmmm…” I purr again, the song pressing hard against my chest. No—it’s flooded my body and is simmering just beneath my skin. I have the strange feeling that Rai can feel the song rumbling beneath my skin, especially when I feel his hand stroking my ass gently. “Please…”

Again—the hand against my hips gives me a soft little spank, making me yelp. But it isn’t at all painful. It’s just heavy lust bordering on a climax. The hand around the base of my dick squeezes a little tighter, making me feel like I can’t come.

“Be specific,” the husky voice purrs in my ear. “Tell me what you want.”

“Fuck me,” I whisper. “Hard and fast and thorough—so I can’t walk tomorrow!”

The cat behind me freezes for a moment, and I feel Rai’s cock getting even stiffer inside my body. It feels oddly powerful—as though my words can make him react.

I’m so distracted by this—that the minute he starts thrusting into my body, aiming for the place I feel it the most, his hand still gripping my cock hard at the base to prevent my climax, my song spills out suddenly and with violence.

It bursts out like a firework, making the room bright and gorgeous, blinding, almost—and Rai gasps when the song sinks into his ears and heart. It feels right now—no longer is he absorbing my melody. He’s listening to it, gaining power from it, but responding with something that feels soft and gentle, despite how hard he is thrusting into me.

It feels loving.

Even with him squeezing my cock, I am slowly coming completely undone. My knees get weak, my breath gets too loud to hold back, and my voice spills. All I can think of is: more, more, more—and it feels like I hear Rai whisper, “Anything you like.”

Pleasure shivers down my the length of my tail, and strangely it feels like Rai knows where the pleasure is since he traces its path with my claws. When I relax a little, I feel his emotions—lust and passion and pleasure in suffocating amounts. He is barely hanging on—and I realize he is not going to tell me when to climax.

His hand loosens around my cock and starts to move—and my body is being moved so much from him thrusting into me that it feels like his hand is fucking me. 

Indulgent sighs and gasps spill with my song, and I close my eyes and relax—dwelling in the sensations and feelings—and then I see that cliff in my mind. I know all I have to do is jump, and I will come. All these feelings inside me have built up and are pushing me over to that ledge—and I feel my insides tightening up around Rai, ready for release.

With a loud, wet purr, I open my mouth and cry out—just as I’m overcome with my climax. He hasn’t commanded me to come—he doesn’t have to—and it feels even more intense because he hasn’t said anything. But I hear his breath stuttering behind me, and he grabs the tip of my tail in-between his claws and sinks his fangs into the nape of my neck.

It sends a wave of strange paralyzation through my body—from where his teeth have sunk into my scruff—freezing my climax and extending it in an amazing, unfamiliar way. Tears spill from my eyes as he rides out his climax—taking a few more deep thrusts—and then several slow ones—into my body—and I feel him spill hot inside me.

The moment he releases my scruff, my climax finishes, shivering through my body and squeezing around him tight—leaving me exhausted like I just ran a mile. I collapse against the bed—but am moved right away, pulled into his arms as he lets his body flop back against the mattress. He is caressing my back, my shoulders, my tail, my ass—which is still strangely warm.

“Oh, my gods. That was hot.”

I can’t reply. Instead, I am panting and trying to catch my breath—letting the song settle and fade out. I feel claws in my hair and the fur of my ears and then his tongue, grooming me and claiming me—as his. 

As his partner. His equal.

Tears spill down my cheeks that I can’t hold back, but I am able to suppress a loud, gasping sob. I’m filled with relief and relaxation. And I don’t want to be anywhere else except in this cat’s arms.