A Hero’s Anguish
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Oh my gosh! What the heck is wrong with me!?” Nell rolled around on top of the carpet as she bemoaned her actions. “I-I can’t believe I said or did any of that!”
The afternoon’s events had left quite the impact on her. The rugged sensation her tongue experienced as it traced its way across his skin was memorable to say the least. She could never forget the stimulus that assailed her nervous system each time he breathed a hot sigh down the back of her neck, nor the way her heart raced as she gazed into his eyes. And then there was his scent. It was so masculine that she felt the urge, the need, to spend every waking moment basking in its embrace.
It was like he had branded her. His essence had carved its way into her body and left a permanent mark, one that failed to show signs turning dormant. Even now, it assaulted her and sentenced her to a constant state of anguish.
“This is all Yuki’s fault!” she said. “I knew there’d be something weird in his blood!”
The hero was convinced that she would normally never engage in an act so obscene, especially not in public. She had only chosen to drink his blood out of curiosity. Seducing him had never been her intention. But his blood had been the devil’s nectar. Ingesting it had intoxicated her. Her head had started to spin for reasons beyond her comprehension the moment she ingested it. A pleasant sensation had washed over both her body and her mind as her ability to reason faded away. She let down her guard and allowed her instincts to be laid bare.
“Arrrrrrrrrrrghhh! I’m so embarrassed! I’m so embarrassed I could just disappear!”
Being scolded by Lefi had knocked a bit of sense back into her, but it had failed to truly pull her from her stupor. She had remained under the influence for some time after; the drunken effect had only just finished fully wearing off. And that was precisely why she was so embarrassed.
Half of her shame stemmed from acting the way she did in a public space. The other half had been generated by her newfound self-awareness.
Deep down, that was what she had wanted. Her heart’s desire.
Knowing that filled her with a sense of ignominy so insurmountable it made her lose her bearings. She didn’t know what to do with herself. She had no idea how she was supposed to treat her emotions. She didn’t know if she was supposed to let them free, bottle them up, or deal with them some other way.
Though she had yet to look into any mirrors, Nell was well aware of the fact that her face was bright as a tomato. She didn’t want anyone to see her the way she was now. Fortunately, she was alone—and unlikely to be intruded on. She had gone out of her way to relocate to her private quarters. Nell wasn’t the only one with a private room. Yuki had made one for each of the dungeon’s residents, but they seemed to go unused for the most part.
“…It’s not my fault he smells so good.” Nell came to a stop with her arms and legs spread, and her back against the carpeted floor.
Her training had often put her in close proximity with many a man. But none of her other experiences had ever been that up close and personal. And as she had lost her father very early in life, she had no other memories of ever sharing an embrace with a member of the opposite gender. That was in part why the experience had seemed so intense.
“…Is that what I think it is?” As she turned her head, she realized that there was a red streak running down the side of her shirt. “It really is…”
The sticky liquid had already worked its way into the fabric and was likely to leave a stain if it wasn’t carefully attended to.
But a potential stain was the least of Nell’s concerns.
For she had already once again been entranced.
She pressed the fabric against herself and inhaled as deeply as she could. “…It smells really, really nice,” she giggled. “Just like him.”
Nell was fully aware that she was doing something many would find downright abnormal. But she was alone. There was no one to judge her.
And therefore nothing to worry about.
Her face slackened into a smile as she took yet another breath.
She was so bewitched, so captivated that she even failed to react to the sound of her door being knocked.
Only after it opened did she realize that she had made a mistake.
“Hey, Nell? It’s time for dinne—” The man on her mind entered the room, only to freeze and then back out the exact same way he came. “…Ooookay. You have fun then,” he said as he closed the door behind him.
“H-huh!? Have fun!?” She echoed his words in a hysterical tone as her mind processed the events that had just unfolded. “Wait! Waaaait! I definitely wasn’t doing what you think I was!” She wrenched the door open as quickly as she could and confronted him before he even so much as took a step.
“It’s okay Nell. I’m not judging, even if sniffing yourself is what gets you off. I was just planning to write it off as another one of your quirks and call it a day.”
“I wasn’t sniffing myself! I was sniffing your blood because there’s still a bit left on m—” Nell’s eyes opened wide in panic. “Wait! Oh my gosh what am I saying!?”
Yuki stifled a laugh as the seemingly genuine look of concern on his face warped into a shit-eating grin.
Only then did Nell realize that she had been had.
“Y-you were just teasing me!?” she squeaked.
“Ehhhh, not really,” he said. “It was more like you set yourself up to be teased, and I just hopped along for the ride.”
As much as she wished to deny it, Nell realized that he was right. That was why she stumbled a few steps backward before curling into a ball and covering her face with her hands.
“I can’t believe this keeps happening,” she groaned, “I’m so embarrassed. I just want to hole up somewhere and die.”
“Well, I guess I’ll have to loot your corpse then.” The demon lord cackled as he placed an arm under her thigh and another behind her back. It seemed to take him no effort at all to lift her into his arms the same way a prince would lift his princess.
“W-what are you doing!?”
“Escorting you to the table. Like I said, it’s time for dinner.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to carry me there!”
“You say that, but you’d probably be stuck hiding in a corner for god knows how long if I did, so I’m not.” He seemed to have no intention of listening to her, as he began walking down the hallway without bothering to put her down.
Her senses fell victim to both his warmth and his scent, the two things that had ultimately caused this entire scenario to begin with. But though it had a record for causing trouble, the fragrance that wafted off his body brought her nothing if not relief.
“Oh, come on…” A thousand thoughts swirled through her mind. Though she had ultimately chosen only to vocalize her complaints, she stopped resisting, leaned into his chest, and allowed herself to enjoy the sensation of being rocked in his arms.