Chapter 158:

Going North

Mad God


Tylvana and the rest were sitting in their cell for hours by now. They could not tell if it was already night or not as they were losing their sense of time completely, being underground. Their cell was only lit up by torches placed outside of it, and none of them could tell how much time had passed already. Was it a day or just a few hours?

"How long are we going to wait here?" Letty grumbled.

"They just want to break us," Zazuba said, lying on his bed, watching the ceiling. "I still prefer this over how the tigers operate their prisons. No torture and a comfortable cot to lay upon!"

"Who knows, maybe they are preparing the torture chamber," Letty added with a snort. "With these damned collars, we couldn't fight back."

"YOU couldn't fight back." Zazuba smiled before looking at Tylvana, who remained calm. She was not returning his gaze, but she wasn't denying his words, drawing an understanding onto Letty's face. It was quickly calming her down.

"Steps," Tylvana spoke up a little later, and the others also sat up, concentrating, watching the dark corridor before their cell. The owners of the steps were Ren and Ariana, who slowly walked before their new home.

"Finally," Letty said, but Ren just ignored her, watching only Tylvana.

"I assume you have a lot of questions." The jaguar demon stood up, walking before their cell's bars, looking into Ren's eyes.

"A few, yes." Ren nodded, opening up the cell. "Come with us."

Tylvana hesitated only a little before she walked out. As soon as Letty wanted to follow them, Ren quickly shut the door.

"Hey!" She flared up, and Zazuba also was ready to fight at any given moment.

"Sit down and stay quiet. That is an order." Ren said, raising her voice, and the collars immediately lit up in a violet hue. They were forcing the duo to freeze and sit down right there, unable to voice their dissatisfaction at all.

Tylvana was led to a mostly empty room with only a light source in the middle of the ceiling. Three chairs were already prepared for their arrival. Ariana calmly sat down while her master stood before the jaguar General. Tylvana looked at them, clearly having her own questions, too, thinking about asking them.

"Strip," Ren said before she could, making her raise an eyebrow. "The armor. Take it off."

It was the first time that Tylvana wanted to refuse, but she felt the collar activating on her neck to force her to obey. She knew her strength and will. She knew that it was strong and could overcome a slave collar's influence, but as she tried resisting, she realized for the first time that something was off.

"These collars are different. Made by yours truly." Ren smiled as her violet irises slowly glowed, looking into her eyes. "When I give orders, you can't do anything about it. So… Please. Strip." She repeated it again.

The scary part for Tylvana was not that she would be hurt by the collar to punish the resistance from her body, but the fact that her arms started to loosen the belts and buckles around her body. She was taking off the knight's armor she was wearing without her true consent. Even as her mind thought about stopping it, resisting, she could not manifest those thoughts into action, and her own body was betraying her. A few minutes later, she stood before them in her human form, completely naked, her body filled with scars as angry flames danced inside her eyes because of the humiliation.

"I see." Ren walked around her, watching her body. She was finally stopping before her, really close, making her tremble for the first time. Tylvana was already thinking about what this weird, perverted human would do with her.

"This looks fatal." She placed her palm on the left side of her chest, where an ugly, star-shaped scar completely deformed her breast.

"It almost was," Tylvana answered with a completely red face, not because of shyness but because she felt shame and anger. Being ordered around and molested by a human was not something she expected to happen. Especially as she did not even give in to the Tiger King, who notoriously mated with every female he came across. "Seen enough?"

"Relax. I'm not doing this because I want to fuck you." Ren chuckled, making both Ariana and Tylvana twitch their mouths.

She pushed her palm onto the scar, and Tylvana felt shock running through her body. Her first thought was Ren was going to kill her, especially because the electricity traveling along her nervous system was exceptionally painful. It was contracting every muscle inside her body as it raced along inside of her. While she was enduring the pain, Ren closed her eyes and heard a deep, masculine voice echoing inside her mind.

"You are that damned human who foils my plans a second time, are you not?" Ren could not put a figure to the voice but already knew that she was speaking with the Tiger King through his own blood, hidden inside Tylvana.

"My name is Ren. Nice to meet you, Princess of the Kitty Cats."

"Funny. You do realize that I'll personally kill you."

"Step in the line, Mr. Meow-Meow! There are already a few others who want to woo me! You are not even in my top 5 list of people who I want to make an eunuch out of!"

"They are going to be disappointed because I'll not just kill you but feast on your body afterward."

"Why can't you people come up with something new?" Ren sighed inside her head. "Like, I don't know, trying to tempt me with something, to join your side instead of going for the 'I'm gonna murderape you girl!' routine. Boring! Anyway, I felt you were monitoring the girl. As soon as she told me you fed your kitty milk to that meat shield of a brethren of yours. So listen well because I won't repeat this." Ren's voice was completely serious at that moment. "Bow to me and become my subordinate. If you do that, I'll spare your life, and you can name your successor to govern your territory. Refuse, and you are dead."

"Ahahaha!" Came the laugh that quickly turned to a gurgling, deep tiger roar. "You are funny, meat! Very funny!"

"I take it as a no then. Good! I really hoped that you were going to refuse it! Phew!"

"Listen here, you-" But he could transmit no more words through as Ren cut not just the connection but also expelled every remaining energy of the Tiger King from inside Tylvana. She quickly vomited up a blackish clot, like when a cat throws up the fur from their stomach.

"Y-you…" She blinked her eyes, collecting her thoughts. She was hearing their exchange, not believing what she had just witnessed.

"You can dress back up," Ren said calmly, rubbing her wrist.

"H-how?" Tylvana asked while trembling strongly. She knew those who had the Tiger King's 'blessing' would not just have a reserve power in them. It was much more than that. When it was activated, it gave a strong boost to the individual's body, strengthening them but at a great price. As it wore off, it had a weakening effect on the individual. Which was permanent. Even worse, if the King wished, he could kill one from afar, turning his blood into poison inside their bodies. They were lucky that Toothie was unable to activate it, or they wouldn't be able to kill him so quickly.

"How did I know? Or how did he fuse his blood into you without you noticing it?" Ren asked with a smile. "For the former, Ariana." She pointed at her disciple. "She felt something strange coming from you. The latter… well, I presume you were out cold after your injury. Do you think they nursed you back completely intact? Haha, what naive little girl~"

"Little girl?!" Tylvana trembled, wanting to get angry, but what she just witnessed made her conflicted inside her mind.

"What can I say? You may have felt nothing wrong, but you were just blind to it. That is pure, childish naivety! The same is true with quickly changing sides and thinking we are going to welcome you with open arms!" She shook her head, snapping her fingers, and the collar fell off from her neck. "Probably your friends are in the same situation as you. Don't worry, he can't do anything to them because of my collars. He probably wanted to spy on us from inside of you three! Now, knowing he has been busted, as soon as I take off the collars from them, they are dead. It is the only thing that keeps him from activating his blood from far afar!"

"Then-" Tylvana looked at her, even forgetting to dress back up, wanting to ask for her help immediately.

"A-a!" Ren countered her as she wiggled her finger before her. She just sat down next to Ariana before continuing. "I won't help them just yet! Look Tylvana… We are not enemies. But neither are we friends. For now, we are at square one in our relationship. So please, sit." She gestured at the chair, and after Tylvana collected herself, dressing back up, she sat down, trying to look calm and collected once again, without any success.

"What do you want in exchange?" She asked.

"Nothing much. You switched sides because you thought we could be another enemy to the Tiger King. Betting on leading us against him, so we take off the pressure from the wolves and give them a chance. Maybe they could take back their lost territory. Anything that can annoy the Tiger King and make his life harder. You are half-right with that."

"Only half?" She smiled a little.

"Yes. Because it would have happened either way! Whether you switch sides or not is irrelevant! There is nothing I want in exchange for helping your two companions. I just won't do it! Not until I can trust you. They are going to be my hostages, so you do not step out of line."

"I see…" She said, thinking about it, slowly reverting back to the calmness she first showed. "What should I do?"

"Keep them in line, that is all. You are going to be held responsible for their actions."

"You mean?"

"That you can explore the city. Of course, there are going to be places where you won't gain entry, and you can't leave Thunder Valley."

"You really just let me roam around that easily?" She asked with raised eyebrows.

"Look," Ren explained, leaning forward and looking into her eyes. "You want to cooperate with us, then start showing me that I can trust you. Of course, if you prove that you are just a troublemaker, I'll let your friends die and kill you myself for your demonic core."

"Like you could." She protested, not backing down at her words, even raising her aura a little.

"I could. I am still a bit pissed that you changed sides." Ren answered immediately, and Tylvana felt that she was honest about it. "Ariana here is going to bring you back to the cell to collect your friends and show you the place you are going to live from now on. Of course, guards will be posted at your residence. I'll give you a few days to settle in and explore, and then I'll come for you personally."

"What for?" Tylvana asked as she tilted her head sideways.

"You are going to tell me everything about the Tiger King, and why are you here right now."


….
…..

Inside the foxes' village, Poli was sitting below a tall oak tree, resting his sword on his knees while meditating. Or resting… it was hard to tell as the morning sun shone onto his face, which showed otherworldly happiness at that moment.

"Always with that weird grin on your face…" Emi said, walking up to him.

"Of course! I could smell your lovely scent coming towards me from miles away~" He chuckled, opening his eyes slowly, watching Emi's flustered expression with glee.

"Hmf! I do not smell!" She crossed her arms before her chest, sweeping the ground with her fluffy fox tail, throwing leaves at Poli. "I heard that you were approached by some girls from the tribe."

"I only have eyes for you; you don't need to worry." He replied quickly, but Emi just twitched her eyelids.

"That is why you were drinking with them 'till midnight?"

"Ergh… I was finally welcomed into your tribe! Spending years with you and visiting again and again… I did not want to be rude by refusing the first invitation I got!"

"Yeah, yeah, excuses." She snorted with clear anger in her voice.

"You can ask the rest! I was civil all the way and did not give into temptation!"

"So there WAS temptation!"

"Damn it…" He murmured under his breath. "There is temptation all around me here! Your people are beautiful! As Reignar would say, men and women, all ripe for the picking!"

"You!" Emi flared up, but Poli suddenly just stood up, grabbing her waist, pulling close as their noses touched. "What are you doi- mfhf?!" She protested, but soon, she just melted in his arm as their kiss grew more and more passionate by the minute. In the end, Emi crossed her arms around Poli's neck, hugging his waist with her fox tail.

"But for me, the most beautiful girl is already mine. Why should I try plucking other flowers when I have myself the most wonderful rose?" He chuckled as he felt a pinch on his back. “Ouch… well… They say that roses have their thorns."

"Idiot…" She murmured, snuggling up to his chest.

"Hehe, yet you fell for one… so what does that make of you?"

"An even bigger idiot." Emi giggled, but suddenly, she let him go. "Argh, I AM an idiot! I came because Lady Rumira asked for us, yet you derail my thoughts!"

"Hey, that was your fault, not mine!" Poli laughed.

"Enough! Let's go! We should not make the Queen wait!" She shouted as she rushed off.
Arriving at the cave that was Queen Rumira's lair, both of them kneeled at the opening, not going further. For one, Emi was already filled with deep desires that she was combating against. She still has not taken the last step with Poli, and because of that, Rumira forbade her from coming inside. It would make her feelings explode, and she wouldn't be able to resist her Queen's aura anymore. The same was true for Poli. He had yet to reach a strength in both body and mind to combat Rumira's presence, and it would break him, so no matter how curious Poli was about the Queen of the foxes, he had never met with her yet.

"I've got a message from your Master, Poli." The Queen's voice echoed out from the cave.

"Ren?" He raised his head with excitement. "Please, tell us!"

"She wants to hold a meeting between our tribe, hers, and the wolves. I agreed and took up the role of inviting the wolves. I'd like you two to travel up north and meet with their leader, explaining to them our intentions."

"I think he is going to be excited that we are finally going to step in." Emi mused with a soft voice.

"We'll see! They could also resent us for waiting for so long. So be careful! The meeting is going to be held here! We are going to act as a neutral ground between the north and the south. For now, just try to reach an agreement that they are going to attend the meeting."

"They should be easy to convince as this is going to be about fighting against the tigers," Poli spoke up confidently.

"Let's go." Emi nodded, bowing towards the cave entrance as Poli copied her quickly. They left in a few minutes after telling the tribe where they were heading.

"Have you ever been there?" Poli asked after a few minutes of silence. He was standing on his sword, flying through the air as the wind blew against his hair. His black and purple uniform left a colorful trace in the sky as they traveled forward.

"A few times. It is a cold place! If it's not snowing, then it is foggy. Or raining. I don't like it."

"Well, if it's that cold, we can snuggle in one sleeping bag when we rest."

"So you can let your fingers do bad things once again?" She asked, with slanted eyes, looking at him sideways.

"You liked it." Poli grinned at her slyly.

"Hmf."

"Come on~ It wasn't that bad!"

"Let's go." Emi sped up instead of answering. "We need to travel at least half of the route before camping for the night."

"I did not hear a no then~" He rushed after her.

"Just come already!" Her voice traveled into his ear, and it contained a lot of shyness, excitement, and playfulness that told Poli that this night may be an exciting one as they traveled toward the North.