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21

All things considered, Mel could have had a worse Saturday morning. He could have been shot down over the multiple number of countries he sailed over, gotten foodsick or drank bad water. He could have been stung by the snakes with wings playing violins with laser strings instead of being moved by their beautiful melody... Daisy was right: all those hisses really did transcend beauty to show him something even grander.

But, being reminded of Daisy, he realized that it could have been a far... FAR better Saturday morning, too. He could have been introducing his head to her wall as she took complete control. He would, but he didn’t want to hurt her. The last thing he needed was to see her break down crying from slamming her head so hard against the wall above her bed that they started to fly out through the hole and rode her like a nuke to the ground where boom would definitely go the dynamite. So he would have endured. He would have let his thick skull slam and slam and bang away until she was filled with enough to get preggo nineteen times over and accept all sixty-seven calls for child support. He even had a name for all of them, though after a point it was cheating. Repeating names just with a hyphen were truly a gift from the white-trash gods.

But then he wouldn’t have gotten even that far, would he? Not without having to deal with Leovold... Mel suddenly wondered if he could simply take residence of the permanent kind in his would-be killer. Surely it was safer in the satin-lined belly of this prized Persian snake than it is out there, in the open, waiting for the holy fist of Leovold Dominus to meet its mark. The rumors of Daisy’s sexual preference weren’t the only thing that kept Mel and many others at bay; there wasn’t a man in the Institute that did not know the tales and legends of the Holy Dragonslayer Fist. It recently even got a new chapter: The Blacksteel.

Mel shuddered, they very memory shaking him to his very core and rooting him a moment in his trek through the carpet cobra’s gut. The Blacksteel, the Holy Dragonslayer Fist’s first taste of darkness for its own gain; was it really true? Did he embrace the black so that he could annihilate -not destroy, not execute nor tend to or any other form but true annihilation- the supposed greatest evil of our time? Mel had met Leovold only once before, right before he went on his pilgrimage for the Blacksteel, and saw the scar the great Beast had left on his chest. No armor nor cloth could ever cover up that long, jagged line that ran from his left shoulder down to the top of the waist on the right side, pulsing with a sickly green hue. If that’s what the Beast had done to the paragon of traditional manly values, that goliath of a man, he did not want to think what the Blacksteel changed.

The Beast was then no doubt a chicken, or some type of bird. Fucking birds... always ruining everything... plotting such... fowl things... Birds were the reason Mel liked snakes and reptiles. After all, they were known to eat the birds, whether it was wholly or by eating their progeny. Fuck the birds... Even now, Mel felt more uncomfortable than disconcerted or worried in the belly of that snake. Being eaten wasn’t so bad; sure it was a little stuffy, but people were always bellyaching that it’s the worst thing ever, that they need to be put out of their existence as they’re thrashed to pieces. The dumbass should have just gotten swallowed whole, then all they had to worry about was a bit of claustrophobia and dark. Lots and lots of dark.

In fact, it became too much dark for Mel. He didn’t mind darkness, but it gets boring after a while. He had his magic or his cell for a reason; though it was a hard choice between the two, he decided to make an orb of light. No reason to waste the battery. As soon as that pale blue ball sparked from his hand, he could hear Saliim and Brin’s shuddering breath at last, dulled and silenced by the dark that had oppressed them a moment before. Mel hadn’t even realized they pushed so close to him during that time; no wonder he was feeling stuffy.

The pale blue light pulsed and washed the halls he walked, showing the sinewy yet plush innards that belonged to the carpet cobra. They had a soft pinkness, all the muscles running in a horizontal cluster... making Mel wonder if he had taken a really wrong turn somewhere along the way. He didn’t exactly like the idea of being trapped in a serpent’s prostate, but surely he hadn’t traveled that far downstream. He hasn’t even reached the stomach yet, which he could see its opening in the distance. It was a band of red muscle going against the red, twisted towards a central disk left open; from it he could see soft steam rising, as well as soft bubbling and gurgling.

“We’re not really going in there. Are we, Master?” Brin whimpered in his ear. He could see her eyes off to the left, as wide as they could be, trying to hold the orb in them lest it bobbed too far down the snake’s rabbit hole without her. However, they were looking beyond, at that quivering wall of flesh. “Surely we can just... there! We can carve our way out just before it.”

“We don’t even have to wait that long,” Saliim grumbled. “We didn’t have to wait at all! Why are we even going through this?”

“Where are your guys’ senses of adventure?” Mel said. “Besides, I’m no killer. This snake did nothing wrong.”

“It ate us!”

“Technically, it just had its mouth open and we walked in.”

“... It ate us!”

“Normally, I find your caring of animals to be endearing, Master,” Brin said, squeezing his arm. “But this is very much a case of us versus it. If we don’t do something-”

“We’ll be fine,” Mel said.

“Just because you have a vore fetish doesn’t mean-” Saliim began.

“Carpet constrictors don’t have strong enough stomach acid to kill us. At most, it can melt our clothes.”

“How do you know that?”

“I liked to watch Magic Animal Planet... then it became nothing but reality TV.” They reached the wall of muscle. As if on cue, it relaxed, the disc widening, stretching out until it was well more than big enough for all three to fit through easily. Mel stepped through without hesitation, and his foot plopped into something... mushy. The orb brightened a bit more, filling the dome plain they had entered, easily as large as the courtyard and then some, and saw that he had plodded right into a mound of rotting cloth. There was a solid wall of it along the interior of the stomach, a solid, black line ringing the soft red organ.

Something squished beside, which it turned out, between the two succubus, Saliim stepped through first, and she didn’t waste a single second voicing her disgust.

“Again! Why are we doing this?” She exclaimed. Brin did the smart thing and jumped onto Mel’s back, wrapping her legs around his middle. Mel held them as best as he could, and smiled as he saw Saliim glowering off to his right, following him through the cloth marsh and into the smooth expanse. There was a large hump in the center, blocking view from the rest of the gut on the other side, but Mel hoped it would give at some point. He hoped that, as they climbed, he would get his answer, if only to shut her up. “We can leave any time now! There is nothing to gain from venturing any further into the beast, unless you are hoping for the exit which I’ll be honest: I’ll sooner kill you than go near it. I’ll sooner immolate and burn this mother down before ever heading to a snake’s sph-”

And there was his answer.

They just reached the harsh curve up to the hump when from beyond a pile of naked flesh rose. Men and women piled on top of one another, each a varying degree of starvation that went from the plump and only recently disrobed at the very tippy-top to the skin-and-bones, being kept warm and alive by the others on the very bottom. They were all silent, watching with hopeful eyes as the trio approached, which Mel was already shaking his head.

“I see how it is,” he said. “I’m never invited for the orgies. ‘Oh, hey Mel! Would you like to join us for a good ole fashion carpet snake romp?’ ’Boy would I! Let me go get my rain slickers.’” He huffed, resting his hands on his hips as best he could, and gave all of them such a disapproving look. “Well, you put me in a rough spot. I’m gonna have to snitch you all out to your parents... yeah. See how they like it when they hear you shirked your schooling for a fun month in the snek.”

“Shut up and get on the pile,” one of the more recent said, a rather portly lass from Portland most likely. She had thick, brown hair, given no love with all the grease and sweat accumulated from her time on the mound. “You’ll live longer.”

“I think I’ll live longer down here, thanks. Oxygen tends to stay on the lower levels, and I need to actually think of what we’re going to do to get out.”

“Just blast a bloody hole in it!” Saliim shrieked, growling. She shook her head, and raised her index, a pinprick of red growing on it. “Fuck it! I’ll do it myself.”

“Wait!” The pile cried out, seeming to shimmy her way. “Don’t!”

But it was too late. Saliim released the red laser, its perfect pinprick of light searing into the carpet cobra’s stomach... only for it to fizzle out. The small hole she managed to burn in its lining released a noxious gout of gas, aimed right at her face, scalding it in its heat and her lungs in its putrescence.

“Oh yeah... carpet cobras are incredibly resistant to magical barrages,” Mel said. Green energy rushed from his hand into the succubus, her scabbing-over face slowing enough so that he could see her glaring at him. “Their body, also, has a defense mechanism that releases if anything tries to harm it while inside.”

“You couldn’t have said that sooner?” She wheezed.

“It’s been a while since I’ve seen that episode.” Mel hummed, mulling to himself as he knelt to the spongy floor. He ran his hand over it, finding it parts slick, slippery, and smooth, yet a touch rough under everything else. He gave it a little scratch... and was surprised when it gave it a little spasm. He tried it again, and the reaction was a touch stronger... making him smile and cough a small laugh. “I don’t believe it.”

“What?” Brin said.

“It’s ticklish.” He put both hands to the gut and continued to scratch and tease it gently –at least, as gentle as he possibly could to get a reaction. The muscle visibly stretched and tried to push him away, the entirety trying to simply slide out from under him, to push him back, but he did not relent. “Coochie-coo!”

“And how does it being ticklish help u-” Saliim began, cut off as the light bulb above her head... at least audibly crackled. She hopped down on her knees as well, scratching at the belly, lips curling into a sinister smirk. “Come on, you burlap devil. Let’s get you absolutely ro-”

She scratched too hard, though, slowing Mel’s actions as he had to heal her, but at least Brin joined in. The entire stomach started to contract and squeeze, slurping and glorping as they continued their tormenting assault, and it wasn’t long before some in the pile started to understand what they were doing and joined in, too. Brin kept her right leg wrapped around Mel lest the muscle contractions pulled them too far apart, which became like great quakes in the earth, rumbling and shattering the pleasant plains that they had once entered in. Now the entirety looked like a war-torn crag, great, jagged mounds rising and falling as it continued to be given no quarter, as it continued to suffer the Great Tickling.

His hands started to tire, arms locking up, but it seemed the great serpent got tired of it just before Mel did. The world turned, end over end, weightless as they barreled towards the front of the beast, all of them, and out onto the grass of the courtyard. The air was filled with the hacking of an overgrown cat, belonging to the sandy yellow carpet constrictor. Its soft, jewel-lined jowl was distended, cracked open thrice its normal size, still expelling its contents onto the ground as its body flopped and flailed all over the entire expanse. It had coiled up the great arches, lazed on the parapets and towers of the castle, dwarfing all in its sheer bulk. Even its eyes were larger than life, a set of two perfect periwinkles on either side of its large, shovel-faced mouth.

At last, the final bit of cloth was expunged from its stomach, and it cracked its jaw back to normal before falling over, panting hard. Its eye swiveled towards Mel, and, though snakes cannot show emotion, Mel understood what it meant all the same. It knew the contempt it housed, the impotent rage it could not enact upon, too tired from its laughing fit to be able to even stir, even as Professor Klan clambered over its body.

“Mein gott!” She said, then rushed away, calling for the dean, leaving them, Mel, Brin, and Saliim, heaped on the ground together.

Brin kissed Mel’s cheek, caressing it.

“Master?” She said.

“Yeah?”

“I want you to take my first tonight.”

“We’ll see... We’ll see.” He yawned, but was kept from fading to la-la land too soon by Saliim’s retort.

“I demand to be first. I wish to teach you so that you can make her first time all the better.” She stated.

“Not bad reasoning.”

“I don’t care,” Brin said. “No. In truth, I want it to be both our first. That way it can truly be special.”

“Also not bad reasoning.”

Saliim scoffed. “Trust me, sugar. The first time is anything but special. It’s sloppy, it hurts, and it doesn’t last very long.”

“Also true.”

“But it’s the emotion behind it,” Brin said, squeezing Mel, pulling him once more from the ether. “It’s the passion. There’s never anything else like it.”

“True as w-”

“And how would either of you know?” Saliim said, pulling on Mel. “Listen to me, Mel. First time, fourth time, four-hundredth time; it’s always going to be good.”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“What’s important is that it is not the last time, so I will gladly teach y-”

“I don’t want him taught,” Brin said, yanking back on Mel. “I want him curious. I want him adventurous.”

“As we have seen from today, that’s not a good thing.”

“I think it is, and I demand that, as second succubus, you learn your place.”

“Well... I think that’s up to master, now isn’t it? Well, master. Who is in the right... m... master? Master!”

“He’s sleeping.”

He really wasn’t, not yet at least, but he knew a losing battle when he heard one, so he deepened his breathing, closed his eyes, and hoped that sleep would soon be on him. Hopefully it wasn’t too sore about his long absence; it really wasn’t his fault... this time.

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