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Arc II - Bonding
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Words seeming of nonsense emerged from his mouth as he began channeling the energies necessary for the ritual. Moving to one side of the largest runed circle in the center of the floor, Sukina turned her back to Syranon and started to unbutton her uniform, fingers hesitant. The beastman himself took a deep breath to steel himself and moved opposite her, doing the same. He could feel the heat spreading across his face and stopped before removing his shirt. "Sir Asmodai...is stripping down so much really necessary?"
The overfiend was in no position to answer, so Sukina, turned her head to look over her shoulder and respond for him. "Yes...besides the minor aspect of keeping our clothes intact, the bond requires a...rather intimate beginning. Since we would be linked by soul, there can be no hiding about the body. Do...do you want to stop, Syranon? I don't want to force you into anything against your will..."
A swallow brought his voice back to him, having lost it momentarily in thought. "I...no, I just...I've never been with a woman unclothed, so...I'm a little nervous. And it seems pretty...improper, to me, given how I was raised. But," he said, trying to ignore his bashfulness about it, "it IS necessary, after all. If not now, then it will be later. I'll manage."
She smiled and nodded at him. "Thank you. It's embarrassing for me as well, but I did want to anyway. This is just sooner than I had thought." The succubus resumed her disrobing, letting her clothes drop piece by piece into what seemed a puddle around her feet. Syranon matched her pace and turned around when she did, both turning away to avoid staring each other's small-clothes (and lack of others) and covering themselves with their hands.
Asmodeus stopped chanting and looked at the two of them, amused at their reactions. His voice continued to echo, though, carrying on a loop of sound through the magic of the spell. Motioning them both forward he met them at the center of the circle. "Now, you two, I will have to expose your Heartcores to each other. It may hurt a bit, but the spell will prevent you from permanent harm. So which of you will be the first?"
Clenching his fists at his side, Syranon nodded to the overfiend. "I will. How do you...?" he asked, curious.
"Like this." Pressing a palm flat against the center of the beastman's chest, Asmodeus barked out another short spell. Purple flames wreathed his extended hand and Syranon felt the heat sinking into his chest. Watching the instructor's actions with wide eyes he gritted his teeth. The burning sensation increased and he saw the hand press forward, splitting open his torso. Once buried up to his wrist, Asmodeus drew his arm back and nodded at his handiwork, seeing the now exposed Heartcore. A grin emerged when he noted it was identical in style to the beastman's shoulder tattoo.
"Syranon, are you all right?" Sukina looked over Asmodeus' shoulder with concern at her fellow candidate's pained look.
"Yeah, I think so. It just hurt a bit. I'll be fine." He didn't mention the strange sensation of having his chest open and exposed in this fashion. It wasn't quite pain, but it certainly was not pleasant.
Asmodeus shrugged. "Of course you will, the ritual and spells were created by Lilium Lashiec after correcting the errors she found in her old work regarding the barrier. Have a bit of faith in our Queen. Now, Sukina, it is your turn."
Nodding to both confirm the overfiend's reassurance to Syranon and indicate her readiness, the succubus held her hands to her side as her companion did, ignoring the embarrassment of standing with her breasts exposed. A small noise of discomfort escaped her throat and she winced when the overfiend repeated his actions on her, removing his hand from the hole in her chest and exposing a bright pink flower of a Heartcore. She recovered herself somewhat when her teacher stepped back, leaving the beastman and demoness facing each other.
Flipping the pages of the grimoire in his hands, the overfiend nodded at the two. "Please speak your acceptance as I finish the spell, and do not interrupt me from here." His voice took on an atonal note, reverberating loudly as he spoke the Bonding spell. "Demon of Asgar, by nature you require Cores to survive and are a solitary creature. By creating this Bond between races you agree to surrender your livelihood to your partner and give yourself into a lasting union that overcomes your needs. Is this your will?"
Sukina nodded in affirmation. "Yes, this is my will."
"Beastman of Nifelheim," Asmodeus continued, turning to Syranon. "By nature, you abhor the needs of a demon and are at odds with them. By creating this Bond between races you agree to devote yourself to your partner's survival and give yourself into a lasting union that overcomes their needs. Is this your will?"
"Yes, this is my will." He nodded at the succubus facing him, wanting to be able to help her through this.
"Then embrace each other, uniting your bodies and spirits, and seal the Bond."
The two stepped towards each other, embarrassment increasing. Syranon placed his arms around Sukina with hesitation, uncomfortable with the situation. She was equally hesitant, despite her nature as a succubus, meeting his embrace. "I'm sorry about how uncomfortable this is for you," she told him, looking up at him with big eyes. "But I'm happy you agreed to it."
Syranon blinked at the statement and felt a grin spread across his face. "So am I," he told her, feeling the spell linking the two of them with surge of energy. He felt both winded as though finished dueling with Ryodalin and recharged, fresh after a deep sleep. A faint crackling noise drifted from where their chests were pressed together signaling the changes happening within them physically. He saw another wince cross his friend's face. "Are you all right?"
"Yes. It just aches a bit. I'm...ready to finish if you are." At his nod she closed her eyes and leaned into him, lips parted slightly, expectantly. He swallowed and tilted his head down to meet hers.
In the center of the grand room, magic energies of the ritual swirling about them, demon and beastman kissed.
The power of the spell increased at the action, a whirlwind of power that constricted around the two, buffeting even the overfiend casting the spell. It condensed into a single point where the openings in their torsos were. Sound, hair, and cloth all suspended for a brief moment in a vacuum of energy before a silent explosion ripped outwards, its soundless resonance obvious for all those within the castle.
Shutting the grimoire in his hand with a satisfying clap, Asmodeus looked at the two, pleased. "And so it is done. I'm sure you're enjoying yourself for now, but I would wager the others would like an explanation for the effects of the spell. Though I certainly could understand wanting to cling a moment longer to a lovely maiden," he grinned.
The reminder of their state of undress and physical proximity caused the two new Bondmates to released each other in embarrassment, both having difficulty meeting the other's eyes again. Asmodeus chuckled his amusement and broke the silence between them again. "Do feel free to dress. I will see you in the morning."
Both of them nodded while the overfiend walked out and dressed quickly. As he was fastening his pants, Syranon watched his chest in fascination as the hole in it closed. Running a hand over it felt no different than it always had. "I...healed already? Without even a spell?"
Sukina giggled at his confusion, nearly finished dressing herself and thankful for the chance to resume a sense of normality. "Of course. The spell to expose our Heartcores is meant to be a temporary effect, and your benefits of the Bond are influencing it as well."
"I benefit from the Bond as well? I though it was just so you demons didn't have to consume Heartcores to survive." Finished dressing, he turned towards the door and started out with her.
"Yes, you do. I'm sure you know that we demons can turn beings from other races into minions. While the Bond is mostly new ground and unexplored, every non-demon partner in it has gained benefits that are similar to a minion. Namely, increased physical ability and healing to a degree."
The beastman brushed his chest again. "Really? I wonder how much. I'll probably find out training with Ryo in the mornings."
"Do...do you mind if I come watch sometime? It might be a good idea if I start practicing, too. And I want to make sure you're not overdoing things. Your well being is important to me, after all. More so now," she trailed off quietly, so that he couldn't hear her last phrase.
"Hmm. No, I don't mind if you watch. I don't think Ryo will either. I'll see you then?" he said when they reached the dormitory area. Her smiling nod answered him.