The Long Road to Ruin Ch. 47byLady_Blackhawk©
She walked alone until she came to a fork in the road. She knew if they headed north and west, the road would completely bypass the King's Forest. It followed the along the shoreline of the Great River, eventually leading to Riverbridge and border between Betancuria and Dhorn. She had heard that the Dhorn had completely razed Riverbridge to the ground when they invaded Betancuria. "We need to head north and east from here in order to reach the King's Forest," she spoke up.
Vico scoffed, "You should rename it now that you're determined to be the Queen. I know, how about Shiloh's Bush, as sparse as it may be."
Shiloh rolled her eyes at him, "Could you just die already? Thanks."
"Not everyone has a jungle like you, Vico," Pia interjected, watching the storm clouds cross Shiloh's face.
He smirked, "I remember there was a time when you liked that, Pia darling."
"What can I say? I was young and stupid," Pia replied then turned her back to him, following after Shiloh who'd already started walking down the north-east road. Several hours passed before they made it to the edge of the King's Forest. The light drizzle which had plagued them since they left the grey walls of Betancuria behind upgraded into a steady downpour, turning the road into a river of mud, debris and slush.
Only once did the trio encounter anyone else, a lone merchant sitting upon a wagon led by two fat donkeys, slowly making his way south, stoically ignoring the seeping deluge from above, his hat drawn deeply onto his weathered face.
Though the trees provided some sort of shelter from the rain, it isn't long before Shiloh felt the water seeping through her cloak and into her glamered armor. She slogged miserably along, aware of the mud staining her red leather boots. "I hate this," she murmured to Pia.
Pia rolled her eyes, "The joys of traveling. I've missed this so much!" The bard pulled her cloak tighter around herself.
"At least it isn't snow, Pia." Shiloh countered, "I swear once we rescue Nathan, I am never ever traveling again. I don't care who needs rescued. I'm not doing it!! I've had it with this bullshit!"
Vico sighed heavily, "Boo fuckin' hoo, Shiloh. Quit your whining and keep your ass a movin'."
"Ya know, I'd fuckin' kill you right now if I didn't need you here," Shiloh retorted. "Fuck, why didn't I listen to Bastian? I should've killed your ass when I had you begging for mercy!"
"That's a mistake you have to live with, stupid bitch. It's also a mistake I'll never make again. I underestimated you once. Don't think I'll ever do it again. And don't think because you beat me once that you'll ever be able to do it again. You won't." Vico stared her down evenly.
"That's what Narev said as well, but I proved him wrong. Dead wrong," she countered.
"So you defeated one tiefling assassin and I'm supposed to be impressed," he shrugged. "That means nothing, Shiloh."
"Vico, what the FUCK do you want from me? I am sick and tired of dealing with your shit. Let's just get this done and then we can go our separate ways and never deal with each other again. Will that satisfy you?"
"Nothing you do will ever satisfy me, Shiloh, and I am sick of you thinking you have the solution to everything. You're the fucking problem here." Fury took over his features, radiating from his jet black eyes. "You think just because you're a fucking princess that you can fix things, that you're the only one who can fix things. Guess what, sweetheart? You're so fucking impotent you can't do a damn thing. So for once, just shut your fucking mouth and let the grown-ups handle it."
"Fine, have fun getting into that hunting lodge without me," she retorted, walking away in the opposite direction.
"Stop it, both of you. Alfons is counting on us." Pia yelled at their retreating backs. "If you two could just hear yourselves, you'd see that you're arguing the same point. But you're both as stubborn and pig-headed as they come, and neither of you will budge an inch."
Shiloh stopped dead in her tracks, glaring back at Pia and Vico, "No, Pia, he's fucking wrong, as usual. That asshole can't see past his own damn conceit. He thinks just because he's a bad-ass that he can barrel through this like a bull in a china shop, but that's not going to help us. He wouldn't FUCKING know how to be diplomatic if it bit his ass. We need to use a bit of diplomacy here in order to get to Nathan. We all know it. We're not going to be able to storm that hunting lodge. It can't be done. It's on its own little island with a drawbridge between it and the gatehouse, if it's the one I'm thinking of. And if it is the one I'm thinking of, which I'm pretty sure it is, I'm not even sure there's a way to sneak into it."
Vico stormed up to her, "And why are you just mentioning this now?" His face was full of black fury, his eyes burning with rage.
"Because I wanted to leave Alfons with a little hope. I didn't want him to think we were already defeated before we even began. It's all about morale, you stupid fuck!" Shiloh yelled back, getting right in his face.
"And what else haven't you fucking told me?"
"My Father gave the hunting lodge to one of his general's. I've been there once or twice, but I was just a little girl the last time I was there. I'm hoping there's a postern gate, but I don't know for sure. We've got a ways to go before we get there. We're all tired right now, so let's just continue on and hopefully we'll find a place to rest. If memory serves me right, there's a roadhouse a mile or two from here."
The silence and tension between the traveling trio was thick enough to cut with a knife, though Shiloh would've rather planted that knife right smack between Vico's eyes or maybe his back. It didn't matter at this point. She knew she'd have to deal with him sooner or later. Later, she sighed. For better or for worse, I need that asshole. She shook her head, silently cursing Alfons for this folly, for insisting Vico had to be a part of this. Damn, why couldn't the fool have died against the Sargozians? She knew the real fault lay with the Dhorn, though, and ultimately Arto Benthur. Why did he feel it was his personal mission to annihilate them all? Was it because she'd tempted him to break sacred vows? She knew it went deeper than that, though she knew he wanted her dead, silenced unequivocally. They'd been dealt a hard blow, but hopefully if all worked out, they would recover. She just needed an edge, a way in. Hopefully things would go her way for once and they'd all come out just a little worse for wear, but alive.
She kept moving, placing one foot in front of the other. If she thought about it much more, she swore she'd stop, plant her blades in his face and leave him where he dropped. But Pia was right. In-party fighting wouldn't help them right now. They had to get to Nathan, no matter what it took.
Before she knew it, the roadhouse came into view. It looked abandoned and forlorn. There was no smoke coming from the chimney of the inn, no activity anywhere near the barn, either. Utter silence, beyond the sounds of the falling rain and their own breathing, met them starkly. "I think this is The Sleeping Troll Inn," Shiloh spoke up. "I've heard some of the castle residents speak of it before. Though, I couldn't tell you how it got its name. I mean there have never been any trolls in my Father's kingdom, well discounting Vico, that is." A sassy smirk crossed her face. Pia giggled behind her hand.
"Hehehe," Vico rolled his eyes then turned his features deadly serious. "So funny I forgot to laugh. The only troll I've ever seen is this puffed up stank ass two bit damaged goods whore named Shiloh."
"And that's why you kept me abed for days on end, no?" She retorted, ignoring his other insults. She knew he was trying to pick a fight with her. Well, he'd just have to try harder. She wasn't falling for it. "I'm heading inside, just so ya know. This place has a foul stench about it, though that's probably just Vico's breath or his ass. Same difference since you normally do all your talking out your ass."
She skipped over to the door of the roadhouse. It was hanging limp on its hinges. Shiloh pushed it aside, entering quietly. The interior was dark and dank, the musty smell of decay heavy on the air. A thick layer of dust covered the tables that hadn't crumbled from the moisture of the leaking ceiling. Shiloh sighed, "So much for getting a hot meal, but I suppose the good news is that we're the only ones here. I was really hoping to encounter some Dhorn. I feel the need to turn something into paste."
"Actually, we should count ourselves lucky that this place hasn't attracted a goblin tribe," Vico looked about as he moved deeper into the common room. "Hopefully there's a dry bed."
"We can hope." Shiloh replied, "I've had enough of this rain."
"Let's head upstairs, but keep your weapons at the ready, just in case there are some creepy crawlies lurking." Vico added as he headed to the stairs.
"You mean besides you?" Shiloh retorted.
"Look, little girl, I'd have thought you'd learned by now that baiting me is not only juvenile, but detrimental to your health," Vico shot back as he made his way to the upper floor where the guest rooms were located. "Damn!" He eyed the holes in the ceiling above. "There goes our hopes of finding a dry bed."
"Too bad there's no one to complain to," Pia replied, rolling her eyes as she searched each of the rooms.
Vico insolently smirked at her, "I'd never complain, Pia darling. I'd burn down the house, slay the innkeeper and screw his daughter, if she's comely, but not necessarily in that order."
Pia shook her head, rolling her eyes, "Well we are in luck." She stepped into the only room without a leaking ceiling. "This should do."
Shiloh joined her, glancing about. Unlike the rest of the inn, the room she peered into was in good shape. No holes above them and a bed that was clean and dry. It looked as if it had been prepared just for them. She sent a mental flare at Bastian, wondering if he had anything to do with this anomaly, but he was being silent again. Must be busy, she surmised. "Ha-ha, I call dibs on the bed."
Pia frowned, "Only if you intend to share with me, my sweet."
Vico barged in, ignoring the banter between the two girls. "This looks good. Let's stay here."
"Oh no, you are not sleeping in the same bed as us," Pia protested, firmly crossing her arms over her chest. "You can sleep on the floor, but you aren't sharing the bed. Better yet, go make yourself comfy in the barn."
"Shut your mouth, Pia, unless you intend to use it for something more than catching flies. I'm just FUCKING tired and want to get some rest." Vico sat down on the edge of the bed, beginning to remove parts of the massive suit of blackened plate mail that he wore. He released the buckles that held the breastplate on, then stripped off the greaves, gauntlets, vambraces, rerebraces and shoulder pauldrons. Then he kicked off his boots, setting the pieces aside where he could get to them in the morning. Finally he stripped away the wool padding that separated his armor from his clothing beneath, leaving a black tunic and trousers on. As he moved to pull the tunic over his head, both Pia and Shiloh cleared their throats.
"I think that's quite enough, asshole," Shiloh sneered at him. "Keep your clothes on."
He removed it despite her protests, "I can remember a time you were eager to get me out of my clothes, Shiloh. Now you're clucking like a hen about it. I'm fucking tired. Remember that. Besides, sharing a bed with a woman is the only reason most men bear with any of you at all, but if the idea of you rubbing your ass up against me in your sleep is too much for you to deal with, then maybe you should sleep on the floor."
"Oh, fuck you," Shiloh shot back. "You keep away from my ass."
Vico reached out, cupping her bottom. The smirk on his face clearly attested that he wanted to get a rise from her. He was enjoying needling her.
"Hands off," she growled as she moved away.
"And it I don't feel like it, birdie?" He winked, clearly enjoying baiting her.
She shook her head. She knew what he was up to. He'd done it far too often before. "You might just regret it. I can always slit your throat in your sleep. Besides, I'm not in the mood for your games, Vico. And stop calling me 'birdie.' My name is Shiloh!!!!!"
"Could you just stop being an asshole all the damn time, Vico? That'd be great. Maybe then we can all get some rest." Pia spoke up. She knew where this was going and she didn't want it to continue.
"What did I say? Stop acting like a clucking hen, Pia. I don't need your mouth running unless you're going to actually do something with it that's worthwhile. Besides, I've said it before. She's never going to grow up if she doesn't learn to speak for herself."
"I have grown up, asshole, and I did speak for myself when I said I'm not in the mood for your shit. You just have a bad habit of not listening." Shiloh retorted.
Pia frowned, "You could show her a little respect. After all, she defeated you the last time you two fought and everyone saw it."
Vico rolled his eyes, "And it'll never happen again."
"Never say never, Vico," Shiloh spoke up, quietly and clearly. "You taught me that."
He shook his head, crawling onto the left side of the bed. He threw back the covers, making himself comfortable beneath them. Pia followed suit, claiming the right side for herself. She curled into a little ball after she removed the red leather armor Shiloh had loaned her. "No touching and no groping. Are we clear?"
"I said I'm tired, wench." Vico growled back. "You have nothing I want anyway, Pia."
Shiloh was left with no choice but to take the middle section between them. She shimmied out of her armor, stripping down to bare skin before crawling under the blankets with them. Heat radiated from both Vico and Pia, warming her thoroughly, making her very aware of both their bodies, more than was probably befitting. She knew both of them quite intimately. She wanted to curl herself around Pia as she had been doing lately, but knew the minute she was comfortable that Vico would intrude. She sighed, tossing and turning, punching the feather pillow to fluff it somewhat.
"Could you possibly settle down? It feels like there's an earthquake between the sheets." Vico grumbled, drowsily.
"Sorry, I'm just trying to find a comfortable spot. This is madness. I'd love to cuddle with Pia, but I can't without you behaving like a perv," Shiloh's voice took on a whining quality. She knew how pathetic it had to sound, but couldn't help it.
"Holy fuckin' hells, just go to sleep," he groused. "I'm too tired to deal with this shit."
"Fine," Shiloh pouted as she flopped on her back, staring up at the dark ceiling. This was really fuckin' great. She knew the instant that Pia had dropped off to sleep. The bard tended to snore quietly and murmur in her sleep. Vico, on the other hand, didn't make a sound. He didn't so much stir. He was out cold, but the heat radiating from him was intoxicating. Shiloh gravitated towards it. She couldn't help herself as she pressed herself against his back, conforming herself to his bends. Sleep came pretty swiftly once she'd settled into his warmth.
Hours later, as dawn was breaking, Vico moved away from Shiloh. He'd known the moment she'd attached herself to him, slipping into a blissful slumber. An ache pierced his heart momentarily as he thought of what might've been if she hadn't been such a damn slut. Then again, being a damn slut was what he loved about her most. Her sexiness had been a siren's call he couldn't resist. She'd have done anything he wanted, anything he'd have asked of her. He couldn't get enough of her back then. It was best not to think of it. She'd tried to do the right thing, but even that had backfired in her face. She should've never gone messing with things better left in the past. Sure, she'd momentarily given him Shanna, but even he knew, it wasn't the same as it had been before the Dhorn came. He'd closed his heart off from those feelings, but Shiloh had wheedled her way in. She carved out her own niche, much to his dismay, but she couldn't leave well enough alone. It had been all or nothing. Best it was done and over with. He knew they should never re-open that can of worms again.
He rubbed his weary face, pinching the bridge of his nose, then slid out of the bed. He stretched languorously, working a few stiff muscles. He tried not to think about the stiffness between his legs as he staggered into another room to promptly relieve his raging piss hard-on. Don't think of fucking her, he reprimanded himself as he shook his cock after urinating. He tucked it back in his trousers before returning to the bedroom. He sat on the edge of the bed, staring back at the two girls. Shiloh had moved away from the spot he'd vacated and had curled around Pia, her arm around the bard's middle, resting ever so slightly below Pia's breasts. That was an interesting picture. His lips twitched as he slid in behind them, pressing himself against Shiloh.
His hand caressed her nicely rounded ass, remembering the times he'd spanked her, how hard it had made him and how dripping wet she became. He sniffed the air, taking in Shiloh's musky scent. He wondered how much he could get away with. His fingers dripped between the crack of her ass, trailing down her slit to the erect clit poking out from its hood. He flicked his fingers over it, hearing the soft moan that came from her lips. Her channel grew even wetter as he diddled her clit. Shiloh squirmed, her hips grinding against Pia's bottom. Her hands clutched Pia tighter, seeking the bard's taut nipples. Taking a chance, Vico slid two fingers into Shiloh's slit, filling her, twisting them, criss-crossing as she mewled loudly. He flicked his thumb across her clit, hitting that sweet spot he knew she had. Shiloh keened as she exploded, her eyes flying open.
Shiloh clawed at Pia, desperately trying to free herself from Vico, but let out a cry as something blunt and hot pressed against her crinkled back orifice. She felt the pressure as her sphincter parted painfully, cried out as he breached her barrier ring, and turned into a wildcat as he shoved his way to the hilt. Shiloh screamed as he pinched her clit, thrashing as his fingers thrust into her wet channel in time with his dick in her ass.
Pia pulled away from Shiloh, staring blankly at the scene before her. Never in her wildest dreams had she thought Vico would be bold enough to take Shiloh while she was present... while she watched. Then again this was Vico.... She sighed, grabbing her stuff and leaving the room behind. Let them fight it out, if they cared to. Pia had had all she could take of their nonsense.
Vico succeeded in putting Shiloh beneath him. It's where she belonged. A grin split his face as he brought his free hand down hard on her ass, delivering a brutal slap that echoed off the walls of the small room. Shiloh squealed from the pain and shock of it, trying her hardest to break free from him. But he had her where he wanted her and they both knew it. It didn't stop her from trying to break free of him, though. She flailed her legs about, trying to kick him. She dug her fingernails into the arm he had wrapped around her, the very one whose fingers were plunging in and out of her cunt, working in time with the cock in her ass. She cried out, screaming at him to stop. Then screaming at him to not stop as he located that sweet spot inside her, hooking his fingers against her front walls, toying with the one thing that turned her into one massive orgasm. She ceased all her struggles as her walls clenched his fingers, she bore down against his cock, squeezing him in her tight dark tunnel. He brought her to climax just before he reached his own, spending himself in her dark depths. He grunted, pulling away from her. He rolled to the side of the bed he'd previously vacated, gasping for breath. Damn, that felt good. Like old times, he mused.