Protection, Part 5 NSFW

Author's note: The original description for this story on Eka's Portal ended in:

7.5 months later...

Well, I kept putting this off because I never felt like I could do these characters justice, but I've finally committed something to e-paper, and I'm fairly happy with it.

Cyndra lightly rubbed her stomach, feeling the miniaturized dragonling’s movements slow and finally stop completely. A pleased grin spread over her face. Why had she not simply done this before? It would have made a lot of things a lot easier.

Her meal completed, she lazily turned her attention to the bed, where her next prey awaited… but it was caught halfway by the sight of the gray-haired young girl - not hiding under the bed like a coward, but standing before her in defiant challenge. Hatred burned hotly in her red eyes, kept impotent by the collar around her neck.

The archmage couldn’t help laughing at this. “Where is the frightened little girl I am so fond of, Karya? What has come over you?”

“Spit her out,” Karya hissed through clenched teeth.

“Spit her… Ah, Karya. I swallowed her. She is in my stomach now.” Cyndra tilted her head, rubbing her belly lightly. “And like any good meal… there she will stay. At least she was delicious!”

“Spit her out!” Karya’s fury seemed to grow further at this, and she stamped one foot forward, advancing slightly on the archmage.

Was she not aware of her powerlessness? Or did she simply not care? Cyndra found this even more entertaining than the tears of fear that had formed in her eyes earlier. A small burp escaped the archmage’s thin lips, and Karya’s fists clenched even tighter at her sides. Cyndra smiled. “You will have to pardon me, child. She was a very satisfying meal. Though... not so satisfying that I don’t still have room for dessert...”

Karya ignored the threat, but the hatred in her eyes grew deeper. “Maritza is not a meal for you. Let her out.”

Cyndra laughed. “It would be pointless, now. She has stopped moving.”

Shock briefly replaced rage, and Karya faltered slightly. Typical. “What?”

“I said, she stopped moving. She’s probably unconscious. My stomach is not a very hospitable place.” Cyndra patted her stomach, watching with delight as the rage - and the tears - returned to Karya’s face with twice the strength. She taunted the girl, grinning. “Soon my stomach will dissolve her, and she will be nothing more than a snack.”

Karya’s face turned to a wordless snarl, and her fists trembled as if desiring to attack the archmage. But she stood, her whole body tensed, as if waiting for an opening. No opening would come, though. Cyndra had just swallowed her only protection. Her fate was already sealed.

Which meant there was a little more time for Cyndra to have fun with her, yes? “No, less than that. She will be the memory of a snack. The leftover taste on my lips, and the faint grumbling of a satisfied belly. She should be honored to be the first one digested in my stomach… not that I will remember her beyond tonight. Especially when I...”

Cyndra trailed off, staring in confusion. The collar around Karya’s neck was… glowing...?

That didn’t seem good. Still, it seemed to be holding, as the girl’s hair was still dull...

“How… how dare you talk about Maritza like that…” Karya snarled. Small pops sounded as the fasteners holding the collar together began to explode outward, the collar slowly loosening around her neck as every ounce of the girl’s energy poured into the inhibitor, straining against it.

Cyndra stepped backward unconsciously, suddenly alarmed. This shouldn’t even be possible, not even for a Silver Sage, not unless… No, she couldn’t. There was no way this untrained whelp could possibly... “Calm yourself, child. Are you trying to save me the trouble of killing you? That much magical energy flowing through you...”

“I don’t care,” Karya said, her voice strained. “You’re going to pay for what you did to Maritza.”

“Killing yourself by overload isn’t going to bring her back,” Cyndra said sharply, trying to hide the fear in her voice and stepping back again. “Be reasonable!”

“You were going to kill me anyway, weren’t you?” Light danced in Karya’s eyes, shimmered through her hair in a brief wave, and Cyndra felt the bottom drop out of her stomach. “I don’t see why I shouldn’t try to take you with me--!”

Blinding light filled the room, making Cyndra duck away and shield her eyes. The collar made a slapping sound as it slammed into the wall, having given way completely.

When she was able to look again, her jaw dropped, and her heart raced.

Karya now hovered an inch above the floor. Her eyes had turned to pure red and now shone outwards, becoming two points of bright red light. Her hair had gone from a soft, light glow to almost blinding white, illuminating the entire room as if it were daytime. The air hummed with energy, palpable against Cyndra’s bare skin even from across the room.

The Silver Sages were admired and feared for precisely this reason. In this state, just one of them had enough power to level entire cities with a mere thought.

And she had made one angry with her.

Karya seemed not to have noticed what had happened to her, beyond the collar being released. When she spoke, the air resonated with her voice, as if every natural force was simply waiting to hear this goddess’s command. “You will release Maritza to me.”

“I… I cannot,” Cyndra stammered. “She is in my stomach now, I can hardly-”

“That was not a request,” Karya snapped, and she extended a hand almost carelessly. Cyndra felt as if she’d been punched in the stomach from the sheer energy of the spell going off within her, staggering back and curling up in a ball. Karya had never been good at control before… and now she had more power rushing through her than she’d ever had before.

Karya’s fingers curled around the tiny dragonling’s body in a light squeeze, and she slipped the miniaturized Maritza into a pocket before turning her attention back on Cyndra. “Now it is your turn. Isn’t this nice, a little reversal of things?”

Cyndra rose to her feet, her body trembling, though she steeled her voice. “No. This is no reversal. Unlike you, I am not powerless. And unlike you, I am not a fool.”

Karya’s glowing red eyes narrowed. “What...?”

Cyndra simply smiled, closing her eyes.

And then she vanished.

Karya’s red eyes widened. The archmage… had run… from her…?

The bright light emanating from Karya’s hair flickered. Once… twice… and then it faded completely, returning to the soft glow it normally had as Karya slumped to her knees, utterly exhausted.

Her body ached from head to toe, with extra emphasis on her head. She felt like she’d just run a marathon. Maybe several marathons. And then banged her head on the wall for a little while, just for fun.

Dragging herself over to the bed, she lay herself down, closing her eyes. She needed rest… she needed a lot of rest… Her hands reached into her pocket, pulling out her tiny friend and clutching her to her chest as if she was the most precious thing in the world. At least Maritza was still alive...

===

When I opened my eyes again, I was briefly certain I was dead.

A field of white filled my view, glowing softly before my eyes. This much was clear, though my eyes were blurred slightly. Even in the blur, though, I had a pretty good idea what was in front of me. However much it might have made sense, given what happened just before I last closed them, I certainly wasn’t dead… my body ached too much for that.

My eyes closed again, and I sighed softly, letting my other senses pick up all they could and giving my eyes more of a rest. Soft cloth was beneath me… and loosely wrapped around me. Not clothing, exactly, more like a sheet curled loosely around my naked body. I could tell a soft mattress was underneath me, though. A luxury for others, though I might have preferred the golden comforts of my hoard.

There was another body pressed against my own, nestled under my chin. Breathing, directly in front of me… peaceful and relatively steady, but not quite asleep. Another source of breath, more distant. That one was occupied with something; I could hear the shiftings of cloth and the quiet grating of ceramic on ceramic.

I hardly needed my nose to tell me that Karya’s yummy scent was extremely close, or that Lethe was somewhere nearby. Though it certainly did help to know that we were still in my lair. Interesting… I hadn’t expected that I would be seeing my lair again.

Questions bubbled up in my head. How had I escaped Cyndra? How had the others gotten rid of her? How had the shrinking spell on me been dispelled? Had Karya’s collar been removed? Was Lethe still poisoned?

But as quickly as the questions appeared, I shoved them away. I was too tired and weak to think on all of this. Though I felt as if I had been asleep for some time, I was entirely exhausted. I had more than likely spent a great amount of energy on healing the damage caused by the acids in Cyndra’s stomach, and my body had gone to sleep to avoid wasting any more than it had to. But it was all gone, now; that big meal I’d had earlier had been entirely spent, and my own stomach was now utterly empty. Most likely, it had been hunger that had dragged me from my restorative sleep.

Which made it unfortunate that Karya was right in front of me, and Lethe seemed to be nearby. My stomach growled, urging me to swallow her up right then and there. She had practically offered herself to me, being all snuggled up against me when she knew I would be hungry. I was briefly amazed that I hadn’t devoured her in my sleep. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d taken to sleep-eating after taking severe damage, although I had kept that meal close while I slept for just that reason. Karya had stayed close of her own volition.

Probably because she didn’t know. She didn’t know I’d be hungry, she didn’t know I’d try to eat her to feed that hunger. She was probably just looking for comfort. And no matter what my instincts had to say about the matter, I couldn’t make a meal of her. I let my eyes open again, gazing at her. She had chosen to trust me. Foolish or not, I would never betray that trust.

She rolled over at the sound of my growling belly, turning to face me. Some of the bleariness had cleared from my eyes, and I could see her face with a semblance of clarity. Her eyes locked on to mine, a delighted smile stretching from cheek to cheek. “You’re awake…”

“Mm…” I nodded slightly, feeling a small smile come to my own face at the sight of hers. I could not help but grow fond of the girl over our travels together, and at times it showed through. “And you are alive…”

Her smile seemed to grow, and she latched her arms onto my bare body and tucked her head under my chin comfortably. She wore a single, long shirt that came to just above her thighs, and it pressed against my bare skin, the only shred of decency between us. I must admit I was shocked to find Karya so nonchalant about it, though given the situation we had just faced there were certainly bigger problems to devote energy to. “I was so worried. Lethe said you were probably fine, but she didn’t sound like she believed it. She tried to get me to stay away from you, but I couldn’t… I was afraid you were going to leave us...”

Maybe you should have listened to her, I thought to myself. Though I couldn’t deny that it was soothing to feel Karya so close. And it wasn’t as if I had actually eaten her. Aloud, I said, “I would not be so easily defeated. I appreciate your concern, however.”

The last part was no meaningless platitude, even if it came out sounding that way. It was my job to worry about Karya’s safety. The opposite, however… was quite unexpected. After all, no matter how close a bodyguard and her charge might be, should the danger be sufficient, it was fully expected that the bodyguard be ready to sacrifice herself.

As I nearly had…

Karya remained silent, her arms clinging to me, and I looked down at her, trying my best to ignore the sweet scent that permeated the girl’s hair. “What has happened since I was... captured?”

Karya’s cute face lifted, cheeks pink, peeking up at me. “Oh… well… I teleported you out of Archmage Cyndra’s belly, and then… she ran off. I fell asleep-”

“I must say, I am surprised to hear that,” I interrupted, one eyebrow raised. “You chased off an Archmage? While under the effects of that odd collar?” The collar was gone now, I noted, glancing down at her neck.

Karya looked pleased with herself, but before she could speak, Lethe rapped her knuckles on the wall, cutting Karya off. “Are you two all right?”

I looked up, feeling strangely as if Lethe had interrupted something. Silly of me… I had known she was there all along, and it wasn’t as if she was unaware of what was going on. “Yes, we are both doing well, thanks in no small part to your care. You have my gratitude, Lethe.”

She nodded her head slightly. “Maritza, you’re awake. We should discuss the situation. Hate to disrupt your recovery, but I doubt we’re safe here.” She glanced down over the bed, noting the intertwined lumps of my own body and Karya’s. Her expression twisted slightly. “Put some clothes on first.”

Karya released me and moved to the opposite side of the bed so fast that she may well have teleported. Her face was a deep red as I retrieved the folded robe from beside the bed, slipping it on. It wasn’t as if she wouldn’t have noticed that I was naked. Was she really that embarrassed just because Lethe knew what she had been doing? Perhaps she had also felt Lethe was interrupting… Shrugging these thoughts away, I rose and left the bed, padding out to join Lethe.

In the small room where she had been grinding her medicine, Lethe told me what she had seen. How Karya had filled the room with light, destroyed her collar, and overpowered the archmage, then fallen asleep. Lethe had gradually wriggled free of her cocoon and awakened Karya, who had tiredly undone the spell on me before curling up beside my naked and burned form and returning to sleep. Lethe had tended to my burns before resting herself.

“I see… So, Karya displayed her claim to the title of Silver Sage, then.” I lowered my head. It was unprecedented for someone as young as her to go into the full-power state, as it normally required significant amounts of meditation and practice to even withstand that much magical energy without burning oneself out.

Lethe nodded. “If our escape was detectable, a burst of power like that must be a beacon to her enemies. We haven’t been pursued yet, but we soon will be. When will you be able to travel?”

“I don’t know,” I admitted. “Healing took a lot from me. I would normally eat a large meal to restore my strength...”

Lethe fidgeted, shifting from side to side in her seat. She seemed to be getting slightly warm. “I see.”

“Unfortunately, I doubt I will be able to catch anything any time soon.” I looked aside, thinking. I didn’t keep much to eat here, certainly not enough to counter my hunger at the moment. The townspeople were likely all sleeping, and theft was out of the question in any case. The last thing I needed were the normal authorities chasing after me when I was already weak.

“Well,” Lethe interrupted, leaning toward me. “If this is how I must aid the two of you, then so be it.”

I stared at her, confused. “...What? Do you have something to eat, then?”

She was trembling slightly beneath my gaze, her fingers reaching out for my empty stomach. “Yes… Since we first met, this was always how I was destined to end up, wasn’t I? As a meal for you. That I was let out first only saw to it that I understood that and accepted it.”

Realization struck. She intended to feed herself to me?

Hungry though I was, and delicious though Lethe would certainly be… I couldn’t. This was completely uncharacteristic of Lethe, in any case, and it was finally enough to remind me what was missing from Lethe’s story.

My hand shot out, grabbing her wrist and squeezing it. The pain made her cry out, and she jerked it back, glaring at me and rubbing it. “Lethe. How many doses of the antivenom were you given?”

“Three,” she said slowly, seeming to realize what she had been about to do. “It’s… it’s still…”

I shook my head, wincing. “I hope that waiting too long for a dose will not change the effects. How are your muscles feeling?”

“They were sore before, but the pain is gone now,” Lethe said, staring at the ground. “I... thought I had shaken it.”

I placed an arm over her shoulders. “I appreciate you offering yourself. But you are a valuable asset… far more than just a meal to me. Given what we have faced together, I dare to call you a friend.”

She nodded, trying to regain control of herself. “Right. … Right. I apologize. Should have taken the other doses...”

“The very nature of the poison is to keep you from thinking straight, to cloud your better judgment. If it can make you wish to be eaten, it would be a simple thing to keep you from thinking anything is wrong with you.” I pulled back, folding my arms. “In fact, I admit I am shocked you have such control over yourself already. Maybe you are stronger than I thought.”

“Shadow-weaving takes discipline,” Lethe said, but she seemed pleased with the praise nonetheless. I located one of the two remaining vials, handing it to her. She quickly drank it down, then continued. “All right. So you can’t find a meal right now and you’re still weak. What do you recommend?”

“I agree that we are in danger here, but perhaps not immediate danger,” I considered. “A show of power like that will attract enemies’ attention, yes. But it will also remind them what they’re dealing with, and make them think twice about rushing us. This archmage who attacked us is likely licking her wounds and gathering her strength. If we run now, her attack will have had exactly the intended effect of flushing us out of the place where we are strongest while we are still weak. Before we put ourselves at risk again, we should take the time to rest. I can get food in the morning.”

“I don’t like it,” Lethe said simply. “But you’re probably right. You stay and rest. I’ve been resting, I’ll gather some food for all of us.”

“Once again, you have my gratitude, Lethe.” I bowed my head, returning to my own chambers.

Karya had pulled the sheet over her head, though she lowered it to peek at me as she heard my footsteps approach. I could see that her face was still slightly pink. She was a bit on the strange side, that was for sure. “What did you talk about?”

“Our plans,” I said. “Lethe wants to leave, but I need to rest more. Without eating, I cannot say it’s a good idea to leave the safety of the lair just yet. She is going to collect some food.”

“Oh,” Karya said, sliding the sheet further down her face. “You’re hungry…?”

“Yes,” I nodded, settling down on the edge of the bed beside her. “I need a good meal to give me the energy to heal my wounds.”

She frowned, lost in thought. “What’s a good meal?”

“Anything, really,” I said, carefully leaving off any mention of my usual post-battle snack. “I just need a lot of energy.”

“What would you normally eat, if you weren’t looking after me?” Karya’s head tilted. “Would you eat me? I mean, there can’t be anything more full of energy than a girl with a lot of magical power, like me. And I’m right here. You wouldn’t have to chase me or catch me or anything, just grab me and gulp!”

Clearly her ordeal had not made Karya any less strange, but I was not in a good place to handle that strangeness. I winced, feeling my stomach growl. “Perhaps… now is not the best time to talk about this,” I said apologetically. “I am quite hungry at the moment, and carefully controlling myself. Any discussion of food makes that more difficult.”

Karya slid out from under the sheet, climbing into my lap and putting her arms around my neck. Her head rested against my chest. “Sorry… I’m just curious.”

I smiled. “I know, Karya. But… perhaps you should keep a tighter rein on it. One of these days you are going to end up in someone’s belly with that kind of curiosity.”

“I hope it’s yours,” she said, pressing her head into my chest.

Though the context caused another loud growl to issue from my empty stomach, I couldn’t help but feel my smile widen at this. Karya and I had grown quite close, over our time together… Any expression of her affection, however strange the words it might be wrapped in, made me feel warm inside. I wished I could return it, but finding the words was impossible...

Perhaps it was just hunger stripping me of my better judgment, but a sudden whim seized me. With one finger, I lifted Karya’s chin. She looked at me curiously for a moment with those large, red eyes… and then they widened, as my face drew in closer and closer to hers.

For a brief, shining moment, our lips touched. I am not normally sentimental, least of all about a charge. But kissing Karya, even briefly, made my heart do somersaults. It was foolish and unprofessional of me to do this, I knew. Still… I couldn’t hide my feelings entirely.

Her lips were soft and delicate, just like the rest of her. My tongue was infused with the faintest sense of a creamy sweetness as her scent overwhelmed my sensitive nose. I let the kiss go quickly, not wanting to be overwhelmed by temptation.

“If it’s anyone’s, it will be mine,” I said softly. “I promise.”

She seemed stunned, and didn’t answer for a while, save for her arms tightening around my neck.

“I felt…” Karya seemed to be having trouble speaking, as if she had something in her throat. “I felt like something important would happen… I felt like it would be good, but… I didn’t think... thank you.”

A positive premonition? That was… rare. Usually, Karya’s premonitions were about some nasty fate that was soon to befall her. I simply smiled, my arms curling around Karya’s body. At least she didn’t seem particularly bothered by my overly forward action.

“Do it again?”

I looked down at Karya curiously. “You wish for me to kiss you again?”

She nodded mutely, her cheeks warm. “I liked it…”

My self-control wasn’t what it could have been, I admit. But… well, I had to admit, I liked it, too. Why hold back? If it made her happy…

I leaned forward once more, gently caressing Karya’s lips with my own. The girl’s eyes closed, her arms pulling my head in closer, hungrily pressing her lips into mine. That warm softness squished against my lips once again, and her flavor danced just out of reach of my tongue as our lips locked together in an affectionate kiss.

My mind might very well have gone into complete sensory overload. Karya was everywhere… everything. Her scrawny, weak arms, tight around my neck with strength born of emotion, clinging to me like life itself. Her small, fragile body, barely protected by the thin shirt and pressed tightly against my chest, secure in my own arms. Her small butt, bare where the shirt had ridden up her back, resting in my lap where the robe had parted. Her cute little nose, rubbing slightly against my own as it sucked in her yummy scent. And her lips… her soft, small lips, squishing and molding against mine, suckling on mine, showering me in that sweet and creamy taste, giving me thrills.

To be honest, I was amazed with myself… given how hungry I was, I was certain that the mere sight of a meal as tasty as Karya would be enough to drive me to devouring her whole. Yet here I was, kissing her, drowning in her exquisite flavor, and I hadn’t slurped her straight down my throat the way my instincts demanded.

Then…

Perhaps I could control myself. Perhaps I could resist the urge to make a permanent meal of her.

And if that was the case…

I needed more of a taste of her. I needed to taste her whole body. Maybe… maybe even swallow her up and feel what it would be like to have her inside. If I was going to do it, now was my chance, with Lethe out...

Some part of me realized that by thinking this way, I was demonstrating that I didn’t have the very control I was using to rationalize all of this. That I was really just thinking with my stomach after all, making excuses to my mind to fill my belly’s desires.

But the rest of me didn’t care. I wanted to taste Karya from head to toe. I had been given a hint of her flavor, and now I wanted the rest of it.

I broke away from the kiss, shifting my body atop Karya’s own. She looked at me curiously… perhaps the hunger showed in my eyes. Not that I was going to act on it, of course. “Maritza?”

“You wanted me to taste you, before… right?” I said, trying to keep myself focused. Just a taste, that was all I was allowing myself. I was not going to eat Karya. It wasn’t as if she could escape if I wanted to eat her. Her small body was easily pinned against the bed by my stronger one, even in my hungry state. Perhaps especially in my hungry state… it was as if my body had some reserve of strength which it had been saving for the opportunity to eat up this delectable young mage. But I wasn’t going to use it. Karya was not my meal. “Well… your kisses are… yummy. But… perhaps I should taste a little more of you…”

Karya’s heart was pounding; it was loud enough that I could hear it. But she didn’t look scared, oddly enough. Either this was more strangeness, or Karya was the most courageous girl I had ever met. And the evidence suggested she most certainly was not the latter. Few can be trapped beneath a starving dragonling who has just joyfully praised their flavor without panicking, and rightly so. The only question, then, was why her heart was racing like that.

“You can… if you want…” Karya said shyly, her face warm. “I don’t mind…”

Definitely strangeness.

Still, if Karya was inviting me to taste her, I was too hungry to decline. I lowered my lips to Karya’s warm, smooth neck, that tantalizing aroma dancing against my nostrils. She giggled slightly as the tip of my tongue caressed her neck wetly, slurping over her pale skin eagerly, but I barely noticed. I was lost in the savory delight of her taste.

I had enjoyed the flavor of her lips that had filtered into my mouth past my own lips, it was true, and it had effortlessly tempted me this far. I had thought that dealing with that temptation was training enough for this. And yet it took everything I had to resist the urge to stuff her head into my mouth right then and there, slurp her up like the defenseless little meal she rightly deserved to be. After I had tormented myself for so long, indulging only slightly was proving to be far more difficult than any of the restraint I’d shown in not indulging at all.

I jerked myself upright, forcing myself away from the perfect snack laying on my bed and begging to be eaten. I needed to stop this before I let it get too far. I took deep breaths, performing the breathing exercises I’d taught Karya, hoping to focus myself again. Though, not exactly from fear, in my case. “I am sorry, Karya… I lost control. I will have to stop... If I keep this up, I will almost certainly…”

“I know.” Karya lifted one foot up to my lips, pressing five delicate toes against my mouth, still blushing. “That’s why I’m letting you do this. I want you to.”

I tried to push her foot away, but she brought it back. I couldn’t help staring at her. This was worse than Lethe, and Karya hadn’t even been poisoned to begin with. Maybe she had been nicked by a fang while the lamia was swallowing her? My instincts screamed at me to stop asking questions and just eat, but Karya was too important to me for that.

“You… want me to? You do realize I am talking about eating you, yes? Swallowing you whole. As I do with my food. Because my body thinks you are food. And it will try to digest you, as it does with my food.”

It was more blunt than I might have otherwise phrased it, for fear of scaring her, but in this case scaring her was exactly what I wanted - to keep her from tempting me into eating her whole.

But it didn’t work.

“Yes,” Karya said, almost pleading. “I… I know it’s strange of me, but I want you to eat me. I want to be in your belly. I’ve wanted to since I found out you could eat people. I was so jealous that you swallowed up Lethe and not me. And… and it’s not like I’m going to die in there, is it? You wouldn’t let that happen. You would let me out first. And no one would be able to get to me in there. Inside your tummy would be a safer place for me than outside. Even… even if you did digest me… I’d still be happy. So… please… let me be your food, even temporarily.”

My mouth watered as her impassioned plea roused my hunger, and I hesitated in answering her. That was all the opportunity she needed to push her toes in past my lips, her small foot wriggling partway into my mouth. Her toes curled against my tongue as my lip tickled against her sensitive sole, the little digits carrying more of that sweet flavor.

My resistance evaporated completely. She was going to be my snack if she wanted it that bad, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Taking hold of both her ankles, I let my tongue run over every inch of her bare soles, savoring the light sweetness of her skin. Karya’s whole body was as smooth and pale as cream, and had the flavor to match. She looked on with bated breath, as if uncertain whether I had made my decision or not.

Her unspoken question was certainly answered when I opened my mouth wide - far wider than Karya ever could - and took both of her small feet inside it in a single mouthful, her toes pressing against the entrance of my throat. Her eyes widened, and she sucked in a gasp, but said nothing, simply watching.

After all, until I swallowed, I would really only be tasting her, still.

So I did.

Karya’s feet slid into my throat with a gulp that was nearly audible. I tried to move slowly, to savor this rare opportunity, but my hunger showed through here and there. As her feet formed a bulge in my tight throat, I realized, I was finally doing it… Finally eating Karya. Perhaps I shouldn’t be happy about it… but the flavor of her skin was beyond compare, and she was more than willing. Why not enjoy myself?

Karya seemed lost, enraptured by the simple sight of my lips wrapped around her calves, her feet simply gone, disappeared down into my hungry throat. For a normal human, this would be the most terrifying moment of their lives… but as my lips slowly inched their way up Karya’s smooth, yummy legs, Karya almost seemed excited. I lapped slightly at her inner thighs, hearing her moan as I approached the lower hem of the shirt she wore.

As my tongue brushed across her bare sex, any doubt I might have had about whether she was enjoying herself was instantly removed. Sweet nectar ran down my tongue and into my throat as I lapped at her, and she squirmed slightly against my mouth, grinding her hips against my lips and tongue. The sweet folds inside her rewarded my curiosity, my tongue rubbing delicately against those inner walls and making more delightful sounds issue from the cute lips that had, just moments before, been kissing me.

That cute, round butt rested easily against my lip as I slurped and suckled against the wriggling hips in my mouth, hearing Karya’s cries and whimpers get louder and more desperate. Try though she might, she certainly couldn’t resist the allure of my tongue… and I doubted she was trying all that hard. A smile crossed my face as a fresh flood of that sweetness I had so prized washed over my tongue, the outpouring of her pleasure. It felt good to make Karya feel good, even just beyond tasting her. Perhaps I would have to do that again without eating her up.

Still, I was certainly eating her up now. My lips widened, taking in her hips, and with another swallow, she was slurped partway out of the shirt she wore. My tongue teased over her belly, lapping against the smoothness of the tender skin there. Though she was worn out from the force of her orgasm, it didn’t stop her from writhing in my mouth as my tongue tickled into her belly button, wriggling her way further down my throat and placing her breasts in the reach of my hungry tongue.

There wasn’t much to them, I’ll admit… but what they lacked in size they made up in sensitivity and flavor. Karya was already reduced to incoherent sounds when that softness slid into my mouth, and I’ll admit I was doing the same… which only made Karya grow even louder, the pleasant feeling of my throat vibrating around her driving her to fresh heights of delight.

But the meal was nearly over…

I ran my fingers through her long, silvery hair affectionately as my lips made their way up her neck and over her pretty face. Unlike most of my other meals, this would not be the last time I’d see it. But given that she was offering herself as a snack, it seemed only right to remind her how important she was to me… as well as I could with my mouth full of her, anyway.

Slurp by slurp, gulp by gulp, Karya vanished down my throat, until only her small, delicate hands were left in my mouth. Curling my tongue over her fingers, I swallowed one last time, carrying the last mouthful of Karya down into my throat.

As I felt her curl up inside, I was deeply conflicted. On the one hand… I had just eaten my charge alive. While there weren’t many of us dragonling bodyguards, I think the one thing we could easily all agree on is that you don’t make a meal of your charge.

On the other hand… she’d practically forced me to. And I was going to let her out, as soon as I was finished enjoying the feeling of her settling inside…

To think, I’d spent so much time and anxiety being afraid that I might accidentally do this. And then she had pressed me to continue. It seemed like a dream…

“You… you did it, Maritza,” Karya said, her voice floating up from my belly. She seemed as lost in the experience as I did. Had she been dreaming of this like I had? “I… I didn’t know what it would be like, but… it was really, really fun… You… You have to do it again!”

“Perhaps another time, though I would recommend patience,” I said softly, chuckling and rubbing my belly. “I don’t want to risk harming you, nor alarming Lethe. So… I will keep you for a little while, and then let you out so you can bathe.”

“That’s okay… It’s as comfortable as I thought in here, especially when you rub me like that…” I felt Karya’s hands rubbing against the walls of my stomach. “Can you feel it when I do this?”

“I can,” I said softly, pressing my hand back against her own. “I must say, of all of the people who have passed through my belly - however briefly - you are the first to describe it as comfortable.”

“That’s because I’m a guest, instead of a prisoner,” Karya said. “Your belly knows the difference, and it makes me comfortable.”

I had to laugh. Of course, I was feeling quite comfortable myself. Having a full belly when you’re very hungry will do that. This was all the more reason to ensure that she got out before digestion began… but there was no hurry yet.

I sat on my bed with my arms around my stomach, rubbing Karya through my stomach walls and feeling her press back. For now, I would simply enjoy the unexpected comfort of having a very good friend filling my belly.