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“Hello, Aria…” the voice of one of the people I cared about most in this world said.

I froze in the door, not quite sure how to react to seeing her in the room with me. There was a tap on my shoulder and I turned back to see Min standing next to me. I had explained to her my situation, so she knew who Jenai was. However, before my brain could start fearing that Jenai might come too close to “the other woman” in Min’s mind, Min spoke up.

“For tonight, busy…” Min said, “Be back in morning.”

Min turned away and walked down the hall. My eyes followed her admiringly. Once again, Min had put my feelings first. The amount I was owing Min was starting to grow astronomical. While feeling once again how incredible it was to have a wonderful woman like Min in my life, my eyes turned back to the issue at hand, the presence of Jenai in my room.

“Denova?” I guessed.

Jenai gave a curt nod. “This is truth. Denova has sent me personally to learn what you know.”

I nodded and walked over to my bedside. Pushing the sex toys to the side, I pulled out several papers. Jenai didn’t move from her spot at the foot of my bed, so I moved over to her and handed her the papers. She grabbed them and gave me a nod.

“I wrote down everything. There is a map as well.” Although I said I wrote it all down, it was Min who had created the map more skillfully than I could. “The best time to move would be the night of the harvest. The majority of the nobles leave the castle and the security is focused there. As I state in the documents, if Denova took a small group of men and put on masks, the guards will let them walk right on by. They can escape with the treasure through an underground passage in a nearby tower. This event is kept very quiet, so it should be easy to infiltrate at this time.”

“Then that is likely what Denova will do.” Jenai gave another abrupt nod before turning and walking away.

“Wait! Is that it?” I asked in surprise as Jenai was already half way to the door.

“That is all,” Jenai said. “My mission is finished. I must return to Denova as ordered.”

“No, wait, but…” I reached out and grabbed her hand before she could make it out the door.

I frowned as my hand wrapped around her wrist. There was something coarse and unpleasant on the back of her wrist, so I reached out with my other hand before she could pull away. I pulled back her sleeve and let out a gasp. The top of her hand going up the entire length of her arm were various cuts and bruises.

“Jenai? What is this?”

“This is not important. Simply an accident (lie).” Jenai was averting her eyes.

Once, I had considered Jenai an expert in deception. However, I had maxed out deception and had been playing the role of a princess for several weeks. Her once expressionless face now gave away loads of emotion. She was confused, scared, exhausted, and pained. I could see it written all over her. It was a Jenai I had never seen before.

I pulled her to me aggressively, and then immediately pulled back her hood. There were several bruises on her neck. A few of them looked to be hickeys, but several of them were too wide to be done by any mouth. As I dropped the cloak to the floor, I could see more cuts and bruises hidden under her clothing. I could quickly see what had happened.

“Denova? He did this to you?” my eyes turned dark at the thought of the man.

“This is… none of your concern.” Jenai tried to turn away from me, but I grabbed her arms and pulled her back.

“No, this is my concern. You are my concern.”

“This thing, just leave it!” Jenai tried to deflect, her eyes refusing to meet mine.

“Why are you trying to avoid me? Just look me in the eye!” I demanded.

“No, I cannot do this…” Jenai struggled to pull away, but I was a greater level than her now and she couldn’t resist.

“Do what? What is wrong?” I tried to understand why Jenai was acting this way.

“You are!” She snapped, and suddenly she did something I hadn’t seen since the night she was drunk, she cried. “You are what’s wrong… He beats me now. He hurts me. Cuts me. Burns me. I used to be his first. I used to be the girl who was going to the castle as his spy. But you took it from me. And now I’m just useless leftovers.”

“Jenai…”

“Don’t use my name! You broke him. You broke him by making him want you. And every day you’re away, he takes it all out on me. You broke him, and so now he breaks me. You ruined everything! He put the collar back on, you see?” She grabbed at the collar still on her neck, very similar to the one Min willingly wore.

“That is… Denova-“ my eyes narrowed at the state Denova had put her in.

“It’s not Denova… it’s you!” Jenai shouted. “You did this thing. You took everything from me. I should… I should hate you. I want to hate you, but I can’t. Tell me, Aria… tell me why I can’t hate you!”

My face went white as she hit a nerve, the reality of the situation suddenly striking home, “I-“

“I know what you did. Denova told me.” Jenai interrupted. “You used some kind of skill to manipulate me. You made me like you. You took everything… even my own emotions from me. You made me care for you so that you could take everything away. You manipulate people as easily as Denova. You two deserve each other! No matter how much I want to… I can’t… I can’t stop it. I love you. I want to hate you, but I love you more than anyone, damn you!”

Jenai broke into sobs, clinging to my chest now as her hands useless struck my arms. I was stunned to silence, unable to come up with an appropriate answer. At the time, I had been throwing seduction around without really understanding what it meant. I was simply desperate to live, and so I didn’t consider the consequences of changing people’s minds. Back when I first met Jenai, this whole world still felt like a video game. I had been dancing from one situation to the next, barely keeping it together.

It wasn’t until my time with the pigmen that I finally started to get a grip on reality. Even then, it took the support of Min, a woman I hadn’t seduced who still chose to love me, that I was finally able to start caring again.

However, I did care about Jenai. It wasn’t in the same way I cared about Min, but at the very least I wanted to protect her too. That was something I had decided before, and it wasn’t something I had forgotten. As silly as it sounded, every time I had sex, I was concerned about the experience and strength needed to save the both of us. This woman in my arms mattered to me, even if her concern for me was only a fabrication of my skills.

I slowly put my hand on her head and closed my eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I did this thing to you. But I will take responsibility, I will. I promised I would save you from Denova. I’m sorry, so sorry, that I couldn’t protect you until now.”

“How?” Jenai looked up at me, wetness still in her eyes. “What can you do against a Bandit King?”

“I’ll do exactly what I said I’d do. I’ll kill him.”

I knew I could do that. If he touched me enough that I’d consider it sex, then I could activate Black Widow. As Reinhart had suggested, I simply needed to rearrange my definition of sex. He may be hesitant to stick it in me, but if I could convince myself that simply touching me was sex, then I could activate my skill. That was the trick I had up my sleeve. However, first, I needed to take Jenai away from Denova.

If I freed Jenai tonight, Denova won’t know what happened. He might think that she was caught or something. It would spread enough doubt at least that I could meet Denova in person. At that point, my skills of seduction were leagues beyond the first time I had met him. I didn’t think he’d jump to killing me. I just needed to get him into bed, and then he’d be mine. Jenai was looking at me doubtfully, but I gave her a reassuring look.

After a moment, she spoke up. “You do look different. More beautiful, if that was possible. More confident. When you say it, I almost believe it.”

“I have a new skill,” I spoke up. “I believe I can use it to free you tonight!”

Jenai made a noise of surprise, but shortly after I explained the new skill to her she spoke up. “If this possession works the way you think, I will become your slave?”

“Ah, well,” I gave a wry smile. “I won’t ask anything of you, and as soon as we can free you-“

“No! That is fine.” Jenai held out her hands and gave a smile. “If I were Aria’s slave, I think I could find happiness.”

I frowned at the idea of taking on another slave. It’s not like I wanted a bunch of slaves. The fact they were all women also led to a bit of disappointment. I hoped the next person I enslaved was a handsome guy. Although, I then realized I was admitting I’d be enslaving more people in the future and decided to end that direction of thought.

“Alright, so we have to do a ritual involving sex.”

Jenai wasn’t bothered by that in the least. In fact, at the mention of having sex with me, her eyes seemed to brighten considerably. I watched her nearly bipolar change in personality worriedly as I considered how devastatingly powerful seduction was. Jenai had come into the room wanting nothing to do with me, but my mere presence was like a drug for her. Her desire to be with me overwhelmed all sense and within a few minutes, she wanted nothing more than to be by my side, instantly forgiving the hell I had inadvertently caused her. It certainly wasn’t normal.

I wondered vaguely if this was what it was like for girls in abusive relationships. Did the highs in their relationship and the hope for a better tomorrow override the horrors? That was a line of thinking that made me out to be the abusive husband, so I dropped that as well.  I only wanted to best for Jenai, and that was the truth. For the moment that meant freeing her by any means possible.

The ritual wasn’t much. I had to draw a rune under the place we would have sex. Then, near climax I would ask her if she wanted to be mine, and she’d have to say yes. The way to perform the ritual had appeared in the back of my head from the moment I had accepted the skill, coming into my brain as soon as I thought to use it.

As soon as I was done tracing the rune, I began to pull off Jenai’s clothing. I winced in shock and horror as I looked at her shirtless back. It was clear that her back had taken much of Denova’s rage. She had been whipped recently and there were clear strips across her back. She had several noticeable burns and a large gash in her shoulder that must have been a knife. This was simply hateful and abusive for no reason.

Of course, I knew why Denova did it. He did it because he could. It was another message to me. I could do nothing but follow his orders. He could hurt Jenai even more, or hurt me if he wanted to. To a man like Denova, it was all about the control.

I used Cat’s Meow, and for at least this night, I stripped Jenai of his marks. I couldn’t do much about the bruises, but as my tongue worked its way up her back and along her arms, the worst of her cuts disappeared like mist. My tongue flicked its way across her entire body, and I could see the tension in her forehead dissipate as I pulled away from the discomfort and pain. Before long, she only had a few mild bruises, but otherwise looked like the Jenai I knew and remembered.

I took Jenai down onto the bed that Min and I had shared. Min likely knew that things would go to this, and I felt like I had already received her consent earlier. Therefore, it didn’t tug on my conscious too much. Jenai was another woman I cared for, and Min understood that there were some things I had to do.

It seemed like no sooner had my lips touched Jenai’s pussy than she exploded like a fountain. I licked her up and then continued to eat her pussy, but I found her squirting out more a minute later. I didn’t stop, and soon she was making some rather loud moaning sounds. Meanwhile, her feet kicked and squirmed around me until I held them down, and then they still tried to kick out of my grip every time she orgasmed.

She was completely different from the last time I had eaten her out. Then, she had been very quiet and reserved. Each time she came, she merely gave an affirmation. She squirted each time, but it never occurred with the extreme force of this. I could feel her body buckling as she was racked with sexual pleasure. At one point, she came so hard that her body arched, and her pussy bent at an angle I could no longer reach with my tongue.

The second time that happened, I picked her butt up and went down under to keep eating her out as she came. She was quickly making the bed wet in ways that Min and I only accomplished on the raunchiest of nights.

It took me a bit to realize what the difference was, she wasn’t wearing her mask. I mean, she originally tried to wear her usually deceptive mask, but the second I started touching her, the deception broke and she became a wild woman. I wondered if this was the effect of seduction, distance making the heart grow fonder or something like that. I asked her what was going on, and she gave a light-hearted laugh.

Jenai was panting as she answered, “That is… you really have changed. I cannot believe you are the same woman as before. The way you touch me is incredible. I’ve never felt like this. If I did not already love you, I think I would have fallen for you.”

“That good?” I asked with a smirk before going back down to lick her clit.

Jenai gave a smile which turned into a moan as she came a second later. Simply put, my increased skills were so good that Jenai was no longer able to show restraint. This showed a reality about people I had suspected for some time. A married man might be dry and boring with his wife, but become explorative and domineering with his mistress. A woman might be sexually reserved with one partner, but a total kink when given a partner she wasn’t afraid would judge her. The same person can react radically different given the sexual situation they were placed in.

Although Jenai wasn’t just different from herself before, she was also a considerably different lover from Min. Min was slow to arousal, slow, and decisive. Whether she was wearing the toy or not, Min kept a strong control of her body, and never wasted a motion. Jenai was much more exotic. She would squirm, kick, and buck at any touches as if her body had a mind of its own. Her orgasms were loud and expressive. Without her mask, sex with Jenai was a satisfying yet demanding, unlike the cool and collected Min.

As Jenai was building up to one of her stronger orgasms, I finally asked the question. “Will you give your life to me?”

“Yes!” Jenai said, half moaning, but a moment later light shot out and surrounded the pair of us as she orgasmed.

I finished eating Jenai out, and then the pair of snuggled together as I checked her over. I frowned when I noticed that the slave collar was still wrapped around her neck. After a moment, I used examine on her, and my frown only deepened.

Jenai gave a sad smile. “No effect, yes?”

“This… shouldn’t be.” I said darkly.

“I suspected this would be the case.” Jenai shrugged, “It was a hope, but it was perhaps too much to hope for.”

“I don’t get it, we did the ritual correctly. The death curse should be gone.” I started to grow agitated, trying to run through every step.

“The skill likely worked.” Jenai shrugged. “But Denova is still stronger. With his higher level, his death curse takes priority. Your skill might work if you were a third tier, but right now, you’re simply too weak.”

She seemed to be comforting me, but it was Jenai who had to suffer. Denova had enslaved her and put a death mark on her. He was abusing her, and once again I was left feeling completely useless. I still wasn’t strong enough to even do this much. My hand was clenching to the point it was shaking when Jenai put her hand out and touched it.

“I’m… sorry that I blamed you.” Jenai said. “I know that you were only trying to survive. I know that Denova is the one to blame for all of this, not you. Denova just has a way of getting into people’s heads. He made me doubt myself. He made me doubt you. However, I’ll say what I said once before. I know that one day you’ll defeat him. I just won’t be around to experience it.”

“You will be…” I looked up at her, a tear falling down my face, “I swear it.”

“Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.” Jenai still wore that same sad smile. “When I die… please, just make Denova pay.”

I moved up to Jenai and gave her a hug, holding her close to me. “When I kill Denova, you’ll be right there with me. We’ll make him pay together.”

Jenai didn’t look convinced, but her face still loosened and she gave me a kiss on the ear before finally pulling away. “Thank you, Aria, for reminding me what it feels like to be a woman. However, despite our best efforts, I’m still Denova’s, and I must return with the news.”

“You can’t go back to him,” I said in a pleading voice.

“I have no choice. And neither do you. In only a few weeks, he’ll have robbed the throne, and you’ll be back in his clutches. Become stronger before then, it’s your only chance.”

Jenai stood up and reclothed herself. Under the cloak she was wearing, she still wore the thin, barely covering undergarments despite the fact that it was fall now and the weather was becoming quite chilly at night. I helplessly watched her go as she gave me one last smile, blew a kiss, and then turned and walked out the door. There was nothing else I could saw. My best option had failed miserably and now the woman I had sworn to protect was in the hands of a torturous bastard.

I pulled out a dagger from the nightstand and let out a blood-curdling scream of frustration. I immediately started hacking at the pillow in front of me. I imagined that it was Denova’s face, and I struck it hard enough that the dagger hit the back of the headboard and caused my fingers to vibrate. No matter how hard I struck, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of absolute failure.

A few hours later when Min returned to the room, the bed had been torn to shreds. Feathers from destroyed pillows were sitting all over the room, and I was lying naked in the middle of the mess, a dagger in my hand as I slept with tears still running down my cheeks.

She began to clean up the mess and dress me, the same as she did every night.

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