(S)layer of the Serpent Greentext
>The entrance to a cavern, a gaping maw poking out of the desert dunes
>You look behind you
>Your chariot, resplendent in its electrum gilding, stands proudly against the setting sun
>A team of 6 attends to it and your horses
>The last of your picked men
>You brought a score of them upon this quest
>The rest have been claimed by the desert and her denizens
>If the God-Queen wills it, perhaps you shall see them again one day
>You nod to your second-in-command, and he returns the gesture
>Turning back to the cave mouth, you light your torch, and venture within
>The flame flickers and ebbs as you move deeper into the cavern
>Your only light against the darkness
>As you journey, noises ring out within the shadow
>It is no great revelation that you are not alone down here
>Pinpricks of light appear in pairs reflecting the light of your torch
>The slits marking them betray their nature
>One pair of eyes edges closer, and a lamia emerges into your sight
>She leers at you opportunistically
<"My my~ What a handsome morsel has come to usssss. Perhaps you come to avail yourself of my coils?"
>You plant your feet firmly to the ground
>The serpent continues her meandering approach, while you reach into the pocket of your tunic
>She bares her fangs, but before the Lamia can strike, you pull your hand out and display an ornament of solid gold
>Nigh-instantly, the Lamia shrinks back in recognition, and hisses cautiously
>The cacophony is echoed by her sisters all around you
>The Lamia from before speaks again, the seductive tone now gone from her voice, replaced by an accusatory one
<"Why do you come then, servant of the pharaoh?"
>You stare stoically at the serpent
"My name is Anonahten, left hand of the God-Queen Hathepri and Captain of her guard, guardian of the royal court, warden of the royal palace, vanquisher of spies, bane of assassins..."
>You could go on, but you see the growing impatience in the Lamia's eyes, so you spare her the trouble
"You know why I am here. And that is why you will permit me passage."
>She shoots you a glare, but you stand resolute
>After a pause, the snake-woman retreats, and you continue your trek through the darkness, ever aware of the dozens of eyes still watching your every move
>Soon, you see a light not created by your torch ahead
>A purple glow
>You are almost upon your destination
>You steel yourself for the task at hand
>Venturing further brings you to an open chamber, lit by braziers of purple flame
>Two of these braziers flank an ornate throne, which you immediately note is occupied
>Before you reclines another Serpent-woman, larger, and with glowing red eyes
>The light of the fires might throw it into question, but you know her skin to be of a similar violet shade
>And the scaly hood behind her neck throws her identity beyond all doubt
>You cannot help but mutter
>The snake chuckles knowingly, her voice a deep contralto
<"Anonahten, I presume? After all these years, we finally meet. Am I all that you had hoped for~?"
>She sinks back into her throne, emphasizing her generous bust
>You ignore the sight and her teasing
"I have seen you before, serpent, through magic lenses. Your appearance is of no surprise."
<"Ah, so you have looked upon me from afar? My, how dastardly..."
"Enough of your games, Apophis, you know why I am here."
>The purple snake feigns ignorance, resting her chin into her hands questioningly
<"Oh whatever could you possibly mean, dear Anon?"
>You supress a grimace at her calling you by the shorthand of your name
>Ignore it and continue
"Your most recent attempt on the pharaoh's virtue was even more brazen than usual. I don't know how you brought Kelia under your sway, but she almost stabbed my Queen in her own court. With one of ''your'' poison daggers."
>The Apophis slaps her hand to her cheek in mock realization
<"Oh, THAT whole incident! A terrible misunderstanding really, I was simply giving that poor neglected Anubis the push she needed to claim her man..."
>You cross your arms
"While the Chief Scribe's exhaustion is a testament to your success, both yourself and I know that was not your true objective."
>The Cobra-monster slouches, resting her head on one hand with a smug grin
<"What a magnificent intuition you have..."
"Enough to thwart your schemes and subterfuge at every turn."
>At this you note a gleam in the Apophis's eye
<"Oh, but do you not enjoy our little game? Why, I could see the fire in your eyes on the day of ol' Hatty's coronation, when you exposed and defeated my girtablilu assassin."
>You raise an eyebrow
"I should have realized you were there all along. We only learned of the threat from you after that, with the missive you sent to me in the night."
>The Apophis adopts a pout
<"'We'? Don't tell me you've been letting others read my letters, Anon. They were explicitly noted to be meant for your eyes only."
"Those who need to know of you will know. Warning others of your threat proved invaluable at the Nu-Yohak Oasis."
>The snake-woman looks wistfully off into the distance, reminiscing
<"Ah yes, the local magistrate was able to alert you to the water being tainted with my venom. I'll never quite know where you were able to find that houri to perform an emergency purification ritual."
"Yes, I recall your ensuing response to have been particularly distraught."
>You've entertained her long enough
"More importantly, 'Our game' threatens the sanctity of my people. Your latest transgression has shown me that Hathepri and her glorious realm will forever be on guard until you are defeated."
>You reach for your scabbard, and unsheathe a mighty bronze Khopesh, pointing it at the snake
"THAT, is why I am here, Apophis."
>She looks briefly surprised
<"So you wish to end things here and now?"
>Slowly, a malicious grin grows upon the Apophis's face, bearing her fangs
<"Very well then~"
>You watch as she begins to uncoil herself from the throne, only to hear movement behind you
>Whipping around, you find two lamiae bearing down upon your person
>Deftly, you bring your Khopesh to bear, slashing it across both of their midsections
>The snakes collapse, and red mana begins to flow out of them, courtesy of your demon realm bronze
>You return your attention to the Apophis's throne, only to find it now empty
>A simple distraction to get her out of sight
>You turn to the shadowy corners of the room, away from the light of the braziers
"SHOW YOURSELF, SERPENT!"
>The acoustics of the room make it difficult to tell where her voice is coming from
>You turn cautiously, trying to see what the light of your torch may reveal
>You do not respond to her as you do so
<"I know I told you my name within my letters, Anon. And yet still you call me 'serpent', 'snake', 'Apophis'."
"Appropriate names for the force of corruption you are."
<"You wound me, Anonahten. And yet I wonder: perhaps you use such dehumanizing language to psych yourself up? To push down any... unhelpful feelings that may get in the way of your quest?"
>You grit your teeth
"You are mad, woman."
>A light chuckle prefaces her response
<"Regardless, this woman won't show herself unless you address her properly."
<"Well then, I suppose I will simply have to remain here in the shadow until your little torch runs out of fuel."
>You stand there for a moment once more, searching for her fruitlessly in the darkness
>Eventually, you sigh
"Reveal yourself, Nathsebet."
<"Now was that so hard~?"
>You leap forward on impulse, rolling onto your feet to face the Apophis that was behind you
<"I must admit, I did not expect you to arrive so quickly. I had thought crossing the territory of the Manticore clans and the sandworms would have waylaid you for at least another week."
"I waste no time carrying out the will of the God-Queen, regardless of who obstructs my path. The Manticores are scattered by my chariot, and the Sandworms lie subdued by my arrows."
>Nathsebet puts a finger to her mouth quizzically, eyes drilling into your own
<"And I suppose I shall fall to your ''sword''?"
>You draw your blade close, and take a step forward
"To my ''Kopesh''."
>The Apophis shows no sign of concern, and leisurely moves to the side, circling you slowly
>You turn with her, keeping careful footing, so as not to find yourself surrounded by her coils
<"You know, Anon, if I didn't know any better, I would say that you are obsessed with me."
"The delusions of a trickster caught in her own lies."
<"Oh, but it is truth that you fought your way here with utmost speed just to see me, is it not? Have you not been thinking of me these long months, about what I might do next? Do you not pour over my letters, eager to divine my intentions, my feelings?"
>Her teasing gets to you a little, and you find your heart beating quicker
"You conflate the duties of a loyal soldier with the actions of a lovesick fool."
<"And which do you truly believe yourself to be?"
>She begins to quicken her circling, however slightly
>You elect not to respond, instead glaring at the Cobra-woman
<"And why do you believe love to be foolish? I believe a fool is the one who denies their feelings."
>You lower your gaze as the serpent circles behind you
<"I can feel your desire, Anonahten. Must you continue your charade?"
>You can feel her breath upon your neck
"I do my duty to the Pharaoh in subduing you, nothing more."
>You pivot your Khopesh downwards, swinging it up behind you
>As it reaches the top of its arc, the Apophis leans back in surprise, dodging the worst of your blade
>But not without receiving a slight nick on her cheek, from which a drop of mana flows downward
>A hiss resounds behind you, slowly fading as Nathsebet retreats to the shadow
>You turn around, following the trail of mana she leaves
<"Your devotion is... admirable..."
>She sounds annoyed
>You notice the trail has curved
>You need to move fast
>She is attempting to complete a circle, which would leave you unable to track her by this method
<"It is a shame that it is misplaced."
>You raise an eyebrow, as you find yourself at the same point of the circle where you began
<"Yes. You serve a God-Queen who does not deserve your talents."
>You raise your Khopesh at the shadows
"You had best bestill your forked tongue, before it tastes my bronze again."
<"Then you had better find me with speed, because I shall not cease."
>Her voice becomes more stern
>You furrow your brow, and search the darkness with earnest
>In your peripheral vision, the braziers lighting the room go out, leaving you isolated even further
>Nathsebet continues on
<"You've become my adversary far more than the pharaoh by this point. With how many times you've saved her from my fangs, you're practically her guardian angel."
"It is the role fate and my Queen have ordained for me."
<"Yet still you are a mere guard! A highly-respected and compensated one at that, but a servant nonetheless."
>You cannot find her no matter how hard you try, though every now and again you see a flash of purple scales, or the glint of a red eye
<"With everything you have done to protect the realm, you should be its lord!"
>You plant your feet and tighten your grip
"You speak of treason and sacrilege!"
<"I only speak truth to the injustice that is your place under Hathepri! Heed my words!"
>Another flash of scales
>You waste no time, swinging your sword
>Only to hit stone, with a flash of sparks flying from your weapon
>In the brief light they cast, you see Nathsebet for but a moment
>She lacks her normal smug demeanor
>You hesistate briefly, before striking once again in her direction
>But it is too late, and she evades you once again, sinking into the black as she resumes her speech
<"There are some things that confound me, Anonahten. Why someone else was chosen as the royal consort rather than you. Why Hathepri does not adequately compensate you for your efforts. And most of all, why you are so content with this state of affairs."
>You consider her first point with bemusement
"The Pharaoh will love who she loves, serpent. You and I know that. The consort is a good man."
>You hear her hum in acknowledgement
<"Perhaps. And you have already addressed my second issue as best you can. As for the third, you speak of your duty-"
>Her voice next sounds as though she is whispering into your ear
<"-I refuse to believe that."
>You whirl around with your torch, and grimace as you respond
"Is loyalty really such a foreign concept to you, Nathsebet?"
<"Perhaps not, but I cannot consider it to be the sole factor. After all, your 'goddess' has the power of obedience, to make others follow her will the moment she says the word..."
"A gift from the gods which she would never abuse."
<"And how exactly would you know? Her voice could make you wish to obey her from the bottom of your heart. You may be an unwitting slave, and think it to be of your own volition."
>A ploy to set you off balance
>You ignore the nagging voice in the back of your head entertaining her words
<"My venom can free Hathepri's slaves from her influence, allow them to follow their true desires..."
>She sounds like she's speaking from a different direction with every moment
<"Or perhaps this IS your true desire? Do you simply find comfort in following the whims of a higher power? A Goddess, or a Queen, to whom you can devote yourself?"
>Before you can respond, you hear a rush of coils from your left, and quickly bring your blade to guard
>The maneuver is well timed, with your Khopesh just barely blocking the twinned pair of Demon Realm Bronze daggers Nathsebet is now sporting
>Her eyes are piercing, and her slit pupils are widened
>Almost as swiftly as she came, the Apophis retreats, darting into the shadow
>Yet the force of her blow is still felt in your arms
"Enough of your blasphemous speculation! State your aims, or try and strike again!"
>As if heeding your command, she whips out once more."
>You parry the blow, but she once again slithers away before you can follow up
>Your arms are now trembling from the force of her attacks
<"My aim is to free you. And taking all possiblities into consideration, I believe I know what I must do."
>You hear her behind you now, and you move to block, summoning all your reserves of strength
>Both her daggers are stopped, but now sooner do you register this than a mass of purple wraps itself around your sword-arm
>Your eyes widen and your heart sinks as the Apophis's tail wrenches your arm away and sends your Khopesh flying into the blackness
>Nathsebet swiftly drops her daggers and wraps her tail around you, trapping you in her iron coils
>She faces you once more
>She is smiling, but it is no longer so smug
>Instead, she looks excited and utterly fixated
>Suddenly her fangs seem all too prominent
>Your heart beats faster, and despite yourself a blush begins coming to your face, and something stirs below
<"I will be your goddess. Your queen. I will give you anything you desire, and all the love you deserve. Together we shall unshackle Hathepri's lands from her tyranny, and begin a new era. And you shall be... utterly... MINE!~"
>Opening her maw as wide as she can, the Apophis lunges her head down and sinks her fangs into the base of your neck
>Trapped inside her coils, you struggle to move your right arm into your pocket, terribly cognizant of the novel heat spreading through your veins
>Retracting her mouth from your skin, Nathsebet reaches out to cradle your head in her hands as she gazes lovingly into your eyes
<"Feel my venom spreading through you, Anon. Give in to it, and you shall forever belong to me~"
>You open your mouth as if to respond, but you find your efforts to do so stymied by the rush of sensation and desire flooding into your brain
>Nathsebet takes this instead as an invitation, and crashes her mouth into yours, plunging her forked tongue into your throat as she kisses you passionately
>You can feel yourself losing control
>Your thoughts are becoming hazy
>In a matter of seconds, the venom will have completely overcome you, and things will be as she says
>Even now, you can feel your manhood straining against her midriff, the Serpent shifting her body so as to align you more properly
>You have one chance
>Some combination of your peril and the venom inside you combine to give a brief adrenaline rush, and you are able to free your right arm, holding it aloft
>Nathsebet leans back from her kiss, and looks at your arm with its enclosed fist, bearing an expression of amusement
<"Oh? What is this, my sweet? A last gasp of resistance, perhaps?"
>You lower your hand to your face, not removing your determined gaze from the Apophis's eyes
>The rush has given you enough concentration to speak once again
"This... Is your undoing"
>Opening your fist, you make sure the Apophis can see the vein-covered fungus laying in your palm
>Her pupils immediately become slits and her face pales as she recognizes a raging mushroom
>Before she can react, you throw it back into your mouth, chewing and swallowing it in a matter of seconds as she watches, transfixed in dawning horror
>A surge of power overcomes you, and you strain against Nathsebet's body surrounding yourself
>The Apophis finds herself weak and powerless, and soon you are lifting each coil off of you like so much rope
>In a fury, you turn to the Apophis's upper body, with her terrified and blushing face staring up at you
>You lift her over your shoulder, her tail dragging behind you as you trudge over to her throne
>You heft her down, onto the massive chair, not giving the Cobra-woman a moment to breathe before you grab both of her wrists with one hand
"You wish for honesty, Nathsebet? I admit, you have captivated me for some time."
>She now shivers as you say her name
>You cup her chin with your free hand, and plant your own kiss upon her lips, leaving the Snake stunned
"Perhaps even since I first laid eyes upon your form. At the same time, your actions irk me. You disrespect the gods, Hathepri among them."
>You move your hand to massage her breast, eliciting an embarrassed moan from Nathsebet
"Fate has a way of rectifying such impertinence. I shall be its instrument, to bring justice and teach you respect."
>The Apophis hardly seems to still hold breath as she responds incredulously
<"Y-you... you had that in your pocket... this entire time? Then this..."
"Was my intent. It is as you said: The Apophis shall fall to my 'sword'."
>A rush assaults your senses again
>It would seem Nathsebet's venom and the mushroom have mixed in a manner that you did not anticipate
>It is taking all your effort not to reflexively thrust at this moment
"I do not believe I shall have time to talk for long. Know this-"
>You lean up to the Apophis's ear
<"I shall make an honest woman out of you, Nathsebet. One who reveres the gods and respects the God-Queen's authority. And you shall be my bride, for I love you."
>You lean back and look into the Serpent's glistening eyes, staring up at you in awe
>She responds, with little more than a whisper
<"Then... do your best..."
>You finally give in to your lust, bringing your lips crashing down upon Nathsebet's
>She squeals into your mouth as you continuing mauling her breast with your hand, stopping only to remove your robe
>There was no need to do the same for her, as her clothes already exposed what you needed, this damned seductress
>You lean back for a moment to savor her vulnerable form
>She looks at you with some mixture of fear, expectance, and uncontained lust
>Now is the time you might otherwise engage in more grandstanding, declaring that "this is the sword which shall slay you" or something like that
>But the momentary clarity you had is gone now, and the raging mushroom has robbed you of such articulation
>All that is within your eyes now is animal lust
>What lays before you is your mate, demanding breeding
>And you shall provide
>You lean down to align yourself, and thrust inwards with little preparation
>Nathsebet lets out a yelp, but you silence it by once again sealing her lips with your own
>At some point, you dimly feel yourself let go of the Apophis's hands
>The soft manipulators of the woman settle around your shoulders, holding you close to her
>All the better, as you bring your free hand down to grope her behind, making her gasp and moan
>Her tail flicks around in ecstacy as you thrust with wild abandon, snaking around one leg and then the other
>Her forked tongue duels with your own within the confines of your joined mouths
>You part your faces a moment, in order to catch your breath
>Nathsebet take the opportunity to bring her mouth down to your collarbone, planting loving kisses as she travels up your neck
>With your mind so clouded, you almost don't notice the tips of her fangs brushing your skin on the the penultimate kiss
>Quick as a flash, you thrust your arm upwards and grab the Apophis's face, bringing it away from your neck and making her face you again
>You find yourself able to utter some words
"You never cease..."
>Despite your words, you find yourself smiling
>This was part of what you loved about her after all
>She never gave up, despite countless setbacks
>Nathsebet scowls up at you with the expression of a child who just got caught with their hand inside a jar of sweets
>Her eyes, however, are filled with love and admiration
"I love you"
<"I love you"
>Time to put her mouth back to a better use
>You can feel yourself approaching your climax
>Thus, you resume kissing Nathsebet, and heighten the speed of your thrusts
>You continue groping and squeezing her supple body at will, while the serpent writhes in pleasure at your touch
>The sounds she makes into your mouth are music to your ears
>You feel the wave coming, and suddenly Nathsebet's lower half springs to life, coiling around your own and locking you in place
>Finally, your orgasm arrives, and you unleash a torrent into your mate's womb
>Your mouths remain locked as all of your senses are eclipsed by a white-hot pleasure
>Dimly, you feel a prickling sensation within your shared kiss
>The two of you ride your mutual climaxes out, until they are finally exhausted
>You come to rest upon, Nathsebet's form, breathing hard through your nose
>You now become aware of a throbbing upon your tongue
>The sensation from earlier returns, and begins spreading throughout your body once more
>You lean back from your long kiss with the Apophis, and look at her suspiciously
>When did the braziers become lit once more?
>You put a hand to your mouth, inspecting your tongue
>Some red mana, tinged with purple, flows from your mouth
>Nathsebet slowly adopts a tired grin that would make a Cheshire envious, exposing her fangs, still dripping with your essence
>You furrow your brow as you glare at her
>Your task is not yet finished
>A silent prayer to the gods goes up, that the raging mushroom's influence yet remains within your body
>You will your manhood to action once more
>A determined smile comes upon your own face, and you lean back in towards the serpent...
>The sun shines resplendently upon the court of the God-Queen
>You kneel before Hathepri, dressed in your finest robes
>Beside you sits Nathsebet upon her coils, arms crossed and head lowered slightly
>It's the most she was willing to do, no Apophis will lower herself to full supplication before a Pharaoh just like that
>So you weren't intending to push her that far
>Marriage demands compromise, and she already went to the trouble of dressing conservatively for today
>And you must say the dress she is wearing looks absolutely elegant
>It's enough to make a man swoon. Why if the two of you were in private...
>A familiar title catches your attention
>It would seem that the court crier has finished reciting your full title, following the recitation of Hathepri's
>Altogether the process took about 15 minutes
>You direct your gaze up to the Pharaoh's throne
>Hathepri sits regally, her beloved consort by her side
>She regards you and your new wife calmly
>You're somewhat surprised; you had thought she would be more animated, having her mortal enemy sitting before her
>Finally, she speaks
<"Anonahten, you have done well. You have ended the greatest threat my kingdom has yet seen. While I was unsure of your... methods... you have once again proven yourself the staunchest defender of the land."
"I thank you for your kind words, my Queen."
<"You deserve more than words, Anonahten. Your service to the kingdom has been long and distinguished. This achievement demands a proper reward."
>She turns her head towards the Apophis
>Nathsebet raises her head to look Hathepri in the eyes warily
<"I don't expect your nature to change. I simply trust that your union with Anonahten will temper your ambitions. That trust makes it viable for me to recognize the legitimacy of your realm within my lands."
>The apophis narrows her eyes in confusion
<"Are you saying... you're admitting me as a vassal?"
>Hathepri sits back into her seat
<"In part. I shall even gift some of the surrounding villages. They are better administrated from your and Anonahten's location in any case."
>Nathsebet's eyes widen as she puts together what is going on
>Hathepri meanwhile turns back to you
<"Anonahten. As of this day, you will henceforth be the Lord of the Serpent Lands, beholden only to myself and the gods!"
>You're... becoming a lord?
>The rest of the day was spent familiarizing yourself with all the requirements of your position as lord
>You say your goodbyes to the Pharoah and stride down the hallway, seeing your wife slither out of a room ahead of you
>Nathsebet had spent the past hour introducing herself to your fellow lords and ladies of Hathepri's kingdom
>As Captain of the Guard, you were already familiar with them, so you decided to split while you continued getting briefed on your responsibilities
>Nathsebet looks remarkably dignified and stoic as she exits the room, a far cry from your first in-person meeting
>When she notices your approach, an elegant smile comes upon her face
<"Well dear, are you all finished up as well?"
>She advances forwards and slings her arms around you, planting a kiss upon your cheek
"Yes, my duties for the day are complete. How did your introduction fare?"
<"Surprisingly well, I must say. Most of the other vassals were quite welcoming, and those who had reservations about myself were nevertheless calmed by the knowledge that you would be my lord."
>The last two words drip off her forked tongue with audible pleasure
>You certainly don't dislike hearing it yourself
>You see a glint of mischievousness in her eyes, though
"I admit, dear, you have taken today's events in great stride. I thought there would be more... tension... on your end."
>The Apophis closes her eyes and turns her head up, still smiling
<"With the Pharaoh and her entourage? Why husband, the days of my animosity are long behind me, I have no more ill will towards Hathepri."
>You raise an eyebrow
"A bold statement, however I cannot help but be suspicious. How might I know you are not still planning something under my nose?"
<"Why my love, how could I ever have the heart to deceive you, now that we are one? Are you truly so stuck in your ways?"
>You sigh, and raise a hand to run it through her dark purple hair, adopting a gentle smile
"Alas, perhaps I may be. Turning from adversaries to lovers is a change which you appear to take to far more readily than I."
>Nathsebet ceases her pout, leaning into your hand pleasedly
"Truly at this point, you would never think to do something so underhanded as to, say, ply the pharaoh's vassals with your venom-"
<"While I have two hours alone with them beyond your and Hathepri's watchful eye-"
"And lay the groundwork for a coup."
>Her eyes look at you knowingly, but she still tries to retain plausible deniability
<"Of course, dear, I would never do something so dastardly! Despite how easy it would be..."
"Right, and the reason you would not do so is simple..."
>Your smile grows, and your hand guides Nathsebet's head inward, until her ear lays next to your mouth
"Because your venom is meant for noone else but me."
>You can feel her shiver as you whisper those words
>A blush adorns her features, and you feel her breathing more heavily
"Let us begin our journey home, my sweet, so that I might remind you."
>She reflexively coils around you possessively
>You bear the weight, as this is something you have grown accustomed to, and begin making your way back to your carriage
>Nathsebet regains some of her composure, and speaks softly into your ear
<"...Dear Anon, if I may?"
"What is it?"
<"I believe that last time, it was your turn, playing the conquering hero who lays low the mischievous serpent, and tames her."
>You can see where she's going
"I presume you wish to continue alternating, then?"
>She leans her head upwards, extending her tongue to lick your ear before she resumes speaking
>You feel her fang brush your earlobe as she does so
<"This time, how about the Serpent wins over the mighty hero with her wiles, and molds him into her devoted servant~?"
>You feel your pulse quicken, and you turn to look Nathsebet in her slit pupils
>You ignore the blush coming over your face
"...Very well, my lady."
>The Apophis giggles and buries her face into your chest as you turn forward once again
>It cannot hurt to indulge her fantasies every so often
>Marriage demands compromise, after all