Lightning cracked furiously across the darkened sky and thunder rolled in the distance not far behind. Great arches of electricity lit up the planes of sand and glittering glass formations and cast horrific light on the absolute carnage littering the expanse of a battlefield.
It was beautiful in a way.
The smell of burning flesh, blood, and ozone permeated the air and yet somehow did not detract from the display, though the tall figure standing silently with sword in hand paid the noise and lights no mind.
He was much too distracted by the unexpected turn of events.
Belial stared down at the figure sprawled before his feet, taking in their pale skin and the patterns that marked it all along their back and thighs and arms in sweeps of reds and blacks.
There were even scales and ridges swooping along their hips and shoulders slightly hidden by the tattered remnants of their clothes, but for the most part they appeared mostly human at the moment.
He knew them to be half mortal and able to shift between the form of a man and devil and yet what lay before him was something visibly more in-between.
Odd, but no less appealing to Belial. After all, he’d never seen a half-breed participate in the season of heat before, let alone taken one himself. They were strong, stronger than he would have ever imagined.
Perhaps it was normal. Silently, he eyed the streaks of milky white smearing the inside of their thighs and felt a low pleased rumble start in his chest that they did not even bother trying to suppress.
Such a pretty thing and so powerful, but still so young.
Belial could tell just from the feeling they evoked in him that they had barely even begun to come into their own strength. And what devastating strength it was. His tongue flickered out, tasting the air with a hum of pleasure.
There was no mistaking their lineage. Even if he couldn't already tell by their looks and their power alone, he could taste the proof in their blood. The bond that Belial had begun between them with his bite was still incomplete without a match, but the bare bones were already present and settling nicely between them, tantilizing and new and already so intoxicating as he focused on them for just a moment.
With a low rasping laugh, Belial circled around their sprawled form, taking in their coloring from the top of their silver head to their booted feet, purring faintly at their intermingling scent – a mix of heat and musk and something intrinsically them. It sent his blood rushing, arousal threatening to overtake him once again.
Even though taking them while they slept wouldn’t be nearly as fun as it would be if they were awake, it was surely a tempting thought. They looked so appealing laying there, a complete and utter mess. Belial swiped his tongue across his needlepoint teeth in thought, contemplating the skin of their bare inner thighs. He wanted to lick them clean.
However, before he could come to a final decision there was an avian cry from above, high and shrill and melodic. Belial tipped his head upward as the sound of wings beating against the angry sky grew closer and closer and a form swooped down to land before him.
A cloud of dust and feathers rose before being swept away in a gust of heated air and the figure uncurled partially to reveal another devil, though this one was lithe and slender.
Feathers bled into soft pale skin and a beautiful feral face peered up at him through a glossy fall of red hair. “My Lord Belial,” They breathed, golden eyes sharp and attentive.
At once, he recognized this one's kind. Memories of their numbers swooping through deathly crags that rose up into the sky of another layer of Hell's dimensions. He remembered their cries and how they rained death upon their enemies with their feathers that cut like knives, impaling their enemies in waves.
A kind of fury-harpy with alluring feathers kneeled before him. Blood-red coloring that faded into black at the ends covered their limbs and the wings on their back, beautiful and strong as any decent blade.
Belial tilted his head, scenting the arousal wafting off of them as his tail curled by his ankle in contemplation.
Bold of them, he thought, to come so close let alone dare speak to him directly. The leftovers from the horde his new mate had battled and decimated upon their arrival still lingered at the edges of the battlefield and continued their presence made his hackles rise.
It was true that during this time of season, he was slightly more tolerant to those that might be willing to risk their lives for the chance at bedding him...or being bed by him, wandering his territories. He wasn't particularly picky and they usually didn't get far, but occasionally some made it far enough in to pique his interest.
More often than not, they were torn to pieces during the initial dual...
Yes, there had been conquests in the past, forces that drew him from his fortress to traverse the sands, but none that had ever walked his domain did he find interesting enough or pleasing enough to keep.
It had been so long since the last time he'd been truly awake. When was the last time he'd stretched his legs so to speak in such a manner? The war? Before that? Belial narrowed his eyes and looked out at the audience they had garnered.
He may have been more lenient about wanderers during the mating season in general, but he would have thought they’d know better than to linger nearby after he'd made a choice. Apparently, they were all willing to risk their lives for a chance at a closer look. How foolish.
The scattered remains of their kin apparently weren’t warning enough of a deterrent. And this one, a harpy, approached him with such open lust and calculation in their eyes...irritated him.
Under different circumstances he might have found the harpy appealing. They were quite beautiful and yes, if they had come earlier, he might have been tempted to satisfy the itch with their body, but when they turned their eyes on the red and black form still sprawled by his feet, Belial bared his teeth at their audacity.
“Forgive me for interrupting,” they continued, voice nearly rasping with need and more than likely a good amount of fear as Belial's growing ire began to permeate the air. “But you are aware ,of course, of just who that is.”
Their feathers quivered with excitement, bird-like hands and feet tipped with razor-sharp claws clicking against broken rocks and sand melted into glass.
The lingering leftovers from the horde, crept closer on the outskirts, smelling of sickly sweet arousal and bloodlust, their hissing voices beginning to rise from faint whispering to a low clamor.
When Belial did not dignify them with an answer the harpy forged on. “Son of Sparda.” The words fell from their lips in a purr and they smiled showing jagged fangs like knives.
It occurred then to Belial that at some point, he and his new mate had accumulated quite an audience.
He'd known that there had still been many others in the distance, too intimidated to come forth after the first wave had been decimated. The fact that they hadn't all chosen to flee for their lives outright, especially after he'd arrived is what truly surprised him.
“We knew that a spawn of the traitor Sparda still lived." The harpy hissed. "They have been hunting our kin down like dogs across the human realm, only to land in Hell's maw like a sweet morsel thrown to sharks.”
They threw back their head and laughed, covering their mouth with the back of their claw. “To think that for years we believed there to be only one, but no, there are two!”
Belial did not let his surprise nor his growing intrigue show Ihis face, preferring to let them continue to talk.
“Some of us felt them fall. But we don't know where the other has gone.”
Belial had felt the shift when the tower rose and the gateway between the human world and the demon world opened for a short time. He wondered if the half devil laying before him was the one responsible somehow...or the other. Sparda was the one who envoked the seal. Logically it would take his blood to undo it.
“But no matter,” the harpy continued and Belial was forced to put his musings aside for the moment once again. “His blood has been an enemy of Hell for so long and now you have brought him low, my Lord.”
The other demons that watched them still, chittered and cooed from afar, the faint cry of “kill him” and other more vicious urgings being thrown out. Their voises rose as the spectators became more and more agitated, waiting for the Lord of the land to strike. “How wonderful.”
Their praise meant nothing to him.
Perhaps, at another point in time it might have filled Belial with some sense of amusement, but here and now it only served to further irritated him. To have them all watching and know that they had all seen things that were meant for himself alone was the gravest offense.
“Once you’ve had your fill of him…” He didn’t need for them to finish to know what they thought. Belial could smell the slick spreading between the harpy's thighs from where he stood and his blood boiled. Their honeyed eyes had gone glassy midway through their sentence but it meant nothing to him. “Lord Mundus will be so pleased to hear of this.”
Annoying and such a pity overall.
The change was nearly instantaneous. Without warning, Belial's body appeared to lose some of its tension. He exhaled in a long low sigh, his face smoothing over into a completely neutral mask, and the horde of spectators went abruptly silent.
There was a pressure building in the air, much different from the heat already making the air more than cloying and wrought with anticipation and dread.
Of course, Mundus.
This was part of the reason Belial hated dealing with most outsiders. Not that he actually could blame them considering not obeying meant exile and death at the very least, but their arrogance and delusions of grandeur often grated.
Unless they were powerful enough or useful enough to remain mostly neutral to any and all things that did not concern their immediate territory, being slave to the whims of the more powerful was a nearly impossible fate to escape.
Belial remembered the time when the war with the mortal realm was at its peak and their demonic kin of all shapes and sizes spilled through the gates in waves.
The taste of the blood of his enemies and the glory of battle was rapturous, but Belial had cared very little for conquering the mortal realm all together. Such a thing would upset the balance.
There were many who shared Belial’s views. When Sparda turned his blade on Hell in defense of the human realm, it surprised him somewhat, but he hadn’t truly cared in particular.
The gates of Hell were shut as a result, but that wasn't the only way in or out. Many demons could project shades of themselves to the human realm. There were other ways as well, even if they were perilous and unstable.
No, Mundus’ grudge was not his concern.
Also, he'd never particularly cared for the bastard one way or the other. The harpy made to speak again, but never got the chance. In the span of a second, Belial was directly before them and when they rose abruptly from their knee in alarm, he buried the length of his blade in their gut.
He twisted the blade cruelly, towering over their form with an air of malice that made those within the gathered horde turn and flee immediately.
The harpy choked, blood spilling from their mouth as their claws scrabbled uselessly at Gehenna’s dark edge, but Belial's hand closed around their throat.
He pulled them close, staring into their eyes and looking over their face with indifference as he tightened his hold.
They gagged, clawing desperately at his forearm with their talons, but it wasn't enough to even nick him, let alone get through the natural armor encasing his forearms like gauntlets.
“I care little for what would please Mundus.” Belial said, adjusting his grip on the dark golden hilt of his broadsword, the black blade gleaming softly even while coated in blood.
“Too bad for you.”
And too bad for nearly every demon who’d lingered at the edge of the battlefield it would seem. The masses turned and fled for their lives, but their lives had already been forfeit.
They had kindled his wrath so he would hunt them all down and silence them.
Annoying, but a quick workout would help to momentarily cool the fire in his blood. It really was such a pity, but Belial paid little heed to the screams of the beautiful harpy-devil in his clutches as he used his blade to rend them to pieces
A scream went up into the air a distance away, full of rage and anguish and Belial turned his head towards it. What he saw was a cloud of swirling angry red feathers much like those of the harpy he’d just slain.
A pair of piercing amber colored eyes watched him from the cloud for a moment before the feathers swirled around the vaguest shape of a body and disappeared from sight.
Further irritated, Belial bared his fangs. Blood coated the sand beneath his feet and he wasted little time in tossing the halved corpse away from him. Without sparing the twitching pieces a glance, the natural battle mask that had initially split to reveal his true face slid down again.
The teeth fit together seamlessly and then pulled apart once more to reveal a mouth both terrifyingly wide and full of even more menacing teeth.
His long tongue rolled from his mouth to taste the fear of the leftover demons and with a snarl he spread his wings to take flight, intent on hunting down the rest of his escaping prey.
His new mate would be fine where he’d left them for the moment and though it aggravated him immensely to leave them so unattended, this was necessary.
They couldn’t have word spreading too quickly and Belial did not want to be interrupted again. There would be work to do in the future, but this bit of clean up would have to suffice for the time being.
Screams rang shrilly through the air, mingling with the sound of thunder and then slowly began to diminish. It was almost a tedious affair to Belial considering none of them were powerful enough to offer him a decent battle, but it didn't take terribly long.
The rest of the leftovers were even weaker than he'd expected (though apparently strong enough to thing that they stood a chance coming here in the first place, which was annoying) but it made silencing them that much easier. His mate had not even twitched by the time Belial returned to their side, untouched and still dead to the world.
He couldn’t find the other harpy, but he wasn’t worried. What would come would come.
Belial flicked the bit of gore that lingered at the edge of his black blade before willing the entire weapon away in a arch of pale light, electricity dancing along his fingertips. On his way back to the red devil's side, he stopped momentarily next to their silver broadsword which stood jutting out of the sand where he'd thrown it during their initial battle. The skull seemed to glare at him in challenge
It's hilt gleamed faintly in the pale reddish light and Belial canted his head, noting the low thrum of power coming from it. All semi-sentient weapons felt in such ways.
He reached out for the hilt and felt it vibrate, unsettled with being touched by anyone that wasn't its own master. Despite the borderline anger he could feel from the sword, Belial wrapped his hand around the hilt and pulled it free.
The broadsword was obviously not content to be wielded by him of course, but that was no real issue. After all, Belial had no intention of keeping it and would return it to its rightful owner as soon as he was able.
With a pulse of energy and his will, he sent the blade away to dwell with his own weapon, Gehenna. That taken care of, he made his way to his mate's side once more.
“Hmm.” He tilted his horned head and he peered down at them in contemplation. Belial had hoped they might have awakened by then, but this was just as well.
They should rest for as long as possible, so that when they awoke he could have a taste of them again.
Baring his teeth in a parody of a grin, Belial leaned down and easily hefted their limp form into his arms, cradling them to his chest.
A bead of sweat trailed down their temple and his tongue snaked out to catch it, trailing along the edge of their chin and over their lips.
Unfortunately, they didn't respond much to his ministrations save for a faint sound of discontent in response to being jostled, their face turning into his chest unconsciously.
He waited but there was no further movement and they remained silent and still even when he nosed at the crown of their head. Laying pliant in his arms, Belial couldn't help but huff at how endearing he already found them in general.
He wanted to be annoyed at his own response to them but couldn't even muster the will for that; he was too pleased and sated for the time being. The small bloodbath had also worked to cool the flames of his own instincts temporarily, but that would not last forever.
Belial could feel it just below his skin and soon the urge to breed would be back in full force once again, but by then he planned to be far away from prying eyes and the storm that seemed to be growing more violent by the moment.
With a flex of powerful wings, Belial took to the air, his prize held carefully in his arms. He could have used a rift, but preferred to stretch his wings while he still had the chance.
The electrical storm that had been brewing and rising for days was starting to turn vicious, but Belial paid the bolts that shot past his form and struck the ground no heed. The aftershocks would no doubt turn the mix of sand and earth to smooth pits of glass, such was the nature of these cruel lands.
In the distance, the fortress that Belial called home stood piercing the sky like a dark jagged blade. The entire mass of it floated free of the surrounding lands, a gaping cavernous pit beneath, and from within it seemed to pulse like a heart at the center of this relative wasteland. It called to him.
He could feel the heat of it even from such a distance, the swirling pit beneath the fortress glowing sinisterly and brightening with every strike from the electrical storm.
His mate's body stiffened in his arms, their face contorting in discomfort. Even unconscious they could feel the pulse of centuries-old power and they responded, unsettled, goosebumps breaking out along their skin, their markings broadening and deepening.
Belial didn't even bother to try and soothe them.
The wail of the wind would drown out any sounds he might have made and it mattered little in the long run. It was simply something they would have to grow used to with time.
The closer they came to the fortress, the more the form in his arms began to shift and struggle.
Slowly, their body began to change again, flaring with arches of red lightning until they’d turned completely into the young devil Belial had taken against the ground.
They snarled viciously as he touched down, writhing blindly as he carried them to of the towering entrance of fortress. The surface of the doorway cracked open like a shell, splitting jaggedly to reveal a pulsing veil of light.
Snarls sounded from inside in response to the commotion and three lithe four-legged creatures began to slink through the gaping entrance, their teeth bared in elongated muzzles and armored tails lashing behind them.
Each of the beasts were about as high as Belial's hip and the biggest one with the horn jutting from its forehead, the leader, walked at the head. It stepped forth to scent the air and warbled faintly in question. They were obviously unsettled given their continued noises of curiosity and agitation, but Belial only had eyes for the struggling devil in his arms.
The young half-devil had finally opened their eyes but they were glassy and unfocused, the glow in them faint and murky. Instantly Belial knew that they were not truly cognizant of their actions; just the body reacting on instincts and feelings in a bid to protect itself and get whatever it was it felt it needed at the time.
They thrashed violently, attempting to buck from his hold all together, but Belial held them still and caught their hands as their claws went swinging for his face.
Circling them both, the three beasts that worked to guard his home obviously did not enjoy the apparent aggression dealt towards their master. Still, they were good obedient pets. They knew better than to go attacking without permission, especially when their master was holding the person in question.
They could also no doubt smell his scent all over the red devil and knew better than to get too close, let alone do anything that might irritate their master this time of year.
The beasts were strong, but no match for their master and Belial would not be happy to hurt them.
A growl issued from his throat and almost instantly his pets stopped their circling, trotting round to stand at his back and follow at his heels.
Warbling faintly in intrigue, the beasts come as close as they dared, scenting the air, but otherwise remaining at a decent distance, their scales rising and falling at intervals.
Belial chuckled at their cautiousness, keeping a grip on his struggling mate's body and when the thrashing became too aggressive, maneuvered them onto his shoulder.
A bit undignified perhaps, but it kept them from constantly trying to go for his eyes. Well, the place where his eyes should have been at the moment. The change to his facial structure made it infinitely harder to do any real damage, but it was the principle of the matter.
Hooking his arm tightly around the backs of their thighs, he carried them through the threshold, a wave of heat and electrical currents washing over them as they passed through. The covering that functioned as a door quivered before sliding down and then sealing shut again with a sharp glow that died seconds after.
A massive monster of living materials and metal infused with demonic energy, the fortress pulsed with life. It pressed down all around them despite how open what functioned as the main hall was.
It was comforting to Belial in a way. It breathed and he breathed with it, his massive wings flexing at his back. His pets slunk away like liquid on svelte muscular legs, their armored bodies glittering black and purple as they began to scale the dark walls around them.
That was apparently the final straw as far as his still struggling mate was concerned.
Their roar was a piercing thing, violent and jarring. Belial grunted in pain as their claws tore through the tough hide of his back and left bleeding trenches. Their sharp knee dug sharply into his chest and he was forced to release them.
The beasts watching from the walls and archways roared, hissing and chittering but still they did not come down to attack.
The young devil rolled from his shoulder and immediately jumped back, putting quite a bit of distance between them and Belial watched in cautious amusement as they crouched, their much smaller wings stretched out in a threat display.
Their teeth were bared, hazy eyes glowing faintly red and though Belial had no doubt that they would happily tear him to pieces given the chance, he could smell the arousal coming off them.
The smell of slick and the remnants of his own release smearing their skin made his mouth water and Belial turned fully to face them, his wings arching up and out in a clear challenge.
He only had to wait a few seconds more before they charged him head on, the cries of his beasts rising around them as the red devil drove him through a pillar and into a wall.
The impact left the wall slightly concave, icor oozing out steadily around them from the cracks and the fortress made a noise like something in pain and extremely unhappy about the damage despite the fact that it would easily heal. Belial sent a silent apology up, but as his intended proceeded to snarl and tear into his chest and he was forced to focus on them lest he lose more flesh to them.
Harshly, Belial wrapped his hands around their wrists and pulled their claws from his wounds, the sound of their fingers sliding free of his chest particularly wet and messy.
They gnashed their teeth and leaned forward as if they intended to bite a chunk of out any part of him they could reach and Belial laughed sharply before violently headbutting them in the face.
It stunned them, the shock sending them rearing back with a oar of pain and rage and Belial took the advantage, his tail coming round to wrap around their waist and yank them off completely.
He flung them violently away and began to extricate himself from the crater in the wall, watching as they rolled across the room before coming to a stop with their claws dug in the floor.
The beasts watching them from above were basically howling by then, screeching excitedly as they skittered across the ceiling and Belial was ready when the red devil charged him again.
The ground beneath their feet and the walls around them shook with the fury of the red devil's frenzied attacks.
This was not the smooth if somewhat reckless pattern of movements Belial was used to from before, dry wit rolling off of them in waves despite the discomfort of a slowly escalating heat, cocky but no less dangerous. This was pure animal. Beastly.
A blow to the head whited Belial's vision for just a moment and then the greater devil decided enough was enough. The young devil's clawed red hand took hold of Belial's face in a powerful grip but he wrenched their hand free by the wrist and jerked them to the side.
He was quick to catch them by the throat next and though they struggled and howled, he lifted them quite easily. Their legged kicked at his chest futilely at he smiled.
With a snarl, Belial brought them down to the floor, the material caving in from the impact and cracking around them.
The fortress made another noise of irritation and groaned like a shifting mountain, but the beasts chittering from the ceiling slowly began to quiet, though he could still hear them hopping and scurrying across the surface.
Thankfully his mate was quite stunned from the impact, but not terribly injured though he already knew that any damage done to them would heal up soon enough. He didn't even feel particularly bad about the sharp and high noise they made as he pressed them more firmly into the broken floor.
They were shaking, he noted.
Glowing red eyes slid toward him listlessly as they panted, twitching with aborted movements as Belial held them down. The low growl issuing from Belial's throat slowly but surely morphed into a deep purr and the form beneath him stiffened before going deliciously pliant.
Their hand came up the curl around Belial's forearm and though they squeezed until their claws drew blood they did not actively try to remove him. With a sub-vocal whine, they tried to turn more onto their side, keening when Belial barely allowed them to move at all.
Pleased, Belial bared his monstrous teeth in a grin before allowing the organic mask to crack and split sliding away to reveal his true face once again. He pulled them up by their throat and took their mouth in a biting kiss, stealing what little breath he deigned to allow them in the first place.
The soft breathy noises they made as he plundered their mouth made his blood rush and he chuckled as he pulled away, his tongue lingering for a moment to savor their taste.
They appeared quite listless, fine tremors running through their body and though Belial was tempted to have them again on the floor of the entry hall right then and there, the eyes of his beastly pets made his instincts prickle with territorial impulses.
With a hiss, Belial pressed their body back to the floor and rolled them completely onto their stomach, ignoring the slight bit of squirming they did. “Hush,” he murmured, power building around them. “I'll take care of it in a moment.”
A portal like the one he'd used to arrive in the wastelands opened directly beneath them and slowly began to engulf them both.
Belial was forced to put more pressure on his mate as their squirming gradually turned into more violent thrashing. They were obviously unused to the feeling of travel in such a manner, but it was necessary.
The bedchamber would be more comfortable for them both and there he could take more time to learn their body. Trying to look over their shoulder only to be ruthlessly shoved down, they whined and Belial shushed them, smirking as the portal took them in.
His lithe beasts watched avidly from above, their heads bobbing in curiosity and their eyes glittering pale poisonous green, as their master disappeared with his intended into the depths.