Summary: When he comes from the stone face, he will judge your worthiness. He will spread his terrible wings, bare his powerful fangs, while the death rattle in his throat seeks to frighten away the demons at your feet.
So tell me...are you enlightened enough to confess your love to my god?
Warnings: Gore, Sexual Content and Kinks, Sacrifices, Violence, etc. (ALL THINGS UNHOLY –mods [ahihi, we kid, but there are a lot of themes in this story])
Word Count: 28, 500
Zitao wouldn’t have had the strength to pull away from the coils around his legs, so it was hardly surprising that he should find himself unable to break away from the creature press his lips to his own. He tried to thrash, he truly did, for he could still taste the blood upon his lips, his own blood. But he was held in place by long bone claws, gently pressing into the sides of his skull as if daring him to try and pull away.
But in between the gentle wet noises and the scraping of a rough tongue against his own, the boy couldn’t help but feel... different. It was as if the touch of this being had ignited something within him. It was a liquid fire, something that burned as it travelled down his gullet, filling his belly with a powerful flame that threatened to roar through every vessel and tendon in his tiny, pitiful body.
It was an addictive taste, like the first taste of sugar smoke. He forgave himself for drinking it in, though in the corners of his mind, he was only eager to sample such divine powers.
When the beast pulled back, long tongue swiping his lips as though he had sampled a five-course meal, Zitao felt his own lips grow puffy and sore. His hands shuddered as he held them out, like he had been struck by lightning. “You feel it, don’t you? The power that courses through me, it can run through you too. Your soul belongs to a god, trapped in the fragile form of a mere human. But if you can only convince them, can you sample what truly lies ahead. It will only go so far. For those who are stubborn...you must convince them otherwise.”
With the speed of the wind, barely giving Zitao a moment to react, talons had raked down the skin of Zitao’s chest, cleaving through his robes and leaving red welts in their wake. He cried out as the shock knocked him backward, though it was more fear that sent him wailing. After all, the creature was purring, admiring the blood upon its blackened claws, while he whimpered and touched the wounds left upon his skin. Too large to be an animal, too ferocious to be a man...
The tail of the beast reared upward to smash a yawning hole in what remained of the carving. But instead of further stone, there glittered precious metal and jewels, dozens upon dozens of kinds. Why, even now, there were rubies and diamonds, gold and silver, shining and shimmering against the mirage of heat that rose from the entrance. The winding tail slithered backward toward the hoard of treasures, while its owner crooked an eyebrow in searching, before coming to curl around something glimmering and gold. Zitao gaped at the sight of the precious item, even more so when it was resting in between dripping talons.
“Take this,” the dragon hummed, threading the thin golden chain around Zitao’s neck, so that the pendant rested against his chest, against the wounds upon his body. Strange to say, but he found it to be... soothing. “and they will believe.”
“Don’t make me regret letting you know of your powers, boy. Just know that I’m still very hungry.”
The path down the gorge almost felt surreal to trace, as Zitao’s feet scuffed through the earth to carve sluggish footsteps through the dirt. In his arms, he cradled whatever scraps of clothing were left behind from the savagery his parents had experienced, at the behest of the “god” who had committed the act to begin with.
Oh, how he ached, every inch of his body screaming for him to just stop and rest, but he refused. It was the fear in the threat of the monster that he was walking away from that persuaded his mind to keep his body moving, lest he feel the teeth meeting in his own back for not keeping to his word.
Do as he says..., he thought to himself, shivering tight and squeezing his eyes closed as he imagined the creeping scales slithering against his spine. You don’t know whether he’ll come to eat you if you don’t. There was always the chance he could be a trickster, despite whatever demands he made or what gifts he offered.
And if it was with such brutality, he knew that it might be better to simply go along with the demands of the dragon, rather than find out just how quickly he would be torn apart.
But his fear perhaps got the better of him as he headed towards the steps of the Burnt One, where there appeared to be a cluster of followers surrounding the steps. As he caught their eyes, bleeding and haggard, they seemed to all jump away. He was akin to a leper, no doubt, the stories of his treachery having probably started since his parents went to go and look for him.
“You. ” The Blue Priest was among them, waving his staff around like a club with which to beat him. “We know what you were up to! Sneaking away into the night to cavort with things of the obscene and immoral!” His cries were magnified by the crowd he was surrounded by, though Zitao couldn’t have been deafer to them. “And yet you come crawling back here? Have you come for forgiveness?!”
“No. I’ve come to return something of yours.”
He lay down the clothing scraps and whatever bones he had been able to salvage from the den of the beast. Of course, nobody quite understood what it was that was being tossed to their feet, though it made nothing easier knowing that they were bones.
“What bones are these?”
“Have you been sacrificing?”
“How dare you bring these back to our temple?!”
But it was perhaps the Priest himself that understood best of all, for he stooped down to retrieve that Zitao assumed was part of a jaw. His hardy expression, decades of devotion wrinkling his face, suddenly softened, becoming one of fear and horror. For he held up the bone, still holding human teeth square in its grasp, and he knew. He knew.
“In all...my years of devotion,” he muttered, lower lip quivering as he let the bone fall from his palm, shattering teeth and breaking the still-red fragment apart. “I have never seen such...such blatant defiance. Blasphemy. How could you, Zitao?”
I must convince. I can’t die here. “Because my...my new god...protected me from them. They meant to hurt me and he shielded me.”
“He must die!”
“Dash his head against the temple steps!”
“I’m not lying!” he cried out, raising his voice above the calls around him, the oncoming storm of hatred that was sure to break upon him. I must try. “I swear to you now, this creature that saved me, he’s unlike these false gods. He saved my life when my parents were about to slaughter me, and he says he will teach me. That I have a gift!”
“Enough with your heresy!”
“He asks that you all come to him, that you allow him to fill your hearts with the truth!” I can’t convince them.
“That you allow yourselves to be enlightened!”
The thunderous clash of the staff against the stairs was barely a warning as ribbons of teal entered his vision, while hands sought to cling to his clothing and scratch at his chest. Fear lanced through his body as the elder shook him with the strength of a man half his age, eyes as hard as flint. No, I can’t end it here! But as his panic threatened to reach boiling point, he could feel a seeping warmth cover his chest.
“I have had enough of you, heathen! We’re going to send you back to the pit from whence you came, mark my w- aaargh!”
Whatever he was about to say was lost in a torrent of screams, as he threw Zitao down and stared in horror at his palms. It was as though he had submerged his hands in steam, or allowed them to hold onto white-hot bars of iron. For the flesh was bubbling, steaming, peeling the skin as the flesh sloughed from the bone. There came cries from the other worshippers, fleeing for their lives as the Blue Priest kneeled down, skeletal fingers taking the place of what had once been withered hands.
The bones shone bright, as if sun-bleached, while Zitao was able to pull away from the throng of the crowd.
“That is only partof the power of my god!” he crowed to the masses, lingering about upon the steps, pausing in fear of their flesh being torched. He had the upper hand now, and he relished watching their faces fall from anger to shame. “He is a benevolent god, but by no means weak. If you dare to harm me, he will make sure that you suffer the consequences.”
“What would you know of power, boy?!” shrieked a young devotee, her eyes wild with a mixture of fear and fury, her hair standing on end as he recoiled from the burning scraps of skin littering the stone stairway. “You never devoted yourself truly to the Burnt One, you can’t even have an inkling!”
But as Zitao ripped away at the torn fabric covering his chest, he came to have a mere inkling. Scars and wounds. Hurting and healing. The pendant seemed to shake as his fingers clasped around it, the shape of the wyvern curled tightly steaming against his touch. But he remained unburned, even as his fingertips traced over his wounds, the four claws of the creature’s design, sealing and cauterising, closing the opened flesh to flesh nary a scratch behind.
“He can hurt...but he can heal.” The pendant hung loose against his chest. Unmarked. Healed. A miracle. “That is more than any amount of fables that you false gods concocted all those millennia ago.”
“I...I tried, my Lord.”
Leathery wings hung from the ceiling as Zitao managed to crawl back into the lair of the beast, compelled by guilt and fear to return to where it all began. Then again, the place seemed hardly recognisable, the blood-coated dust swept away in great sweeping strides, instead replaced with mountain upon mountain of gold. The dragon’s hoard, bared for all to see, with its owner curled up like a bat above his head.
Now was a good time to start pleading for his life. “I-I tried, I tried to convince them! But I burned the Priest’s hands and now none will come! Those that seemed interested were probably frightened of me, and now, there will be none to come...and you’ll devour me, no matter if I try to hide from you.”
But there came no reply. The wings were tightly wrapped around something huddled up there, the tail tucked tightly into the coils of the body that hung there.
“My lord...I beg of you. Please let me go. I swear upon my life, I didn’t want this to happen! I panicked, and the amulet, it burned him and-“
“And you did well.”
The wings unfurled themselves from around the small human body that they protected, hooked claws helping him to cling into the stone face as he prowled overhead, eyes flickering. Zitao swallowed a dry gulp, fearing the end would come soon than he thought. “W-well? But I didn’t do anything!”
“You showed both sides of the coin. Fear and love. Hurt and heal. That is the composition of a god, not entirely benevolent, and not completely ruthless. As much as those around you would like to say otherwise, there is a very delicate balance between our kind. You will come to understand as you grow in strength.”
“Then...what will we do?”
“We wait. Use whatever I have amassed to draw them closer. The eye is more easily led than people would like to admit.” He slithered across the stone, finally crawling down the length as Zitao winced when coins scattered beneath his feet. He recognised his own offerings there, and he could almost smell the bloodshed. “Build a temple, decorate it however you will. But you have planted the seed, and now it must grow.”
But as Zitao gazed upon the wealth before him, he couldn’t help the overwhelming feeling of shame rushing through his veins. Shame at what he had done, shame at what he was doing, the torrent of disgrace and humiliation hanging over his head. “It will take too long.” he mumbled, eyes fixed upon a diadem crafted with two great horns erupting from the headpiece, beads dangling from the ears and golden tips. “It won’t work, no matter how hard we try, my Lord.”
Claws came to take hold of the diadem, as the dragon clasped it in between his hands and stretched the outward, hovering the diadem over the mortal’s head. “Yifan will do, my apprentice.” It was light as a feather, hard as stone, and the beads of gold and ruby swaying in the breeze. “And you needn’t worry. Curiosity will always win, and there will be a few who desire to see my true face.”
“Do not fear. They will come. And you will be rewarded for your services.”
“What of his words?”
“But his actions...they’re the work of something far more powerful.”
There came three at first, after three long years of biding their time.
Zitao recognised the second from his old meetings in the temple of the Burnt One, his familiar face striking some kind of chord deep within his chest. “I can’t say that I want him to escape...knowing what he supported...” he murmured to himself, already feeling the cloth of gold weigh heavy upon his shoulders.
For a fleeting second, he glanced towards the figure upon the wall. Oh, how he had poured his heart and soul into trying to make sure that the cavern looked appropriate enough to be named as a temple. It had been funded by Yifan’s own wealth – thank goodness there was enough – and many had indeed complemented him on how awestruck they were after meeting his deity. Craftsmen had indeed said he was intriguing, and there had been many stories Zitao had melted the hands of the Blue Priest. Perhaps they had gone home to speak of the dragon god?
In fact, these three were probably here on word of mouth alone.
“Yifan...what do I do?” The crowned horn atop his head scattered beads before his vision, and Zitao knelt before his master. “Please, my Lord, I need your advice.”
But there came no reply. Aside from the gentle rumbling as Zitao stroked along the tip of the twisting stone tail, there was nothing to go upon. Instead, he pressed his forehead to the creature’s statue, hoping that a spark of ingenuity would strike him, as quickly as it could.
You know the human heart well, Zitao.
That divine purr... “Yifan, please.”
What do men want more than anything else in the world?
They were here. At the foot of the steps, they would be waiting for him. Zitao flinched at thought of what he would be doing, of what he would be coaxing them into...though a glance towards the figure above him partially quelled his thoughts.
Think of what you will gain. This is merely training. Your strength is yet to reach its potential. Hunt.
Zitao wasn’t one to enjoy the end prize. No, it was all in the hunt, in the thrill of the chase and the coax and the abandon that they would soon feel, surely that was what was demanded of him! He needed to let himself go, to abandon that shell of such mortal foolishness. The fear was not his to own; it was to belong to those that he would hand to Yifan.
What men want...
Perhaps that was what fuelled Zitao’s soundless steps down the intricately carved steps that had been laid before him, polished white and lined with gold leaf. Only the best for my deity, he would chime to those whispering as they glanced to the intimidating carving. But now, these were fresh meat; they had never seen Yifan before, and would probably be all too excited to try and catch a glimpse of the dragon god and his unburnt priest.
The first looked a little oddly towards him, as if it had never been his idea to arrive in the first place. “You’re Zitao, right? The priest and the Unburnt?” He stuffed his hands in his pockets as he caught sight of the intricate robe just peering through the thin veil curtains lined with filigree. He made sure to make the revealing slowly, anklets chiming as he stepped over the threshold.
Even now, Zitao’s voice dropped an octave, as he attempted to serenade his intrigued newcomers. “I may be.” What men want..., he chanted inside, seeing how his ministrations were being taken. “It depends on who you fine gentlemen are. Are you hoping to heed my calling and listen to the word of my god?”
“Perhaps. Then again, my pa always said you were a faker-“
“Jongdae! Please, he’ll burn you if you try to insult him!” The second, the familiar face, slapped at his friends hands and stepped forward. It was curious really, how this figure looked in ordinary grey, as opposed to teal and indigo swathes. “I’m Minseok. These are my friends. W-we heard about your deity through the craftsmen that built your temple, and we wanted to know if the things they said were true.”
Zitao raised an eyebrow, bejewelled fingers coming to press at the corner of his mouth. “Oh? And what things have you heard?”
“Stories and such. The woodcarvers said that your deity is bigger than anything they’ve ever seen in their lives, and that his wings could swallow the sun if they were ever to come free.” Ignoring the mutters of codswallop under Jongdae’s breath, Minseok continued, clutching the front of his robes. “And that you are the only one that can speak with him. He whispers in riddles and your magic is unlike anything anyone has ever seen!”
It was entertaining, to know that Zitao’s whispers had indeed reached such a far audience. Though the third remained rather quiet, staring down at his feet with a frown on his face. When Zitao raised it, he made sure to flash a sincere smile. “And your friend here? He seems a little...tense.”
“Luhan’s afraid.” Jongdae spat, though it earned him no favours as the silent man kicked him hard in the shin. “Ouch! But you are! You said that if this faker looks you in the eye, he’d turn you to ashes!”
“No I didn’t!”
“I can assure you, Luhan, that I won’t be turning people to stone anytime soon. However, my magic,” With a wave of the hand, Zitao felt the pendant against his chest vibrate, as the great torches upon the walls of his temple ignited under Yifan’s flame. “is more powerful than you sceptics would like to think.”
He couldn’t resist weaving between them, eyes fixed upon their bodies as he worried his lips between his teeth. Luhan was the first to speak up, a little unsure under the prying eyes that twisted around him. “So...how-how do we meet your deity?”
“You may only meet him if you’re enlightened, little one.”
“How do we become that?”
“Well...one must wish to believe. To go before my god with no shame and no hate in your heart. My lord Yifan will be sure to cleanse you of your sins as you step before him-“
Jongdae coughed out against, lips twisted into an ugly sneer. “You can’t seriously believe this fake!” he crowed, to which Zitao whipped his head around in a scattering of beads and gold. “He uses smoke and mirrors to try and trick people into believing in his fake myths and legends, while there are others gods and goddesses far worthier of my time!”
Perhaps he was regretting his words in due time, for when Zitao approached him, he made sure to wrench his head backward, baring his throat. “You wish to insult my Lord and I before his very temple? Before his holy shrine? Then perhaps you are indeed ready to meet him.” he growled deep in his chest, fingers coming to pull the hair close to the root, channelling the fire in his veins just enough to have it singe the skin he was so close to.
“You don’t frighten me! You’re nothing but a hoax!” Jongdae writhed and hissed in protest, though his words began to turn into mewls and squeaks as he continued. “Agh! Agh, what’re you- you’re burning me!”
“It’s not me you should be scared of when you insult us. My Lord would not hesitate to see you suffer for your words. When he comes from the stone face, he will judge your worthiness. He will spread his terrible wings, bare his powerful fangs, while the death rattle in his throat seeks to frighten away the demons at your feet.”
It wasn’t until smoke rose from his palm that Zitao relinquished his hold upon Jongdae’s hair, immensely satisfied to see the halo of burnt hair still fizzle with smoke. Luhan, however, looked horrified by such an action, and immediately backed away. But Minseok...with those wide eyes and that intrigued expression...
He is mine.
“But you...oh, you are special.” He allowed his fingers to slip through Minseok’s hair, gently tilting his head back to allow a sweet kiss to fall from his lips. “You are...just right. I can feel your aura, your heart is pure as silk...” The elder seemed rather shocked by such an action, though there was no denying that he was crumbling inside, as Zitao’s warm tongue ran against his teeth and tangled with his own. “You want to believe, but you are not afraid. I think you have faultless enlightenment...you are perfect for my Lord to bear witness upon.”
“Perfect, my priest?”
“More than perfect. Come with me... I believe you have the right to meet my Lord in person.”
Indeed, Minseok seemed more easily swayed than either of his two friends. Perhaps it was the coy beckoning that Zitao performed, perhaps it was genuine interest, maybe it was a mixture of the two. But as he abandoned his two friends, who both looked offended and jealous that he had decided to visit the dragon god on his own, Zitao couldn’t help the delight rushing through his chest as he watched Minseok’s eyes become round as moons.
“H do you feel now, my little lamb?” Zitao made sure to purr lavishly as he guided the pale-haired man through the ornate doors, towards golden mirrors and draped shimmering fabric, hanging from posts decorated with wyrm motifs. After all, one needed to be sensual in this particular role; men were swayed far more by their groins than their minds. “Are you still eager to see him, now that you’ve set foot in his domain?”
“Yes, my priest..my heart is all aflutter!” came the shivering reply, as the smaller male placed the flat of his palm over his quivering chest. “I have heard so many stories of grandeur about this great deity, and I only hope that I will not disappoint him.”
“No. My Lord Yifan is never disappointed by those he encounters. Take myself, for example. He saved my life, now I swear to serve him until the end of my days.”
“Is he...is he truly as magnificent as you say he is?”
Zitao smirked, though there was a flash of something dangerous in his eye as he stared towards Minseok. He wagged his finger to accompany the soft clicking of his tongue. “You doubt the word of my god?” he purred softly, watching with a grin as Minseok’s face went pale with shock. “Ah, your lack of enlightenment dampens my spirits, little lamb.”
“No, no! I didn’t mean offence! I only wished to know if the rumours were true!” he cried back, growing more and more flustered by the second. It was as if he feared the mere mention of denial would soon have him expelled from the golden gates behind him. “I hear so much but I know my heart is pure!”
“Then you will be rewarded handsomely.” Zitao’s hands came to run through Minseok’s hair, his cuffs draping the light cloth over the elder man’s bare shoulders as he ran his thumbs against his cheeks. “My Lord Yifan is a most powerful creature, and you will be privileged to see his face.”
“I hope to please him, Zitao.” Minseok bowed respectfully and trotted after him like an obedient lapdog. Though his determined expression faded into one of mixed wonder and fear as the curtains were peeled aside, bearing the true face of the dragon god.
“This is where you will hold audience with the god himself.”
Zitao gestured with a hand towards the room they stood it, towards the great pillars and the treasures were surrounded by, before settling a finger upon the sheets and cushions that were spread across the floor. Above them, there he lingered, encased in his stone tomb, head raised proudly against the temple wall as his claws splayed outward in a fearsome gesture. Yifan waited, as he always had, for Zitao to return to this room.
He led Minseok in with a few comforting gestures, though the ceremonial knife strapped against his thigh was something of a threat, that he realised as Minseok paused mid-step as he unsheathed it. “What are you going to do with that?” he mumbled, recoiling as Zitao prepared to bring the knife down against his palm.
“It’s a sign of devotion. Blood, sweat, tears, my Lord asks that his devotees show their respect in one form or another.” As he took the elder’s hand, he realised that the shuddering was almost akin to his own. I can’t blame him, in my heart of hearts... “It’s alright, little lamb. Just a little cut.”
Indeed, Zitao only needed a smidgen, drawn from the tiniest cut from the tip of Minseok’s finger. He gasped at the incision, though it was suppressed by the overbearing power of the carving as he approached its giant paws. He cast an uncertain look over to Zitao, whose own lip curled as he sliced open his palm to draw crimson from beneath the skin. Together, they agreed, resting their bleeding hands against the statue and waiting for a sign.
It wouldn’t come yet. The prey was still too flighty.
Minseok swallowed loudly and pressed his hands together in a wordless prayer. He cast the priest a look of shock, as if suddenly felt he was not ready. “My priest...what must I do now?”
But Zitao only cooed to him, soft tones that lulled Minseok back down to an acceptable sense of calm. “I’ll be here, don’t you worry about a thing.” Instead, he threaded his fingers through the back of Minseok’s robes, hand creeping up to massage the skin of his nape. Minseok flushed red at such an action, eyes immediately fixing to the floor. Though he was soon looking up once more as Zitao latched their lips together, small wet noises audible over the crackling of the fires that surrounded their shared god.
The actions Zitao carried out, while fumbling and slightly shaky at best, were soon followed by what sounded akin to the purr of a languishing cat, as Minseok’s short fingernails found themselves curling in his golden robes, as if eager to take hold and never let go again. Oh, how his voice shivered, how he mewled for Zitao, tiny breaths fading into startled gasps as the priest pressed his hand down into the tunic, slithering lower as they tangled down together among the warm furs and sheets lain upon the ground.
Slow and steady actions were what he had come to expect from his prey, and Zitao knew that they could easily be startled, should they find that their devotion was wavering. “Minseok...oh...,” he gasped between gentle breaths, watching how the elder’s eyes seemed to dim with a lust that quelled his anxiety. “you’re so beautiful...mmm...I’m sure my Lord will love you as his own.”
Minseok pulled back, licking his lips in worry. “You think so?”
A faint crackling sound, clouds of rock dust creeping down to rest upon the ground. Zitao only gasped in delight as he felt the elder rub against him. “I know so.”
When he came once more, it was with none of the raging fury that had been seen when he had devoured Zitao’s parents. No...there was a certain subtlety with which Yifan crawled, his large body strangely supple as he came clean from his stone prison. Twisting like a serpent, he slithered forth upon his belly, claws held tight from the ground as he curled himself around where Minseok shivered. He is so small...and frightened, Zitao thought, slowly pulling to run his hand along the length of the tail that slipped by his feet. My Lord will enjoy this.
Indeed, the great beast took his sweet time in merely staring Minseok down, while Zitao tried to hold onto him and keep him within the kiss. It was almost worrying to feel Minseok soften against him, and he quickly replaced his hand beneath the elder’s pale robes. “Don’t be afraid, little lamb.” he whispered, finding purchase on sensitive flesh as he gently bit the cartilage of Minseok’s ear. “Look at me and only at me. When you’re ready...” A tender lick made the elder whine, as the scales brushed closer against his back. “you will see.”
“But Zitao, I...I’m scared.” He pressed his hips forward, sweat filming the skin on his face, while warm breath lingered behind him and a dark forked tongue slid out between slender fangs. “What if I’m not worthy?”
“But you are. You’re enlightened, are you not?”
He grew soft and malleable in Zitao’s hold, leaning forward to press his forehead into the crook of the younger’s shoulder, while he rocked his hips back and forth in gentle motions. He was uncertain in his gestures, soft whimpers a mixture of fear and nerves, all while Zitao purred comfort into his ears and stroked him into sweet submission. Tiny pants of fear and trembling whimpers replaced what was once abandon, and he feared that Minseok might be too rigid to be easily offered.
It wasn’t until Zitao looked up once more, having felt Minseok’s body grow taut against him as his palm grew soaked, that he grinned up to the beast, waiting for an assuring glance. “Zitao...p-please...can I look?” A tired little mewl left the elder as he puffed warm air into the crook of the priest’s neck, while shaking hands struggled to take hold of his bejewelled chest. “Let me see him, I-I beg of you. I might die with the worry.”
Feeling the hairs on the back of the elder’s arms prickle as Yifan purred in approval, Zitao let his soiled hand slither out from beneath Minseok’s robes. With one last glance, Zitao let the chains and pendants around his neck grace Minseok’s flesh once more, chewing his lips between sloppy kisses and grasping touches. When he pulled away, tongue flicking out in teasing, he made sure to keep his voice strong.
“You’re worthy to see. You may look now. Let your last sight be glorious.”
He shoved Minseok backward with surprising strength, letting him fall splayed out beneath what he assumed was the statue of the creature he was ready to devote himself to. Minseok hadn’t prepared for such a strange action and tumbled backward, ready to jump onto his feet...until he realised that the giant claws trapping him to the ground were no mere decoration.
Minseok’s screams were crushed with a swiftness that Zitao hadn’t known could even occur, lost in the tide of crunching and ripping as Yifan took his first sacrifice of the full moon apart, piece by piece, portion by portion, deftly tearing through the remains with well-practiced ease.
And Zitao watched it unfold with a twisted sense of delight. There was pleasure in the madness, he had to admit, watching Yifan devour his sacrifices whole and hiss in between bloody mouthfuls. It was the expectation, the waiting for what would no doubt be revealed after the scales had fallen away from the flesh and the reptilian body receded inwards into the form of something altogether more human.
You must not look. The purr rang through Zitao’s mind like the chime of a bell, and he immediately bowed his head. The transformation is not a pleasant one.
“But anything with you is pleasant, my Lord.” he replied, already feeling the muscles in his stomach constrict as the deep growls softened into more human-like sounds. They knotted over and over, tightening to Gordian extents, while the blood pumping through his veins made his head spin with how nauseatingly loud it had become.
When he was permitted to peer through the gaps of his fingers, he saw the last of the transformation, in which Yifan unfurled his wings, still wet like those of a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis. Even his skin seemed to grow dry from the remains of a fluid that still clung between his claws, still daubed his skin like oil.
He was no less frightening...no less intimidating. Even now, he walked with a certain prowess that made Zitao cower, though it was clear he had not meant that to be the reaction. Instead, he merely let his claws dance beneath Zitao’s chin, the warmth of his palm inviting him to lean into the touch.
“Was it so hard?” came his soothing voice, which had Zitao keening softly in response. “You know better than most that mortals are stupid. You’re doing them a favour, sending them to me. Once their souls transcend, they will be free from their stupidity. And you and I will make use of what was left of their lives.”
His claw came to press against the vein of his wrist, allowing darkened blood to well at the tip. Zitao could smell the
“Drink. Drink and grow strong.”
I’ve gone too far.
And yet, Zitao found himself taking hold of the wrist in between his sot hands, massaging the skin to stimulate more blood flow. And from it, more to feed upon. Yifan’s purrs coaxed him into lapping the blood, eventually finding that the scent didn’t match the taste at all. It was the sweetest of wines, the richest of meats, the perfect taste for the most refined palate. Why, he couldn’t place a single flavour, aside from the fact that they were positively glorious in their samplings.
Like a child, he began to drink, knees caving inward so that he sank to the ground, as if in prayer. But his words were mere mewls, punctuated by gulps of air. “Thank...you...my Lord.”
“Such a good boy.” Yifan purred, watching with a hooded gaze as Zitao eagerly latched to the wound upon his wrist. “I trust this will ensure new sacrifices by the next full moon?”
When he pulled back, Zitao’s entire lower face dripped with red. He cowered for a moment, instead trying to focus upon the feelings of euphoria that the blood would no doubt bring him in a heartbeat. “Anything you want...just as long as you don’t eat me.”
“Oh, now I wouldn’t do that. Not now that I’ve seen how seductive you can really be.”
Zitao sighed as the cloth of gold slipped from his shoulders, and he felt Yifan’s mouth latch onto the honeyed skin that once lay beneath it. His hands reached up to take hold on the back of Yifan's head, weaving through the pale gold hairs and down to the nape of his neck, where darkened scales danced upon the flesh. His plush pink lips parted in an airy moan as gentle teeth nipped at his throat. When the elder's mouth had reached his own, he stayed soft and pliant, allowing his tongue to curl in with his own and taste every inch of him.
Something inside him told him this was wrong. It always told him this was wrong. This creature is a killer. You are helping him. You are despicable, you are shameful, and you aren’t worth the very air that you breathe. But when Yifan sensed his discomfort, he pulled away with a comforting smile. "There's nothing wrong with this." he soothed, to which Zitao could only nod and look away. He felt ashamed, more ashamed than when he had first made the deal. But he had seen the kill this time; it was due to his own hand. "You’re remembering the first time, aren’t you? I did it to protect you." For a heartbeat, Yifan looked hurt. "I only want to see you grow strong, Zitao. You’re helping both of us.”
The rest of his ceremonial garments were peeled away from his body, until he lay there naked and glowing in the light of the burning torches. In spite of the trembling heart in his chest, Zitao gulped and tried to put on a brave face. "It was...it was only a thought. I know what must be done.”
Yifan's tongue curled against his lip as he took in the sight of the boy, now grown and lean since those first days, and Zitao’s cheeks became painted with a soft pink. But as he reached down to try and cover himself, his hands were pushed away. Words fell from Yifan's mouth as his claws trailed along the surface of his skin, hovering over the long outlined hipbones with deliberate teasing. Zitao keened in embarrassment and tried to press upwards, but the hands soon dropped to his hips and held him fast. Flickers of fear ran through his mind, for the talons were no less sharp, just ready to press down into his to draw blood.
But Yifan, in spite of his monstrous appearance, remained gentle. Kisses peppered his flesh, from his neck to his navel, with that sinful forked tongue and heated mouth lapping lines of flame against his skin. "Ah...oh, please..." he stammered through his light breathing, only to throw his head back against the eiderdown pillows when Yifan's tongue scraped his nipple. "Please, please..."
When the hardened bud was taken into his mouth, Zitao cried out and bucked up despite the hold. Yifan seemed to chuckle against him as he lightly pinched the tender skin between his teeth, until the younger was panting and begging for something to hold. He chewed his lip as the hands holding his hips strayed down to his shaking thighs, and he spread instinctively. Yifan's hands were warm against his cool skin, and he moaned eagerly as they travelled higher.
Soon enough, his knees were pushed up to his soft stomach, and he grabbed hold of his knees to keep them there. He could hear the sound of something being poured; something wet and sticky, for Yifan's claws seemed to make a strange noise. But as the first finger entered him, right to the knuckle, he knew instantly what it could have been.
His hands flew away from his knees and sank into the silk sheets around him. His words became chopped and fragmented, broken by whimpers and gasps as Yifan's slick digits pushed further inside. He clenched around the first, still very unused to the practise, until he was able to finally stay loose enough for his new master to start moving. Every twitch, every slide, every minute movement that Yifan made his finger perform, Zitao responded with an eager abandon. His lips twitched, his toes curled, his breath hitched in his throat. As the tip of his finger curled upwards, stroking slowly inside him, he very nearly howled at the streaks of pleasure racing through his body.
But there was always a fear in his mind, and rightly so. After all, those fingers were no mere digits. One wrong move, one false swipe, and he’d be bleeding out in front of the god. And for all he knew, that could have meant he was next on the menu. What was the use in being special when you were dead? So he ordered himself to remain still, limp enough to have those claws slip neatly in and out of his hole, without causing too much discomfort.
By the second finger, he could feel a little discomfort. Even now, a man of nineteen years... , he thought grimly, trying his best to will himself to feel the pleasure of the tender strokes against his nerves. They pressed and curled and scissored so nicely, leaving Zitao to bite his fingers and beg for more with a furrowed brow and sweat gleaming on his temples.
"Almost..." Yifan's voice was thick and husked, dripping with lust that made Zitao arch up from the blankets he lay upon. The third finger almost seemed numbed as a result, until he could feel himself being stretched to accommodate what was soon to come. Then it started to burn a little. The air grew hotter as he felt himself slip into a fever, surrounded by flame that sizzled beneath his skin.
“Will it...will it hurt?” he murmured into the crook of the dragon’s neck, watching the veins leading to those darkened wings pulse with dark blood and craft tendrils over the leathery skin. “If I change after this?”
Yifan paused for a second, three fingers slowly withdrawn from the younger beneath him. “In time, there may come a violent transformation. But you needn’t worry. I’ll be here to see you grow steady and strong. Stay loyal to me, and your rewards will be great.”
The crown pressed harshly against him, and he let his jaw fall slack, a stunned cry spilling from his mouth. He tried to look as strong as possible, biting his lip hard as he felt the elder push through the ring of still-tight muscle. More, more, more, plunging rolls of Yifan's hips plunging him deeper and making Zitao choke and splutter. He lay limp beneath him, holding his breath, feeling his head throb and pulse wildly with the lack of air in his lungs.
“Please...oh, Yifan, please... ” he begged through harsh breaths, with the god only too eager to comply. He watched as those deep golden eyes seemed to fade into darkness as his pupils expanded. But Zitao was equally as drunk with desire, and ran his delicate fingertips over the juncture between Yifan’s wings and shoulder blades.
It knocked the air out of him, to say the least, as he felt the claws lock around his waist as Yifan set himself into a more powerful rhythm, boneless and flexing, pounding harder into his entrance with his thick length. The shock made Zitao lunge upwards, spine arched and his fingers clawed for something to hold onto. He managed to fix his left hand upon Yifan’s horn, dragging his head down, while his right palm carved a bloody streak over the god’s scaled back.
“That’s it, there you go,” Yifan’s voice dragged through him, collecting every ounce of pleasure bundled up inside him and forcing it down, down, towards the pit of his stomach where the pressure was almost too much to bear. “there you go.”
“Yifan...Y-Yifan, I can’t-“
Warm scales slithered against his cheek, and Zitao voice was choked out through the tip of the tail pressing against his lips. “Speak up, Zitao. Unless you’d like me to slow down so I can hear you over your whining.”
He shook his head, fearful that he would indeed stop. “No! No, please!”
“Then speak up. Let me hear you.”
“Can’t, ah, going t-to come...!” Heated skin pushed past his lips, past his teeth, pressing against his tongue to muffle his words.
A deep purr, and Yifan leaned back to admire his handiwork, slick with precum and scented with musk. “Then give into it.” His voice was a storm, and Zitao was going to be torn apart. He sucked on the tip in his mouth, if only to prevent himself was shrieking as his toes curled up tight. “Come on, Zitao. Surrender to it...let me know how much you love me.”
He dug his feet into Yifan's back, jerking and spasming as every nerve in his body crackled with white-hot light. His hands fell from Yifan’s horns to knot in the sweat-stained sheets beneath him, while his back arched upwards and a scream was ripped from his throat. Teeth pressed down in the reddened nub and he howled louder into the night, aware everyone could probably hear him from East to West.
But it didn’t matter, for as the dragon’s head came to rest in the crook of his neck, burning his insides with a heat that throbbed and leaked down his inner thighs, he was too exhausted to care for his hoarse throat. Those kisses of Yifan’s, sucking and delving, they seemed to take something away from him. And Zitao couldn’t help but smile as he felt that strange something, that dark cloud, drift away from his thoughts.
Instead, he only pushed Yifan’s head closer, fingers coming to stroke against his elegant horns, while his own orgasm faded into a soothing warmth. As he glanced upon his arms, he couldn’t help a faint gasp from leaving his mouth, while hazy vision caught glimmers of light dancing upon his flesh. Familiar, but faint, not yet black and hardened like his master’s.
My first scales. My true power coming through.
“Oh...thank you, my Lord...”
Their curiosity grows.
My master feeds.
The years were certainly kind to Zitao. Yifan had indeed been right.
The many months of curiosity had indeed paid off, for now the temple of the dragon god was more popular than he cared to even imagine. Many saw him as a force for good and evil, a just leader and a cretin beyond redemption, but they still came. In their dozens, they flocked to see the great creature and his Unburnt priest, who wore the mark of the dragon’s fire around his neck and glittered with his scales across his arms.
Of course, they were no less stupid.
Yifan fed well for those four years, and he indeed rewarded Zitao most handsomely. Against the walls of the private temple chamber, upon the floor and even in the pool of fresh water that Zitao had decided would act as a “baptising chamber” for his devotees. Though he admitted with a smile that it was merely a cleanser, something that would remove the dust and dirt from the offerings before Yifan would consume them.
That earned him a fanged smile, as well as a fuck strong enough to have him unmoving for hours.
But it was then, upon the eve of welcoming in the second of Yifan’s sacrifices, that Zitao clasped his hand over his mouth, eyes fixed upon the figure that stared back at him.
The golden sheen of the mirror didn’t lie, and Zitao almost gaped as he stared back at the figure standing before him, golden in skin and form. The scale-dusted skin wasn’t the only new feature that had come to grace Zitao’s body, it seemed, for he was no looking more and more like the master he served, with every day that passed him by. The glitter of the scales upon his forearms seemed only more prominent in the mirror he stood before.
His eyes. As he stepped forward, he could see how they were no longer the eyes of any mortal man. Their pupils were long and thin, like the eyes of a serpent, contracting and expanding as he shifted his hands around the sides of his face to block out the lanterns’ lights. In the dark, they could be perceived as normal, but in the light? They were easily distinguishable. Perhaps that was what had been the cause of his headaches recently, the thumping pains forcing him to cover his face with darker robes whenever he dared stepped out into the light of day. It had frightened that little girl away from joining him, her own eyes round and wide with terror as he had tried to seduce her.
His fingers came to stroke against his cheeks, shuddering fingers drawing lines over the bone structure. What am I?
“You are a beautiful creature, Zitao.” Scales danced around his ankle as the crooning tones of his master came to whisper in his ear. And as expected, claws did their best to hold against his skin, burning and strong, like fresh steel against his flesh. “This is all part of the process. You wanted to be as powerful as a god, didn’t you?”
Zitao gasped as a sinful mouth latched itself to his shoulder. “Yes...Yifan, I did. But is this supposed to happen?”
“In order to be a god, one must take upon the appearance of something that will inspire awe in their subjects. Perhaps fear, but only to those who do not believe.”
“It...it isn’t bad, is it?”
“Do you think it’s bad?”
“Then you needn’t fear. Prepare the next offering with confidence, knowing that you powers are now growing in strength.”
Perhaps it had indeed worked, for his next offering, bright-eyed and smiling like a loon, almost seemed enchanted as Zitao’s eyes expanded and contracted within the flickers of the torchlight. He almost didn’t notice the slithering of a tail behind him back, only catching on as Zitao’s pupils enlarged to an impossible degree, the haze of brown almost swallowed by the darkness that reflected the beast behind him.
Chanyeol’s cries sailed over the air as fangs met in the back of his calf, tendons ripped wide open and cleaved through between butcher knives. A spray of crimson dashed over the ground, trodden beneath his own mangled feet, soon saw him land face down in the dirt, a squeal of fear torn from his throat as two mouth catch hold of his ankles. He wanted to kick at them, their teeth and hands scattering the dust after a satisfying crunch where his heel would no doubt meet their lower jaws...but they lay limp there. He dragged his upper torso as far as he could, fingers curled against the temple floor, his legs idly dragging behind him like some deformed cripple.
They are then pulled outward. Chanyeol could feel the bones groan in his thighs as the mouth and the paw suddenly seemed to move outwards, his limbs split outwards while his torso hung between them.
The tension grew stronger. “Have mercy!” He could feel the flesh tear. “God, spare me this fate!” His feet split apart between fanged jaws and the bones snap between crunching teeth. Zitao couldn’t help but flinch, almost feeling sickened; he will never run again. “Let me feel no pain, give no screams, let me burn bright! A-and fierce! In the face of this monster-“
Bones pulled clean out of sockets sent Chanyeol singing. They were delightful songs, full of emotion, no doubt, as his flesh was ripped wide open, festering and raw against a blood-stained mouth, as Yifan latched onto his open wounds and pressed his muzzle into his broken skin. Still alive, he sang, shrieks like that of a rabbit being plucked apart by ravenous stoats.
But Zitao would only watch for today, clinging to his knife and staring at the beast eat its fill.
Instead, he allowed himself to be contented with a little blood all his own. He still held the knife in his grasp, drips of red daubing the end of the blade and casting dark stains upon the polished floors. They would go to waste there, he reasoned, bringing the silver dagger up to his lips. It is only a little taste. Lips parted, breath exhaled, he allowed the tip of his tongue to press against the dagger’s tip and stroke along the edge.
Synapses crackled, his eyes dimmed as the pupils contracted to pinprick slits. He hadn’t known if it was the god within him, or the breaking of the taboo, but the taste buds upon his tongue had never reacted in such a way before. Even over the sounds of bones being snapped and an innocent being devoured, he could only think of this moment, of the blood of another mortal gracing his tongue.
He should make it more of a habit. He shouldn’t allow Yifan to wash his face after he had completed his meal. No. Why should he get the finest of the meal? Surely it was part of the trade, surely!
And Yifan seemed to sense it. His hands came to rise from the innards of the young male he had fed upon, turning on his heels and standing with gore dripping down his face. It was truly an image to see...and Zitao couldn’t help but growl in hunger.
“Have you eaten, little one?”
He certainly felt less hungered that night, the taste of mortal blood on his tongue filling his belly as the god above him made sure to fill him in other ways.
Bent in half with his robes torn and jewels scattered across the floor, Zitao found himself smeared in streaks of red, claws carving pink welts across his flesh as he screamed out for more, more, more, everything that could be given. And Yifan was only happy to oblige. He eagerly twisted and rolled his hips, pushed Zitao’s legs over his shoulder, split him this way and that, all in order for Zitao to feel satisfied and full.
“Oh, please...Yifan, fill me...I need you to fill me...” His choppy breath was lost in between simpering mewls, though he never lost the devious grin as Yifan let out a surprised groan as he deliberately tightened himself upon his cock. “Please, my Lord...!”
Perhaps he shouldn’t have goaded the beast, for talons and teeth were sinking into his faster than he could prepare for them, ripping wordless screams from his mouth as he was pummelled down into the stone floors. The flesh tore, he could feel it, but there was too much, too hot, too fast, too pleasurable, and he couldn’t find it in himself to fight against the muscle and tendon that was currently sending him shooting for the stars.
With this kiss, another mortal hindrance was exorcised. Disgust. It had lingered in his mind since the very beginning of this most macabre of deals, and had since been nothing but an impediment to his evolution. He was glad to cast it away, to feel Yifan suck out that part of his soul that had been so very problematic.
“If you want to keep up with me,” Yifan’s words were muffled in between mouthfuls of Zitao’s skin, but if anything, it only served to strain Zitao’s arousal harder, until he was sure that he was about to burst. “blood is only the beginning. My blood will make you strong. The blood of others will make you perfect. ” When he pulled away, Zitao groaned in futile pleading, clamping around nothingness as his own lifeblood decorated the deity’s mouth. “You need only ask to drink. I’m only willing to see you become the creature are truly meant to become.”
Zitao’s heart thundered in his ribcage. It hurt to pull himself to his knees, but that was what was demanded of him. He needed to drink, he needed to taste it upon his tongue. Once he had sampled the blood from the sacrificial blade, there was no returning from whence he came. He was on the path to glory now, with Yifan ready to transform him into a god.
“Then make me that creature.” he murmured, fingers sliding down between his slick thighs and pressing deep into his slippery entrance. Already well stretched and lubricated, it was only a matter of sinking down onto his fingertips and playing with the rim that had him tightening his toes and lolling his head. “Mould me in your image, my Lord, allow me to become worthy of your cult. I want the world to burn, Yifan, to feel its heat beneath my wings. Make me powerful, make me like you.” It was almost jarring to feel the claws run so tenderly against his cheek, and for the brief moment that Zitao opened his eyes, he saw softness in those darkened orbs. Pupils blown and teeth bared, Yifan raised his wrist to his mouth and let his teeth sink in deep. “I want to be like you, Yifan. I want to be with you. I worship you, I adore you...I want you.”
“Want all you need. I’ll be here to guide you.”
With talons fastened in Zitao’s dark hair, threaded through the strings of rubies and gold, Yifan took his bleeding wrist and let the mortal’s nimble fingers come to clasp it and raise it to his eager mouth. He licked and kissed at the heated skin, seeming to sizzle against his lips, before his mouth finally pressed itself to his skin to suckle. The metallic twinge of the liquid hit Zitao’s throat like a river, but the undercurrent was enough to have him drink his fill as he added a third finger.
Yifan made sure to spread him even more, tail pushing apart his thighs and his right hand reaching down to jerk and twist his erection. “You keep your end of the bargain, Zitao, and I will keep mine. Bring me human flesh, and I will bring you eternal life. You will become god-like. And you can have me as much as your little heart desires.”
He parted his legs with eager abandon, chest heaving and dripping with ceremonial oils. Tongue flickering out of his mouth, he arched his spine as he felt himself become impaled, though he never broken his gaze with the golden-eyed deity.
“I want it, Yifan. I want it so much. ”
When Zitao awoke that night, his mouth was burning.
He wriggled out from the blanket surrounding him as he clutched his mouth, feeling brimstone and iron fill it though nothing would spill forth as he tried to expel whatever poison had settled against his tongue. Staggering footsteps carried him to the bathing areas of the temple, where the water lay as calm and still as a mirror’s surface. He needed to drink, to purge this fire that raced through the skin of his mouth and burned down his throat like the purest sulphur.
It wasn’t until he looked in the rippling reflection of the water, cupped between his two hands and ready to drink, that he came to understand why his tongue felt as though it had been taken to by a pair of blacksmith’s tongs.
Sliced. Perfectly almost, as if it had been natural. No markings, no scars, not even any kind of clean incision. Instead, the tongue was perfectly divided, at least half a finger’s length, like the tongue of a lizard. Like the tongue of a dragon, he wanted to say, but found unable to even bring himself to put it into words. Instead, he merely tried to run his fingers along the surface, along the line of the ‘incision’ that had divided the muscle. Nothing out of the ordinary...it was like he had been born with such an abnormality...
And yet, he couldn’t bring himself to feel anything but a sense of worthiness. It reminded him of the night he had realised his pupils had taken the form of vertical slits, when Yifan had seduced him with the thought of it being a transformation, allowing the true form of Zitao’s power to manifest itself into a physical form. And that had certainly been intriguing.
Perhaps this was just another case of its occurrence. Zitao’s true nature was starting to take its hold, and was no doubt bestowing him with new powers that were able to have him attract even more members to his temple. And Yifan had been the one to unlock his powers.
Palms clasped tight, Zitao bowed before the great statue in the wall, hand raised to stroke his fingers against its broad tail. The warmth there kindled a fire in his belly, and he hummed with delight at its soothing sensation. “Thank you, my Lord.” His voice was barely a murmur as he sank his free hand down through the layers of cloth that covered his hips, golden fabric giving way to the pleasure rippling beneath his skin. “I’ll use this gift...to carry out your work. Your blessings will not go unused.”
The purr in the air let the priest know that he words had not fallen on his deaf ears, while regular pulses of warmth travelled up the length of his arm. Head falling forward, sweat dripped from his brow as he pressed his forehead to the stone and moaned eagerly between pawing gestures and uneasy strokes. He wanted Yifan here...he needed him here.
“Tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will lure you another. I have an idea of what I shall bring you.”