It was as cold and dark as it always was inside Solticidae’s cave when the local Lamia, the only other monster who actually spoke to him, said he was moving away. He had not visited often before that, certainly, mostly just delivering food every now and then to make sure Salt (as the Lamia called him, a nickname he had grown quite fond of) did not starve when nothing fell or wandered into the labyrinthine caves he called home. As was in his nature, he made threats, rather than bargains, to try to get the snake to stay. Since then, though there had been no actual change, the caves felt a little darker, a little colder, than they had when Salt felt he had a friend on the surface.
This particular day, he stared through a crack in the cave walls, at the sunlight seeping through. His little pet human, whom he’d nicknamed Butterfly, was asleep on the web. Though she was warm, and soft, and slowly coming to dislike him less each day, he still felt cold. True, there was a fondness in his heart for her—He would not have kept her, would not take care of her, would not fight his nature to try to make her like him, were it otherwise. Yet, on this day, rather than simply hope that eventually she would like him, and that it would warm his soul again if she did, he instead wondered how she felt.
Butterfly had been with him for a few months, by now. In that time, she had not seen another thinking being besides him. Contemplating his own loneliness made him realize she may be lonesome as well, despite both his positive and negative attentions to her. Indeed, Salt had been doing his best to keep her clean, fed, and even comfortable, against his sadistic nature. He even gave her whole days of rest. Though he doubted she believed him at all, he really did mean it when he said that he loved her. That she was a good pet. There was even a chance he cared more than he’d ever admit to her.
His long-winded thoughts were interrupted by a small whimper.
“S-Salt…?” Butterfly’s voice echoed slightly in the cave, and he turned to her nude form, wearing only the rope-like webbing he so loved tying her in.
“Yes, little Butterfly?” Salt asked, with a tilt of his head. It was not often that she spoke at all, and it was possible this was the only time she had called out to him. He let his eyes wander across her body, trying to see if there was anything wrong that he hadn’t caused. Perhaps a wound he hadn’t cleaned properly after scratching her, or a twist from a bad rope position.
She clearly sensed his confusion at her speaking to him, and shrank back into herself as much as was possible for someone who had already been tied pretty tightly against themselves.
“...Are you okay?” She murmured, only able to be heard thanks to the acoustics of the cave.
Salt stared for a good minute in utter bewilderment.
“It is… Not like you, to be concerned for me. You have no need to be. We Spiderkyn are far stronger than your kind. If anyone is to worry for anyone here, it should be me, worrying for my little pet,” Salt looked away as he answered, looking again to the sunlight.
“It’s not like you to mope.” She responded with unexpected swiftness. Salt stood, and slowly walked over to her. As he did, he could see her fear increasing. With each step, her gaze fell, her heart rate increased, her breathing became more shallow. He smirked down at her, and licked his sharp teeth.
“And who said I was moping, little Butterfly? Have I not been giving you enough attention, perhaps? It has been a while since I… Dragged my nails across your skin… Or choked you….” Chuckling as he watched her cringe, the thought occurred to him that while his reaction would be normal, maybe even romantic, to other Spiderkyn, especially already-mated Spiderkyn, that perhaps the human deserved an answer. The thought made him sigh, and slowly lower himself to sit in front of her, folding his less humanoid legs around his torso. “Perhaps… I have been moping.”
Butterfly frowned, and tilted her head at him, clearly signaling for him to continue, but afraid to speak again, in case it may anger him. And so, he explained the feelings of loneliness. After losing his whole species, and then losing the one friend he’d had for the last several years, even having her as a pet was not enough. When she seemed truly saddened by this knowledge, he looked away.
“I have… Also been concerned I may be making you feel the same,” He admitted, weakly. This was entirely unlike him, and they both knew it. The look Butterfly gave him in reply made him chuckle, despite it all. He loved when she looked so helpless and lost, even if it was for a reason like this. It was too precious.
There was a long silence after that, as Salt reminisced over his last conversation with his old friend, before the move. Suddenly, a thought came to him.
“I think, perhaps, another human may… Help… With that, however.” He announced, in a formal, matter-of-fact tone. The Lamia had mentioned having a human pet as well, and Salt had already threatened to steal it from him. Another human may be just what the den needed. “I… Know where to find one…”
Terror crossed Butterfly’s face, and Salt laughed, reaching out to cup that face in his hands, grinning at her, shifting his legs, both humanoid and spider, to be a bit more open. A clawed thumb rubbed her cheek, barely touching the claw to her at all, letting the threat of being cut race through his beloved pet’s mind.
“If you look at me like that, you won’t be getting any more rest today. And I thought we agreed you need rest days, once in a while, for the good of both of us,” He playfully threatened, before releasing her again. “With how pleased you were to receive flowers, I believe you will quite enjoy this gift. It may take me a while to bring back, though… So I must decide what you need… To withstand the wait…”
Butterfly shifted anxiously in her bindings, as he moved his face in towards her, the nature of their relationship leaving her wondering whether he would kiss her, bite her, or whisper more threats in her ear. Instead, it was none of the above.
“Is this current binding comfortable enough? Or, shall I take you down, and tie you another way, before my journey? We have until sundown, as I would rather not go to the surface in the full light of day.” All eight of his eyes trained themselves to her face, looking to detect if she lied to him in her answer; She shook her head, pouting ever so slightly, and squirming once more. Now, this was the behavior he was used to. Quiet, submissive, bending to his will, yet still not entirely without her own will and feelings. Another chuckle, and he leaned back from her.
His long, razor-sharp claws dragged against her bare skin, the contact gentle, yet threatening, as he made his way to the bindings. At the moment, Butterfly was bound in a fairly standard way, which he was quite fond of. Arms behind her back, elbows at ninety degrees, and her legs forced open, with various knots across her torso, accentuating her curves, pressing into her deliciously. Deftly moving his hands across her body, each time he encountered a rope, he sliced it, making it a point to return his claws to her soft skin as soon as a new inch of it was freed. The imprints the ropes left were not only beautiful, but sensitive as well, and he loved watching her shiver from the feeling.
“Have I… Ever told you… About my… Other friend? The snake? Or, was today the first time I have mentioned him to you?” He asked, as he began using all of his limbs to tie her into a more cocoon-like binding, arms to her sides, more of her skin covered, legs together, to keep her comfortable and warm in his absence. When she shook her head, he sighed.
“A long time ago… This forest was not only teeming with life, but specifically, monster life. I came here then, when there was much to eat, and many to torture, and claimed the caves for my own. Eventually, those who preferred the surface began to notice anything that came to the caves would never be seen again. As food animals became more scarce, due to the population of monsters, I watched from below. I do not need to eat as much, as often, as other monsters. We Spiderkyn were made to last quite a long time. I heard less and less activity on the surface.” Salt took a deep breath, narrowing his eyes as he looked at his handiwork, nearly done tying his pet down.
“Then, one day… An already dead animal landed on my web, through a crack much like the one you fell through, with a very strange injury. It looked as though some fool had stabbed it with a golden blade, rather than something practical. I drank what little blood remained, and cleaned it off my web… The next day, there was another. It continued for… A week, I believe… Before… A weak, soft sounding creature approached the entrance to the caves,” He chuckled slightly at the memory. “It called out, ‘H-Hello? I… I’m Snek… H-Hope you’re… Alright, down here… I, uh, I’ve been bringing you food, even though I… I don’t even kn-know who lives here…’ So, I came down to greet him. ‘Snek,’ as he called himself, was a Naga. However, he was from a village that called themselves all Lamia, even though… Most of us call the males Naga, and females Lamia. I… Made some idle threats, and he was… Aggressively friendly. After a while… He promised to bring me food, when he could, if I promised to be his ‘friend.’ From then, sometimes food would drop onto the web with silly injuries from his home-made golden spear, and sometimes, a small tap on the webbing near the cave entrance would mean I was to go… Have a chat with him.”
It took a bit more speaking before he realized his story, and the much more comfortable binding, had set his pet to sleep. ‘I may as well prepare to leave,’ he thought, ‘Let her rest. I can have my fun with the new one, when I get it.’ Chuckling to himself, he lowered from the web, and prepared to get going. With any luck, he would return within a day, a second human in hand, even if it meant no longer being friends with the snake.