It was the most animated Miho had been in… she didn’t know how many days and nights had passed in seclusion. Her body actually ached when she stood she had been sitting stationary for so long, just staring into the reflecting pool – watching Earth ebb and flow, but powerless to influence it in any way.
The arrival of her brother was unexpected; the King had told her no one would find her, no one could see her – if she was going to be petulant, stubborn, if she insisted on defying him, then she would do so alone.
“How did you even find me?” she gasped, stopping sort of hugging the man who, looked unusually… disturbed.
“You’ve been wishing so hard,” he pointed out in an attempt at casual. “Think I couldn’t hear you?”
“Heard and unanswered,” she pointed out, drawing herself up.
The Goddess of Corvus was not short, but Leon was still taller. In their childhood he’d always loomed over her, and even as adults it seemed when they were simply side by side, he was an immense tower.
Now, however, he seemed somehow so much smaller – not even his shadow could touch her.
“This, this is unbearable,” she growled. “Brother please, help me escape this nightmare.”
Hesitantly his answer came.
“I… am here to grant your wish,” he declared, but he sounded so unsure, and this concerned Miho deeply.
“Then let’s get out of here,” she urged, taking his hand, but her usually confident, arrogant brother did not budge.
In fact, he cast his eyes to the ground.
“What?” she frowned. “I wished to be freed from this purgatory, so free me.”
“I… must also grant the wish of the King,” Leon said, his voice quiet, his voice incongruously diminutive with every other memory Miho had of him.
The King’s wish.
Miho’s chest clenched.
“And what, exactly, has he wished for?” she questioned.
But she already knew.
He had already gone so far as to strip her of her title and position, and to cloister her away on an isolated estate from which she could not use her power – and she had not broken. Her consent was all he could not take by force.
But he could wish for it.
“He wished you’d fall in love with him,” Leon answered after a short pause, “and I have to grant it.”
“No,” she hissed, balling her fists and scowling at him. “Why would you… how could you even think of granting that?”
“No one defies the King, Miho,” Leon pointed out, and this caused true rage to blossom across her pale features.
“I defied the King!” she roared, eyes blazing.
“And look where it got you,” he volleyed. “You won’t even remember this, you’ll be happy,” he added, but this had the opposite of its intended effect.
“No, I won’t,” she snarled, backing away from him like there was somewhere she could run where it would make a scrap of difference. “You would betray your own family for that… monster?”
“He’s the King, Miho,” Leon retaliated, stepping toward her, but she scurried back like he meant to physically assault her.
“He’s taken enough!” she barked, but her voice had become thick and panicked. “Don’t… don’t take my free will too, don’t make me his slave.”
Brows knitted, Leon struggled. He was himself powerful, but the King was something else entirely. It was not that he feared the repercussions of defiance per se, would never admit to fear, but he had to rationalise what might happen if a minister such as himself was to disobey – others might also, chaos could allow evil to gain a foothold.
And to prevent this, all he had to do was sacrifice his sister to a creature who, even he had to admit, was the single most selfish being he’d ever encountered.
“I’m sorry, Miho,” he exhaled finally, lifting his hand slightly, fingers poised, and full force horror exploded in his sister’s eyes.
The light touch of gold-spun hair tickled against Miho’s cheek – and she smiled up at the King who hovered over her. Though the hands that held her down gripped tightly, possessively, there was a gladness in her heart that sang amid the shortening length of her breathing.
“Your Majesty,” she exhaled, unable to blink for fear his angelic presence would vanish.
Her body hummed so powerfully for the want of it him it was almost painful: a deep, aching, burning resonance, as much a part of herself as the lips that longed to kiss him, the heart that beat for him, and the warm, wetness of her core that desperately beckoned him inward.
“Tell me what you desire,” he commanded, the twist of his lips a smirking, arrogant tease in which she saw only benevolence.
“Ahh,” she groaned, the torment of his rigid length rubbing just between her legs, so infuriating she could barely form a coherent response. “My King, fill me so…”
Her response, as she had spoken it then, continued in a gushing overflow of sexual yearning and hyperbolic banalities – while an unseen figure at the bedside loomed like a storm cloud flashing with violence.
“I desire the crush of your throat beneath my palms, to feel bones bend and snap,” Miho’s shadow snarled, unheard and glaring at the monster king as he forced the air from her past-self with the crush of his body. “I desire the slide of your entrails through my fingers, slick and slippery with the last of your malodourous life, and I want to see the light of the stars leave your eyes, your last thought regret you ever crossed me.”
Revulsion rose into her throat as her-past self moaned incomprehensibly.
Glowing, sweaty, dominated and enraptured by complete and unparalleled worship, this pathetic ghoul of her former self, wrapped around the most powerful creature in all the heavens; and though she knew now his perverse heart had no true capacity for love, her past-self loved him with such brutal dedication it very nearly tore her apart.
But as she reached out now to pull him away, knowing what she did, knowing he would tire of her and cast her so thoughtlessly aside, her hand passed through him.
An incorporeal observer of the past, her rage and frustration were the only things with true substance.
Yet she was suddenly tethered, unable to recoil, and just as the King had all but suffocated her with his unchecked want for control over her then, Miho felt herself slipping back beneath him and the wish her brother had granted.
“GET OFF!” she roared, sitting bolt upright in the cold, dark room.
The power of her exclamation was so extreme, the blankets flew apart, the fabric shredded and sent scattering around the space.
In surprise, woken so suddenly from fitful slumber, the slender, pale and naked figure that had been curled against Miho’s body, flinched to wakefulness and the urgent gasping of her companion.
“Miho,” a soft voice whispered, and a gentle hand sought fingers clasping the sheets in a vice like grip. “You are awake now.”
Angrily the Goddess of Corvus sobbed out the remnants of sleep, and the sensation of pressure within that was nothing short of the most heinous violation.
“The nightmare is over,” her lover told her, her other hand sliding slowly up Miho’s exposed spine to the nape of her neck. “Retribution is soon, is now.”
“I know, Mieke,” Miho panted, grasping for calm, “and it will be such a reckoning.”
“And I will help you,” Mieke smiled, rising up on her knees and snuggling into Miho’s back, and wrapping her deceptively thin arms around the other goddess’ neck. “And keep you safe.”
What grace she’d lost in forsaking the Heavens – what pain she’d suffered in knowing the truth – those ragged edges of memory still deep in her mind and flesh were smoothed by honest words and honest intimacy. The Goddess of Canes Venatici, savage and vicious in her most powerful form, lapped gently against the ghostly wounds that still bled in Miho’s soul; and the vengeful rage swirling within became a little less tumultuous… for a few hours.