Pressing on the handle, I found the door to Phobos’ cabin unlocked. I guess that in current company there is no need to worry about personal security. Pushing the door open, I entered the room.
As could be expected of an airship designed to house a thousand, the cabins were quite cramped. Since there was no one onboard except for us and the crew, we had been allocated quarters meant for Lieutenants (technically, I was one, so it was only an upgrade for the girls) and they were quite a bit better than the standard ones.
The morning sunlight streamed in through the circular window, a pane of hardened glass surrounded by a thick metallic rim, that opened out onto the sea of clouds. Motes of dust sparkled in the light as it fell upon the foot of a narrow bed, illuminating the pair of feet peeking out from under the blankets.
Following the raised contours of the blanket, I turned my gaze towards the head of the bed where the headboard shaded Phobos’ sleeping face. My lips curved upwards. She looked so peaceful. If not for the dark pouches under her eyes, I would never be able to connect her to the grief-stricken girl who had poured all her emotions into a manic pursuit of knowledge.
Now that she had a clear goal to work towards, she could finally sleep well. It was good. Phobos had always been self-destructive whenever she became anxious. But at other times, she was the reliable one. The person you could count on to take care of the minutiae. If Ceres was the designer, sketching the outline of the plan, then Phobos would be the one colouring the sketch in, filling in all the finer details. Deimos and I? We were the ones who would execute that plan. Deimos on the frontlines, me supporting her.
Or, that’s what should have been the case if I had kept pace with the girls. Instead, I had been picked up by the gale of Destiny, thoroughly disoriented and plonked back down several curves ahead on the martial path. I couldn’t see the girls. The girls couldn’t see me.
It made me feel kind of isolated. It forced me to pick up the skills that I had been relying on them for. Made me more independent. I could practically feel myself improving from one day to the next with how the girls, specially Ceres, crammed her knowledge into my skull every chance she got.
But if I was to be honest, I would prefer it if we could grow together. The girls didn’t put it in words, acting nonchalant about it, but I could feel their anxiety at being left behind. That wasn’t an analogy. I could literally feel their emotions through the bonds. At least that was one advantage of my variation: I was an empath – I wouldn’t have to guess a woman’s thoughts ever again.
Closing the door softly behind me, I walked up to the side of her bed. Careful not to drop the cloak she had draped on its back, I pulled up the only chair in the room from beside her parchment covered desk and sat down by the bedside. Despite the noise I made, Phobos didn’t stir. She had always been a deep sleeper and she must have stayed up late last night. She wouldn’t wake from just this.
Winter was setting in and our altitude didn’t do us any favours either. The temperatures aboard the Cloud Whale were low even at noon and the nights got positively nippy. With the fire element at my beck and call, I didn’t have to worry about the weather but Phobos did. As a shadow mage, she had little defence against heat or cold.
Reaching out with my hand, I squeezed her exposed feet. They were cold. The wan winter sunlight was doing its part to drive that chill away, but I could imagine how uncomfortable it must have been in the night with her blankets hiking up. With a bit of fire mana, I warmed my hand before gripping her feet to warm them up.
Phobos stirred slightly at my touch, but after pulling the blankets tighter around her, she went back to sleep.
Drawing the blanket over her feet, I leaned back in my seat. Watching Phobos as she slept, I let some of the tension I didn’t even notice was there drain out of my shoulders.
Resting the back of my head against the chair back, I studied the metallic pipes that ran across the ceiling of the room. When the Cloud Whale was fully staffed, some of the excess heat generated by the fire mages operating the zeppelins would be channelled into these pipes. They would then act like heaters to warm the air of the room. But now, the heaters weren’t working as we were running the ship with a quarter of the crew since some of the fire mages had debarked along with the army at the Felidae Estate.
Moving my sight away from the ceiling, my gaze landed back on Phobos, then stopped on her hand which was poking out from the edge of the blanket. She had been biting her nails. Some of them were worn nearly to a nub.
I shot a glance at her messy bed hair. And to think that she had once been so meticulous about her appearance. She had changed in these past six months. We all had.
Leaning forward with a sigh, I clasped her fingers. Holding them still, I carefully trimmed the rough edges of the bitten nails with a miniature blade of wind – smoothing them out so they would be harder to bite.
Satisfied with my handiwork, I looked up to find yellow eyes staring back at me, glowing softly in the shade of the headboard. Phobos was awake. She had been watching me.
The shadows around me surged, drawing me into them and in a whirl of darkness I found myself lying on the bed, under the blankets.
Phobos straddled me, leaning down so her jet-black hair curtained down around our faces, blocking out the light. Her eyes gleamed in the dark.
Her palms slid up my chest until she was cupping my face. Staring deep into my eyes, voice husky with desire, “Husband,” she whispered, “take me.”
Raising a hand to clasp the back of Phobos’ neck, I propped myself up on my other elbow and brought my lips up to meet hers. Running her palms up my cheeks and entwining them in my hair, she responded enthusiastically, sucking and gnawing at my lips before licking them with that rough tongue of hers.
I could feel her breath hot against my face as she grew more excited. Biting down softly on her tongue, I sucked on it, tasting its tip with mine. Impatient, Phobos pushed her tongue past my lips, thoroughly exploring my mouth. Closing my eyes, I let her, reveling in the sensation of her rough tongue tickling my palate.
My hand that was holding her neck slid down her back, feeling the contours of her body through her diaphanous nightgown. Pushing myself upright, I coiled both my arms around her body, one arm pressing her waist towards me and the other cupping the back of her head through her hair. Her back arched as we maintained our kiss and her soft chest rubbed up against mine.
Her grip on my hair tightened and relaxed like a cat flexing its claws. A deep-throated purr reverberated through her chest and in my mouth, ratcheting up my excitement.
Finding my clothes a burden, Phobos raked her fingers down my back, her fingernails morphing into claws and ripping gashes into my coat. Hastily breaking our kiss and letting go of her, I grabbed her hands to stop her from ruining more of my attire. Phobos growled impatiently, struggling in my grasp.
Glaring into her provocative eyes, I locked both her hands behind her back with a single-handed grip on her wrists. Holding the back of her head with my free hand and entwining my fingers into her hair, I pulled her head back, exposing her throat. Blowing warmly into her ear to make it twitch, I kissed my way down her jaws before raking my teeth down the side of her neck. She shivered in my grasp, her purr growing deeper at being put in this vulnerable position.
I caught a flash of contentment from our bond. So, that’s how she wanted to play it, huh?
Although we had experimented with candles once, before the start of the Tournament, and Phobos seemed to have enjoyed herself immensely, I still had my reservations about causing her pain. For, while Deimos was like the younger sister I didn’t have to protect but still wanted to, Phobos was the elder sister I wanted to impress. I respected her and felt leery of treating her rough. That’s why we hadn’t tried anything like that again.
But now that I could feel what she felt, I realized that she didn’t like the pain exactly… she just wanted me to dominate on the bed. All this time, because of how she behaved when we were under the sheets, I had mistakenly believed that she liked to be in control. She was the one who would always take the initiative. She would hold down my arms with her knees and ride me, teasing me with her alluring figure, not letting me touch. And when she let me touch, she would direct my hands. I had humoured her all this time because I thought that it was what she wanted – acceded to her every request. It was only now that I realized my mistake.
She had a wildness in her that she wanted tamed. A wildness that pushed her to capitalize on any show of servility. That was why, when she had seen me clipping her nails – taking care of her, serving her – she had pounced on me. She wanted me to take charge and take her with no concern about her pleasure, only thinking about mine. She wanted me to take her, thoroughly.
Well, if that was what she wanted, that was what she would get.
Keeping my grasp on her wrists, I roughly turned her around in my lap and pressed down between her shoulder blades, causing her to bend down until her face was pressed into the bed and her perfectly formed behind was sticking up. Getting up on my knees behind her, I hiked up her nightgown, freeing her dark tail to lash about in agitation. Gasping in surprise, she tried to get back up as soon as I took the pressure off her back, but I extended a foot and pressed down on her shoulder, pinning her down.
Without waiting for her to recover, I roughly pulled her underwear down her thighs, revealing her privates. A string of moisture glinted in the sunlight, indicative of her excitement. Unbuckling my belt and pulling out my stiff member, I invaded her without preamble, drawing a gasp out of her.
Phobos tail whipped against my chest as I held her wrists with both my hands and thrust hard and rough into her from behind, each stroke driving me deep into her moist warmth and pressing her cheek into the bed. My grunts, her moans and the sound of our flesh slapping against each other filled the room as the scent of our union permeated the atmosphere, driving out the winter chill and replacing it with the vitality of spring.
Closing my eyes, I focused on my rising excitement, thrusting harder and faster as I felt myself drawing closer and closer to climax. With a sharp intake of air, I slammed my entire length into her and released myself in her depths. The convulsion of her interior and her breathless scream told me that she had reached her high at the same time.
Breathing heavily, both of us collapsed onto the bed with me on top of her. Burying my face into the crook of her neck from behind, I savoured the scent of her arousal as my member grew flaccid and exited her with a soft pop.
Recovering slightly, I pushed myself off her and onto my back by her side. I squinted against the dazzling sunlight that fell on my eyes and raised a hand to keep it off. I felt Phobos turning around beside me.
Draping an arm and a leg on me, she hugged me tightly from the side, placing her head on my shoulder. “That,” she breathed out into my ear sultrily, “was amazing.”
Curling my arm around her and placing my palm on her hip, slowly stroking it, I turned my head towards her and kissed the top of her head. “Glad you liked it.”
“Loved it,” she said, kissing me back on my neck. “I always wanted you to do that, but you were too polite. Too respectful.” She paused. “Except that one time.”
Propping herself up on an elbow, she met my gaze with glittering eyes. “I’m curious though… why so aggressive today?”
I sighed. “I saw you depressed and wanted to do something to cheer you up. Thought this might do the trick.”
“Riight?” she asked, drawing out the word. Her hand slid down my chest and stomach to grip my soft member, stroking it gently. I could feel my blood flowing south again. “Then husband mine… who was it that taught you your tricks, hmm? Demi? Ceres?” Her grip tightened on my member. “It was Ceres, wasn’t it?”
I complained internally. Her jealousy was flaring up again. This wouldn’t do. If I gave her even a little leeway, she’d start to buck against her restraints. I would have to be firm with her.
Raising the hand I had on her hip, I brought it down with a sharp crack, making her yelp in surprise and let go of me. Capitalizing on the opportunity, I rolled her off me and onto her back. Straddling her, I pinned her arms, looking down upon her with the sun at my back.
“No one taught me.” I growled. “I just decided to rein in this stubborn filly of mine.”