Story Preview: The Flower of Lust Part 3

The Flower of Lust: Part 3
A Smuthunter Story

             “Do not go.” That was the advice the wise-woman gave Nathaniel when he spoke to her about the Alraune, the flower woman that had twice preyed upon his body and mind. She was did not seem particularly old and wizened as he’d expected, but there was an undeniable wisdom in her eyes, and she knew what the creature was called as soon as he began to speak about her.

            “She is baiting you, she is challenging you to come and face her again, to face her a third time. If you go to her, you play into her hands, and when she has her way with you, this time, the third time, shall be the last.”

            He didn’t understand and he told her as much.

            “The laws of magic work in three’s. Some say it is for the sun, the moon, and the sky, others for the body, the mind and the soul, or the beginning the middle and end, it does not matter. All that matters is, like all beasts of her ilk, if she feasts on you a third time, if you commune with her once more, she will have you in all ways for all time.”

            That was when he asked her if there was nothing he could not do to stop her and she simply said, “Do not go.”

            She was not unkind, nor was she particularly patient.

“Heed me well. You have already brought a small ruin to your family and a greater peril to the world with your first visits. She has bested you, and easily so if I do not miss the mark. Yet, I know you are young and strong, and certainly brave so a woman’s words sought out nonetheless will still sound of cowardice to you, but heed me well, do not go. You are no hero Nathaniel, you are only yourself, and were you a band of knights fallen full from legend, I would still council you against returning to her domain.”

            His frown was wide and hard, and it brought a curt little laugh from her lips, “She is not simply as you have seen her. The birds and the beasts are at her beck and call, so too are other more fearsome creatures in the woods. If she tied your arms with vines, she could do the same to a neck, or legs, and leave you hanging for the more ferocious of her bestial subjects. You have no weapon fit to harm her, only ones that will invite a painful death upon yourself were you to try.”

            “But, “ he stammered as he had been moved by the gravity of her warning, “I have her name.”

            “And she has yours, and your seed, and has spoken into the mind that is ever watchful while it sleeps, and she has given it to you. She does not fear you, and that is not her arrogance, she does not fear you because you are bested by her in all manner of ways already.”

            The wise-woman’s eyes narrowed and in the candlelit darkness of her home, those eyes seemed to pierce him none too gently, “Do you dream of her?”

            He did not answer, instead he blushed.

            “I see. And when you do dream of her, do you wake with proof of your desires.”

            Even in the heavy shadows his face was crimson as his mouth remained shut.

            Then, she laughed and shook her head and the small coins fastened to her headscarf jangled, “I see. I will tell you again not to go, but you are too far under her sway for simple wisdom and none in this town have the art to ease your suffering, for is your deep desire not a deliciously agonizing one?”

            Nathaniel bowed his head and made to leave.

            “Such is the way of love, even a love borne only of lust. Do not go, but if you do, bring fire and hope and neither let her speak nor look upon her exposed form.”

            She said most of this to his back as he made for the door, but before he left he turned around once more, “Tell me, why does she do this, why is she what she is?”

            The wise-woman’s face became more grave than it had been before, and the shadows cast hard lines in her skin, “She is a hunter, as are you. She hunts for food, for the thrill, and for trophies, she also hunts so she can grow. Imagine if the beasts you slew in the wild fed you and brought you children.”

            “So she is not…” he felt the air come out of his lungs and his mind become a briar patch and not a clear path to his next word, “…she is not evil?”

            “There are many evils in this world Nathaniel, and I dare not try and name them all. Instead, ask yourself this, is there any good in bending the will of another and dominating them for your own gains? To me that sounds wicked, but I know also that such power can be desirable. If you can outlast the season and avoid her, if when the next rains come and you stand naked under them and you have not fallen under her sway for a third time, her hold will be broken, but I fear that when you leave my home none in this town shall see you again.”

            With that, he left her and made his way to the storerooms built behind his family’s home. There, he armed himself as he had before, adding to his supplies a lantern and oil.

            The mask and visor had aided him once before and he trusted in them again.

He also thought long on the wise-man’s words and his own wits. Flowers did not bloom in the darkness, he would come to her in the night, set her ablaze and be free as she was wrapped in those massive petals.

            It was the last, and most desperate of his plans.

            Nathaniel had done his best to study a book of spells and arcane secrets that belonged to an old codger with no real use for them, but all he gained from that was a headache. The rules of magic, those he could decipher, seemed obvious and were more well known as common sense than any secret alchemy and the power of a name seemed like mist to him, a thing he could see and sense but could not hold.

            The book was filled with vagaries about the power of truth, but there was one line of deliberate wisdom he took from the book that he knew could aid him at least in some small way. By speaking the true name of another, one would take from them their power to beguile, mislead and bewitch, as truth bred greater truth.

            So it was, he left at sunset, and with the same ease he would have had under the noonday sun, he made his way back into her domain.

Twilight bled slowly into the heavy dark of night, and as he made his journey, Nathaniel was surprised that he caught not even a hint of her scent. The heady perfume of her will was absent from the air, and so he came to the edge of her clearing without warning.

Silver moonlight shone down, and he found the darkness softer to his eyes, almost translucent instead of heavy and obstructing. He saw her flower, petals up, and as he lit his lantern, he called out to her.

“Lilyana, I deny your power, and by the laws of magic I break your spell!”

He threw the lantern with all his might, full of oil and burning hot, it sailed though the darkness.

As soon as he spoke her name, the petals unfurled and she was there before him in the moonlight and in the path of the blazing lantern. He watched her make a strange gesture with one hand, twisting her fingers in a mysterious symbol, while waving her other hand before her.

The air grew cold with a violent chill, and wind cut through the night.

He watched in horror, and in a relief he denied even as it washed over him, as the flame was extinguished and the lantern fell to the earth, bound in a ball of ice.

“The things our hearts drive us too my sweet Nathaniel, the passions that must play before we can accept our feelings.” As the moonlight danced across her green skin, the petals of her flower, and of her gloves were dark as black velvet, and her eyes danced with their own silver light.

“How…” he started to step back slowly, his hand raised to shield his eyes from her, then to pull down his visor. “I spoke your name, I denied you.”

“What was there to deny. I told you when next we met I would not bewitch you or intoxicate you with my scent as I had before.”

“But… the laws…” The visor was down and he found his bow in hand and an arrow being knocked as his heart pounded and a fear he had never known before thundering with every beat.

“If I wished it, I could freeze your blood or turn your flesh to stone, and knowing my name would deny nothing.” Her voice was light and loose, the music in her words echoed in the softness of the night.

She waved her hand again and made a different sign, and as she did, the wooden shaft of his arrow twisted with the wood of his bow, and all at once it felt from his hands and started to sprout leaves.

“You should never give your name to someone you do not trust Nathaniel, and my heart has always held you dear from the moment I saw you. Why else would I give you something so precious? Why else would I humor your halfhearted acts of violence time and again. If I didn’t know what was truly in your heart, I might think you wished some malice upon me.”

There was a sweetness in her words, but it was as mocking as it was tender. It was somehow both more condescending and more charming than she had ever been prior, but he couldn’t tell if that was only because his senses were clear, free form her intoxicating perfume that fogged everything and coated the world in a warmth that invited only the most profound pleasure and deep surrender to her voice.

Her hands started to massage her breasts, as they always seemed to, but he watched with clear eyes and saw that her gloved fingertips were far from her nipples. As though she was reading his mind, and for all Nathaniel came to realize he didn’t know, perhaps she was, she laughed and spoke, “The slightest squeeze and that sticky sweetness would strike your nose and make your mouth water.”

He closed his eyes, a feat that demanded more of himself than he would have ever guessed, especially not when she was wielding any mystical influence on him, and he turned to leave her.

His only hope in that moment was to flee…

Well now, I bet you think you know how this one will end, but I can tell you now it’s only “kinda” what you think.
If you’ve made it this far, then might I recommend you buy Part 3 down below? And if you have’t read 1 and 2, you can buy Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

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