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Where the Light Meets the Darkness

Chapter Text

Long ago, in the time before Ragnarök, it was said that the Earth rotated on its axis, encircling the sun at a steady rate. The tides ebbed and flowed gently onto the shorelines. All people experienced the golden glory of the sun, and the graceful glow of the moon. But then Ragnarök came to pass, and the Earth came to a halt.

Structures collapsed and crumbled. The ocean’s fury struck down on the terrified men, women, and children, drowning them and crushing them. The continents shifted together once more, crashing into one another at an alarmingly-rapid pace with a force so powerful that new mountains were formed. All clocks ceased to tick. Planes fell from the sky, burning up before they ever reached the ground. Many people died, along with most animals and plants.

One side of the Earth was trapped in perpetual sunlight. The other was forever frozen in darkness. Either way, food was scarce, and water was sacred. These sides were separated by the colossal mountains forged from the drifting of the lands.

Time went on, and eventually, both sides of the world gradually forgot about each other. The two realms of the Earth came to be known as the Sunlight Kingdom and the Dark Moon Empire, mere myths to one another. Some believed, but others did not. It was said that the people of the Sun lived in cities of shimmering gold and great riches, while those living in the Darklands lurched within the shadows like the vilest of beasts, with their demonic iron horses and their strange Gods who whispered to them within the darkness.

No one believed more strongly in the Sun than King Regan. He stared out the broken window into the distance, just as he did each time he rose from his slumber, and he scanned the horizon for any sign of the great flame, but as always, he saw only the gargantuan mountains, whose peaks reached the starry sky.

“Your Majesty?” came a voice.

The King turned to find his good friend, Jones, standing in the doorway. “Yes?”

“Lady Cora wishes to speak with you in the parlor.”

Regan sighed. “Of course she does,” he muttered, “I will be right there. Just let me get dressed.”

“Yes, Majesty.”

Jones closed the door, leaving the King alone once more. Regan threw on his black leather pants, boots, and his dark tunic. He went to the mirror and tied numerous crimson feathers into his long, dark hair and made his way into the parlor, where he found his mother waiting at a candlelit table.

“Mother,” he grunted.

The woman sipped her drink slowly. “Son,” she said after a beat.

“I was told you wished to speak to me.”

“I do.”

“Well, get to it then,” the King snapped, “I have much to do.”

His mother glared daggers at him. “You cannot speak to me in such a way. I am your mother.”

“And I am your King,” he said bitterly, “No thanks to you.”

“Will you ever get over this ridiculous grudge, Regan? I helped you become King. What more could you possibly ask for?”

“I never wanted to be King,” Regan told her, “but that is irrelevant now. Say whatever it is you wish to say, and be gone from me. As I said, I have plans.”

The woman scoffed. “What plans? Sitting around and drinking all day? Or obsessing over those myths of the great flame in the sky?”

“They are not myths!” the King roared, “They are true! I just know it!”

“How? How do you know? Have you seen it with your own two eyes?”

Regan faltered a bit. “Well, no, but—”

“Then it is but a story to bring false hope to children. Speaking of which, that is precisely why I have come here. You need to find a wife, Regan. You need to have heirs to uphold your legacy.”

“Have you brought along some whore? I will not marry a woman I do not love. I refuse, Mother!”

Cora let out a rich laugh. “Love? Marriage is not about love, you fool! It is about power and status.”

Regan bared his teeth at her in primal rage, storming up to her furiously. “I have the power here, Mother, for I am King. You had best watch your tongue, old woman,” he hissed, “I could have you imprisoned for speaking ill of the crown.”

He stumbled back in shock when his mother backhanded him with the speed of a vicious serpent. He glowered at her as he clutched his bearded face. His cheek stung like venom.

“You bitch!” he shouted.

“Do not forget who it was who made you King in the first place! You should be grateful!”

The King laughed incredulously. “Grateful? You had my lover killed!”

“She was a mere slave!”

“It matters not! I loved her!”

“Well, that is no longer relevant. She is with the Gods now. If you truly love her, as you claim, then you should be eager to have children to inherit your crown and your throne when you are gone. Once you take your final breath, you can be with her in Eric’s Great Hall.”

“I should not have to wait until the afterlife to see her again! It isn’t fair!”

“Nothing is fair, you foolish little man. When will you see that?”

Regan started to turn away, but his mother grabbed his arm roughly.

“I am not finished speaking with you,” she hissed, “There are three women coming here to seek your hand in marriage. You must choose one of them, Regan. You have no choice.”

“I am the King. I can do whatever I desire, and what I desire, Mother, is freedom,” said Regan, “Now that is the end of the matter.”

Cora watched him go with a look of disdain. “They are coming here whether you like it or not, and they will not leave until you choose one of them as your wife.”

“Then I suppose they will just have to spend the rest of their lives here, because I will not marry any of them.”

“But you haven’t even met them!”

“Exactly.”

“Gods,” Cora muttered, “Why have you cursed me with such a stubborn child?”

Regan made his way down the corridor, fuming, and passed by Jones, who was watching him with an amused smirk.

“What is it this time, Your Majesty?”

The King huffed. “She nags me about marriage yet again,” he grumbled, “I will not marry who she tells me to marry. I will only wed a woman if I am in love with her. My mother must learn that she is not in control. I am! And yet, she has summoned three women here to seek my hand, without even informing me of the matter! I am not her puppet, nor does she pull the strings!”

Jones patted his back. “What you need, my friend, is a beer.”

“No,” said the King, “What I need is to visit the Sacred Mountains. I feel that I must pray for my own salvation, and also for a beautiful woman to love me and bear my children.”

“Then I shall accompany you,” said Jones.

Regina nodded. “Thank you,” he said, “I wish for the others to join us as well. Do you know where I can find them?”

“They are outside working on their horses.”

“When aren’t they?” the King quipped.

He and Jones shared a laugh as they made their way out of the colossal palace. Torches were lit all around, and a handful of men and women were polishing the chrome armor of their horses.

“Your Majesty,” they greeted in unison.

The King smiled. “Friends,” he said, “you know you may call me Regan.”

“It just seems improper,” said one of the men.

“Not if it is a direct order from your King.”

“I suppose you are right.”

“Come. I wish to ride out to the Sacred Mountains.”

“Right now?”

“Yes. I must pray to the Gods for a blessing.”

“Very well. We will join you.”

“Excellent.”

The King mounted his iron horse and sped off into the dark desert, letting the bitter wind rush through his flowing hair. The light from his horse guided him through the shadows. The others rode alongside him. The deafening roar of the engines was music to his ears. It took them many hours to reach the Sacred Mountains, but when they did, it was well-worth the trek.

Regan approached the base of the tallest mountain and knelt down before it, bowing his head in respect. “Hear me, oh mighty Eric, Lord of the Gods, for I beg you, give me a woman to love and cherish, and who will provide me with heirs. I ask nothing more of you, Great One.”

Suddenly, a rock came down from the mountain and struck the King upon the head. He gasped and looked up quickly, fearing an avalanche. Had he angered the Gods? He couldn’t understand what he had done to incur their wrath.

But no avalanche came.

“Regan!” shouted Jones, “Look! Up there!”

The King squinted, and he swore he could see a figure coming down the side of the mountain. “By the Gods,” he rasped. His eyes grew wide as the figure’s features became clearer in the darkness. “It is a woman! Eric be praised! Help her down, quickly!”

His friends rushed over to the woman and got her down. Alas, she seemed to think they bore ill-intent, for she began flailing and crying out in fear.

“Please!” she cried, “Mercy!”

They set her down carefully, and she spun around with wide, fearful eyes.

“D-Don’t come any closer!”

She gasped when her back came in contact with something solid and she turned to find herself staring up at a tall, bearded man with crimson feathers in his unkempt hair. There was a split in one side of his mustache, revealing a faint scar on his lip. His eyes were as dark as his clothing, and yet, there was something about him that left her feeling a peculiar warmth amid her thighs. She tried to speak, but no sound ever came. Much to her surprise, the man knelt down before her and took hold of her delicate hands with a shocking tenderness.

“What is your name, oh beautiful one? Are you a Goddess? Could you perhaps be the Goddess Hath? Or Kono? Perhaps Osapa? Or even the blessed Weaver?”

“I— I am not a Goddess,” said the frightened woman with the head of gold, “My name is Emma. I am the Princess of the Sunlight Kingdom.”

The others murmured amongst themselves in awe, while the King’s eyes grew wide with wonder. “Princess,” he rasped. He stood up slowly so as to not startle her. “I am Regan, King of the Dark Moon Empire. Welcome. Tell me, Princess, is it true that there is such a thing as the Sun?”

“Of course there is a Sun,” said Emma. She was visibly confused. “Is there a Moon, as well?”

“But of course. Would you like to see it?”

“I would, yes. Thank you, Your Majesty.”

“Please,” the King said softly. A smile tugged at his lips. “Call me Regan.”

Chapter Text

“Tell me, Princess,” said the King, “if you were not sent to me by the Gods, then why did you descend from the mountaintop? And why are you here all alone?”

“I— I ran away,” Emma confessed.

“Whatever for?”

“My mother and father wish for me to marry a Prince, but I have never even met him, and I do not wish to marry a complete stranger.”

“Then it would seem that you and I are not so different,” said Regan.

He studied the young woman for a moment. Aside from his deceased lover, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. Her hair was long and shimmered as though it was woven from solid gold. Her eyes were a soft green, and they brought the King a sense of comfort.

“How old are you, Princess?”

“Twenty,” Emma said softly.

The King smiled. “Would you like to join me back at my palace? We do not have much in the way of food, aside from a decent stock of fish, and plenty of beer. Of course, there is also sweet wine, if that is what you prefer.”

“Is it far from here?”

“Just a few hours away,” said Regan, “You may ride with me on my horse.”

Emma offered a small nod and a faint smile. “That sounds nice.”

Regan looked to his friends and found that they were all kneeling and giving praise. Emma followed his gaze and her brows furrowed in confusion.

“What are they doing?”

“Praying to the Gods,” said the King, “as I was doing when you appeared.”

“I do not know of any Gods,” Emma told him, “My people do not hold such beliefs.”

“Then allow me to teach you.” Regan placed a firm hand upon her shoulder. “These are the Sacred Mountains, placed here by the Gods themselves. The strongest of the Gods is the mighty Eric, and so he is their King. There is a sacred temple near my palace, known as the Bank of Eric. In it is a great deal of treasure and other ancient artifacts. We are permitted only to look, but not touch, for if we do, the spirits shriek in fury, alerting the God King to our transgressions.”

Soon, the others were finished praying, and so they all took off on their iron horses. Emma climbed onto the King’s horse, sitting behind him.

“Hold tight to me, Princess.”

Emma did as he said, hooking her arms around his midriff and gasping as he sped off through the darkness. The ride back to the palace was relatively silent, minus the sound of the iron horses roaring across the cold sand.

When they finally reached their destination, Emma was in awe of Regan’s palace. It was by far the tallest building she had ever seen. It shimmered in the moonlight, as well as the orange flicker of the torches at its base. It looked to have been built from solid steel.

“Welcome to my Empire, Princess,” said the King, “That is the name of this great palace, and rightly so, for it withstood Ragnarök. See how it reaches towards the Heavens? I believe this was once the home of Gods, but they left it behind for me and my people, and so I am truly blessed.”

“Empire,” the blonde murmured, “It is beautiful.”

“It is,” Regan agreed, “but is it as beautiful as your cities of gold?”

Emma shook her head in confusion. “We have no such cities.”

“Hm. Then what do they look like?”

“In truth? Not all that different from your own. It is just much brighter.”

“What do you think of this side of the world?”

“I think it is nice. Calm. Quiet. Not so unbearably-hot. Yes, I believe I could learn to like it here.”

Regan’s lips curled into a faint smile. “I pray it will be so,” he said softly as he climbed off of his horse. He offered a hand to the Princess. “Come. Let me show you around.”

Emma took his hand, and found herself overcome with a sense of peace. As intimidating as this King may have been at the start, he was behaving like a real gentleman. When they entered the building alongside the other Darkland dwellers, Regan and Emma found themselves confronted by a brunette who bore a disapproving scowl.

“Regan,” the old woman said bitterly, “What is the meaning of this? Who is this girl? Another cheap whore?”

Emma scoffed. “Excuse me?”

Regina glared at the brunette. “Mother! This is Princess Emma. She hails from the Sunlight Kingdom.”

Cora was visibly taken aback. “W-What? But, it isn’t real!”

“It is, Mother,” said the King, “and she is proof! We all saw her descend from the mountains!”

Cora arched an eyebrow at this. “We?”

“Jones, Red, and the others,” said Regan.

“It is true, Lady Cora,” said Jones, “We were all there. Praise be to the Gods.”

“Aye,” said Regan, “Praise be to the Gods!”


 

After showing Emma around, Regan eventually came across his bedroom. He turned to her with a sly smirk. “There is still one room we have not yet explored,” he said.

“Oh?” asked the naïve Princess.

The King pushed open the door to reveal a number of damaged dressers, a cracked mirror, and a bed that was nothing more than an old mattress with worn quilts covering its stained surface. Regan looked to the blushing blonde with desire in his eyes.

“What say you, Princess?” he husked, “Would you like to become a Queen?”

“I— I don’t know,” Emma said quickly, “I just ran away from one marriage. I am unsure if I want to pledge my loyalty to a man just yet.”

“Loyalty is a rare commodity,” said the King. He lifted Emma’s chin gently, stunning her. “But you, Princess, are far more valuable. I will not force you to marry me if you do not wish it, but if you were to, say, lose your precious maidenhood, then no filthy Prince would want to enslave you in the bonds of unwilling matrimony.”

“And you? You will not enslave me?”

“Never. I have always detested slavery. Besides, you are far more valuable to me as a Princess than as a slave.” Regan nipped softly at the shell of her ear. “You do not have to marry me, but I do believe you would make a wonderful mother to my children.”

Emma’s eyes were wide as they stared into his. “Y-You want me to bear your children?”

The King’s smile grew wider. “I would like nothing more,” he murmured, “What do you say? Would you like a more intimate tour of my room?”

“Will it hurt?”

“Only for a moment, sweet Princess. I will be as gentle as I can, and if I am not, then I will do better, for you, Emma.”

“And if I give you my maidenhood, what will you do for me in return?”

“Losing one’s maidenhood is much more than a one-sided experience,” said Regan, “but if you allow me to take you, then I swear to you, in the name of Eric, and of all the other Gods, that I will protect you from any and all danger, and I will love and cherish you with all my heart, black as it may be.”

Emma hesitated, but only for a moment. “Alright,” she said, clasping her hands around the King’s, “Take me.”

Regan bowed his head to her and let her into the room first. “After you, Princess.”

“Please,” rasped the blonde, “just call me Emma.”

“Of course,” said the King, “Emma.”

And he gently closed the door behind her.

Chapter Text

Emma was on her back, staring up into the King’s eyes with uncertainty. He offered a soft smile in an attempt to reassure her.

“There is no reason to be nervous,” he told her, “I will make you feel like a Goddess.”

“If I ask you to stop,” Emma rasped, “will you stop?”

Regan nodded. “Of course,” he said, “but I hope it will not come to that. You are a beautiful woman, Emma. I look forward to making you mine.”

Emma gave a quiet hum. “Mine,” she murmured.

Regan cupped her face with one hand and held her hip with the other. He pressed his lips to hers in a hungry kiss, and was pleased to hear the soft moan that escaped her. He fumbled with her tattered dress, pushing it back to reveal her slender legs. His eyes were eclipsed with desire.

“You are truly beautiful,” he whispered, “Are you sure you are not a Goddess?”

“There is not a doubt in my mind,” said Emma.

Regan just chuckled and brought his lips to the blonde’s neck, earning yet another moan. “Goddess or not, I am blessed to be the first to know this exquisite body of yours.”

He lined himself up and slowly pushed his way into her. His movements were slow so that she could accommodate his girth. Seeing her wince and hearing the whimper that fell from her lips, he paused, staring into her eyes with obvious concern.

“Do you wish for me to stop? If I push just a bit further, you will no longer be a maiden.”

Emma just nodded. “Then do it,” she breathed, “Take me.”

“Yes, my Princess.”

Regan slipped even deeper into her warmth, and blood began to ooze between the Princess’ legs. She gasped in a mix of pain and pleasure, but before the King could pause to ask if she was alright, she hooked her arms around his neck and drew him close to her.

“More,” she husked.

A low groan escaped Regan as he began to thrust into the future mother of his children.

Little did he know, several of his strongest warriors had been sent out to the Sacred Mountains to seek out more of these ‘Sun People,’ per the orders of the ever-furious Lady Cora. In the hours Regan spent giving a tour of the Empire to the Princess and filling her womb with his abundant seed, his warriors had found not one of these strange creatures, but rather, three. They brought the three strangers— forcefully— back to the palace, where they were met by Cora.

“Lady Cora,” one of the warriors grunted, “What shall we do with them?”

A devilish smirk crept onto Cora’s painted lips. “Cut their heads from their bodies.”

“Wait!” cried one of the Sun People, “We come in peace! We are here for Princess Emma! She is to be married in a month’s time! Please, have mercy!”

“Mercy?” asked Cora, “I know of no such word. I care not who you are, or why you are here. My son appears to have taken a liking to this Princess of yours, and I will not allow you to ruin his chances of producing heirs. If she is royalty, as you say, then she will surely be a good match for him. I pray the Gods will bless them with many a child.” She waved at them dismissively. “Away with you, now. Make peace with your Gods, for you shall meet them soon enough.”


 Sometime later, Regan was lying next to the spent Princess, smiling warmly at her. “How are you feeling?” he asked her.

“My body aches,” she said, “and yet, it feels quite nice. I enjoyed it very much.”

Regan chuckled, biting playfully at her shoulder and pulling her close to him. “Your scent enthralls me, sweet Princess. How I revel in it.”

Emma started to respond, but she was cut off by the sound of Jones’ voice coming from the other side of the door.

“Your Majesty? Lady Cora insists that you and the Princess come down for dinner. She says we are having a feast.”

Regan frowned in confusion. “A feast? Have you all gone hunting?”

“No, my King.”

“Fishing, then?”

“No. I do not know where this food has come from. She did not say.”

“I find that suspicious,” said Regan, “but I am quite famished. Tell her we shall be there shortly.”

“Of course.”

Jones walked away, and Regan looked to Emma apologetically, kissing her lightly upon the cheek. He smiled uncontrollably as she laughed, and he knew then that he would do anything to hear it again.

“What is so funny?” he asked, visibly amused.

“Your mustache,” Emma told him, “It tickles me.”

The King chuckled and kissed her once more, drawing forth yet another laugh. “Will you join me for dinner?”

“Of course. I haven’t eaten since I left my kingdom.”

“Then you must be starving. Come. Let us get dressed so that we may head to the dining hall.”

Emma managed to slip back into her dress, which the King had nearly torn from her body, but she found it difficult to stand, much less walk. Regan noticed this and swept her off her feet, holding her up bridal style. This caused the Princess to yelp in surprise.

“You are hurt. I cannot allow you to walk.”

“I’m sure it will be fine.”

“Perhaps,” said the King, “but I still forbid it. I cannot bear to see you in such pain.”

“You care that much for my well-being?”

“Of course. You may very well be carrying my child as we speak.”

Emma’s face grew red. “I would not be surprised,” she said.

Regan carried her to the dining hall, where dozens of others were gathered at the various tables. He sat her down in an empty, padded chair alongside his own, which was the biggest chair in the room. It stood on five legs and rotated. He retrieved a can of beer and took a big gulp as he stood up to address his people.

“Welcome, all, to this wonderful feast my mother has arranged for us. I know not where she procured this food, but still, I am blessed. It seems the Gods smile upon us yet! Not only have they provided me a woman, they have provided me a Princess from the legendary Sunlight Kingdom, on the opposite side of the Sacred Mountains! Praise be to the Gods, for they have been most generous!”

Everyone else raised their drinks. “Praise be to the Gods!”

“Now let us savor this bountiful food!”

They all tore into the meat, finding it almost addictive, and all the while, Cora hid her smirk behind her cup of wine as she sipped it slowly. Her eyes were locked onto Emma like those of a predator. How it pleased her to see the naïve blonde tearing the tender meat from the bone.

Later, after everyone had their fill, Cora turned to Regan and Emma expectantly. “Come,” she said, leaving no room for debate, “Follow me outside.”

Confused but curious, the pair walked out of the palace with her and were mortified to find the severed heads of three men on spikes along the edge of the road.

“Mother! What is the meaning of this?!”

“While you two were busy rutting like a couple of beasts, I had some of your finest warriors go out to the Sacred Mountains, and lo and behold, they brought back more of these ‘Sun People.’”

“And you had them killed?!”

“But of course,” Cora said without a shred of remorse, “Had I not, they would have taken your precious Princess back to their side of the world.”

“Since when do you care if she stays or goes?” Regan snapped.

“I cared when I realized she would be perfect for you, my dear child.”

The King’s fists tightened, as did his jaw. “Mother,” he said quietly, “where are the rest of these men?”

A catlike grin spread across the brunette’s face. “I think you know exactly where they are.”

Emma cried out in horror, turning away and expelling the contents of her stomach onto the ground. Tears slipped down her reddened face as the bitter taste— and oh Gods, the smell— overwhelmed her senses.

“You are absolutely mad!” cried the King, “Why would you do such a thing?! We are not animals, Mother!”

“But we are starving, Regan! All we have ever eaten is fish! Our people are sick and dying from malnutrition! It was only a matter of time before we would need to resort to such measures! And it is not the first time this has happened!”

Disgust masked Regan’s face. “When?” he seethed, “When was the last time, Mother?!”

“During your coronation! I had many of the slaves killed so that the rest of us could eat! I did it for you, Regan! And I made sure that whore of yours was somewhere on the table!”

Blind fury overtook the King, and in one swift motion, he grabbed the dagger from his belt and lunged at his mother, stabbing her through the heart. Both she and Emma let out blood-curdling screams, but he did not let up. He stabbed Cora again, and again, and again, even after he was certain she was dead. Then, he went to work parting her head from the rest of her body, and he stuck it on another spike in the ground. When he turned around, he saw that Emma had collapsed.

He hoisted the blonde up over his broad shoulder and dragged his mother’s headless corpse by the ankle into his palace, leaving behind a trail of blood. Everyone gasped as they saw him. His face and hands were covered in Cora’s blood. His eyes burned with sheer hatred.

“It has just come to my attention that this feast was not, in fact, a blessing from the Gods, but a vile travesty brought about by my own mother. What we have eaten this night is the flesh of men, not of beasts! From here on out, I forbid this grotesque practice! Never did I think I would have to make such a demand! But on this night, I shall make an exception!” He slung the headless corpse in front of him. “This is the body of the woman I once called Mother! Do what you will with it! I care not!”

And with that, he disappeared into his room with the unconscious Princess still draped over his shoulder.

Chapter Text

When Emma awoke, she found herself in a tub with a cool, damp cloth draped across her head. She was naked, and the water was lukewarm at best. She groaned involuntarily, drawing the attention of the King. He approached her, equally-naked, and knelt down beside her.

“You lost consciousness,” he said quietly, “Are you well?”

Emma stared at him for a moment, and her eyes grew wide as the memory of what he had done came flooding back into her mind. “You— You killed your own mother,” she rasped.

“I no longer see her as my mother,” said Regan, “She betrayed me in the cruelest of ways. She deserved to die.” He stared deep into Emma’s eyes. “Do you fear me, Princess?”

“I— I fear your wrath.”

“You have done nothing to incur it,” he told her, “I will not harm you. You were not the one who fooled me into eating the flesh of men. I am many things, Emma, but a savage is not one of them. I did what I did because it was necessary. It will not happen again.”

“Cora mentioned a woman, or a ‘whore’, as she so crudely put it. Did you love this woman?”

“I did,” said Regan, “Very much so. Her name was Danielle. She was a slave woman, about your age when Cora had her killed. I was still a Prince back then. I only just discovered that I may have— Gods above— consumed her flesh. It sickens me more than words can ever say, but there is nothing left in my stomach to expel. It is true that my people are hungry, but I will not stand for such barbarism. I knew Cora was coldhearted. I just had no idea she was such a ruthless hag.”

He cupped Emma’s cheek gently, looking into her frightened eyes with great remorse.

“I do not regret taking her life,” he confessed, “I only wish that I had not done it before your innocent eyes. You should not have been made to witness such a thing, sweet Princess. Can you forgive me?”

“You made no threat against my life or my well-being,” Emma rasped, “and so there is nothing to forgive.”

“Are you certain?”

Emma gave a small nod. “I am,” she said, “and I am also cold.”

“Then let us warm you up,” said Regan.

He lifted her out of the tub with ease and helped her to her feet, wrapping a thick blanket around her. He stepped up behind her as she faced the cracked mirror and hooked his arms around her midriff, holding her close to him. She could feel his manhood pressing against her, but she said nothing. They locked eyes within the reflection of the mirror.

“You do not wish to run away again, do you?” the King murmured, “I pray it is not so.”

“I am done running,” Emma told him, “You swore that you would protect me, and you have taken my virginity, so I shall stay with you, my King.”

Regan smiled. “And I swore that I would not force your hand, but if I were to ask you to be my Queen, what would you say?”

“I would say that I need time to think about it.”

Regan leaned down and kissed her shoulder softly. “Then I shall await your decision, my Princess.”


 

Later, as Emma slept soundly in his bed, Regan quietly left the room to go and see what had become of Cora’s body. It was strung up by the ankles, swaying a bit as it hung from the ceiling. Blood dripped from the severed neck like water from a leaf. Cora’s dress had been torn away. There was no telling where it was now, or what had been done with it. There was a word carved crudely into the old woman’s chest. Regan had to tilt his head to make sense of it.

MONSTER.

Suddenly, he heard a voice behind him. “Regan.”

He turned to find Jones standing there was a look of concern. “Ah, Jones. You startled me.”

“Apologies, my King. I have come to inform you of potential treason.”

Regan scowled. “What did you say?” he hissed.

“I was told by the Seer that not everyone here agrees with your decision to outlaw the consumption of men. He said they were angry because there is little food, and they need to eat.”

“I will send a handful of men to find more food,” said Regan, “but I will not allow my kingdom to resort to savagery. We may be primitive, but we still have our dignity. Do you know the names of those who seek to commit treason?”

“I know of only one,” said Jones.

Regan’s eyes were alight with determination. “Tell me.”

“The one called Pan.”

The King scoffed. “The boy?”

“Yes,” said Jones, “I fear he and his lackeys may be plotting to overthrow you.”

Regan grit his teeth in primal rage. “Have them interrogated. Imprison those who confess. Kill those who do not.”

Jones bowed his head. “Yes, Your Majesty.” And he strode away, leaving the King alone once more.

Regan made his way back to his room, where he found the bed empty. He quickly made his way into the latrine and was relieved to find her standing in front of the mirror, staring at her naked figure in wonder. She turned to him with a soft smile as he entered the room.

“Hello,” she murmured.

The King’s features softened. “Princess,” he rasped, “What are you doing?”

“Just studying my body,” Emma told him, “wondering if I am with child.”

“Do you feel any different?”

“I do,” said the Princess, “though I assume it is just because I am no longer a maiden.”

Regan lifted her chin gently, kissing her. “Does it excite you? The thought of being a mother?”

“It does,” said Emma, “I have just been looking for the right man to have children with.”

“And have you found him?”

Emma’s smile widened. “I believe I have.”


 

Later, as they were curled up together, Regan murmured, “Why did your mother and father name you Emma?”

Emma shook her head. “I don’t know. I suppose they just liked the name. Why?”

“My people are often named after places in the city. There are also old signs that designate certain areas. My father’s name comes from the street of Henry.”

“And Cora’s?”

“Somewhere in the kingdom, there is a sign covered in rust, so I do not know the full name, but the only letters left visible are C-O-R-A.”

“And what about you?” Emma asked softly.

The King smiled. “My mother and father wished for me to be blessed, and so they named me after a God.”

“So Regan is one of your Gods?”

“He is among the most powerful. He was one of Eric’s great generals in the War of Light and Shadow. He was a strong leader, who rode upon the back of a bloody elephant.”

“Elephant?” asked Emma.

“A colossal beast,” said Regan, “There were once many of them, all rounded up in corrals. They had but one eye to see, and long, sharp tusks that protruded outward like those of a wild boar.”

“Will you show me?”

“Another time,” said Regan, “It is a good ways away, and I am tired.”

“Very well,” Emma murmured.

She rested her head onto the King’s chest, and he held her gently. Though his outward actions were affection, his insides were ablaze with fury. Despite feeling exhausted, he barely got a moment’s rest. He just listened to the serene sounds of the Princess’ steady breath until finally, he drifted into a deep slumber.


 

Jones folded his arms as he watched Jefferson whip Pan’s most loyal follower, Felix. “If you do not tell us what you know, you will be killed!”

“Then go ahead and kill me!” cried Felix, “I know nothing of any treason!”

“The Seer told me otherwise.”

“The Seer is a madman! And so are you, for believing him! I am innocent! I swear it in the name of the Gods!”

Jones held up his hand, and Jefferson ceased the torture. For now. “If you confess, Felix, you will be spared, but imprisoned. It would be in your best interest to tell us the truth.”

Tears slipped down the young man’s face. “I am telling the truth,” he rasped, “Please, no more of this. I swear to the mighty Eric, I am not involved in any sort of treason. I would do anything for His Majesty. He is a most gracious King.”

“That he is,” said Jones, “and you have no quarrel with his new law against consuming your fellow man?”

“Why would I have such a quarrel? I would never knowingly eat another man! It is cruel! It is barbaric!”

“Do you know anyone who might say otherwise?”

“Y-You mean anyone who would eat a human?”

“That’s right.”

“There is only one person I can think of who might do such a thing,” said Felix, “and that would be Adair. He has always been rather feral. It is said that he once lived among wolves.”

“And where might I find him?” asked Jones.

“I rarely see him, but each time I do, he is usually up on the top level, sir.”

“Unchain him,” said Jones, “and put him in a cell. I will send some of the men to find Adair.”

Jefferson bowed his head. “Yes, sir.”

Chapter Text

The feeling of warm lips around his manhood made Regan shudder and groan, and when he looked up, he found a pair of lustful, sea-green eyes staring him dead in the face. He tightened his fists in the sheets and bucked his hips uncontrollably, causing his shaft to slide even deeper into that warm, wet mouth. He grunted as he reached the peak of desire.

Suddenly, his eyes snapped open, and the King found himself fully-erect beneath the warm quilts. He turned to find the Princess sleeping soundly beside him and he quietly made his way to the latrine to relieve himself (among other things). He emerged sometime later with his hands scrubbed clean to find Emma sitting up with her arms stretched above her head.

He smiled warmly at her. “Hello, Princess. I trust you slept well?”

“I did,” she said.

“Good.” He slipped on a dark tunic, which he tucked into his tight pants, and a cloak of black fur. “Come. I wish to have breakfast, and would like you to join me.”

Emma smiled back at him and nodded. “Of course.”

Once dressed, she linked arms with him and they walked into the dining hall together to enjoy a bit of fish. After the two of them finished their breakfast, the King turned to the beautiful blonde with a soft smile.

“I will take you to the graveyard of the ancient beasts,” he said, “They no longer live among us, but their remains lie undisturbed. We must not touch them, for it may anger the Gods.”

Emma rode with Regan through the dark ruins of the city on the iron horse until they came upon the Graveyard of the Beasts.

“This place is called ‘Zoo,’” said Regan, “It is most sacred.”

They entered, and the King led Emma to a large corral where the colossal skulls and bones of ancient beasts laid scattered across the ground.

“These are Elephants,” he explained, “See how their skulls hold but a single eye. I wish I could have seen them when they were among the living.” He walked over to the next pen and pointed to the remains of much smaller creatures. “I believe these are called Tigers. Powerful animals with teeth that could tear through flesh like a knife through butter. It is said that their hide was ablaze with eternal flames.”

“Did they not suffer?”

“No. They were strong, noble beasts,” said the King, “My father always wore a necklace made from their fangs, hoping it would bring him great honor and courage. He was wearing it when I buried him.”

“May I ask how he died?”

“He was an old man,” Regan said quietly, “He died peacefully in his slumber. It seems that the Gods accepted him with open arms. I feel there is no greater way to leave this world. He was strong. He must have been, for he lived a long life. That is rare. I pray I live just as long.”

Emma placed a gentle hand on his arm, which made him smile. “As do I,” she murmured.

Regan held her close, and together, they stared up at the shimmering stars and the moon overhead.

“One day,” the King told her, “the moon will collide with this dying planet of ours, and we will all perish along with it.”

Emma’s heartbeat quickened, and she sucked in a fearful breath. “It is said that the sun shall someday explode, and all will burn in the fire.”

Regan hugged her just a bit tighter. “Let us not think about it too much,” he said, “We must focus on the present, my dear.”


 

Later, after returning from Zoo, Regan left Empire and walked silently to Zero, where the great Cross still stood. He placed his hands upon it and closed his eyes.

“Eric,” he murmured, “Please, mighty one, let not my kingdom turn its back on me. I desire to be a good King and an even greater father, and if Emma should decide to be my Queen, then I pray that I shall be a good husband, as well. She is the only woman who has held my heart within her tender hands.”

“It is not your kingdom that has turned its back on you, Your Majesty,” came the childlike voice of a man.

Regan slowly raised his head and turned to find a wild-eyed old man limping out from within the darkness. “Seer,” he said, “What do you mean by this?”

The Seer cackled dementedly. “It is those closest to you that seek your destruction. Lady Cora was preventing such betrayal, but you had to go and destroy her. What a fool you are.”

Regan was furious. “Watch your tongue, old man! I am your King!”

“Yes,” the Seer conceded, “but you are also a man. Though your namesake was a God, you, King Regan, are only human. Your time on this Earth is limited, especially now that you have doomed your people to starve.”

“What would you have me do?!” Regan shouted, “Feed my own people to their kinsmen?! I will do no such thing!”

Again, the Seer began to laugh like a madman. “Then you have dug your own grave, my King. There is an old saying, from before the Gods cursed the Earth. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

Regan frowned. “How am I to know who my enemies are?”

“Who was it who told you of the treason?”

“It was—” Regan’s heart sank, “It was Jones.”

The Seer just grinned at him. “Start there.”

“He would never do such a thing! He is my friend! I have loved him as though he was my brother!”

“Love is a wild animal,” said the Seer, “If you are not careful, it will sink its fangs into your heart and eat you alive.”


 

Regan’s fist collided with Jones’ jaw, knocking the mortified man to the ground.

“Regan!” he cried, “Why are you doing this?!”

“You have betrayed me!” the King roared, “You seek my throne, do you?! You traitorous wretch! I thought we were friends, you and I, but you are nothing more than a coward and a liar! I will not tolerate such treachery! Who else has conspired to overthrow me?! Answer me!”

“You— You are mistaken, my King! I would do no such thing!”

“Then you are saying the Seer has lied?”

Jones’ blood ran cold. “Th-The Seer?” he rasped.

“That’s right,” said Regan, “He told me everything. Well, mostly. I need you to tell me the rest, Jones. If you do, then I will spare your life. I swear it in the name of Eric. Now then, who else wishes to usurp my throne?”

Jones swallowed.


 

The traitors— save for Jones— were all executed before the public. Some were mortified. Others were fascinated. Some were even aroused. The rest wore unreadable masks. Regan showed no remorse as he climbed up onto a metal pole where light had once shone. He stared out at the mixed faces with blood painting his hair and flesh. His dark eyes were cold like ice.

“It is said that love is a wild animal,” he told them, “Well, so is hatred. You cannot have one without the other. Neither can be tamed.”


 

That night, Regan drove himself into Emma with an intense ferocity, and as she looked deep into his eyes, she wasn’t so sure that he was never a resident of Zoo.

Chapter Text

In his anger, the three women coming to court him completely slipped the King’s mind. He was not quite sure what to make of them. One was a tall blonde clad in dark robes with a black dragon tattooed across her chest. The next was a dark-skinned woman in a tattered, green dress. They were both very beautiful. That, he could not deny. The last, however, was certainly something.

Regan could not bring himself to fancy her. She was tall, thin, and lanky. Half her hair was black. The other half was white. Her figure appeared fuller as she was draped in animal pelts. She wore her makeup like war-paint, and it left the King unsettled. She looked like a ghost. A demon, perhaps. Had she come all this way to haunt him? He was wary of her, and so was Emma.

In fact, Emma was wary of all three. She regarded them with hatred and jealousy, for she feared they would steal the King’s affection. She feared he would abandon her, and so she was going to do everything in her power to prevent this. A wave of nausea washed over her. It had been happening a lot lately, and her mood swings were sporadic, but she wasn’t sure why.

As she entered the King’s room, Emma found him hunched over on his bed, staring out the window. He was shirtless.

“Regan?” she murmured.

The King turned and offered a faint smile. “Emma,” he said softly, “Come and sit with me.”

The blonde did so, looking at him with uncertainty. “I have been ill as of late,” she said, “I fear I may have eaten something I should not have.”

Regan was quiet for a moment as he studied her figure. “Have you noticed any changes in your body?”

“Changes? Um, my breasts have swelled a bit.”

Joyful tears welled in Regan’s eyes, and he brought a hand to her stomach. “Then you may very well be pregnant,” he said, “I am truly blessed.” He slammed his lips against hers in a hungry kiss. “Apologies. We are blessed.”

Emma smiled, and her eyes were alight with hope and wonder. “I am with child,” she rasped. Her arms slipped around Regan’s shoulders, hugging him gently. “Then we must be wedded at once.”

Regan was in awe. “So you will marry me?”

Emma nodded enthusiastically, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Yes,” she breathed, “Yes, I will marry you.”

“Then we shall be married in a week’s time,” declared the King, “and the celebration shall be perfect.”


 

Regan was enjoying his breakfast when the tall blonde, Maleficent, approached him.

“So, Your Majesty,” she purred, “Where is Lady Cora? I was hoping to speak with her.”

Regan pushed his plate aside, no longer feeling hungry. “You will not find her here,” he said bitterly, “or anywhere.”

Maleficent frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Her spirit has left this world for a place much, much darker.”

“I see. What was the cause of her death?”

Regan leaned forward, lowering his voice. “I parted her head from her shoulders,” he whispered, “and I would gladly do it again, if given the chance.”

“May I ask why?”

“Because she betrayed me and my people in the sickest of ways.” He stood up. “That is all I will say. If you will excuse me, I must see to my future wife.”

Maleficent’s frown deepened. “Who is she? Ursula? Cruella?”

“No,” Regan said firmly, “I will not be marrying any of you. I did not ask you to come here. I will not force you to leave, but I will ask you to respect me, for I am your King, as well as your host.”

“Can I at least know who it is you wish to marry?”

“The Princess of the Sunlight Kingdom.”

Maleficent’s eyes grew wide. “The Sunlight Kingdom? You mean it is real?”

Regan nodded. “Yes,” he said, “and hopefully one day, we shall all see the light.”

Maleficent watched him as he left, and she was in awe of this beast of a man, with his long dark hair and his rugged beard, and the way his eyes gleamed in the firelight. She lusted after him. If she could not be his Queen, then she at least wanted a go at him. Surely he would give her the chance. She knew she was a beautiful woman, and judging by the way he looked at her, it was clear that he knew it, too. A sly smirk crept its way onto her lips.


 

Later, as the King was drinking his beer, he frowned, thinking it tasted different, and tossed it away. He feared he may have been poisoned. His vision began to blur, and he lost his balance. He collapsed onto the ground, and just before the darkness engulfed him, he swore he saw the painted face of the demon grinning at him.

He awoke to the feeling of warm lips around his manhood, and for a moment— just one moment— he found it to be enjoyable, but then he lifted his head and the pleasure was snuffed out by sheer horror as he found himself staring into the lustful eyes of Maleficent. He let out a cry of fury and went to throw her off of him, but his wrists and ankles were bound tightly to the wooden posts of a broken bedframe. His eyes were wide with terror and rage.

“Get your filthy carcass away from me, witch!” he roared, “I am your King! Release me at once!”

Maleficent raised her head and laughed, but she was not alone in her mirth. Two others laughed as well, and as they stepped out from the shadows, Regan knew he was in trouble. It was Ursula and the demon, Cruella. No. They were all demons, the King realized.

“If you will not wed us, then the least you can do is bless us with your seed,” said Maleficent. She straddled his lap, impaling herself on his cock, and she moaned. “Yes,” she rasped, “Your children will be as strong and as handsome as you, Your Majesty.”

Regan squeezed his eyes shut, not wishing to look at her a moment more. His body was responding positively to it, but as for his mind, this was pure torture. He tried to pretend it was Emma, but it was impossible, for his beloved Princess would never do such a thing.

“What kind of a man are you? You cannot even look at the woman who wishes to please you!”

Regan grit his teeth, but said nothing. He was breathing heavily. Tears were slipping down his cheeks.

“You are pathetic!” Maleficent spat, “Just look at you! Weeping like a child! You do not deserve to call yourself King!”

He wasn’t sure how long it lasted, but it seemed like an eternity of the worst kind of torment— that which could not be seen, only felt. No blood was drawn. Had the situation been different, he might have enjoyed it, but this? This was degradation at its worst. He felt nauseous. He felt like crawling into a hole and never showing his face again. He barely noticed when he involuntarily spilled his seed into the treacherous witch, but not long after, he heard a scream.

It was Emma.

Hearing this caused his bloodshot eyes to snap open, and he looked to the Princess pleadingly.

“Emma,” he said hoarsely, “Do something. Please.”

Infuriated, Emma spotted the King’s dagger and swiped it from the floor alongside his scattered clothing. She charged towards Maleficent with a cry of fury and drove the blade into the side of the woman’s neck. Maleficent fell away from the King, clutching at her slashed throat. Emma's face was now splattered with blood. She looked like an animal.

Cruella and Ursula attempted to pull her away, but not before she was able to sever the rope from one of Regan’s wrists. He swiftly untied himself and drove his fist into Cruella’s face, breaking her nose in a single strike. Her head slammed against the wall roughly, knocking her unconscious.

The King dragged Ursula by the hair towards the tank of water where his people drank from and dunked her head in with a powerful roar of anger. She kicked and struggled, but after a while, her body fell limp, and he threw her aside like a rag doll.

Taking one of the torches from the wall, Regan approached Maleficent as she writhed in pain, bleeding out from her neck profusely. Her eyes were wide and tearful, staring up at him in terror as he knelt down beside her with a cold, angry expression.

“You bear the mark of the dragon,” he said stoically, “and so you shall return to the fire, where you belong, witch.”

He put the torch to her hair and set her head ablaze, and then he stood back as he watched her burn. She did not scream. Her windpipe had been severed. There was only the crackling of flames as they engulfed her tattooed body.

“Give my regards to Mother,” said the King.

He waited until there was nothing left of her but smoldering ashes before he turned and grabbed the last demon by the arms and dragged her along the ground behind him.

Once outside, the King whistled, and in the distance, he heard a pack of feral dogs howl and bark. The faintest hint of a smile graced his lips. Within minutes, the dogs came storming down the street towards the naked form of the demon with her painted face, and as they began tearing into her with their fangs, she regained consciousness. The blood-curdling screams that filled the darkness were music to the King’s ears.