ONCE UPON A TIME…
a young lady found herself lost in an enchanted forest. A forest where creatures unknown sprung from the shadows with blood-red eyes and bone-white fangs. Where little girls and young women with deep red hoods and tightly weaved baskets full of cake and wine never ventured for they would be eaten by the the shadows of the forest. And yet despite the warnings of the village, one girl dared to saunter into the woods. Her scarlet figure disappearing into the horizon as whispered horrors awaited her. Or so it would seem.
“Scarlet Hood…” came a menacing growl before the young woman clad in a ruby stained coat sitting rigid—frozen—on a plush black velvet baroque encrusted chair. Her body paralyzed as fear shot through her bones and burned any confidence she may have held while the wolf was temporarily away.
Despite her paralytic state though, Scarlet forced her down casted eyes forward. Letting out a slow, shaky breath, ruby irises clashing with golden eyes.
In this light, those eyes almost look humane…
“Scarlet Hood…” the wolf growled louder this time interrupting her fleeting thoughts. But something in his snarl was different. It was less dangerous and there was almost a hint of concern.
“Wolf…” Scarlet replied, her voice unintentionally rising a few octaves. Her unfortunate response almost sounding like a mock of ‘wuff’ instead of wolf. She hadn’t meant to sound frightened, but the way his golden eyes gleamed in the moonlight with such ferociousness while his massive claws visibly dented the wooden floor with every step he took towards her, didn’t exactly illustrate the most calming picture.
“HAHAHA!!! Here I thought my prey was more equipped than a cowardly boring response,” laughed the wolf as he stood a few feet away from Scarlet, large, sharp bone-white fangs mocking her as the sound of his deep laughter reverberated throughout her body.
“Well then this disappointment should indicate your release of my captivity due to my seeming inadequacy,” she countered, fear slowly ebbing away as irritation began to boil through her veins.
“Unfortunately little red…” the wolf began.
“Don’t call me that!” interrupted Scarlet, clearly piqued at this point; arms crossing in a vexed manner.
“You summoned me to help you from the huntsman who stalked after you upon entering my woods.” Finished the wolf in an amused tone, completely ignoring Scarlet’s visible aggravation at her sudden given nickname. Golden eyes bared into her soul as he straightened to his full stature towering over her petite frame. The intentness of his stare sending shivers down her spine.
“Summoned?! I did no such thing you vile beast!” Scarlet exclaimed in utter bafflement, already forgetting the events that caused her to be held in the wolf’s captivity.
Slightly shocked at the young woman’s confused response, the wolf questioned in a mocking tone, “Oh? Is that so? I suppose praying to the Wolf God of the demon forest to save you from the crazed huntsman was my imagination?”
The beast roared in laughter as his prey’s eyes widened in realization. His golden eyes dancing with amusement and mischief. He lowered his snout, his head now mere inches from hers. Never taking his glowing eyes from Scarlet’s, the wolf stated with a mocking tone, “It must be a terrible curse to live with such a small, forgetful brain. It’s a pity those lovely features are going to waste.”
And with the unprecedented insult, Scarlet’s eyes went wide and she fumed, her face matching the meaning of her name. She never did quite get over her quickness to anger nor her impulsiveness in her actions from childhood but to her credit, those qualities always seemed to give her a boost of courage at the most crucial times. Already forgetting the wolf’s ability to easily snap her neck in half, Scarlet rose from her chair. Anger clearly besting her fears, she inched forward defiantly, and said with a low, challenging tone, “My, my. What big mouth you have dear wolf. It’s a shame it’s not put to better use.”
Yes Scarlet. Please provoke and antagonize him with idiotic retorts to expedite your death.
“Well, how about I show you what this mouth is actually good for?” Snarled the wolf in dark delight. It seemed his prey had grown a backbone all of a sudden. Completely different than all the other victims that had been seduced into his cursed manor. And so he smiled a wicked smile as the realization dawned on him that this little red riding hood might just be the key to undoing his curse.
At the devilish grin the wolf gave her, Scarlet clammed her mouth shut and sat back down abruptly. Sometimes, she was the one with a big mouth and if she didn’t control it, it would surely lead to her demise.
Hoping to thwart any sort of ill intent towards her, Scarlet immediately apologized then contradictorily queried, “I’m sorry. But why exactly have you bought me here Wolf? I’m surprised you actually saved me from Bane the Huntsman…I did not know that the wolf god of the demon forest had a heart.” If she was going to dig herself a hole, she might as well try to reach the Underworld and hopefully escape the wrath of the beast for insulting him.
I seem to clearly want to die tonight.
As if hearing her thoughts, something changed in the air all of a sudden as the full moon reached its peak from the window and illuminated the dim room with an eerie, magical glow. The wolf backed a step away and answered, “Oh little red, don’t mistake my action for a good, charitable deed. It was more for me than for you.” And with that, a sudden electrifying smoke encircled the beast and a handsome, devilish man replaced the location where the massive wolf was standing mere seconds ago. He stood tall, probably a head and a half taller than Scarlet with short, spiky black hair standing upright at the top of his head. Thin eyebrows graced his chiseled face with a straight narrow nose, high cheekbones, and thin lips, but with the same beautiful golden eyes as the wolf. His perfectly mesmerizing face matching his well toned body.
Scarlet’s eyes scanned the new form of the beast in front of her and noticed the transformed man’s tanned and taught skin covered with black and red ink, tattoos indicating an ancient seal. His muscular arms guarded with black, spiked iron armor as the iron gloves on both hands doubled as weapons with its sharp, pointed tips. Despite his naked torso, he wore leather black pants and pointed knee high black iron boots. A reddish glow pulsating from his toes to his shins, matching the same light that glowed from his fingers to his shoulders. A single black sash resting on his hip to hold a black iron sword, its hilt a vibrant red, one that equally matched Scarlet’s hood. His very image embodying that of a hybrid male succubus and a dark human knight.
“Is what you see to your liking little red?” questioned the transformed man in front of Scarlet, a devious smirk gracing his handsome features.
“I…uh…I…” was all Scarlet could mutter in response as the young man now took a gliding step towards her. An iron clad finger slowly tracing her porcelain cheek down to her jaw then ultimately grabbing her chin to forcefully look up at him. He now stood a few inches from her and she had to strain her neck upwards to stare him in the eyes; eyes that grew a shade darker and pupils now featuring vertical slits.
Yes definitely less intimidating and more appealing. Thank you.
“I take your inability to speak as a yes. But to cut straight to the point, Scarlet, I need you,” he indicated, his voice laced with velvet; low, rasp, and extremely powerful.
“N..need…need me? For…for what?” Scarlet continued to stutter as she drank in the image of the man before her. Her mind still taking its time to catch up to the sudden change of events.
“You see my little red, I have a bit of a problem,” began the now transformed demon wolf god as he took a strand of Scarlet’s midnight tresses and circled around her. “Are you aware of the seven deadly sins?”
Taken slightly aback, Scarlet blinked and then nodded her head silently. “Yes, I am well aware of them. But what does that have anything to do with me?”
“Well my little red—”
“Seriously, please stop calling me that, wolf.”
“Lord Wolf actually—”
“Unfortunately, I made a bargain with the Lord of Contracts to obtain an unstoppable power. A power to win a war I could not afford to lose. During my campaign, however, I committed the worst of each deadly sin in order to continually increase and keep the power I had gained. As a result, I take the form you saw me in this morning. And in order to atone, I must pay a price for each seven deadly sin I committed. And according to the Lord of Contracts, this will then allow me to see the light of day once more…And by light of day—”
“It means going back to your human form in the morning…Permanently.”
“You know little red, you have a nasty habit of interrupting. Shall I cut that tongue of yours to keep your silence?”
“Well that would be a shame since you need my help, Lord Wolf.”
“A tongue is not necessary for this matter.”
“You’d be surprised. It’s quite an integral part of communication, incase you hadn’t noticed.”
At the sight of Scarlet rolling her eyes, the Lord Wolf let out a low chuckle; completely amused at Scarlet’s naiveté and their seemingly harmless banter.
“Ahhh of course. But there are always alternate ways. Body language is a popular option, for example.”
“Right. Although I hardly doubt it would be aesthetically pleasing to have a woman with a blood fountain spewing from her mouth.”
“The blood will stop spouting at some point.”
“Of course and seeing as how we see eye to eye, I can already foretell that all my limbs will be severed before dawn. You know sadistical tendencies will not help you with your ordeal.”
Another sly smirk made its way to the Lord Wolf’s lips.
“Sarcasm doesn’t become you, my dearest little red. Nevertheless, considering you catch on quick, I think you’ll do just fine.”
TICK TOCK. TICK TOCK.
With a new found courage, Scarlet stood up from the chair that she had been so uncomfortably sitting in and sauntered towards the large window overlooking the snow covered garden. A few clicking noises echoed through the vast room as she made her way while a pair of cold, steely eyes watched her every step. Taking a deep breath then slowly turning towards the wolf, hands folded over her chest, and leaning against the window sill, Scarlet initiated, “So tell me, then, my good Lord Wolf, why exactly should I help you?”
Standing firmly in his spot beside the grand chair Scarlet had previously occupied not too long ago, the Lord Wolf flashed a dashingly haunting smile and replied, “Aside from the obvious? Well Ms. Hood, it seems you need my assistance just as much as I need yours…perhaps even more. It’s come to my immediate attention that you need me in order to release your grandmother accused of witchcraft from the huntsman that was pursuing you earlier.”
Stunned for the the uptinth time, Scarlet questioned, “How did you…how did you know?!”
…And actually I need your head–decapitated from your body.
Feigning a bored look on his handsome face, the Lord Wolf shrugged his shoulders. “I’m the master of this castle, the wolf god of the demon forest, and I have eyes and ears in every village that touches the dark woods. I make it a necessity to know what business common folks have in entering my domain.”
“Explains your disappearance this morning…” whispered Scarlet to herself.
“Besides, if you’re so unwilling, I can always take you up on that offer of severing your body and dining on your flesh tonight. It’s no trouble to wait for another young idiotic girl, one with less of a tongue, to venture into these woods,” directed the Lord Wolf.
“Well not if you keep eating up all the women that displeases you. At this rate, you’ll give every idiotic girl a heart attack before even getting the chance to go back to your human form. You’ll deplete the female populace within a ten mile radius to zero trying to accomplish your task. Besides let’s be honest, with your notoriety, no one dares enter these woods. You’re lucky I’m even here.”
“Lucky? Oh I’m not the one at the Lord Wolf’s mercy. Like you said, I can easily devour you. That would be such an unfortunate event for you and your grandmother.”
“—And, mind you, calling someone idiotic and continually insulting them isn’t exactly the best way to ask for help you know,” lectured Scarlet, ignoring the Lord Wolf’s obvious threats.
“But my dear little red, I’m not asking for help,” came a menacing reply, patience clearing wearing thin.
A sigh escaped Scarlet’s lips. She knew the Lord Wolf was not asking but demanding. He could easily kill her this instant and seduce another maiden from her village with his current appearance and she would most likely agree to any of his outrageous whims. In his eyes, she was indispensable. And in her eyes, he was her ticket to Grandmother’s freedom. So she bit the bullet and decided to cooperate, but not without a little rebelliousness, it was in her nature after all.
“Food for thought, Lord Wolf, cannibalism isn’t exactly the way to a woman’s heart.”
“On the contrary my little red, it’s the fastest way,” corrected the Lord Wolf, trapping the young woman between the window and his body.
Scarlet wasn’t sure when he had gotten closer but in an instant she found herself taking in a sharp breath as she suddenly felt the young lord’s breath on her face. He was now slightly hunched, hands on either side of her, and his eyes level with hers. All she could hear was the loud thunderous beats of her heart. And before she could control her actions, she instinctively put her hands on his chest in an attempt to obstruct him from leaning in any closer. His skin like ice against her burning flesh.
He’s too close.
The anxious look on Scarlet’s face, the sound of her rapidly beating heart, and the vein that pulsated on her neck set the Lord Wolf’s blood ablaze. Her flushed skin and slightly agape mouth delicious enough to eat. His black iron clad hands gripping the window sill on either side of Scarlet tightly as he vied for control of the Wolf Blood that fought to slice through the young woman. His breath became ragged at their closeness. The heat of her flesh and her scent driving him wild. The beast was thirsting for her skin. But he wouldn’t lose this time. He could not afford to lose this girl, she was a necessity to set him free. After all, he may never get the chance to meet another as bold as her and that needed him as much as he needed her. He would die before he let the cursed wolf in him devour her. She will help him atone for his sins and not even the wolf demon will stop him now.
Just then a sudden howling wind blew through the window and turned the pages of the book that had laid forgotten on the table. The words on the page emitting a faint light.
Lust is the sin you pay and for the price I say, leave the heart at the garden’s watch.
And before Scarlet could push the Lord Wolf away, he ghosted his lips above hers and turned away, walking briskly back towards the door.
“Stay here if you wish to stay alive,” warned the Lord Wolf in a rasp and strained voice, “try to escape and the demons in this woods will eat you alive.”
Still dazed and in no state to disobey, Scarlet did not budge from her spot. Whether it was truly obedience or shock, she could only nod in agreement and only found herself slumping on the cold floor once her captor slammed the door shut loudly. Its noise echoing throughout the manor. His massive weight and power in comparison to her petite frame and her obvious inferiority suddenly hitting her like a brick wall.
She may have just bitten off more than she could chew.
How in the world am I suppose to cut off this wolf’s head?
TO BE CONTINUED
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