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Dead to Rights

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“Shameful.”

Fuma coughed and gasped, trying to get air back in his lungs as he stumbled to his feet. Ryukotsuki’s inner sanctum was sweltering hot, the air too thick. Fuma had been lightheaded before the fight even began, and now - he was losing.

He was losing. He’d dedicated himself to reaching this moment, to saving his land, to making his brothers’ sacrifice mean something. And none of it was going to plan. The demon king had been surprisingly weak at first, and Fuma had gotten overconfident. He understood now that Ryukotsuki had only been toying with him. As soon as Ryukotsuki shed his frail human mask, the battle began in earnest. What stood before Fuma now was something between man and monster, a humanoid figure twice Fuma’s size and twice his strength.

A part of Fuma wondered what he’d been expecting. If both of his brothers, each more skilled than Fuma and working together, couldn’t stand against Ryukotsuki, how could Fuma alone? He’d been a fool. The youngest of the family, naive and out of his depth.

The pulse blade felt unbearably light in his hand.

Ryukotsuki took unhurried steps towards the wall he’d just tossed Fuma into. He observed the warrior with a keen, amused eye. This was all a game to him. Fuma supposed an immortal demon needed entertainment to keep the years from getting monotonous.

“Shameful,” Ryukotsuki repeated. His voice, like his body, was both human and monstrous, a low growl that warned anyone listening to stay away. “This is how you avenge your elders? Do you think they’d be proud of you, just for trying your best?”

Fuma had lost. He knew it. That didn’t mean he had to accept it.

“You know nothing about my family!” the warrior shouted, bringing the pulse blade up to bear. His body ached with the effort of repairing the damage Ryukotsuki had inflicted on it, but Fuma tuned it out and leapt towards the demon, ready to fight with everything he had.

Apparently, Ryukotsuki wasn’t in the mood. He stood still and let Fuma land a hit on his arm, shrugging the wound off like it was a mere scratch. As Fuma jumped, ready to bury his sword in Ryukotsuki’s throat, the demon reached out and caught Fuma by the neck with one hand. Fuma let out a startled, choked cry, prying at the demon’s fingers. Ryukotsuki made no move to set him down.

“I know much more about your family than you’d like to believe,” Ryukotsuki said, delight creeping into his voice. “Do you know what I did to your brothers, little warrior?”

“Ki-killed them,” Fuma spat, glaring even as he struggled in Ryukotsuki’s grasp. Oh, this one would be fun.

“Well, yes. I did do that. Eventually. They were delicious, by the way. More muscle than meat, but the taste of their agony more than made up for it.”

“Go burn in your own lava pits!”

“A feisty one, aren’t you? Your brothers were, too. At first. I’m sure you expect to die with dignity, just like them, hmm? How noble. How funny.”

Fuma had no answer to that. He was too busy trying to breathe.

Finally, Ryukotsuki gave his neck one violent squeeze and released him, letting the samurai crash to the floor of his cave. Ryukotsuki watched him wheeze, red eyes narrowed in interest.

“I’ll tell you two stories about how your brothers died." Ryukotsuki waved a clawed hand in a theatrical flourish. "In the first story, the heirs of the heroic Getsu clan faced their demise with dignity. They fought ‘til their last breath to protect their people - and their oh-so-innocent little brother." He grinned. "They talked about you, you know. Pleaded for me to spare you. As if I was planning to go after you in the first place. Why should I, when I knew you would crawl right into my lap? And here you are.”

Through the tingling in his healing throat, Fuma gasped out, “Damn you.”

“Oh, yes. Your brother said much the same thing to me. The taller one; I can’t be bothered to remember their names. Of course, he didn’t say it so much as he moaned it, mewling like a beast being rutted. Which, I suppose, he was.”

Fuma’s crimson hair, thinned with sweat, fell into his eyes as he glared up at Ryukotsuki. “What are you going on about?”

Ryukotsuki loomed over Fuma, fixing him with a grin that looked uncanny and unholy on his mockery of a human face. “In the second story? As soon as your brothers realized they were out of their depth, I made them a deal. I was lying, of course, but it was beautiful how eager they were to exchange their dignity for their lives.” Fuma flinched as Ryukotsuki reached down, trailing a claw down Fuma’s cheek. “Your proud, precious brothers spread their legs to me, over and over again. They serviced me in all manner of ways, and they loved it.”

Fuma slapped Ryukotsuki’s hand away, too drained to try and cut it off like he wanted to. “You think I’d trust the word of a demon?”

“Oh, they protested,” Ryukotsuki continued undeterred. “They grimaced and whined and reassured each other they were only doing it because they had no other choice. That didn’t mean much when the whole underworld could hear their cries of pleasure.” The demon chuckled. “I lost track of the number of times they came on my cocks.”

A distant corner of Fuma’s mind wanted to ask about the pluralization of that last word. It was outclassed by the part of Fuma that was burning with rage. Not only had Ryukotsuki slaughtered his only family and stolen his rightful home, now the demon had to disgrace his family’s name?

“You’ll pay for your slanderous tongue, monster,” Fuma hissed. Nothing in him believed Ryukotsuki’s words for even a moment. His family wasn’t...they weren’t weak. They wouldn’t submit to that kind of humiliation. The only cries Ryukotsuki had gotten out of his brothers had been screams of pain and hatred. Fuma was sure of it.

“What’s that about my tongue?” Amusement bubbled in Ryukotsuki’s voice. He spread his fanged jaws. An obscenely long tongue spilled out from between them, forked and coated in thick, reddish saliva. Fuma wondered if the color was natural, or if the demon king had fed on some fresh and unfortunate human before Fuma’s arrival.

Ryukotsuki was still leaned over, which meant that more of his intimidating frame was in reach. Fuma saw his chance and took it, bringing the pulse blade up in a slice aimed at the tongue wriggling in front of his face. Even if Fuma was going to his death, at least he could silence the string of disgusting lies coming from this demon. He could give his brothers that much.

That was the plan, at least. Ryukotsuki moved in a flash - how was someone so big so fast - and Fuma’s sword was knocked from his hand with a blow that broke finger bones. He hardly had time to register the pain before Ryukotsuki was wrapping his massive hands around Fuma’s body, hefting the warrior into the air. With his arms pinned to his sides and no ground beneath his feet, Fuma could do little more than try to slay the demon with his eyes.

“Oh dear.” Ryukotsuki tutted. “That was awfully naughty of you.”

Fuma remembered one more thing he could do. He spat at Ryukotsuki’s face. His saliva landed on the chest of the demon’s cloak, but it was the intent that mattered.

“Funny.” Ryukotsuki’s smile didn’t falter. “You’re so intent on interpreting my words as ‘slander.’ I take it, then, you’d prefer to believe the first story I told you?”

Fuma shouldn’t dignify that with a response. He was playing into the demon’s game and he knew it, even as he opened his mouth and answered. “My brothers would return from the grave and stab me themselves if I insulted them by believing what you've told me."

If it was possible, Ryukotsuki’s grin grew. His face already looked to be split apart by his smile. The increase in glee just painted a picture even more grotesque.

“Such a good little brother,” the demon purred. “Then I suppose you won’t mind me giving you a demonstration?”

It was still sweltering in Ryukotsuki’s chamber. Fuma still went cold. “What?”

Ryukotsuki shoved Fuma back against the wall of the cave, pinning the samurai in place with one hand. The other began gripping and tearing at Fuma’s armor, the flimsy clothing he wore beneath. “You’re adamant your brothers wouldn’t surrender to the pleasures I gave them?”

Fuma’s stomach roiled as he realized where Ryukotsuki was going with this. “Never,” came out of his mouth, but it was mechanical. More reflex than response.

“Then let’s see if you’re any better.”

Fuma couldn’t get much leverage; his legs still didn’t have a solid surface beneath them. He struggled nonetheless, kicking at Ryukotsuki’s wandering claws, trying to bite when they came close to his face. If Ryukotsuki had expected to break him with all his taunts, he would be sorely disappointed.

“I will say: You’re the prettiest of the family.” Ryukotsuki dragged his tongue over Fuma’s neck, his hair, leaving a slimy film in his wake.

Fuma shuddered. “I’d say you’re clearly the ugly child, but I don’t think your kind has families.”

He wasn’t expecting Ryukotsuki to burst out laughing. “We don’t! Demons would kill their young before they shared resources with them.” Claws patted Fuma’s cheek, simultaneously fond and condescending. “No, I was born with the earth, and grew along with it. Tens of thousands of years have given me plenty of...experience.”

Hot, dry fingers settled on Fuma’s hip, claws ripping through the last remnants of black netting. He wasn’t particularly careful, and blood welled to the surface of a graze in Fuma’s skin. Ryukotsuki’s tongue flicked out and savored the first few drops. He moaned, deep and rumbling in his throat.

“Oh, little one. If your brothers were a meal, you’re an absolute feast.”

Fuma’s rebuttal turned into a strangled noise of shock as the demon’s hand pressed up between his legs, massive fingers touching him in places that had been long neglected on his journey. Revenge left little time for physical indulgences, and grief hadn’t exactly put Fuma in a frisky mood. Now, he almost wished he’d taken a break on the way here, because his body was responding eagerly to the first stimulation it had received in ages.

Still, it was only skin and nerves. Just another reflex. If Ryukotsuki thought Fuma’s arousal signaled his surrender, he was mistaken.

“You humans are so cold,” Ryukotsuki commented, his breath scorching Fuma’s neck as he leaned in to nuzzle and...well, coming from a human, Fuma would have called it 'nipping.' With the size of Ryukotsuki’s teeth, even a gentle bite was a painful chomp. “But you warm up so easily. Just a few touches and your blood sings for me.”

Fuma snarled. “My blood can sing for you all it wants. I certainly won’t.”

“So self-assured.” Ryukotsuki’s tongue traced the front of Fuma’s body from his upper thigh to his neck, pressing deliberately against his cock on the way up. Its touch was burning hot. “I like that, I really do. The ones who start out submissive are no fun to break.”

Something snapped in Fuma. He wriggled, kicked out, and managed to hook his leg over the broad wrist that was holding him aloft. He squeezed it as hard as he could and made sure Ryukotsuki was meeting his eyes.

“Listen carefully, demon. You may do whatever you like to me. You can torture and humiliate me. But I will never submit to you.”

The demon’s eyes flashed. “Good. Then I might not get bored and decide to devour you. Come to think of it, I have been looking for a pet...keeping a child of the Getsu clan next to my throne would send quite the message.”

“I’d like to see you try.”

Ryukotsuki parted Fuma’s legs with one hand, examining him with a detached amusement. “You’ll see that and more.”