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As much as she wanted to remain in the Shadow realm and enjoy her afterglow, Merrie couldn’t. She crawled over on her knees and wrists and stretched out. Her abused skin, burnt and bitten, sparked with pain. She could see where Sable’s holy magic had peeled back her thin flesh and revealed the smoking darkness inside.

She gathered the darkness around her, forming it into ribbons, and wrapped it around her injuries. If she had time, she would have poured it into her body to let it fill her but she didn’t think she’d have the time to let it set and replace her insides. She only hoped that Sable’s holy energy wouldn’t strip away the darkness before she could recover.

With another surge of power, she reformed her cloak. The familiar construct rippled out of the darkness and fluttered to envelope her. It tickled her skin as it wrapped right around her body, sealing up against her leaking pussy, ass, and skin. The pressure felt good and a startling contrast between the blanket of spiders that had recently attacked her. It would also give her a second layer of protection against the light.

Glancing around, she saw the massed creatures and had an idea. The smaller shadow beasts were capable of pulling off the spiders. The corpses on the dark ground were proof of that.

Hope in her thoughts, she reached out with her mind and asked the creatures if they would help her.

They weren’t intelligent like other bitches or humans, but they responded with a cloud of love and trust. They were hers, her children and her army. They would die for her.

Nodding, she took a deep breath and steeled herself for battle. Her spectral bandages tightened around her body as she summoned the energy to transform herself back into hound form. Surrounded by the darkness of the Shadow realm, it only took a flicker of movement before she was once again covered in fur with her massive paws grinding into the ground.

Bolstered, she casted her familiar combat spells: speed, strength, and protection. Using her connection with the shadow horde, she let the spells envelop the gathered creatures. The energies of the Shadows helped her and she layered them quickly on the beasts. Each would wouldn’t be able to fight against a well-trained individual but she hoped it would be enough to allow them to eradicate the spiders that infested her home.

Merrie focused her attention on the last spell: the one to create a portal between the worlds. With the drain of the horde’s protection spells dragging on her senses, she concentrated on the complex calligraphy that would create a bridge between the planes.

The world darkened around her, even more for Shadows, as she pierced the veil and pried it open. Planar energies rolled around her, defying colors or comprehension. Her spell grew stronger as she layered spells to keep the opening gaping wide.

She couldn’t help but imagine it was her fingers sliding into a lover’s pussy, spreading them open. The constant pressure to seal the opening brought a smile to her. She reinforced the spell until there was a glowing portal shimmering ahead of her.

Taking a deep breath, she anchored her spell and then charged forward.

Energy sparkled along her pitch-black fur as she crossed between the world and then landed heavily on shattered floorboards of the mill house. She snarled.

The spiders were still there, swarming over everything. As one, they focused their attention on her: countless glowing red eyes focusing on her with hatred and anger. Energy rolled over their bodies, a haze of too-bright red flames reflecting off the walls and windows.

Ignoring the threat, she quickly cast out with her senses to find the others.

Haviston and Borias were protecting Fir and Cinthia. Their minds flashed with their efforts to maintain their shields but both men were at the last of their energies. She could tell their spells were cracking from their effort and the injuries that burned along their thoughts.

Cinthia and Fir were safe between the two men, but their minds were glowing with terror and pain. There was also blood on their senses, both had been hurt in the moments it took for Merrie to recover.

Guilt slamming into her, Merrie cast out her senses for the others.

Both Dixie and Tabitha were almost dead. Both of them were clawing at their bodies as they fought against the spiders that swarmed over them. Dixie’s lust of helplessness, the hallmark of all alphas, wasn’t enough to overcome the agony of being torn apart from the outside and inside at the same time. Both were alive only because of crumbling druidic magic that kept them breathing.

Sable, on the other hand, was incoherent with fear. She stood on Bass’ prone form, her entire body a pillar of light as she used the last of her energies to protect her master. There were spiders clawing at her body, not harming her armored form, but trying to reach for his body.

Tears burned in Merrie’s eyes. She wasn’t too late, but it was close.

Around her, a wave rippled through the spiders. They started forward, a cloud of burning darkness and too many eyes.

Merrie smiled and yanked open the portal behind her. A tsunami of darkness burst out of it as countless shadow creature poured out. They slammed into the spiders, shadow against infernals. The sake and sharp scents of the two dimensions quickly choked the room.

She jumped over the battle and toward the Dixie and Tabitha. They were in the back, away from Sable’s brilliance. (Dixie, I’m coming!)

Only agony came back, sharp pain as the shape-shifting alpha struggled to transform to keep his body healed enough to avoid dying. Unlike Merrie, it was second nature for the silfae and he managed to keep his body shifting to avoid the spiders from tearing out critical organs or his body from being torn open.

Merrie also reached out for Sable but the elder alpha’s mind was too inwardly focused. Immediately she shifted it to Haviston. (I need to help Dixie and Tabitha.)

(We can hold off,) came the remarkably strained voice of the psion, (but we are—)

Fear prickling her skin, Merrie summoned two of the shadow kin after her. They squeezed through the portal and came chasing after her, their bodies all tentacles, claws, and wings. Together they burst through the back door of the house and toward Dixie’s thoughts.

When she saw a towering mass of spiders, four meters high in the vague shape of a giant wolf, her heart almost skipped a beat. The spiders were glowing violently, flickers of too-bright red and too many squirming legs as they pinned the two wolves to the ground.

Merrie grew hot with the memory of being pinned to the ground and violated. The same thing was happening to her two friends.

Spells of strength and armor danced across her mind and she let the darkness fill her body with ice. She threw more power into the spell, charging it beyond what she had ever done to protect her against the spider’s bite. Beneath her feet, the grass withered and crumbled away.

She brought her cloak over her mouth and nose. She sealed up her pussy and asshole at the same time. The pressure reminded her of how she build up her mental shields. It would also give her time to rescue the others before she had to breathe.

She twisted her thoughts into a new spell, to give her the ability to holder her breath. It failed but she tried again and succeeded before she reached the mound. Just as her lungs filled with the searing cold ice of the Shadow realm, she plunged into the squirming mass of spiders.

Heat and pins scraped at her body, clawing at the black cloak that protected her body. Her heart beat faster, the triple beat drumming in her chest as she clawed her way toward the others. Her large paws crushed through spiders but they were on her, gnawing at her cloak and clawing their way through her defenses.

She brushed against a squirming body and a sharp wave of fear poured through her mind. It was Dixie.

Merrie reached out with her mind and caught one of the shadow kin’s attention. Directing it to grab Dixie, she gave it the strength.

Black tentacles plunged into the boiling mass of spiders. They wrapped around Dixie’s wolf body and then yanked it brutally out.

(What the—?) came the sharp fear.

Merrie sent a wave of apology to him even as she directed the shadow kin to get the spiders out of his body. There was only way they knew to create them.

She gave Dixie only a brief image of what was going to happen, the black tentacles plunging into his asshole and mouth.

(Merrie! No, don’t you—) His world exploded into shameful pleasure as the shadow kin began to rape his tiny body. Pleasure and hatred radiated from his mind, focused on her. His thoughts were also projected the sensation of the spiders being crushed against his insides while the darkness withered away at their spells.

She only smiled grimly to herself and clawed her way deeper into the mound of spiders. She swatted spiders blindly until she smacked against Tabitha’s weakly thrashing form.

(Save… her!) snapped Dixie as sensations of his body being violated filled his connection. The thick tendrils were plunging deep into his throat, choking him off as they sought out the spiders to crush them.

Merrie directed the remaining shadow kin toward Tabitha. At the same time, she summoned whatever swarm of creatures she had brought with her to come for the spiders that would no doubt chase them once Tabitha was rescued.

Black tentacles plunged past her vision, wrapping around Tabitha’s body. With a surge of power, they yanked her free, ripping a gaping hole out of the spider mound that Merrie chased after.

Merrie hit the ground running toward the house.

Dixie was already being slammed against the wall, tentacles of the first kin plunging into his now humanoid form. His tiny body, barely a meter in height, shook violently as he was plunged in from both sides. His tiny cock was hard and splattering against the wall. Black cum from the shadow kin poured out of his ass and squirted from his mouth as the creature eradicated any of the spiders still inside.

(I will kill you,) he promised before another orgasm slammed into him. (I will fucking kill you!)

Merrie gave him a wave of apology and raced around the house. Her hound form easily covered the distance but she could see weak light pouring out from the beginning. With her mind, she could tell that her creatures had finished killing off the spiders inside. Thankful, she reached out for Sable. (Dim your magic, I’m coming around!)

Incoherent fear and terror blasted her. Light flared up from the front, painting brilliantly across the ground.

Even reflected of the blood and gore, Merrie could feel it burning her skin. She skidded to a halt and panted. (Haviston, I can’t survive that.)

(I can’t reach her either. She thinks Bass is dying.)

Merrie’s blood ran colder. (Did they?)

(No, but he is dying. I don’t know how but her thoughts have been crumbling rapidly.)

Another blast of holy light flared into existence. Inside the house, the shadow creatures too close to the window burned away from the intensity of it.

Merrie winced and tried to reach out for Sable. (Please, I can help. Just let me up there!)

Only terror and fear came out. There was nothing, no coherent though, no negotiation. Only a primal need to survive and fear for the one person that mattered most.

Tears burned in Merrie’s thoughts. She pulled back the swarm of creatures from the windows, protecting them with the house. As she did, she looked around desperately. (Haviston, can you knock her unconscious?)

(If you do, we will die.) A detailed image came over. Both Borias and Haviston were up against Bass. They were using Sable’s holy blasts to handle the wall of spiders poised to swarm over them. Cinthia and Fir were between Bass’ legs, clutching them tightly as if his large body could shield them from the attack. Numerous cuts and burns scored their body. Both shook from poison that ravaged their system. (She is unconsciously healing everything within a few meters of her, which is keeping us alive.)

(I can get in there.)

His mind flashed through scenarios, painting out options in rapid succession. As they did, Merrie’s hopes dropped.

(You can’t defeat them in time. I don’t see a way.)

(Can she protect you enough to survive?)

(No,) came the definite reply.

(Then you die or we find a different way.)

(I cannot.)

Merrie thought furiously. She drew her attention back to the swarm of spiders. The two shadow kin were raping Tabitha now, much to the annoyance of Dixie who was slumped against the ground unable to move. The spiders were almost crushed but it took longer because Tabitha remained in her giant wolf form.

Another flash of holy light blasted the area, searing away the shadows.

Haviston showed how the light pushed back the spiders but it only gave him and Borias precious seconds to reinforce their shields before the spiders came back.

An idea came to Merrie but it sickened her. (What if… what if you make her think Bass died?)

Shock and horror radiated across the connection.

Merrie shivered at the memories that slammed into her. The devastation that tore into her soul with Kine died had scarred her for years. It still haunted her to that moment. Tears burned in her eyes as she recalled what happened.

(No alpha besides you has ever survived the death of their master.)

(He won’t really be dead. The spiritual leash will still be there. But, she will either go catatonic and I can come. Or she will lash out at the creatures and kill them.)

(Or she could kill us all.) Even as he projected, Haviston was thinking about options. (No matter what, she will be damaged for the rest of her life.)

(You will die if we don’t do anything.) Merrie hated the idea but she couldn’t come up with anything.

Haviston’s thoughts broke off for a moment as some of the spiders managed to charge forward and attack him.

Another blast of light burned Merrie. There were tiny screams of agony.

Inside the house, her creatures were ready to attack but they couldn’t survive the light any easier than they could. She also didn’t have enough to swarm over Sable to darken her.

Merrie flinched and looked away. Reaching out for Dixie, she started to give him her idea but remembered the spiders could read it. Instead, she focused on him. (Dixie? Can you fight?)

Dixie sobbed as he projected back. (I… I don’t have anything right now. Those… things are done with my mistress. She’s alive but we have nothing left. It was….) Memories of choking panic rose up.

She sent a comforting wave. (I might have to hurt Sable.)

He only sent a wave of agreement before withdrawing.

Haviston’s thoughts brushed against her own. They came back pained and streaked with agony. (Spiders bit me again, this poison is hard to concentrate. I only have moments before I might collapse.)

(Borias?)

(His spells are keeping him up but if I fall, my cousin will fall too.)

The moment rested on Merrie, she had to make a choice. No matter what she chose, someone was going to hurt or die. She gulped and raced back toward the end of the house. At the same time, she guided her creatures into the most protected parts of the ruined mill house.

(Haviston,) she projected with sorrow and fear. (Make Sable think Bass is dead.)

Merrie raced around to the back.

Tabitha was finally in her silfae form, naked and shivering. She and Dixie clutched each other. Black cum poured out of their nether holes and coated their faces but they were alive. She looked up at Merrie as the alpha came around the corner.

Merrie skidded to a halt. Fear rose inside her as she thought about the damage she had done.

Tabitha gave her a hard smile. “When this is done, you fucking bitch, I’m going to rape you so hard you will wish you died.”

She coughed and black cum bubbled out of her mouth.

“But thank… you.” The last bit came out through gritted teeth.

Merrie gulped, her throat was dry. (Shield yourself.)

Tabitha frowned. “Why—?”

Any question was interrupted by a single scream that ripped out of the air. “No!” It was the tortured sound of whiskey and smoke, a woman who just lost the most important person in her life. It came with a mental blast that slammed into Dixie and Merrie.

Merrie, prepared for the onslaught, had been shielded but she felt it crack under the intense wave of agony and sorrow that blasted her.

Dixie, on the other hand, wasn’t prepared and he burst into tears before the eyes rolled into the back of his head and collapse.

Light exploded from the front in a pillar of holy flame. It splashed against the shield surrounding the house before punching through it, shattering the powerful spell as if it was tissue paper.

Waves of emotions slammed into Merrie, the force them pushing her physically back as she fought to retain her own sanity under Sable’s sorrow.

The light continued to grow brighter, burning so intense that the reflections off the bodies and ground and crumbling shield were enough to direct it against Merrie’s form.

Merrie’s cloak ignited into flames. It seared away and soon the light was burning away her bandages. Agony coursed through Merrie’s body as she struggled to retain her sanity under Sable’s despair.

She tried to reach out for Sable but there was nothing to connect, no intelligent though, no consciousness, only despair and pain.

Guilt slammed into Merrie.

Powerful tentacles grabbed Merrie and yanked her off the ground. The two shadow kin slammed her through the back of the house and toward the stairs leading into the basement.

She only had a glimpse of the formerly dark kitchen lit up brilliantly. The creatures that were cowering in the further rooms were screaming as the light burned them away.

The shattered door of the basement scraped her back and then she was plunged into darkness. She didn’t have time to even scream before she hit the hard-packed ground which drove the air from her lungs.

Mouth gaping but her air refusing to work, Merrie saw darkness pour into the basement. It was the shadows, creatures and the kin, as they rushed into the basement. They slammed into her and piled on top, shielding her body from the light even as Sable’s holy flame began to spear through the cracks in the house.

Merrie sobbed. It was one thing to lead the shadow creatures into a fight, another to have them sacrifice themselves to save her. (No, no, not again!)

The shadow kin that loomed over her looked into her eyes. (You will live, Mother.)

(Why? Why are you doing this?)

Her world grew darker as more of the creatures piled on top of her. The weight bore her down, grinding her bones together and making it impossible to move her lungs. The spell she used to keep breathing remained, it was the only way she could get air in the suffocating pressure of the creatures, her creatures, as they protect her from Sable’s sorrow.

The shadow kin groaned and planted his arms on both side of her, straining to keep the pressure from crushing Merrie to death. His thoughts burned in her mind and she could feel him dying even as he shield her. (You are the Light Snuffer. Our deaths is for what you have given the Shadows. You are not done. You must live because the Lord of Shadows—our father—told us.)

The kin’s body crumbled but the thoughts remained. They were washed with agony and pain. (Even… without him, we love you. You are the mother, the lover, the darkness that surrounds us. You are the reason we exist and…)

The sound of cracking bones filled the air. The pressure on Merrie’s ribs increased and she felt the muted sound of her own insides fracturing from the weight.

(… we love you more than life.)

Then the world became nothing but blessed darkness.