Chapter VI

Into the Fray! 

Khimi eyes Lumi with a mix of anger and disappointment. He should have known that Lumi, left alone for even a single moment, would find a way to bring catastrophe upon them. He can not understand why Lumi had not just asked for coin or sought his help rather than put himself in danger. The thrill of the arena gradually pushes these worries from his mind. Despite his anger, he knows he can never truly be angry with Lumi, at least not for any particular length. It is a realization that had slowly dawned on him the longer he spent with Lumi, it was as if every part of him yearned to see him happy. 

Lumi twirls the staff in his hands, his loincloth flaps with his movements. Khimi smiles while the crowd lets out a resounding cheer and applause. Envy flushes through him, noticing some members of the crowd gawking at Lumi. Lumi is not theirs to watch. Hells, am I thinking? Khimi seldom had feelings of envy. But with the crowd shouting and cheering, he can not push his thoughts out of his mind.

After listening to Lumi’s explanation of the events that had occurred, Khimi knows that there would be no simple transaction that would free them of their obligation. He pulls the scimitar from its sheath. The wooden gates across the arena creep open with a menacing screech. The crowd’s roars grow even louder, the excitement building by the second. It had been many years since Khimi last stepped foot in the arena, but he remembers the cheers and excitement all too well. He knows the arena would usually pit challengers against bandits and thieves who had been apprehended within the territory. Should the challenger manage to survive and win at the end of the event, they would be gifted a percentage of the earnings. However, should they fail, injury or death is guaranteed. 

The eight wooden gates around the sandy arena open with a final and thundering thud, revealing their opponents. Eight figures in drab linen garbs, scars, and markings across the visible parts of their bodies.  

Lumi turns abruptly to Khimi, “I’m sorry, Khim…I-I didn’t mean for it to be like this –” The sound of the crowd drowns out the rest of whatever Lumi says.

“It’s fine,” Khimi sighs, watching the men approaching, a variety of gruff and tumble figures. “We’ve survived worse.”

The image of the shape-shifter mimicking Ziad appears in his mind like a taunting nightmare. All of Khimi’s training had vanished during that battle, years of combat and expertise lost the instant the shape-shifter took to Ziad’s form. It had only served to make Khimi more aware of a weakness he knew he had no control of. 

“I heard t-they are all murderers,” Lumi stutters, drawing nearer to Khimi and pushing himself against him with hopeful eyes. 

A snort escapes Khimi’s lips, filled with both amusement and disdain. “Cutthroats aren’t skilled combatants,” he scoffs, dismissing the potential danger of their enemies. “Just cowards. Besides, I’m sure most of them are just petty thieves.” 

Khimi draws parallels between their previous fight against Dolman mercenaries and their current situation. They had managed to survive by working together as a team, but at that time, their partnership was still new and untested. In the past months, however, they had learned to work together even more efficiently and seamlessly. The mercenaries from Dolmas were trained soldiers, whereas these criminals posed little threat to their skills and abilities.

Khimi steals a quick glance at Lumi from the corner of his eye. Any sign of fear on Lumi’s face quickly dissipates while he flashes a grin, his ears twitching energetically with anticipation. How will you fare without magick this time? Khimi wonders silently, knowing that Lumi’s would be unable to rely on his gifts. As if reading his thoughts, Lumi lets out a heavy sigh and reaches for his choker — a conduit of his magical abilities. His fingers trace along the vibrant rubies on the golden band while he whines in frustration.

“We’d better not die, Khimi,” Lumi whispers softly, looking up at him once again with pleading eyes filled with determination.

“We won’t,” Khimi says, his eyes narrowing on the rapidly approaching figures. His babouches slide effortlessly through the sand, testing the weight of the blade in his hand.  

The crowd’s cheers grow, the men rush forward with their weapons raised. A mass of feet stomp against the sandstone arena, creating a cacophony of sounds. Khimi relaxes his grip on the scimitar and attempts to ignore the energy of the crowd. He pushes his focus to the heavy footfalls of the man approaching at the head. Fingers tense on the hilt, he pushes himself in front of Lumi. The man’s crude spiked maul comes down without consideration. The scimitar catches against the length of steel, Khimi’s knees stagger under the force. 

“Lumi!” Khimi shouts with clenched teeth. “Move! This isn’t a game, they’re playing for their freedom. They don’t give a shit if you live or die!” 

Lumi snaps out of his stupor, “R-Right!” He shouts, the other men begin to close in around them. 

    Khimi’s blade slides along the length of the maul’s handle until the club smashes into the sand. The man grunts, then Khimi side-steps, bringing his chipped blade across the man’s chest. Blood splashes across the sand from beneath the man’s leather jerkin. He glances back, cursing under his breath. 

Lumi swings his staff from side to side, kicking the sand under his feet back while he evades the oncoming assault. Two men in dark linen shirts make their move, attempting to flank Lumi from either side.

The man before Khimi grunts loudly. The spiked maul unhinges from the sand in a show of brute strength. The man, easily twice his weight, swings again, the maul smashing into the ground while Khimi steps backwards. Get hit by that and it’s over. Khimi reaches into his kaftan, removing a small blade from the inner lining. Daggers had never been his weapon of choice, but there is a time for everything. He shoots another look back at Lumi and grits his teeth, watching the panic clear on Lumi’s face. He hurls the small blade at the maul-bearing man. The blade finds its mark, lodging firmly into the man’s throat. Without a second thought, he turns to Lumi. 

The two figures encroach on Lumi, their backs to Khimi. He descends upon them. Merciless, his steel bites through the thin leather jerkin of the first man, a pained groan departs from his lips, and he falls to the ground with an uncomfortable jerk, a lengthy gash ripping across his spine. The crowd roars, hungry for blood. The other turns to Khimi, swinging his sword in panic. The wooden staff bashes against his jaw from behind, knocking him onto the sand. This fight is unlike those he can recall from the arena in the past. In most instances, healers and trained chirurgeons would be waiting for injured opponents, yet there are none in sight. Perhaps a change in arena ownership?

“I yield!” The man shouts, his sword drops into the sand, and he brings his hand up, his mouth ajar. 

Lumi groans, his staff smashes across the man’s temple, leaving him face down in the sand. “He spoke too late,” he says with a shrug, and a knowing grin. “Khimi…they’re trying to kill us?” 

Khimi purses his lips, watching the other men around the arena begin to close the gap. “Looks like it.” 

“I can heal them aft—“

“Save your stamina,” Khimi mutters, and he looks at the man with the maul. The man lies on the floor, his hand on the dagger lodged deep in his throat, drowning in his own blood. “They aren’t worth your pity.” 

Lumi’s brow furrows, “It’s my fault,” he whispers quietly, almost inaudibly beneath the rage of the crowd. 

“The arena isn’t what it used to be,” Khimi replies, walking around Lumi and slinging the blood from his blade.

“I just wanted to save Ebo,” Lumi sighs, watching Khimi. Seemingly ignoring the advancing combatants. 

A heavy length of chain flies from overhead. It smashes between them in the sand with a heavy clonk. The man wielding the chain smirks through his thick beard and lugs the length with great force, the chain whips in Lumi’s direction unexpectedly. Taken off guard, the chain belts across Lumi’s back, knocking him forward into the sand. Red welts mark his back in a thick line. Khimi wants to reach out, but his attention is forced to the other figures rushing to engage with him. 


“I’m fine!” Lumi calls from the sand.

Khimi shakes his focus back to the assailants. One of the figures, carrying a heavy club, claps it against his palm with a dangerous look in his eye. The other edges toward him, shirtless and with ratty sarouel, a long spear pointing at him. Khimi had always hated fighting against enemies with spears. If the fighter is adept and quick enough, it becomes increasingly difficult to close the gap to land a blow. He knows he should remove the spear from the fight sooner than later, it is just a matter of how. 

The crowd roars again, screams erupting. Everyone stands and cheers, while others call out in anger. The men approaching Khimi turn to look around the arena. Khimi takes a glance. He sees Lumi pulling on the chain against his aggressor, length after length of chain piles to the floor with each of Lumi’s tugs. Khimi is shocked, having witnessed Lumi’s lack of strength it seems almost impossible. 

Khimi shakes himself out of his stupor and snorts. He’ll be fine, he thinks then pushes forward. He knocks the tip of the spear to the side, the figure still caught off-guard from the exuberant crowd. The scimitar slices over the thick fingers like tender meat, the digits fly into the sand. The man yelps but manages to hold his spear firm. The length of the pole slaps against Khimi’s side, but he pulls back and puts himself on the defensive. Finding himself in the precarious position between both men, Khimi stands ready for either man’s movements. He takes a deep breath and sweat drips over his glistening brow. 

An uncomfortable droning silence comes across the crowd, the two men begin to rush him in unison. Steel crashes against steel, the scimitar catches the handle of the club. The club scrapes against the blade, forcing Khimi to his knee. The muscles strain in his arms, the sharpened edge creases from the force of the blow. The club raises in the air, ready for a second strike. Khimi pushes himself to his feet, a sharp, dull ache in his legs. 

Black spots form in Khimi’s vision, the haft of the spear smashing against the side of his face. He staggers, narrowly evading the club. He wishes he could invoke Enan’s magick. This would have all been much more simple if only he could just extend his hand to them and whisper a simple incantation. His hand tightens on the hilt of his scimitar, his knuckles turn white. There is too much to live for now, too much that he had finally begun to care about. 

Khimi’s roar echoes through the arena, spittle flying from his open mouth. His mind is consumed by a primal rage, drowning out any other thoughts or sounds. The once deafening silence in the arena is now filled with the pounding of blood rushing through Khimi’s veins. Each step he takes on the yellow sand sends it scattering in all directions, creating a chaotic cloud around him.

As he charges towards his opponent, a fierce numbness spreads throughout his body, familiar and expected. The scimitar in his hand feels like an extension of himself, it slices through flesh and bone, leaving a trail of crimson gore behind. The raised club of his enemy falls to the ground, forgotten amongst the chaos.

With a frightening expression, the spearman stumbles back in fear, but Khimi’s scimitar finds its mark. A scream of protest escapes his lips before being abruptly silenced by the curved steel blade. Khimi lets out a triumphant roar, standing over his fallen opponent, panting erratically. He had not planned to enter the arena again, let alone take a life in front of an audience. But here he was, overcome by adrenaline and instinct.

The sound of chains rattling brings Khimi back to reality. Lumi! He sees his partner wrestling with his opponent, the chain wrapped tight around the man’s neck. With a grunt of effort, Lumi pulls with all his might until the man’s face begins to flush. Bit by bit, he tugs the chain until his opponent falls into the sand. The remaining combatants quickly drop their weapons and raise their hands in surrender while Khimi rushes to join Lumi’s side.

A glint of steel catches Khimi’s eye, a blade falls into the sand beside Lumi. Khimi’s head whips in the direction from which it came. One of the remaining opponents stands poised and ready with another small blade in hand. The edge of Khimi’s babouche slips beneath the haft of the spear beside him. He sheaths his scimitar and knocks the spear up towards his hand. Trotting forward, he aims the spear like he would a javelin. The spear leaves his hand with a fierce whistle, it moves through the air within seconds. The crowd lets out a gasp, the man plummets backwards, knocked clear off his feet. The man begins to push himself back up, and Khimi marches through the arena towards him, once more removing his scimitar from its now bloodied sheath. 

“I-I yield!” He calls out, his eyes shaking with panic. He does not seem to pay the spear jammed into his abdomen any mind. His eyes are set on Khimi, who steps towards him with an intimidating purpose. “I yield!” He announces again, his voice panicked. The man calls out to the crowd for help. 

A loud snap reaches Khimi, and he turns in time to see the chain-bearing man’s neck turn awkwardly, his limp body falling on top of Lumi. The figure does not move, and Lumi struggles from beneath the lifeless corpse. Confident Lumi would be fine, he turns back to the man before him. The crowd screams and cheers, he raises his blade to land the final blow. 

“Khimi! It’s over!” Lumi calls out from under the dead man. “It’s over!”

Khimi looks down at the man. He must be about the same age as himself. His appearance is rough, the years have been unkind to him. They must have been for you to end up here. Full of anger, Khimi’s nose wrinkles, his blade raised again. It will be a mercy. The man cowers beneath him. The blade comes crashing down. 

That’s enough!” A voice calls from the side of the arena. 

Khimi turns, and the man scampers backwards, kicking the sand underneath him. A tall pantera in a patchwork kaftan comes from a dark hallway along the outskirts of the arena. His voice booms with authority. He walks to the center of the ring, while the crowd speaks in hushed tones at his entry. Lumi finally manages to push the man off of himself, forcing himself to his feet while the pantera looms just above him. 

“It’s you!” Lumi shouts, brushing himself clean of sand. He leans forward with an angry scowl. 

The pantera raises his brow, then pushes his hand through his dark hair. “It is me,” he says plainly.  

Lumi puffs his cheeks, “No! I mean, why are you here…?” 

He laughs before he squats to meet Lumi’s eyes. “I run this place…in case you haven’t gathered. I am kind of the boss here.”

Khimi strides toward them, a haste in his step. “What is this, Lumi?” Though, a familiar feeling hangs about the pantera, one he can not quite put a finger on. 

Lumi brushes the sand from his skin, “He’s the guy who kept Ebo locked away!” 

Guilty!” The pantera smirks and raises his hands above his head, while he turns to Khimi. “But just remember at the end of the day…it’s just a lion.” 

“And you’re just an assho–” Lumi’s words are interrupted by Khimi’s hand covering his mouth. 

A small detachment of guards appear behind the pantera, crossing the arena at a slow but steady pace. The pantera looks over the havoc of the arena and then to the crowd. 

“The people seem plenty satisfied with the outcome…let Lumi be done with this farce,” Khimi says with intense authority. 

Farce?” The pantera scoffs. “A farce is you being in the arena again,” he mutters, a horrifically wide grin forming across his lips. “Khimi.”  

Khimi narrows his eyes, the corners creasing in recognition of the familiar figure before him. He could pick out the distinct gleam in his former acquaintance’s brilliant eyes and the smooth, melodic inflection in his voice. “M-Mattias?” Khimi stammers, struggling to place the face from his past. “Is that you?”

Lumi looks between the two of them with a cocked and curious brow. “Should I heal the wounded?” 

The pantera laughs, ignoring Lumi. “So you do remember me after all!” He wrings his hands, “I’ll let the announcer finish up here. You two will follow me. We have some business to discuss.” 


The walk through the sandstone maze feels long and confusing. The path takes dozens of twists and turns through the dark corridors. Khimi knows he is out of place, being unable to see in the dark like Lumi and Mattias. Lumi grasps his hand in the darkness while they walk and though he knows Lumi has good intentions, he pushes him away, wanting to keep the distance between them. Mattias had once been a fighter in the arena, a regular spectacle for the crowd, and though he never had the chance to fight against him, he had heard of his reputation. Mattias had been known for being unpredictable, he was one who would always follow his whims, no matter what they may be. 

A faint light blooms in the distance, growing ever brighter with each passing step. Mattias pushes past the partially opened door and into a spacious study. The room is in a state of disarray, scrolls litter the floor while the shelves they are meant for remain empty. A vast assortment of empty plates sit upon a spacious but cramped desk, along with cups half full of mold growing on the top of suspicious liquids. Lumi looks up at Khimi with a raised eyebrow. Mattias motions for his guards to wait outside the room and he cautiously wiggles his way through the mess to his desk. He offers no seating or comforts for either of them before he falls into his high backed chair. 

“So you got me pretty good,” Mattias mutters. “I wasn’t expecting THE Khimi to show up in MY arena…not here, not now. And then going against eight rounds of criminals with just the two of you, that’s bo–”

“Were they really criminals?” Lumi asks. “Like…did they actually ever hurt anyone?”

Mattias grunts, “Does it matter? Some of them were burglars, thieves, a few were bandits. The one with the spear, he murdered his wife a year ago…if that makes you feel any better.”

Lumi bites his lip, “I thought…I dunno, I thought the arena would have someone to help the wounded.”

“We have chirugeons who come after and tend to those who surviv–”

“So, you’ve done away with the healers?” Khimi interrupts. 

Mattias shrugs in the ragged chair, “I never did away with them,” he snorts. “The last healer who served the arena returned to Sidi some years ago. Probably upset she couldn’t see the fabled Khimi romping around shirtless anymore.”

Khimi raises a brow, his arms crossed, “Why?” 

“Because the arena isn’t seen as necessary to her Gods. They were just there to help for the time being…and were paid an abundance of coin.” 

“Why do acolytes need coin?” Lumi asks, his tail curling behind Khimi’s ankle. 

Khimi sighs and palms his face while Mattias begins to chuckle. “Cub, how do you think those massive temples get raised? Or they wear those impressive silks and satin?” He leans forward, exhaling sharply. “Or…something like that precious little loincloth?” 

Lumi looks taken aback, “I don’t think this would be that expensive!” He says, pulling at his chestwrap. 

Khimi looks down at Lumi, eyeing the curious cloth. There is truth in Mattias’ words. The cloth was unusually heavy for being cut from such little fabric. It was made of a sort of heavy silken fabric that had a curious tensile strength. He feels the thick fabric of his own sleeve, recalling the softness of Lumi’s loincloth. 

“Either way, if it was coin they wanted to stay, you should have offered them more,” Khimi says and presses his hands flat on the desk. “Mattias, I don’t mean to sound rude or abrupt, but I’d rather be done with this bus–”

“Listen, Lumi…was it? You really shouldn’t have come here.” 

Lumi growls, “But I had to…”

Mattias looks at Khimi, “I am assuming that…he is your friend?” 

Khimi nods, “Something like that, I suppose.” A bit of color fills his cheeks. He notices Lumi’s look of disdain. “Well, maybe something more akin to his guardian…”

“Guardian…is it?” Mattias asks, his thick black tail swaying against the sandstone floor. “Either way, it doesn’t matter. The aslan caused a bit of a stir and was told he’d be taken for a prisoner and put into the arena…but I wasn’t expecting this.” He motions to Khimi. “How’s about you coming back to the arena? You put on such a show!” He cheers with an excited tapping of his feet. “The crowd hasn’t screamed that much in years. The violence in your eyes…the bloodlust,” he says with an air of eagerness while he sucks his teeth.

Lumi looks at Khimi, his ears twitching. “We’ve got a lot of stuff going on already…we’d like to leave.” 

Mattias laughs, “Little cub, whatever happened tonight…that was nothing that we arranged. Khimi interceded on your behalf. I’d hardly say you met any punishment at all. Maybe you should be punished though? Perhaps a public display? The people love a good lashing.” 

“What! That isn’t fair at all!” Lumi lashes out. 

“We can come to some sort of agreement, surely, Matti–”

Mattias silences Khimi with a raise of his hand, then rubs his chin, “I’d love to have you both in the arena…it could be like a regular show. Just imagine it.” His hands move expressively. “The lion and his shield!” 

Khimi scoffs, “Mattias…surely you can’t be serious.” 

Mattias leans forward, his yellow eyes peering into Khimi’s with a hungry gaze. “Dead serious. The Arena draws people to Betset, but what we need is this…this type of excitement. Imagine it! Just imagine how much wealth you could have!” 

Lumi covers his eyes and shakes his head, his ears wiggle in annoyance. “Khimi doesn’t need any more weal–”

Khimi grips the back of Lumi’s neck, “What he means is that…we’ve got our own business together. I took up the life of a merchant after the arena,” he says, turning to Lumi with raised brows. 

“What are you on about?” Mattias asks, his eyes darting between the two of them. “What’re you hiding?”

“Yeah, Khimi. What are you saying?” Lumi asks before the realization suddenly dawns on his face. “Oh yeah…we’ve recently started traveling through the Desert Cities together.”

“It’s a really hard business,” Khimi insists, gently placing his hand over Lumi’s shoulder. “And…Lumi left the temple to travel with me.” 

Mattias raises a brow. “Khimi…is this true, you’ve truly given up the sword and have become a mere merchant?” He asks, a smile flickers across the pantera’s mouth. “Hells, that is too funny to be true.” 

Khimi’s lips curl into a smile, “Right…so it’s been hard for us as is.”

“We were attacked by sahuagin, bandits, all sorts of nasty things!” Lumi nods in agreement. 

“If you’ve dealt with sahuagin, then you should consider yourselves extremely lucky to be alive,” Mattias mutters, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. “But, that makes this all the more exciting! See! You two were built for the are–”

“Mattias…I don’t mean to cut you off. But no.” 

Lumi claps his hands together, “I’m really sorry Mattias…but we have other plans,” he says, offering a generous bow of his head. 

The pantera’s face screws up. The chair falls to the ground behind him while he stands with a sudden flash of anger, “Were your plans to come into my arena and injure my men!? Cause a commotion!?” 

“No, that wasn’t the pla–”

“See! Plans can change. Now I am offering you both the chance of a lifetime to settle down here in Betset. You could put the life of the traveling merchant behind you an–”

“There are a lot of people waiting for us back home,” Khimi interrupts, his brow pinching. 

Mattias nods his head, “And where would home be exactly?” He asks, leaning over the table. 

“Sidi,” Khimi begins softly, tasting Mattias’ growing suspicions. 

“Rhaz!” Lumi says simultaneously. 

Mattias shakes his head, “You’re both terrible liars. I’ve dealt with liars and thieves for years! What are you hiding from me, Khimi?” 

Khimi rolls his eyes, “Are we done here?” 

“Please?” Lumi pleads. 

Mattias crosses his arms, “I suppose I couldn’t keep the champions of the arena prisoner. It would look bad for me…but if you cause any more commotion here. I’ll make sure you spend the rest of your days in Betset.” 

“Isn’t the winner usually given their freedom or a percentage of the earnings anyway?” Khimi asks, itching at the scar on his cheek. 

“You would remember that,” Mattias sneers, “But some things have changed…we make sure the real criminals never leave the arena.”

Lumi’s ears perk up, “Huh! Why’s that?” 

Mattias’ lips curl into a smile, “You want murderers wandering the streets?” 

“N-No, no one would want that,” Lumi whispers, then grabs hold of his tail. “So…how do you make sure they don’t leave the arena?” 

Khimi sighs, “I am assuming it’s some sort of set up?” 

“Precisely!” Mattias says cheerfully. His ears perk up at Khimi’s words. “In most situations…we poison the opponent’s weapons or make sure their weapons are of weaker craftsmanship.”

“Certainly…everyone must have figured this out?” 

“I am sure many citizens have figured out that when a true criminal appears in the arena…we make sure they never win,” Mattias replies with a shrug of his shoulders. “It would be a waste to just perform a public execution…when their life could serve some purpose. Funding Betset.” 

Lumi wrings the fur on his tail, “That almost soun–” 

His words are cut off, Khimi places his hand over Lumi’s mouth. “Sounds like a brilliant way to handle a tough situation.” 

“Right, well, we could just hang them outside the city gates, but it isn’t a good look, right?” 

Lumi attempts to speak, but his words are muffled by Khimi’s hand. 

“Let him speak.” 

Oh,” Khimi shoots a false smile, then continues, “It’s okay, he thinks you’re brilliant.”

Lumi pushes Khimi’s hand from his mouth, “I just said that it seems unfair to give them false hope!”

“It’s unfair…but at least the crowd receives entertainment, and it’s hardly as harsh as some other Desert Cities,” Khimi whispers. 

“How do you mean?” Lumi asks. He tugs on the arm of Khimi’s kaftan.

“Khimi has the right of it.”

Khimi puts his arm around Lumi, “Depending on the severity of your crime, you’ll oftentimes find death or servitude to be your only options. Thieves…well your hand will be removed or even a foot so you can no longer run. If you commit a crime in Sidi, depending on the ruling of the Saint of Balance or the paladins who enforce her authority, you might find yourself strapped to a pole in the burning desert heat. Outside the vineyards of Sidi are poles that remain to remind the citizens of what happens to criminals.”

“So there you have it,” Mattias says, crossing his arms. “Don’t do anything to upset the Order of Balance in Sidi.” 

Lumi shivers, “Do you think it’s alright we leave now?” He whispers to Khimi.  

“Mattias, if you need us, we’ll be in Betset for a few more days.”  

Mattias sighs, “Khimi, I hope I don’t need to see you…but I suppose you can both go for now.” 

“Thank you!” Lumi mutters, turning away. 

Khimi’s hand catches Lumi by the chest, turning him back to the smirking pantera. Khimi bows slightly and Lumi follows his movements. The pantera returns his seat behind the desk, slumping back into the chair with steepled fingers. Khimi places his hand on Lumi’s shoulders and marches him through the crowded slop and into the sandstone hallway. They give a brief greeting to the guards, passing them without meeting their eyes. They make their way through the maze-like passage. The maze seems endless and while Lumi walks ahead, Khimi pauses, noticing drops of blood dripping from Lumi’s hand. 


Lumi whimpers, “I am so sor–” 

In the darkness of the hallway, Khimi pushes Lumi against the wall. He grits his teeth in anger, his forehead pressed between Lumi’s ears. With a tight grip on Lumi’s shoulder, he shakes him with one hand and takes his wrist with the other. 

“Don’t ever do something so foolish again!” Khimi hisses angrily. 

 It wasn’t intentional!” Lumi pleads, looking up and down the hallway. His ears droop nervously. “I’m sorry!” 

Khimi’s anger shows in his eyes. “What if you died, Lumi? What if something happe–”

“It didn’t! Nothing happened!”

“But it could have, you stupid…stupid lion!” Khimi growls, lifting Lumi’s hand up. “And you’re bleeding.” 

Lumi looks up at the ceiling, his eyes shaking with the onset of tears, “It…wasn’t supposed to happen like that. I wasn’t thin–”

 “Damn right! You weren’t thinking,” Khimi whispers. “Don’t ever do this to me again. If Mattias found out who I am, he would have put me in a horrible position! He could ask for anything! Demand anything!!” 

“But he didn’t! Nothing bad happened!”

Khimi shakes Lumi hard, Lumi’s back hits against the sandstone , “But he could have. And you…were forced to kill again. And you’re hurt.” 

Lumi’s ears twitch, “It’s not the same…he was trying to kill me.” 

Khimi sighs and places a kiss on the slash across Lumi’s palm. “Don’t ever do this to me again…” 

Lumi’s whispers, his eyes still focused on the ceiling, “I’m sorry.” 

Khimi’s hand coils into Lumi’s hair, and he pulls the blond hair back. Staring deep into Lumi’s aetherial eyes. “Promise me.” 

“I-I can’t,” Lumi mutters under his breath. 

Khimi forces Lumi against the wall, pushing himself firmly against him. Beneath Khimi’s grip, Lumi squirms and pushes back against him, standing on the tips of his toes. His fingers scratch against the coarse stone walls while Khimi’s body brushes against him. Khimi’s hands move down Lumi’s body, grabbing the supple and soft skin of Lumi’s ass and pushing between the soft cheeks.

Lumi gasps, “Khimi,” he whispers, his cheek pressed against the sandstone. 

Khimi closes his eyes, “Why?” He asks, his fingers pushing aside the thin thong running between Lumi’s soft cheeks. “Why can’t you promise?”

“I just can’t,” Lumi mutters helplessly. “I wanna help people…I can’t sit by an–”

Khimi curses under his breath, his finger pushes against Lumi’s entrance, drawing out a gentle moan. “You’re supposed to be beholden to me…so act like it!” 

“I-I don’t understand,” Lumi whimpers. “Don’t you want to hel–”

“Not when it puts us in danger,” Khimi growls, and pushes himself over Lumi, his hips pressed tight. “Not when it puts you in danger.”

Lumi holds onto the wall and whimpers, “We weren’t in any rea–” He whispers softly before Khimi’s thick finger cuts him off. 

The thin string of fabric which makes up Lumi’s thong, slides along Khimi’s finger. He pushes inside Lumi with a constant back and forth motion, the heat of the boy’s warm insides fueling his want. The whip-like tail swats and slaps against Khimi’s abdomen as if to push him away, yet Lumi’s body hungrily pulls at him, sucking him in. Gradually he thrusts in a second finger, slowing his movements until both fingers are pressing firm against the soft walls. 

Lumi breathes against the wall, his legs tremble beneath him. “T-The guards,” he murmurs quietly. 

Khimi scoffs and leans forward, one hand grasping Lumi’s shoulder. “You like putting us in dangerous situations,” he whispers in response, the soft squelch of his fingers entering Lumi echoes through the stone hallways. 

A smirk comes across Lumi’s lips while he pants against the wall, “You’re hard,” he mumbles, trying to look back, only to be pushed back against the wall. 

“As if I could finger your ass without getting hard,” Khimi growls, pushing his fingers to the knuckle. 

Lumi’s ass grips them tight, and Khimi stumbles over the thought of his cock pushing inside. He can feel his girth pushing against the fabric of his sarouel, his movements growing increasingly fueled by desire.  Understanding Khimi’s desire, Lumi reaches back and fumbles with the string of his loincloth. His nails tease and pull at the knot in a bestial fury until the heavy black fabric drops to the floor between his legs.

Khimi’s body shudders with desire, devouring the sight before him. Lumi’s back is arched, his forearms and hands flat against the wall, his head resting on the back of his hands. With his toes on their points, his body moves in response each time Khimi’s fingers knead against his insides. 

Lumi whimpers and moans, his concern for guards or danger seemingly forgotten. 

“We could be charged with a crime…if we’re caught,” Khimi whispers with a teasing confidence. 

Lumi chuckles against the back of his hand, “We won’t get caught.” 

Khimi laughs and pushes his fingers in deeper, a moan ringing out throughout the empty halls. “You think?” He whispers at the back of Lumi’s head. “With all these noises you’re making…I’m shocked the guards haven’t already come running.” 

“I’m not that loud,” Lumi whispers, and heaves his hips back against Khimi’s fingers. 

Khimi releases Lumi’s shoulder and pulls upwards on his tail, bringing out a yelp. “Oh?” He asks with a smug confidence. 

Lumi whimpers, the boyish body shaking in surprise, “D-Don’t p-pull my tail s-so hard,” he breathes against his hands. 

Khimi releases Lumi’s tail and drags his waistband down, the thick girth bursts upward and slaps against Lumi’s rear. The bulky tip throbs, hot and hard against Lumi’s soft cheeks. “I thought you liked it when I’m rough with you,” he rasps, jerking his fingers from within Lumi and gripping the base of his nodding cock. “Lift your hips,” he urges, before he takes hold of Lumi’s waist and pulls them upwards. 

Already on the tips of his toes, Lumi tries to edge backwards, raising his waist as high as it can go. “I can’t go any higher.” 

“Here,” Khimi grumbles, his hand pressing along Lumi’s inner thigh and guiding him backwards. Lumi’s bare feet step on the top of Khimi’s babouches. Sweat forms across Khimi’s brow, and he moves with alarming speed to remove his kaftan. The jacket falls to the floor behind him, several of the golden buttons pulled out of place in his haste. 

“You’re too tall,” Lumi says, trying to thrust his hips back. 

Khimi grumbles and grabs Lumi’s waist with one hand, “Or, you’re too small,” he says with a bend of his knees. Awkwardly, he forces the tip against the smooth, warm entrance. 

Echoing his sentiment, the sight before him fuels him with primitive lust. His cock rests between Lumi’s cheeks and over his lower back. It seems as if it could pierce Lumi’s stomach from this angle, and the thought only serves to stir his desire further. The turgid length drips precum over Lumi’s backside before he pushes it back against the winking hole. Set in place, Khimi grabs hold of Lumi’s hands and holds them tight against the wall, his hips smash with a soft wet clap against Lumi’s ass. 

A gasp leaves Khimi’s lips. Lumi’s insides had become his heaven. Those warm walls grip his cock while he pushes deeper inside, forcing Lumi to accommodate the entirety of him in one biting thrust. A pained mewl leaves Lumi’s lips, and he fights against Khimi’s grip to cover his mouth. Khimi tightens his hold over Lumi’s hands and begins to move his hips vigorously, each thrust pressing against Lumi’s most sensitive parts. Khimi’s fingers squeeze over Lumi’s and push them flat against the sandstone wall. As Khimi hilts himself, Lumi’s tail brushes against his abdomen. For a moment, he loses himself to the pleasure. His eyes closed, he pauses and savors the warmth surrounding his girth, the tight walls squeezing and pressing on him, milking him with unrestrained hunger. 

“I can hear p-people walking in the distance,” Lumi whispers quickly. 

Khimi smiles and releases Lumi’s hands. His fingers trace along the lines of Lumi’s body, pausing on the small beauty marks on his shoulder and rear. His fingers grip around the thin waist and lift him slightly. “Are you scared?” He mocks quietly. “I thought aslan were supposed to be fearless.” 

Lumi breathes heavily, his arms supporting him against the wall. His toes struggle to keep against the stone. “Y-You’re gonna fuck me off the ground?” He whines under his breath. 

“You’ll like it,” Khimi hums at Lumi’s back. “I promise.” 

“Promises,” Lumi groans, lowering his head. 

The force of his thrusts are almost unbearable for Lumi, and Khimi knows that this could only last for a few more moments. 

Lumi whimpers, his voice filled with a mixture of pain and pleasure. “Khimi,” he begs, his body trembling with each thrust. “Hurry.”

Khimi chuckles dangerously, his smile almost maniacal. He pulls out almost fully, and then slams back in with even more force. “Why would I want to do that?” he growls, the tension building in his body. “Too much for you?”

Lumi can do nothing but moan in response. His hands are still pinned to the wall, his fingers white from Khimi’s grip. He lets out a strangled cry, and Khimi continues to pump into him, his cock slamming into Lumi’s ass with an intensity that makes him forget any thought of being caught. He feels like he’s floating, his body lost in a sea of pleasure that he can’t escape. His cock, hard and pulsing with need, throbs with each of Khimi’s thrust, the pleasure so intense it borders on pain.

Khimi, too, is caught up in the feverish moment. His eyes are closed, and his face is twisted with want. He continues to thrust into Lumi, his body moving in sync with the rhythm of their lovemaking. 

The labyrinth echoes with their cries, filling the empty halls with the sounds of their passion. Khimi’s body trembles, and he feels the familiar sensation of his orgasm building within him. His cock, pulsing and hard with both Lumi’s tight entrance, is near to erupting with pleasure. 

“Lumi,” he groans, “I’m close.”

Lumi’s body responds to his words, his hips bucking up to meet Khimi’s thrusts. “Do it, Khimi,” he whispers, his voice almost a plea. “I wanna feel it inside.”

With a roar of passion, Khimi thrusts one final time, his cock sliding deep into Lumi’s ass. He holds himself there for a moment, savoring the feeling of Lumi’s tight muscles milking him. Then, with a grunt, he spills his seed deep within Lumi, his thick cock twitching inside.

Lumi arches his back, his fingernails scraping over the sandstone wall. He releases a guttural cry while, wave after wave of pure ecstasy, wash over him, his body shaking with each powerful contraction. Khimi reaches down, grabbing Lumi’s hips, and begins to thrust into him more shallowly, savoring the feeling of his cock being milked by the boy’s tight hole.

“Oh, f-fuck,” Khimi groans, his voice hoarse with desire. “You feel too good, Lumi.”

Lumi pants, his breath ragged and heavy. “K-Khimi,” he whispers, a note of fear creeping into his voice. “Do you hear someone coming?”

Khimi grunts, pulling Lumi’s hips harder against him. “I don’t care,” he growls. “I just want to feel you.”

For a brief moment, their eyes lock, a mixture of lust and fear in their gaze. Khimi’s eyes are dark and fierce, and Lumi’s eyes are dilated, lost in the haze. They continue to move together, Khimi’s cock sliding in and out of Lumi’s ass with a wet slap, the sound echoing through the empty halls.

Lumi’s tail, now free from Khimi’s grasp, snakes around his back, pulling against in the small of Khimi’s back. Khimi’s strong hands grip Lumi’s hips, pulling him back onto his cock with a rough thrust. Lumi cries out, his voice high with a mix of pleasure and pain.

Khimi does not reply, his breath ragged and eyes locking onto Lumi’s, a fierce desire burning throughout him. He thrusts harder, driving deeper into Lumi’s body, the slick sound of their bodies meeting the only sound in the deserted hallway.

Lumi’s moans turn to cries, his very being is being consumed by the fierce, relentless animalistic need that seems to have taken over them both. Khimi, his face twisted in ecstasy, can’t help but growl.

With one final, powerful thrust, Khimi’s mind shatters, his entire being consumed by the overwhelming pleasure of the moment. He cries out, his voice thick with passion, curses leaving his lips. His seed surges into Lumi, coating his insides in warm, viscous liquid. Lumi lets out a whimper, his cock swelling and thickening at the sensation of Khimi’s essence filling him.

Khimi, spent and breathless, pulls out of Lumi slowly. Lumi’s hole twitches and pulses, still gripping tightly to Khimi’s length, reluctant to let go. Khimi pants quietly, his nails burrowing into Lumi’s waist. Lumi’s insides drag him back inside and cause a hitch in his breath. He had no idea someone could be this soft.

Fuck, you’re so warm,” he growls between his teeth. 

Lumi pants against the wall, breathless. “K-Khi–” He begins, stammering to find words. His cock twitches, Khimi’s cum leaks down his inner thigh. 

Khimi chuckles, his knees bent slightly. His hand traces along Lumi’s back, then into his hair. With a hearty tug, he brings Lumi against himself and forces him to meet his gaze. Lumi stands on the tips of his toes while their lips meet, Khimi’s cock still filling him. Lumi’s breath is intoxicating, and Khimi can not help but force his tongue back into Lumi’s cheek. His fingers spread against the wall, holding him upright. Khimi clings to Lumi forcefully and feels along his abdomen, filled with his seed. 

“Mo-More,” Lumi pants between their kisses, his eyes reflecting the light back at Khimi.