Witching Hour

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Going out with a Bang

Samantha was right. Minos was not pleased. Not. One. Bit. Not even after- no, especially after Samantha explained what happened, why Monica was there. However, for Samantha’s sake... he did relent and shown an iota of compassion, the tiniest, murkiest inklings of mercy. At least, in letting her live as she explained. As a matter of fact, he was of the same mind as Jack, though not as... subtle.

“Minos! No. Put the fridge down,” Samantha exclaimed. Metal rose from the floor as well as slithered down from the ceiling, creating a barrier between the raging bull and the whore matador. Monica was curled up on the bed, whimpering, her eyes wide, pleading, begging, yet all she did was goad Minos closer.

The fridge groaned, creaking against his hands, clawed into the metal. Blood dribble from his hands, the contents of the electrically cooled box spilling along the way, along his tirade. His eyes were as redder than the blood that pattered away, staining the box.

“She’s going to die for what she did to Norman!” He boomed, and bellowed as he swung. The fridge shrieked and crumpled on the metal bastion, which only spread, penetrating it again and again, tearing it apart. It was little more than rubble in seconds. Minos, though, refused to back down. His fists hammered into that steel curtain, coating it and the carpet in fresh flesh, carving all the way to the bone... all the while Peter watched from the desk chair, shaking his head.

“He’s handling this well,” Peter grumbled, sipping on a blood bag.

“Better than I expected. Was the curly straw really necessary?” Samantha grumbled, and flung her arms forward. The metal curtain closed around Minos and encased all but his head. He snorted, growled, bellowed as he writhed and fought against. The top, his would-be collar was rounded out, keeping him from slitting his own neck at least, but that didn’t matter anywhere else. Even as thick rivers ran down the metal, he kept fighting, the fire in his eyes growing with each self-flagellation in his iron maiden.

Samantha sighed... and slapped him. Hard. Hard enough for every bend of her fingers to leave a gash. Hard enough to finally make the dragon rise off her arm, grumbling as it hopped off and settled in the corner.

“Calm your tits already, will you?” She exclaimed, green energy flowing over her hand a she watched the minotaur blink. Taking away the red.

“Okay.... Just got to say OW!!!” He said, cracking his jaw. The metal still held him, though. The fury within still gleamed in his eyes, sparking when they saw passed Samantha. At the whore in her bed. “Why are you protecting her so badly? After everything she had done to y-”

“Speaking of... did you tell Jack? About Monica’s lovely... exploits? Because, somehow, he knew. I know I never told him, and I highly doubt Norman did since he would be the only other one to know. Mind-reader and all... He doesn’t exactly like drama, so-”

“Yes. Okay? I told Jack. I was kind of wondering why he wanted to know, but now I can see it’s to be even more pissed at that... that...”

“Whore?”

“Rapist. She’s a piss-poor whore considering she doesn’t take payment from her victims.”

“Uh, last I checked, I didn’t rape anybody,” Monica stated, finding some strength at last. She sat up on the bed, glaring at Minos. “You all had a say. You could all say no, or, even better, overpower. Samantha has magic and could easily do to me what you are in. She could have forced me just to come to class, but no. She wanted to have a bit of fun... and then there’s you. You, of all people, are really going to say I raped you? Me, when you beat me in the middle of the hall? Yes, it may have been out of pity, but you could have done so any time I was enthralled by bliss.”

“Pity?” He uttered, but she continued.

“Instead, you just continued to enjoy it... I may not be a perfect student, but I have been studying logic to hell and back. Logically speaking, because you could have stopped it at any moment during, it was not rape... That’s... that’s how logic works, right, Sam?”

“Sadly. In this case,” she said, pinching her brow.

“Doesn’t change the fact you held her job over her head,” Minos grumbled.

“Yes. About that job,” Monica said, rubbing her chin. “Um... weren’t we supposed to have class this week?”

“Do you really want to go there?” Samantha said. “We skipped most of it because of you.”

“Yes, but what about Monday? If we had it then, none of this would have happened.”

“Oh, no. Don’t you place the blame on me. I’ll leave you to Jack if you try to do that.”

“I-I wasn’t. I was simply saying-”

“Can I kill her now?” Minos blurted. “She’s already dug herself a nice hole.”

“You’re not killing her- nobody is! Tomorrow, I plan to go see Lilith, and she’ll be gone.”

“Oh. So you take my fun and give it to Lilith. That’s fucking great.”

“What part of nobody is killing her don’t you understand?”

“We’ll see. It depends if she filled her six-gun quota.”

Samantha heaved a weary sigh... turned to a yawn as she wheeled to Peter.

“You’re still good for watching her tomorrow, right? You and Lisa?”

“It’s what I promised,” he said.

“Good.” She wheeled back to Minos, still encased in metal. “And you? You’ll watch her too, right?”

“Through a sight.”

“If you can’t promise you’ll behave and try not to kill her, you can sleep alone again.”

“Well... my bed is nice and worn in... and doesn’t smell of that whore anymore –unless she’s going to argue she isn’t that, now.”

“I wish I was,” Monica said in sotto. What power she had in her voice was stripped from her, reducing her once more to a quivering sack of flesh wrapped in the fetal position on the bed.

Minos huffed, shaking his head. “So! You go see Lilith, and she’ll be gone?”

“Hopefully the same day.”

“So she’ll be out of all our lives after tomorrow?”

“Again, hopefully.”

“Then I’ll gladly watch. I’m getting erect just thinking about it.”

The metal clinked, which made Peter chortle and Samantha roll her eyes. She removed his shell all the same, though- snapping back in place as he tried one, last, desperate lunge. This time there was no collar. It didn’t end at the neck; the metal clanged... and squelched around his face. Luckily, she only made the nails a quarter-inch long, but now she knew what Pinhead would look like if he was a minotaur.

She climbed into bed, pushing, easing Monica towards the wall, and held her as Minos clambered in behind, curling up to her back. Peter left, turning off the light as he shut the door, and the three sunk into an uneasy (yet, somehow, peaceful) rest. Tomorrow, after all, had a lot depending on it, and Samantha was determined to get an answer from the succubus bitch. One way or another... Though, that didn’t stop her mind from trailing back to the prick digging in behind her. And the roused bit lower. It thrummed against her back, and he groaned and grumbled in her ear as she rubbed her rump against it. She could still feel him inside, his balls aching against her thigh, stretching, gaping her with each thrust, filling her up with it and its love.

She didn’t sleep well at all. Minos moaned into her ear almost all night, and, after what felt like eternities past, pulled a bit back. To give his manhood some room, thrusting against her. He kissed and sucked on her ear, chortling.

“Good morning to you, too,” he mumbled in her ear, grunting as the head was freed, slapping against her. “As long as it’s your version of a quickie, I’m perfectly fine with that.”

“Not while Monica’s here,” she grumbled, though hated herself more for it.

“You say that, but your hand is working m... my cock so much.”

“Huh? Are you sleepbating?”

He went still, and started to growl instead. “So if it’s not your hand-”

Monica shushed, which made Samantha’s eyes fly open. She saw that the fang was face buried against her chest, her emeralds gleaming up at her.

“Just let it happen,” she said, giggling-

But cried out as Minos pulled her hand off. She recoiled, hitting the wall, both Minos and Samantha getting out of bed, glaring at her.

“The hell is your problem?” Minos exclaimed, his member seen as Samantha clicked on the lights... The whore, also, eyed it, mouth watering, her chin was already soaked. Minos, though, was in no mood –even as her hand continued to fondle. “Are you trying to die?”

Monica giggled, sheepishly, her face lost between wanting to be pale and be as red as a beet.

“Well... I just thought... with it being my last day and all, that we could... have... a bit of fun. As a farewell gift... I mean, it’s not like we haven’t played with each other -all of us- already. We’ve all seen each other naked, so why not make it a blast?”

Minos growled, and looked at Samantha. “You sure you don’t want me to kill her... S... Sam? Hello... Sam!”

“Huh? Wha?” Samantha uttered, and shook her head... but... she shot a dirty look at Monica. “I get the cock, though. You don’t even touch it.”

“I am perfectly okay with that,” Monica said, biting her thumb. “So long as I get to lick you clean after.”

“S-Sam-” Minos began, gasping as she gripped his member, too, and knelt before him.

“I was horny all night, and this should be like a dream come true to you. Besides, it’s only the one time... and it’s not like I’m innocent. I was playing with that whore while with you.” And others.

“But,” he began to argue but was lost to a stifled groan as she took the head into her mouth, lapping and slurping on it. Monica giggled, stripping down as she crawled off the bed, kneeling before Minos as well. She clawed at his thigh, lapping at his leathery sack while raising Samantha’s shirt, tugging and playing with her breasts. Minos fought so hard to keep his hands on the bed, the emotions clashing behind his eyes a war in their own right... but, alas, one side inevitability won. And it wasn’t the chaste. He grabbed both of their heads, his hips quivering as he panted and grunted, twitching ever harder in Samantha’s mouth.

Samantha released him, but still stroked as she lead him back onto the bed. She had him lie down before straddling his chest, with her rear in his face. Monica removed Samantha’s panties, her lips gleaming in light, dribbling onto his chest as the witch sprawled out on him, face-to-face with his member again. But it wouldn’t only be her lips as Monica sat on his face. She held his horns as a pair of handle bars, grinding against as he darted between the two and soon the three were lost to oral bliss. Their moans, their pants, the bed creaks rose as the room grew heavy with their heat.

Monica leaned down, nipping at Samantha’s back, lapping at it as she rode Minos’ face. His nose was forced into her folds, squelching, rubbing against her lovely bud whenever his tongue wasn’t paying Samantha her due –a lot more than the whore, that’s for sure. His rod oozed so much, made such lewd noises as she stroked and covered his shaft, making it shimmer. She still only sucked the head, though, tongue circling it, goading more of his love to spool free, forever sinking him into pleasure hell.

Monica cried out, making Minos gasp, gag, and gulp hard as she filled his nose and eyes with her spray. She sunk her teeth into Samantha’s back (only her normal pair thankfully), quaking, and the jolt was all Samantha needed to hit her climax, as well, robbing Minos entirely of breath. Her moans were muffled by his member, aching so in her mouth, finally thrusting into it as he writhed underneath.

Samantha let him go, and slid down his front and turning around. His member was under her, pressed flat against him, wanting nothing more to rise and enter those wet folds, but she was not done teasing him. Nowhere near it. She rode against, coating it in her love, while Monica eased down completely onto his lips, quieting any complaints as his tongue lashed and lavished her folds. Though she agreed, Samantha felt a touch... hurt seeing her on his face, seeing how she moaned and enjoyed riding it, but it was eased a bit as Monica reached out to her, kissing her. Her tongue slid so sinfully into Samantha’s lips, tasting Minos’ hot musk on her breath, drinking up as much as she could, all the while her drool continued to spill. And so did Samantha’s, mingling and sopping onto the whore’s jiggly breasts.

Samantha broke the kiss, and leaned down, sucking on those burgeoning beauties, biting their cherry red tips, making the Fang moan and wince. It wasn’t long before Monica hit her second, and Minos grunted, coating his middle with his seed. Samantha continued to pump along it, making sure she got it all out, then gripped the base of it. Pink energy flowed through, hardening it once more. Much to his disdain, which Samantha could see. Monica slid off to the side, licking his belly, his chest, drooling as her hips still quivered. Her eyes were heavily-lidded, but seemed locked onto his member, still being teased, being rubbed along by Samantha’s folds.

But Minos was not going to be only a toy this time.

He shoved Samantha off, and gripped her thighs, burying his face into her folds. Samantha squeaked, giving way to threaded moans as he assailed her. She bit her lip, stroking, tweaking her breast- his horn- herself- Monica’s chest- her body couldn’t make up its mind- what mind at that time? She squirmed under his tongue, lapping- and she squeaked again as his hand joined, as well, teasing her bud. But her attention was was pulled away, to Monica’s womanhood, thrust upon her face.

Monica sat on her, thighs still twitching, hard, but found the will to have them rock against Samantha all the same, coating her in that sweet tang. It muffled her wails of pleasure, rewarded her for it, as Minos made her hit her peak again and again and again. The world, itself, seemed to spiral into that sweet heat, as if it had plunged her into the depths of the Amazon, coating her in wave after wave of rain as Monica was reduced to little more than a cat in heat, yowling away in the canopy.

Minos pulled away from her folds, snorting, but still held her thighs. Samantha was trembling- but tensed, feeling what was coming next. She cried out as he pierced her with his rod at last; she reached down, gripping the last few inches, the rest buried inside. She squeezed it, tensing, teasing as he started to thrust, slow but quickly turned into a rampage. The bed creaked and cracked under, ringing against the steel wall, while Monica barely held on. Her hips gripped as tight as they could on Samantha, her moans, her screams rising through those sweet lips.

Samantha’s lungs burned, and finally forced her to shove Monica off, wheezing, moaning and panting fast, faster than Minos’ thrusts into her, quickly becoming numb. Tight. Tighter.

“N-no,” Samantha whined, risen to a wail. “Not yet. We’ve o... only...”

She cried out as her folds gripped his member coating them in another blast. But, at the very same time, he filled her with his love, twitching harder than he ever had before. Samantha looked up at him, feeling bubbly at how his tongue lulled, at... at the... love in his eyes, looking down on her as well. Turned to irritation and rage as they felt Monica push in between. She licked at Samantha’s hand at her folds and Minos, panting, mewling as she tasted them.

Minos pulled out, allowing his love to spill free, and Monica didn’t let a drop of it hit the sheets, hugging, holding, coddling Samantha’s thighs. Minos moved up to Samantha’s face, which she was more than happy to take his rod- instead, he laid beside her, kissing her instead.

“Man... this was amazing,” Monica exclaimed, panting hard as she flopped on Samantha’s other side. “It’s a shame that it is only this one time... Hey, when you get back, maybe-”

“No,” both Samantha and Minos said, chuckling as they held each other. They nodded off again, finally in bliss, in harmony... but her alarm finally rang. It was time to get the day truly started. Sadly... Samantha lumbered into the bathroom, much to hers and Minos’ displeasure, and washed away the lust that had been caked on in such a short amount of time, soon to be forgotten. Completely. With the last few drops from the shower, it stole away the sweet taste of regret, and Samantha seemed to glow in her bright, yellow dress. It draped just under her knees, embroidered with small, white and red flowers along its hem, complementing her ruby red heels. She would have gone with the silver, but she felt these made the ensemble pop far better.

She stepped out of the bathroom, finding that not only were Minos and Monica dressed again, but Peter, Lisa, and even Ayn arrived. Ayn and Monica were on the bed, huddled around her tablet, while Peter, Lisa, and Minos were in the kitchen.

Arguing.

They leaned on the bar, Minos standing before the new fridge. It rumbled a lot louder than kits predecessor, as if wary, sensing the blood of its kin on the minotaur’s hands. It, also, didn’t help that the dragon was perched atop, glowering at them all. Especially Samantha as she joined.

“What’s wrong,” she asked.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Peter grumbled, running his hands on his head. “We were simply wondering what to have for breakfast.”

“Whatever it is, I need it to go.”

“Well, we already got something for you,” Minos said, tossing her a toaster pastry. “We’re talking about what we’re going to have.”

“A nice, colorful fruit bowl is more than enough to start the morning,” Lisa said.

“If you don’t have a stomach! You need meat, meat, meat, more meat, and, maybe, potatoes... with more meat.”

“Though I do not agree with only fruit, that sounds like indigestion and heartburn waiting to happen,” Peter said.

“What do you care? Fangs don’t suffer from that!”

“I am looking out for Samantha.”

“Eh. Dutch Ovens build character.”

“Really, Minos?” Samantha grumbled.

“And this is why I propose a fruit medley, with eggs, sausage, and bacon on the side,” Peter declared. But Lisa shook her head, groaning.

“I believe that we shouldn’t even be affiliated with such lowly creatures,” she muttered. “We, as humans, have transcended the primitive food chain and should act like it.”

“Why, yes, because eating fruit shows such superiority,” Minos said. “If you really believe that, we should be able to eat whatever the fuck we want! Let us indulge on the lowly creatures of the world and show them that they mean nothing.”

“Coming from a half-breed, no less.”

“What was that? Is the corpse really going to sass me?”

Lisa scoffed, gesturing to herself. Which Samantha only paid heed to now. She was in an elegant, Victorian-era red dress. Genuine Victorian-era. It was laced with golden thread, while her hands covered in long, black gloves. She had no shoes on, though, showing off her pale feet.

“I am... offended,” she exclaimed. “To be called such by the low-blood-”

“Oh, just shut up!”

“You dare?”

“Oh, I do. I so do.”

“If Samantha wasn’t here, I would give you what you deserve. Out of respect, though, I will simply say you are not worthy of her.”

“Really? The corpse has the balls to say that! God, I wish Peter never gave you the ‘cure’ now if you are going to be such a b-”

“Guys,” Peter cut in. “Please. Let’s... calm down... The best way to do so is to get some food in our bellies.”

Lisa sighed, shaking her head. “You’re right. I’m sorry, Peter... Forgive me for my outburst, Minos. I am quite famished”

“Yeah, yeah. Me too, especially when I left all my energy in Samantha’s holier-than-thou snatch. So, steak and potatoes with a fruit bowl?”

“Really, Minos?” Samantha repeated. Ignored again as Lisa interjected.

“I’ll only have the fruit bowl... and maybe a medallion of filet mignon.”

“Good! Good on all of you!” Samantha said, clapping. And making them all jump.

“Eh? You’re still here?” Minos said.

“You should speak up more, Samantha,” Lisa said.

Samantha... simply huffed. “Now that you guys have that settled, why is Ayn here?”

“Didn’t want to stay in my room” Ayn answered, yelling from the other room. “Besides, it looked like it was going to be a ball in here today.”

“... Alrighty then... With that... I’ll see you guys in a little bit.”

“Don’t be too long,” Lisa said, giggling. “I wish to read more with you.”

“Wait,” Minos blurted. “Samantha? Reading?”

“Aloud, no less. It’s a lot of fun.”

“Oh, this I’ve got to see!”

“Really, Minos!” Samantha exclaimed, loudly, but was simply ignored AGAIN as Lisa pressed.

“So you are joining us, Minos?”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

“Fuck this. I’m outta here.” Samantha rolled her eyes as Minos guffawed, his laughter following her out into the hall, but was cut at the entrance. She made her way through the undercroft, second-nature at this point (and her indignation did wonders as well), and climbed up into the school, bustling with students that morning. Which made her feel... tense, uneasy being surrounded by so many after so long in isolation or with a handful. Their very presence seemed to shrink the school around, making it feel that much tighter, but she knew her way, knew where Lilith dwelt.

Nobody seemed to pay her any mind, either, as she worked her way through the crowd, through the double doors and to the left of the entry, down the path to her office. She was about to knock on it... when she heard her inside.

“Everything is all right,” Lilith said. Her tone told otherwise, as did her fingers, rapping on her desk as her phone softly buzzed, waiting for the person on the other side to finish. “L... listen. Everything is under control... Y... yes... b... It was a necessity. There was a breach in protocol a... and... and- will you let me fini... uh huh... Look. As I’ve said, everything is all r... Yes... it’s getting back on track. It was but a min... okay... s... Don’t you have a honeymoon to get back to... Okay. Give him my best. You two have fun... uh... really? Wow, already? Well, congrats. Buh-b... love you, too.” The phone clacked, and the room thundered as she slapped her desk, groaning. “Can’t that bitch ever take a break? Goddamn.”

Samantha... raised her hand to knock on the door... but, instead, decided to slowly turn the knob. Her heart raced as she turned it, ever so slowly, careful not to make a noise, then carefully eased it forward, just opening a sliver. Seeing Lilith on the inside. She was her usual dark and moody self this day. Even moreso as her eyes smoldered and glared at the phone. For what felt like hours. When they finally blinked, they shifted to her laptop, as did her hands, clacking away, not noticing or caring about the door or who may be beyond it.

Which made Samantha smirk, mind buzzing away. The witch pulled out her cell, making sure it was silent before unlocking it, and decided to give Lilith a call. The succubus’ phone rang, buzzed on the desk off to the left; Lilith picked it up, saw who it was... and simply shrugged, putting it back down, leaving it to ring until it went to voicemail. Samantha called her again, and turned on her camera this time, filming as the succubus gave the phone the cold shoulder. Not once, not twice... but five times.

She cut the feed, and sent it in a text.

You wanted an answer back ASAP, huh?

Lilith picked up her cell, saw the text, the video... and froze. Samantha could hear her phone ringing through her phone, a loop that made Lilith’s brow twitch, that made the fury in her eyes compound that much further. Samantha pushed her way into the room, sitting across, but Lilith still didn’t move, still locked on the phone, glaring at herself.

“So how are you doing?” Samantha said, finally breaking the trance Lilith had been under. The ire in her gaze could have scorched the very earth to glass. It should have reduced Samantha to a smoldering pile of slag, but she simply stared at Samantha, her own stare colder than ice.

“I must apologize,” she said, though her tone was nowhere near sympathetic. Instead, it was as if she was trying to bash her with words, alone. “Today has been rather... busy.”

“So I heard.”

“Not for very long, I presume. The alarm only went off for the Halls a few minutes ago.”

“Only to catch the tail end of whoever, was on the phone. Though calling the kettle black, aren’t you? Bitching her out for not taking a day off work... when you are supposedly on honeymoon, yourself.”

She scoffed. “Yes, well, it’s never that simple around here... Anyways, what brings you up here and blowing up my phone all week? Weren’t you supposed to be teaching?”

“There was no way I was teaching Monday, one way or the other. I had a lot to think about, and I... crashed.”

“You didn’t blow up my phone Monday, but I did expect that, yes.”

“The rest of the week? I have been playing bodyguard for Monica.”

“What did she do this time?”

“She was a ditz and accidentally said the wrong thing at the very wrong time... She had Norman have sex with her.”

Several thoughts all flitted across the rubies, all in contention of each other. Her face contorted with each one, as if she were in a sideshow, a freak capable of donning a new mask as they juggled fire. Oh, but there was plenty of fire, rising with each new spring of emotion.

“In that case... I’ll be down to execute her-” She began.

“What? No! Why is everyone’s first reaction to kill her? It was an accident.”

“Yes. Accidental sex... and Monica. Those two mesh together as well as oil and water.”

“It’s the truth, though... this time... Look. If you will but look through the security footage-”

“Of the rooms you haven’t destroyed? That’s something I’ve been meaning to speak to you about. Will you stop destroying the surveillance equipment! It’s not that expensive, but it’s tedious to reinstall every single time. I’ll be blunt, again. Your room isn’t tapped. At all, or ever. If you want to conspire, do it there. Just stop with the other rooms.”

She sighed, flinging herself against the back of her chair, and pinched her brow.

“What do you want then, Sammy? What do you want me to do with Monica?”

“If you see her, you’ll know that her and sex are now a pipe dream. Even then, nobody will believe she’s a himan. Just a crazy, attention-seeking slut. She won’t be a threat in the outside world anymore, and wants to be a tattoo artist... If you will but let her go, give her Fang protection –if you can do that, of course-”

“I can, but I don’t see a reason why I should.”

“Jack wants to kill her.”

“And, if he tries anything, he’ll be taken care of.”

“Or you can assign protection and avoid anybody dying.”

“Oh, how naive you are. Even after all this time.” She eased herself back onto the desk, resting her hands before her mouth, and glared at the witch. Her eyes so cold, colder than the glare Samantha was giving, freezin her blood as she breathe out. “Here’s the truth, Sammy: I. Don’t. Care... I really don’t. They are in the Black Halls for a reason. I told you that everyone down there is meant to die. Now, why would I waste resources saving an aspiring prostitute-turned-deviant artist? What part of me should care. Tell me that, Sammy. Please. I’m just DYING to know how I should feel.”

Samantha... leaned on the desk, her hands creased, still their shaking as her own rage started to well up.

“I am doing my job as a teacher.” She stated, cold, staring Lilith right in the eyes. Metal crackled on her hand as wind whistled through the cracks, rustling the papers on the desk. “As a mentor, a guiding light for my students. I am giving my students a chance for a better life. A slim chance, a chance in literal Hell, but a chance, regardless... And now you are telling me it was all pointless? What am I even doing down there, then! Now... everything that Monica was originally down there for has been taken care of. She’s no longer a threat to your fucking image. Let her go, let her live her life. Who knows? Maybe having a world-famous himan tattoo artist will improve Himan relations... and you can even take the credit for it. Isn’t that what you desire? A positive fucking image.”

Lilith did not blink. She did not yield, and neither did Samantha. It became a battle to see who would give in first... which the succubus ultimately allowed her to win. She sighed, and stood, walking around the desk.

“All right. Let us go retrieve her. I’ll bring her up to the office, get her papers taken care of, then she can go on and live her fucking life,” she said, too annoyed to really show the care in her voice (or her real intention), and lead Samantha back down, down into the undercroft all the same. “Was there anything else you wanted to extort out of me?”

“Not really... though... Ayn was considering your deal.”

“Oh? What deal?”

“From what she said, you were going to help her find her true love in exchange for never coming back to VNA again.”

“Is that so... Why the sudden interest?”

“She misses being with someone, it seems. She misses having intimacy, and not just sex.”

“That makes sense. After all, I love my Johnny because he is a card.” She tittered, drowned out by their heels as they clacked away, closing in on the Black Halls. “He makes every day worth living... though it was Hell when we first met. I couldn’t exactly come out and say we were Fated, or even tell him what he was. So I had to let him... test the waters. I had to let him understand, through time, what he was and what kind of world we live in... which meant he laid with a lot of women along the way. Even got one pregnant.”

“What happened? To the girls, I mean.”

“Scarlette happened.” She sighed as she pulled out her card, swiping it, opening the Black Halls-

And its... art on the walls.

Samantha paled, stomach turning as they took a step into those halls. The world flickered to black, white, and, of course, red. So, so much red, painted, etched into the halls.

Whore.

Traitor.

Deceiver.

Repeated again and again, bolder as they reached the back, where it was lined and emboldened with entrails. Still connected. Monica hanged from the ceiling by, hooked up into the metal by her spine, ripped out of her back. Her stomach was split to her thighs, her womb stabbed and ripped apart, left to dangle like a pair of ruined wings. Her ovaries were cut off and stuffed into her eye sockets, gouged out. Her hair- rather her scalp had been sheared, skull burned with words, beaten, cracked so many times that calling it a “face” let alone a “head” would be a lie. Her heart laid on the ground underneath it. Still intact.

“Well... this was not how I wanted to spend my day,” Lilith grumbled, lumbering up the hall. Samantha followed, absolutely hollowed, the whine that seemed to always emanate now risen to a sickening shrill, clashing with the smell of... death, of rot and decay and the metallic undertone of bile and blood. Again.

Lilith turned at the end of the hall, going up the steps, and Samantha saw that her door had been ripped off its hinges and tossed over the railing. Blood coated her ceiling, only growing thicker as she climbed up the stairs, finally witness to the storm that had swept through. Ayn was still on the bed, though in far worse shape than how she left her. Blood drooled from her lip, her left eye caked in it. Her right glittered, still awake, seeing Samantha enter the room. Her arms were twisted, mangled. Her right swung off the side of the bed, twitching weakly, while her lower half seemed fine, if a bit bruised –and turned the wrong direction. Her tablet was little more than an oozing splatter of black crystal on the wall behind her, but Samantha was wondering about Peter, about Lisa.

About Minos.

“Ayn?” Lilith said, sitting on the bed beside her. “I heard you had an inkling to accept my proposal. Is that true?”

“I don’t think now is the time for that,” Samantha grumbled, finally finding the courage to check the kitchen. She lumbered, on stuttering, shaking feet, to its door... Finding it had been sealed. She slammed her hand against it, heart starting to race, fighting her stomach for dominance. “Minos? Peter! Lisa!”

“How many others are here?” Lilith said, rolling her eyes as Samantha turned around... and Bella entered the room. “Anybody else want to join the p-”

“For Scarlette,” she exclaimed, and threw her phial, that succubus acid, on Lilith. The glass phial shattered on her chest, spraying her with it... and the bed, and Ayn, behind. The reaction was instant. Pink smoke burst from Ayn’s face, hissing, snapping as she shrieked and bolted to the bathroom, leaving skin and flesh in her wake.

Meanwhile, Lilith was perfectly fine.

Lilith blinked, and looked back at Samantha, giving her a bored look.

“Well, looks like you won’t have to wait another six months,” she stated. And pulled out her gun. She stood, aimedit between Bella’s eyes, and shot. All in one, fluid motion. Bella jerked back from the force, but Lilith wasn’t done, putting two more in her head, adding some gray to that canvas of red as she strolled to the door, kicking the drider back out into the hall.

Samantha followed after, still so wary as Lilith continued to kick her, not stopping until the poor girl was at the bottom of the steps. She put four more bullets into her abdomen, the hall ringing with each, indomitable bark, left to fade into the silence of its own volition. When it finally did fade, Lilith sighed, looking back up at Samantha.

“I’m afraid to say that your request for Monica has been declined... As for Ayn, I’ll be in touch once the paperwork is done for... all of this. I’ll be back for Jack. Now, unless you are going to ruin my day more, I’ve got to go back up. Cleaners will be along shortly... Sammy.”

Lilith holstered her gun, nodded to Samantha, then turned back to the hall and marched off. The first few steps squelched as she walked through Bella, leaving a bloody trail until Samantha could no longer see around the bend... but Samantha refused to move. She dared not disturb those heels, did not want to entice them anymore or the... the thing they carried. She waited until the entrance to the Halls buzzed shut, and only then did she wheel and fly up the steps. The dragon roared in the kitchen, its claws clashing against the metal on the other side as her own hands wrenched at it, clawed until blood fell as freely as her tears, streaming down her face. Her sobs were broken with bile, coating it in that sickening spray, as if it would help to break the metal apart. It was thick, thicker than she thought it would be, but it quickly gave way.

Revealing Peter, Lisa, Minos... and Jack all there.

“Sam,” Minos said, rushing to her before she collapsed, sobbing. But not from sadness. She pushed him away, the dragon joining her, looming towards Jack as she glaring at him, sitting at the bar with the other two.

“You,” she hissed, the dragon rising on the winds that shrieked around her, rippling against her face. “Why did y-”

“I didn’t,” he said, holding up his knife. Clean. “I was going to, but then I was... compelled to come in here.”

“C...compelled? How?”

“No idea. All I know is I wanted to make it a clean extraction. Get Monica away from Ayn... but then I heard the thought that I should BS my way through the others in the room, so I decided to start with these three. Next thing I know, the door was sealed shut and... yeah.”

“S... so... with what happened to Ayn-”

“What happened to Ayn?”

“I got fucked up is what happened!” Ayn shrieked, turned into a gurgling croak as she limped into the room. The right side of her face was little more than bone, the skin where the tincture touched smoldering black, eating more away. “I don’t even know what happened. One minute, I was sitting and reading with Monica. The next moment I felt like shit and surrounded by blood. What the fuck kind of tonic did that bitch Bella have!”

“I’ll heal you. Don’t worry, but this doesn’t make sense.”

“No. It doesn’t,” Peter said, standing. “May I speak with you?”

He lead her to the restroom, making sure it was locked, and leaned on the sink.

“Compelled? That sounds like a matriarch’s doing.”

“And the speed at which Ayn was talking about-”

“It had to have been Lucille... but why would she spare Jack?”

“I don’t know... but Lilith was too quick to say Jack was the killer. She had reason; I had mentioned it, but... she was so... absolute in her tone... Could the two be working together?”

“But then the question is why. What would they gain by having Jack be the patsy when he was already planning on killing her? Why would they have her step in and do his job? Why would they seal him in the kitchen?”

Samantha shook her head... and meandered over to the toilet.

“I don’t know, but, if you don’t mind, I have a tradition to keep.”

And with that, her mind a tumultuous storm, a labyrinth in a maze in a dungeon, she began grieving, not only for Monica, but for the loss of Bella. As well as innocence, for now she knew that there was a true conspiracy afoot... and did not know who to truly trust.

You can always trust me, Samantha. I am here for you... This will be my last intrusion, so I will leave you all this. Lucille will be her own undoing. As will be that cunt’s. That is my promise. And all that follow that deceiver, that true monster hiding in plain sight. They will ALL PAY! -Nosron

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