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Gareth rode through the streets of the forested Elven capital. The enormous trees in which the elves made their homes shaded the entire city, bathing it in a perpetual twilight that was only amplified by the orange autumn leaves. The elves only saw the noonday sun in the winter, when the massive trees were bare. The elves themselves peered out at him, their reflective eyes visible even in the darker windows.

Gareth knew very little about elves, and evidently so had the diplomats that selected him for the mission. While not landed he was a distant relative of the Emperor, and with his yellow hair and blue eyes he’d been told they hoped that his fair looks would perhaps make diplomacy with the elves easier, the idea being that he would look similar to them. These elves looked nothing like what he’d been told though, they had grey skin, piercing red eyes, and shock white hair, if not for the pointed ears he wouldn’t have thought them elves at all.

The streets seemed to clear as he rode through them, he’d been told humans were rare here but… the way people looked at him, it was like they half expected him to bear fangs and attack them. He had been promised to them as a warrior, maybe they wondered at his lack of armor? He wore a simple wool coat, brass buttons tracing across his torso, instead of lance and broadsword like the knights of old he carried a simple saber, along with a pair of heavy flintlock pistols. The elves wouldn’t know their use but a few grenades were tucked away in his saddlebags as well, though he hoped he wouldn’t need them.

Finally, he came to the palace, a large tree in the center of the city that towered over the others. Partially hollowed and covered in external dwellings it was an impressive piece of architecture, almost alien from the stone towers and cathedrals of his own homeland.

He was brought to the Queen without any issue, there couldn’t be any mistaking him for the human emissary they’d been expecting. The queen herself was taller than her subjects, with long white hair and longer robes that obscured most of her figure. She rose to greet him and seemed to glide across the throne room.

“Gareth von Berger,” she said in an almost melodic voice, “It pleases me to see the Empire send you on such short notice… but I must ask, are you all that has come?”

“I am my lady,” he said, a bit confused, “I was told that you had merely requested a demonstration of arms.”

Her lips pursed, “I requested military aid, there seems to have been… an error in communication.”

His heart picked up suddenly, had someone attacked the Elves? Was their alliance about to be tested by war? The Elven queen gave a sigh that could only be disappointment as she turned back to sit on her throne.

“Worry not,” she said, waving a hand at his fearful expression, “We are not at war. For many years now a great beast has stalked the swamps south of the city, I had hoped to have your Empire’s soldiers dispatch it. Such an action would surely impress my people and perhaps quiet doubts about this alliance.”

Not a war then, but high stakes all the same. He thought a minute while the queen regarded him in silence.

“A beast is better work for a hunter rather than an army,” he said slowly, “Perhaps I could slay this creature for you?”

The queen raised an eyebrow, “Do you have such faith in your skill at arms that you think this is possible? The creature is immune to magic.”

“Human militaries do not use magic your majesty,” he said, “gunpowder weapons have proven quite effective on even the most dangerous creatures.”

“Indeed,” the Queen mused, “the swamps are quite impassible…”

“I’ve tracked bear through the northern forests,” he insisted. “A bit of rough living will not deter me.”

“Very well,” the Queen said with a smile that made him slightly uncomfortable, “but while my commitment to friendship with your Emperor is strong my court does not feel the same. Depending on the outcome of this attempt our alliance may be… reconsidered.”

And that was how Gareth had found himself at the city’s edge, staring out into leagues of swampland, dotted here and there with the same immense trees the elves lived in, though he understood these to simply be wild growth.

“What a strange land,” he muttered.

“I’ve been to your human cities,” a woman’s voice came from behind him, “the air grows so cold the rain itself freezes, and you have the gall to call trees unnatural.”

He turned to see a short elf, coming up to his chest. She had a bow slung over her shoulder. She wore a hooded robe, and her belt was covered in small pouches.

“I am Romla Starlight, I will serve as your guide in the swamps,” she growled, “try not to die until we locate the creature.”

There was a sudden flash of crimson and a small figure landed on Romla’s shoulder, it was a short haired woman, a few inches high, with pink skin and fluttering wings. She had a dress seemingly woven out of small leaves and flower petals.

“I’m Sky!” she said excitedly, twirling in place and causing a shower of gold dust to coat Romla’s shoulder.

“Pleased to meet you,” he said, regarding the pixy. He’d heard the elven rangers worked with them, but it was strange to see one in person. She was so small…

He blinked, “Right, well I’m sure you know this already but I’m Sir Gareth, but when we’re in the field forget the Sir,” he hoped the informality would soften them a bit but the two just stared at him. He moved on quickly, “What can you tell me about this monster we’re after, a dragon perhaps? An owlbear?”

“A dragon,” Sky mocked his deep voice, “An owlbear!” Romla and the pixy shared a laugh for a minute while he fumed.

“Well then what are we dealing with?” he spat.

“Spider,” Romla said, “80 feet tall, maybe more.”

“A-A spider?” he asked nervously. He didn’t care for the creatures, he didn’t think any sane person did. He collected himself, “It’s no matter,” he insisted, “we’ll find it and put a lead ball through it’s brain.” He briefly wondered if spiders had brains. Surely they had something that you could shoot at and kill them instantly right? He’d only ever stepped on them… 80 feet tall? He’d load his guns with extra powder he told himself, they were good enough for dragons, he knew that much.

“An Arachne to be precise,” Romla said, “has a torso like common folk, and a lower half like a spider.”

“Is she intelligent?” he asked warily. A giant beast was one thing, a giant thinking creature was another matter.

“Of course not,” Romla said dismissively, “just because some of her looks like a woman doesn’t mean she is one. We’ll kill her as easily as anything else”

Romla and Sky were hanging back as they set out. As the day dragged on he found himself peeking back at them. They met his gaze icily, talking in hushed tones among themselves. He suddenly felt very aware of their eyes on his back and wondered if his simple cavalry jacket was a good idea. Why were his two guides so insistent on hanging behind him? Shouldn’t they lead the way?

He decided to try to ease his nerves by setting out a bit farther ahead of them, and told them he was simply scouting further ahead. Neither objected, but he realized his error when he realized he could no longer easily see them by just peering back.

“Hi!” came a cheerful female voice. His hand flew to his pistol and he looked for the source.

“Down here!” he peered down slowly to see what looked like a young woman’s head sticking out of a deeper part of the stagnant water, her long wet green hair pooled around her. She giggled slightly at his startled reaction. She looked… human? No, it couldn’t be, ho human had hair that color.

“A-are you a mermaid?” he asked cautiously.

“Nope!” she said in that same cheerful tone. She raised up out of the water, revealing a buxom pair of breasts barely contained by a hide top, and then below her hips the long scaly body of a snake, a vibrant green pattern ran down her scales. He realized now as he looked at her closely that she had slitted eyes, and a pair of pointed ears that lead to just a small strip of scales down the side of her cheeks, standing out from the more human looking skin. Seeing his fear she seemed to tease him by sticking out a tongue that was long and decidedly forked.

“Lamia!” he shouted, though he wasn’t sure to who. He drew the pistol and cocked it, the beast seemed confused, evidently firearms hadn’t yet been seen in this part of the world. For his part this was the first Lamia he’d ever seen, though he’d heard tales of their attacks on other kingdoms. They were said to be quite vicious… He tried to watch her without making eye contact, could they really entrance you or was that just a rumor?

“Wow, you are cute male,” she mused, slithering in circles around him, “You’re not an elf, what are you?”

“Human,” he answered nervously. He was beginning to get worried, up close he realized just how large the proportions of her body were… the human part would have made her at least nine feet tall had she stood on a set of legs to match… but that slithering tail that followed her? He wasn’t even sure how long it was. He realized that while he’d traced her torso with his pistol he’d been encircled by the scaly appendage. He had a sudden image of those coils going tight, easily crushing the life out of him.

The lamia saw his realization and smiled, “Try to relax,” she said sweetly, “let’s lower the weapon and just have a chat.”

“No,” he said, keeping his aim steady on her chest.

She shrugged, “The elf and the pixy are going to kill you, you know that right?”

He started, but tried not to give away his nervousness.

“You lie!” he spat.

“I’ve been stalking all three of you for hours,” the Lamia said, “I’ve heard them talking, the elf was going to put an arrow in your back but they’re worried about someone finding your body.” She blushed a bit, “I was thinking… maybe you could just come with me and be my husband? Then they won’t kill you, you’ll be out of their hair, everyone wins!”

His brow furrowed, “Everyone? What about me?”

The Lamia seemed slightly uncomfortable and the blush deepened, “Oh… Do you not think I’m pretty?”

THAT was not the question he’d expected. The tense coils waiting just a few feet from him seemed to slacken a bit. He felt his own hand waver at such a mundane question, for a minute she seemed less like a monster and more like a girl.

“Of course you’re… pretty,” he said hesitantly, “prettiest girl I’ve seen!” For her top half at least it was true.

Her eyes lit up, “Oh that’s great! I’m Phoebe by the way, you’ll need to know your new wife’s name. I think I heard them say yours was Gareth? Is that right?”

“Yes,” he said, raising the pistol slowly again, “Listen Phoebe, I’m not looking for… marriage right now.”

“Oh has the human found love?” Romla’s smug voice called. She walked out of the reeds, bow drawn to it’s fullest and an arrow at the ready. Sky perched on her shoulder and gave him a mocking wave. “It’s fitting that such a dirty creature would go courting swamp filth.”

“Romla!” he shouted, “There’s a Lamia, help me chase it-“

He had a split second to dodge the arrow before it whizzed by his head. The Lamia cried out in surprise and as quickly as it had come it dived back into the water with hardly a splash. With a growl he turned his pistol and fired, but Romla had already dived for cover herself.

He was about to bring his other pistol to bear when a pink blur flew around his face. He felt a sudden itching as gold dust began falling onto him. The world seemed to stretch and he gasped in shock as the ferns and swampland grew bigger around him. His clothes began to feel looser, and with a start he realized his pistol was far too heavy. His head disappeared down into his jacket and soon he was left trying to navigate the collapsing tent of his own clothes.

“Got him!” the pixy cheerfully called.

He heard Romla chuckle, and from her voice it sounded like she was moving closer, “Ah, that peculiar human reaction to pixy dust. It never gets old!” He saw a grey skinned hand larger than an ox reach down through the neck of his coat and begin fishing around for him.

With a gasp he tried to run out through the sleeve, and as he made contact with the open air he had the uncomfortable realization that he was naked.

“There he goes!” the pixy shouted, fluttering over him. He almost groaned in despair when he realized the pixy was probably bigger than him now.

With a few casual footsteps Romla caught him, and he was gripped in her calloused hand roughly and lifted up to her face.

Red eyes the size of wagon wheels regarded him with amusement, “Oh look at that, he’s so cute when he’s at a nice manageable size… I wish all humans could be like this.”

“Me too,” Sky said with a smirk, landing on her partner’s shoulder, “but it takes a ton of pixy dust to pull a shrinking curse off.”

“W-Why?” he asked, terrified.

“A lot of people are upset with the queen’s decision to ally your little empire,” The elf remarked, posing his arms and gingerly pinching his legs. “Not just in our court, yours too. Didn’t you wonder why they sent you alone instead of with a whole battalion of soldiers like the Queen wanted?” She grinned, “the story that will be told tomorrow is that the queen asked her new allies for help, they sent one stupid boy, and he immediately wandered into the swamps and got himself killed.”

“B-but we were supposed to be allies!” he protested, “Friends!”

Romla rolled her eyes, “I hate humans Gareth, and alliance with you will just mean that someday our trees will be cut down and you’ll be selling that awful swill your people drink on our street corners. The commoners might be fooled but plenty of the nobles see it the same way. After this fiasco they’ll easily move on the queen and then we’ll put someone with some sense on the throne.”

“That just leaves the question of what to do with you!” Sky said eagerly, “Oh step on him Romla! Please? I want to see him go squish!”

“An amusing idea,” the elf mused, toying with his naked form some more, “but I’d sooner step in manure than in human.” A devious grin slowly traced across her face, “No, I think I’d like to just leave you out here…”

Sky frowned, “Romla what-“

“Humans have such a hatred for nature,” Romla said, “but I think that nature is more than a match for a naked human a few inches tall, don’t you?”

“They are kind of pathetic at this size,” Sky agreed, fluttering her wings once, “he wouldn’t last ten minutes out here in the wild before becoming someone’s lunch.”

“I think that’s a more fitting end, it’ll be slow and humiliating,” Romla said, “Maybe the Lamia will get hungry and come back? Goodbye Gareth!”

With that he was flung through the air as if he were a skipped rock. Screaming he watched the reeds and mud below him and descended with a splash into the murky swampwater. Coughing and sputtering he fought his way to the surface, treading water he looked up in horror at the swamp plants that now towered overhead. His heart raced as he looked at the water, realizing he couldn’t see more than a few inches in any direction. They were right, he’d be easy pickings for any of the creatures in this swamp. In a panic he began to swim for the muddy shore.

He heard the water move behind him, what was that? A fish? A frog? His adrenaline surged and he swam faster than he ever had before. He felt despair set in, how long could he really survive at this size?

The sound from behind him grew louder and with a final grunt he threw himself forward, scurrying up into the mud. Panting he turned around, praying to whatever gods were listening that whatever creature pursued him couldn’t follow… and he was greeted by the smiling face of the Lamia from earlier.

“HI again!” she said in that same cheerfully oblivious tone. With her head sticking out of the water she looked down at him, her massive face casting a shadow over his heaving form. She frowned, taking in his small form. “Wow,” she said, “looks like the pixy really did a number on you.”

“Y-yes,” he breathed, holding an arm up in front of his face in a futile protective gesture, “The pixy… Listen Phoebe, if you help me I can give you gold-“

“They just shrank you and left you out here?” she asked, peering around.

“The elf wants me to die at nature’s hands,” he said angrily, “I think she wanted something out here to… eat me.”

The Lamia crawled out of the water towards him slightly, exposing more of her torso, “They wouldn’t have to wait long,” she said with a grin, “you’re the size of a mouse!” Her forked tongue flickered out, “I wonder if the normal rodent hunting tricks would work on you…”

“P-Phoebe?” he rasped fearfully.

She just started slowly moving towards him. He scrambled to his feet and backed away, but every time he changed direction her entire face would match move with him. He realized he was being corralled, but as she licked her lips playfully he realized that if he bolted in one direction she’d easily be on him. He was thinking over his options when his back hit a rock, he sucked in a breath involuntarily as a smug expression danced across Phoebe’s face. He flinched as her tongue flicked out and lightly danced over him, tickling his face slightly.

“Yum, WAY tastier than a mouse,” she said quietly, “Now, look right up here.” She pointed to her eyes, and not sure what option he had, he did.

“Relax,” she said in a soft voice, “just keep looking, focus on my eyes…”

He began to feel… softheaded, like he was tired almost. She edged closer, and he could feel panic somewhere, but it was like it was muted… in another room maybe.

“Tell me I’m the prettiest girl in the world,” Phoebe said, fighting the urge to giggle

“You’re the prettiest girl in the world,” he droned, and she was, if he thought about it.

“Prettier than a human woman,” Phoebe said, “Or an elf!”

“Much prettier than a human or an elf,” he agreed, he blinked and tried to gather his thoughts, was that right? An enormous finger pushed under his chin and gently guided his gaze back up to her eyes.

“Now Gareth,” she said in a saccharine tone, “don’t you want to climb into my mouth?” she asked, “it’s the prettiest mouth in the world…”

“Yes!” he breathed, it just made sense, why wouldn’t he? It would be warm and safe in there, Phoebe was warm and safe…

Phoebe opened her mouth, and like a cavern it stretched before him. He took a step forward and it was like he was walking on a cloud. Her tongue flicked out and danced over him again, and he relished the feeling as he took a second step forward, he lifted a foot to step in and-

Phoebe giggled, and it was like glass shattering. Gareth looked in horror at the giant Lamia’s face, then at the mouth he’d been about to happily clamber in to.

“By the gods!” he breathed, leaping back, “MONSTER!”

Phoebe sighed, before he could run far her hand snatched him up and squeezed him tightly in her soft fingers.

“Almost had it,” she grumbled, “I’m pretty good at the eye thing but obviously it still needs work.”
“Don’t eat me!” He begged, all dignity flying away, “please, I can get you gold! Weapons! Whatever you-

“I’m not going to eat you!” she laughed, “just calm down okay? I really wanted to try my trance on you! I hardly ever get to practice it on people.”

“Calm down?” He asked incredulously. Was she serious? “You just tried to get me to jump in your mouth! You’ve been… TASTING me!”

“Look, you’re my husband now so I think a little tasting is okay,” she said dismissively.

Husband? He didn’t know a lot about Lamias, but he knew they were rather infamous for kidnapping men, and the treatment of those men could be… unpleasant. He’d also heard they were savages, attacking without warning and without mercy. Phoebe was... there was no shaking it, he was terrified of her, but savage? No, she wasn’t that at least.

“Phoebe,” he began slowly, he thought how best to proceed. “You were right, my companions betrayed me. I need to get back to the Elven city to warn their queen, there is a conspiracy against her, and possibly my emperor as well.”

“Oh yeah they were a pair of snakes!” she said. Seeing his expression at the idiom she giggled, “the mean kind, not the cute fun kind. I went and got my bow to help you but by the time I got back they were gone and you were tiny.”

“I’m glad you came back,” he said, “it was very… nice of you, but I need you to get me to the city, or at least to someone who can help.”

“Nope,” she said, beginning to slither along the muddy ground. “No more elf stuff, they’re mean and they already shrank you…” She regarded him a moment and grinned, “Although I kind of like you better at this size. Much more manageable, and super cute! Perfect husband material.”

“Phoebe I need to find a way to get back to normal,” he protested. “And we need to talk about this husband thing-“

She froze, “W-what do you mean talk about it?” She asked, “I’ve got you, you’re in my hand! We’re going to go back to the village.”

“That’s not how marriage works,” he explained, “Not for humans anyway, you can’t just grab someone and say you’re married!”

“So what else do I need?” She asked thoughtfully, “I’m a civilized Lamia you know, our whole tribe is, see we even have clothes!” she pointed to the strip of hide that was barely covering her breasts and the small skirt around her waist.

“Both people have to agree for starters,” he said, “and usually the eh, man asks the er… woman.”

Her fingers released him and he suddenly found himself dangling from one arm, pinched between her thumb and forefinger. He was held directly in front of her face while she regarded him with a shrewdness he hadn’t expected.

“Okay then ask me,” she said.

“I don’t want to!” he tried to cover his groin with his free hand, but swaying from her fingers it was difficult. “This is ridiculous, YOU are being ridiculous!” he swore, “the fate of two nations is hanging in the balance and I’m the prisoner of an idiot!”

Her expression grew dark and he was suddenly very aware of his small size. She casually tossed him into the air, causing him to flail in panic as she caught him again in her open palm. Her tail coiled under her, and she looked very much like a cobra ready to strike.

“Gareth,” she said venomously, “That was not a nice thing to say to someone who came back to help you, wife or no.” Her eyes flashed and her mouth opened slightly as she hissed angrily.

“I’m sorry!” he shouted, “It’s just… I need to do what I can Phoebe, there could be a war, thousands could die!”

She softened, “Very dutiful,” she mused, “thinking of your responsibilities after the day you’ve had. Definitely perfect husband material, the other girls in the village are going to be so jealous.”

“We’re not married-“ he started again, but she raised a giant finger and pushed it to his mouth, or rather his entire face, silencing him.

“Ask me to marry you,” she said, “and I’ll get you back to your normal size.” She paused a minute and sighed, “If you want to, I’ll even help you with this thing with the elves, because that’s what a good wife would do.”

Gareth looked up at the giant Lamia’s face and suddenly felt very helpless. She seemed smug as the unspoken realization passed between them that he really had no choice.

Defeated, he got on one knee. He didn’t really have a girl he’d hoped to marry admittedly, and he hand’t thought of marriage much… but he’d never imagined his proposal would be given at a few inches tall, in the palm of a woman who was half snake.

“Phoebe,” he said slowly, almost looking for any remaining way out, “Will you… marry… me.”

“Yes of course Gareth!” she said, and he was suddenly snuggled to her cheek. He sighed in defeat as he was traced gently across her skin, making contact with the few scales that reached her cheek briefly.

“Great,” he muttered, “Well now that we’re husband and wife, you mentioned you knew how to get me back to my normal size?” If he could get that he could escape the Lamia, this whole thing would just be a bad dream… a misadventure.

“I can’t” she admitted, “But the Matriarch can! She’s really smart, she taught us all about civilization and gave us rules and stuff.”

His brow furrowed, “Is this… Matriarch a Lamia as well?” It seemed odd for one of the snakes to be so concerned with civilization and law, Lamia were savages… weren’t they?

“Well duh,” Phoebe said, “She’s the world’s smartest Lamia, we all think so anyway. Come on, let’s go see if the elf took any of your stuff.”

She gently placed him between her breasts, tightening her top slightly so they pressed against him and held him in place. They were soft, and he felt himself blushing as he realized that Phoebe was actually… well there was no denying it, she WAS a pretty girl, the parts of her that were human anyway.

As they approached the site of his betrayal, he was overjoyed to see that Romla and Sky hadn’t touched his things, his pack was still there, as were his weapons. Phoebe began gathering up his clothes and tossing them into his backpack. She stopped and looked over the weapons.

“So this made that boom sound?” She asked, hefting the pistol. She held it in her hands like a toy, reminding him again that even at his normal height Phoebe would have dwarfed him. He suddenly had a nervous thought, what if Phoebe expected him to consummate the marriage once she returned him to full size? What if… what if she didn’t intend to wait until then?

He swallowed nervously and tried to push the thought away, “Yes,” he said, “It fires a lead ball at very high speeds.”

She shrugged and tossed it in the pack with the rest, only pausing to pick up his fur hat.

“I’m keeping this!” she said excitedly, she loosened a small strap on the inside and it just barely was able to fit on her head.

“That was a gift,” he protested, “When I graduated officer’s school-“

“And now it’s a gift for your new wife!” she said, “Thanks honey!” she looked down at where he was, trapped with her breasts, and blew him a quick kiss. “All the other girls at the village are going to love it!”

The Lamia covered ground quickly, slithering over the muddy ground and through the shallow water. He was struck by just how easily she navigated the terrain, which had given him and the elf difficulties. She covered more distance in the space of an hour than his party had in an entire day, and so quietly too. It was no wonder she’d been able to stalk and spy on them so easily.

“So you’re a soldier huh?” Phoebe asked. “The Matriarch says soldiers travel a lot, you’ve probably seen some interesting places.”

“Yes, I’ve seen every great city in the Empire,” he said, “The isles, the northern wastes, this was my first time in the Elven Kingdom though…”

“Don’t worry you’ll get to see more of it,” Phoebe said reassuringly, “I mean, we’ll probably live here with the other Lamias but I’ll travel with you now and then so you don’t get bored.”

“Thanks,” he said hesitantly. It made him uncomfortable that she was already planning an entire life for them… he almost felt bad about it, he was still planning to flee the moment he was his normal size.

After another hour of travel they came to a series of teepee style tents on one of the swamp’s larger islands. As they got closer he saw a number of other Lamia moving around. They all were about Phoebe’s size, anywhere from 8 to 10 feet tall in their human parts, with lengthy snake bodies trailing behind. Another thing that struck him was the variety of colors, all of them had vibrant scales matching their hair. There were blues, deep reds, greens like Phoebe, and he saw a silver one that almost seemed to shimmer as she slithered past them.

This confused him. While he’d never encountered them himself the Lamia race was a common hazard faced in some parts of the Empire, and he’d been given a short course on them as part of his officer training. They could talk to be sure, but he’d always heard they were just a step above beasts. They were supposed to be tribal, and the instructors had told him to expect up to a dozen but no more. They were also nomadic, always trying to kidnap compatible race’s males. Seeing hundreds of them together, in a settlement no less, was unheard of.

He realized that they all seemed to be congregating near a larger tent that overshadowed every other one in the village.

“Phoebe,” he asked, “What’s going on?”

“Oh it’s speech night!” she said excitedly, “And we’re back just in time for it!”

“Speech night?” he asked.

“It’s when the Lessie, the Matriarch, comes out to talk to us!” she said. She was so excited she was practically bouncing, and from his spot in her cleavage he struggled not to fall deeper in.

The Lamia were all gathering in an open area in front of the big tent he’d seen earlier. They were all chattering excitedly, Phoebe found a spot near the back and he suddenly found himself thankful that the other Lamias didn’t seem to notice him tucked away in her shirt.

A series of drums began a steady rhythm as the crowd grew more animated. After a few minutes a curtain pulled back on the big tent and the largest Lamia he’d seen yet slithered forward to uproarious cheering.

This one was a ruby red, and in the evening light the her scales reflected brilliantly, as did her short crimson hair. She stood easily above the other Lamias, he had to guess she was at least twice Phoebe’s already large size, and while most of them appeared to be around his age this one looked a bit older… middle age maybe? Her clothes were nicer too, while most of the Lamia had hide tunics or simple cloth dresses this one wore a black dress that HAD to have been woven by someone with some skill.

“Good evening sisters!” she said loudly, holding up a hand to wave at them. “Settle down now,” she laughed, quieting the crowd.

“Today I think we should talk about The Rules,” she said, “And why we follow them.” She gave a dramatic sigh, “I know some of you have been questioning The Rules, wondering why you can’t just go off and be bad lamias…”

There was some murmuring, followed by some very snakelike hissing. With a start he realized Phoebe had been one of those doing the hissing.

“But remember though sisters!” she said with a smile, “The Gods gave us the Rules, the Rules are what make us civilized!” She slithered forward slightly, gesturing with her hands. “We don’t eat anything that talks, we don’t steal from each other, we help each other, look at this village we’ve built thanks to the Rules!”

The snake-women cheered and the Matriarch, Lessie Phoebe had said her name was, nodded in approval. She gestured to the crowed as she continued.

“No other Lamia have villages like this,” she said, “with clothes and a street, and a campfire EVERY night!” She paused to let them clap again, then she gave a slow smile, “And sisters, what will we get if we follow all of The Rules? If we are civilized?” She asked.

“Husbands!” the snakes all cheered in unison.

“That’s right!” the Matriarch said triumphantly, “Handsome and caring husbands, they’ll cook you food, they’ll rub your scales when you are sore, they’ll brush your hair!” She was working the crowd up into a frenzy, “They’ll make love to you ALL NIGHT LONG!”

As the crowd went wild Gareth had a sinking feeling. The empire comprised many religions, and he was in good standing with the Church of course, as any member of the nobility had to be. Other peoples had their own gods or customs, and he didn’t begrudge them that, but he’d seen things similar to this before. Charismatic individuals claiming to speak for the gods, promising rewards, whipping people up…

This wasn’t so much a Lamia village as it was a Lamia cult.

“And when your husbands get here-“

“When is that going to be?” Someone shouted from the back of the crowd. It was like glass shattering. Suddenly the previously cheering crowd was quiet. The Lamia matriarch went from jubilation to sudden nervousness.

“W-Well you see-“ she began.

“It’s been years Lessie!” another one shouted, “We can’t just keep waiting.”

There was some grumbling among the crowd now, Phoebe pulled him out of her top and clutched him nervously. Absently she was stroking the top of his head.

“You’ll all get husbands-“ Lessie promised, “Just follow the Rules!”

“Nobody has gotten one yet though!” another angry Lamia said.

“That’s not true!” Phoebe shouted, “I got a husband just today!”

There was a collective gasp as the crowd parted around Phoebe. Gareth felt his stomach drop as she held him up above her head for the others to see. As he dangled by one arm from Phoebe’s hand, he fought down embarrassment as hundreds of Lamias ogled him. The way they stared he could have been a cup of water in the desert.

“That’s just a doll!” someone shouted.

“No he just got hit with some Pixy dust!” Phoebe protested, “he’s real! Say hi Gareth.”

“Hello,” he said, waving weakly with his free hand. From the way the pointed ears of the crowd twitched he could tell they’d heard him.

“He’s real!” the nearest Lamia shouted excitedly, “Phoebe got a husband!”

The crowd erupted into the biggest frenzy yet as dozens of Lamia swarmed Phoebe from all sides. She laughed and protested, holding Gareth high to keep her sisters from grabbing him. A larger hand than Phoebe’s came down and plucked him up suddenly, and the world spun as he found himself face to face with the enormous slitted eyes of the Lamia Matriarch.

“Look at this girls!” She said, “The first husband has arrived!”

Down below her the other lamia still reached at him and called for her to let him down so they could see him. Several were asking to do other things with him…

“Remember the Rules!” The matriarch shouted, “No taking anyone else’s husband without asking!”

Hundreds of expectant eyes turned to Phoebe who just blushed and giggled, “I’m sorry, but I want to keep him to myself for at least a little while.”

“AWWWWWW,” a hundred voices joined in expressing disappointment as the Matriarch lowered him back down to Phoebe’s waiting hands.

“Now don’t worry, I’m sure there are more husbands coming,” the Matriarch reassured them, “Why don’t you girls go get dinner started?”

There was some grumbling but the other Lamia began slithering off in various directions. He breathed a sigh of relief as none of them did much more than glance in his direction, though a few of the winks and waves made him nervous.

“Phoebe darling,” the matriarch said slowly, “Would you and your husband join me in my tent?”

“Sure Lessie!” she said eagerly, slithering behind the larger Lamia.

Once they were inside the Matriarch drew a curtain, isolating them from view. Despite the primitive exterior the giant Lamia’s tent had a small, to her, writing desk, a number of bookshelves, and bubbling potions cooking in beakers over a series of small smokeless fires. A large parchment hung displayed from a pole, “THE RULES” scrawled on it in a scratchy script.

“Congratulations Phoebe,” Lessie said neutrally as she coiled atop a large cushion, “You’re the first in the tribe to get a husband, you must be very proud.”

“Oh I am!” she said excitedly, pointing to “her” new fur hat, “Look what he gave me?”

Lessie chuckled, “So Mr. Phoebe, what is your name?”

“Gareth,” he said, “Pleased to meet you Miss… Matriarch?”

“Everyone just calls me Lessie,” she said dismissively, “I tried the whole royal title thing for a few years and they kept slipping up.”

“Sorry Lessie,” Phoebe said apologetically.

“It’s all right Phoebe,” she said, “You know what? Humans LOVE wine, and I think there’s some at the north storage shed. Could you go get it while I ask your new husband a few questions?”

Phoebe frowned, clearly uncomfortable, but she nodded, “Yeah I’ll go get it.” Her smile returned, “Gareth tell Lessie how I saved you!” with that she handed Gareth off to the bigger Lamia again and slithered out of the tent.

Lessie smiled until she left and then her face turned serious, “Gareth,” she began, “I’m sorry to do this but we won’t have a lot of time to talk alone.”

He was about to ask what she meant, but he looked up into her enormous eyes and suddenly felt the same groggy feeling wash over him as when Phoebe had hypnotized him before. A part of him far away realized he was being entranced, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care.

“I’m your oldest and dearest friend,” Lessie said with a smile, her forked tongue dancing over her teeth briefly. “You’re so happy I found you, tell me how you got here.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. Lessie would make all of this right! She was someone who really cared about him, after a day of betrayals and setbacks someone was here who would help him, a true friend. He told her everything, about his mission to the elves, the hunt for the giant spider, the way Romla and Sky had shrunk him and left him to die. He described Phoebe glowingly, she was his new wife after all. He took a moment to talk about how he’d been scared at first, but now he was oddly attracted to her. He wondered what his parents would think and he and Lessie shared a friendly laugh.

Lessie looked away and blinked, and the trance was broken.

Gareth realized suddenly just how much he’d shared and felt a bit sick. Lessie wasn’t his friend, they’d just met! And here he’d been spilling his soul out to her as though they were childhood neighbors.

She shrugged and gave an apologetic look, “I’m sorry,” she said, “but we are pressed for time and I cannot afford any deception right now.” She sighed, “I will of course even the playing field. Would you like to know how I came to be here?”

“I had wondered,” he said, “I’ve never heard of Lamia acting like…” he gestured around, “All of this I guess.”

“It all began nineteen years ago,” Lessie explained. “I was with a tribe of fellow Lamia and we were set upon by human adventurers. I wasn’t fully grown yet, and they easily captured me and sold me to a traveling merchant.” She sighed, “Truthfully, scared as I was, I didn’t miss the tribe much. Humans always fascinated me, your way of doing things… it’s just better than ours.”

“I mean…” he struggled with a way to make her feel better, “it’s just your nature to be the way you are, isn’t it?”

She chuckled, “I thought about that a lot while I was in captivity. Perhaps the gods smiled on me, for that merchant’s ship was dashed upon the rocks and I was left alone on a shore far to the south of here.”

She gestured around, “Most of these books, this equipment, it’s all stuff from the shipwreck.” She grinned, “And there were also three hundred Lamia eggs. I couldn’t just leave them there obviously… but as they started to hatch, I had this idea. What if I could make whatever rules I wanted? What if I could make a real Lamia civilization?”

“And so you gave them laws… The Rules!” he said, putting the pieces together. “That’s… Lessie this is all fascinating!”

“Thank you!” she said, “I’m so glad someone appreciates my work after all these years.”

“This is such a relief,” he said excitedly, standing up in her palm, “Someone out here who understands everything! So you know I have to get back and help the Elf Queen right?”

“Of course,” Lessie said with a nod, “it seems obvious that the political situation is highly unstable.”

“I can’t believe a Lamia is going to save me,” he said with a chuckle, “And here I was worried I was really going to have to be that other one’s husband-“

“Oh, you still have to be Phoebe’s husband,” Lessie said dismissively.

“Wait what?” he shouted, “I thought you said you understood!”

“I do!” she said, “I understand YOU asked HER to marry you,” she gently flicked him over with her free hand, sending him flat onto her open palm.

“I was coerced!” he protested, “I just met her and she wasn’t going to help me if I didn’t!”

Lessie laughed, “Phoebe is such a softhearted fool she would have helped you no matter what, she just played a hard negotiator with you.”


“Oh please,” Lessie said with a chuckle, “you humans marry for money and politics all the time. I don’t see anything wrong with you marrying Phoebe in exchange for her help with your current predicament.” Her grin widened, “And you did tell me you found her beautiful, no?”

“You had me under a trance!”

She shrugged, “Lamia trances aren’t TRUE mind control Gareth, it’s more like rearranging items in a drawer. We can put them where we want but we can’t put anything in that isn’t there.” She gave him a smug look, “YOU like Lamia.”

“Hang me now,” he muttered, “Fine. I’ll make her the happiest serpent that ever lived, are you happy?”

“Ecstatic,” Lessie said with a sigh, “I’ve been promising these girls husbands their entire lives. I don’t think you realize what a lifeline you are to my entire operation here.”

“It’s beginning to become apparent,” he said tersely.

“The girls NEED husbands,” Lessie explained, “They think if they’re good Lamias the men will just start to show up…” She brightened, “Well YOU did I suppose, but I need to figure out a way to get more males here… human, elf, dwarf, it doesn’t matter.” She stroked her chin a moment, regarding the shrunken man in her palm, “You are DEFINITELY my way out of this problem, I just need to figure out how…”

Phoebe popped back into the tent excitedly, holding a large bottle of wine, “Look Lessie! I found a good one!”

As he sipped out of a thimble full of the wine Gareth didn’t think it was particularly good, it was certainly strong though. Lessie and Phoebe were sharing full sized glasses, or human sized at any rate. Phoebe’s wine glass was dwarfed by her hand, and to Lessie hers was closer to a shot glass. They’d set him between the two of them, and as the three drank he felt like a toy between the two colossus sized Lamia.

“You’re in luck Phoebe,” Lessie said, “I keep plenty of pixie dust on hand and it will be trivial to reverse it’s polarity and return your new husband back to his normal size.”

“I knew you’d know what to do!” Phoebe said excitedly, she grabbed for Gareth and snuggled him against her flushed cheek, spilling his wine. “You hear that darling? We’re going to fix you!”

“It’s going to take me a day or so to get it all together,” Lessie mused, “I need to visit Severa-“

“Who’s Severa?” Gareth asked suddenly.

“Do you remember that giant spider woman the elf queen wanted you to hunt down?” Lessie asked.

His face paled, “I’d hoped it was just a ruse to lure me out of the city…”

“No she’s quite real,” Lessie said with a sigh, “I try to go see her when I can, but she’s not terribly social, Arachne are solitary by nature I suppose. I won’t be able to get your potion ready until I’ve seen her, tomorrow at the earliest.”

“Oh,” Phoebe said, downcast, “I guess we’ll have to wait to spend our first night as husband and wife…”

Gareth felt a bit relieved, but he tried to put on a bold face, “Don’t worry Phoebe,” he said. “We can simply wait to uhh… consummate our marriage.”

“I don’t know why you two are so worked up about him being tiny,” Lessie mused, swirling her own glass, “My old tribe used to use pixy dust to play with shrunken humans all the time.”

“Really!?” Phoebe said excitedly.

“REALLY!?” Gareth echoed fearfully.

“Oh yes it’s hilarious when you shrink humans,” Lessie said drunkenly, “They can fit in ALL the right spots and…” She had a sudden serious flash over her face, “I uhhh…” She shot a look at Phoebe, “Remember we don’t eat anything that talks!”

Gareth felt a surge of adrenaline return his senses a bit, “Lessie, why would you-“

“Did your old tribe eat humans?” Phoebe asked suddenly.

“Well I never did!” Lessie protested, “But shrinking and chasing them around leads to one thing and then another… I mean it’s just instinct isn’t it?“

“Matriarch!” Phoebe said, appalled.

“Oh NOW you’ll use a title,” Lessie muttered. “Well there you have it Phoebe.” She chuckled, “You’ve always been one of the smarter ones, now you know why I needed to write The Rules!”

“Gods above,” Phoebe breathed, “Are you saying The Rules… are just something you made up?”

“I didn’t make them up!” Lessie protested, realizing her mistake, “They were all very well thought out! I consulted many texts on philosophy and religion-“

“Gareth!” Phoebe said suddenly, “Do humans have The Rules?”

Lessie glared at him, and in the face of the giant Lamia he swallowed nervously, “Kind of?” he said hesitantly. “We have rules but we don’t have THE Rules.”

“So humans DO steal each other’s husbands?” Phoebe asked, in shock.

Lessie and Gareth exchanged glances, “Kind of?” he repeated weakly. “I mean it’s against our… rules too but-“

“So different people have different rules,” Phoebe said thoughtfully. She took another long drink of wine. “Lessie, when were you going to tell all of us this?”

“It just hasn’t been relevant so far!” Lessie protested, “Phoebe don’t question the Matriarch-“

“I’m questioning the Matriarch,” Phoebe said smugly, “besides I’ve got a husband and she doesn’t.”

Lessie’s face went red with a mix of embarrassment and anger, “Phoebe!” she growled, “You… Got lucky!”

Phoebe smirked and glanced down at Gareth, who was laying in her palm, “Sure did!”

Lessie rolled her eyes, “Congratulations Phoebe,” she said, “You’re the first in the village to realize I’m no prophet.” She sighed, “I always knew this day would come…”

Phoebe sniffed triumphantly, “I’m taking my husband to my bed,” she said, “be sure our potion is ready by tomorrow.”

Lessie’s eyebrows raised, but she only chuckled, “Go Phoebe,” she said firmly, “break your husband in. “

“W-wait,” Gareth pleaded one final time, “Shouldn’t we fix my size before my uhh, new wife and I-“

“Like I said my old tribe had lots of fun with shrunken humans,” Lessie said with a smirk, “I’m sure you and Phoebe will have a WONDERFUL evening, goodbye!” she waved teasingly as Phoebe slithered out through the cloth door.

Phoebe giggled softly as she covered him in her cupped hands, slithering past the other Lamia quickly before they could get a good look at her. The sun was down now, and the only light he could see from the gaps in her fingers was the campfires the other snake-girls maintained in their village. Phoebe’s tent was near the edge, and as she slipped inside she uncovered him and leered at him in the low light.

“You’ve been naked all day,” she mused, “I’ve kind of gotten used to it… how about I join you?”

She pulled a string on the back of her hide top and it fell to the dirt floor. His eyes went wide as he saw her breasts uncovered for the first time, round and fuller than any he’d ever seen. The slitted eyes grew a bit more circular as her pupils dilated, and in her wide smile a pair of small fangs glistened in the firelight that managed to creep in.  

She raised him up to her face and her forked tongue flickered over him, tasting him. As he stared at her gigantic face he was rock hard, more aroused than he’d ever been.

“You’re going in my mouth,” Phoebe giggled, “no trance this time.”

He gulped and wondered if there was anything he could say to get out of it, but then decided that, for better or worse, this was his lot in life.

“Do it!” he whispered.

Her eyes lit up, “Just trust me okay?” she said in a hushed voice, “It might get scary, but just trust me… and enjoy it!”

She opened her mouth wide. Her forked tongue traced out slowly, almost like a snake itself. It slowly worked it’s way around him, and he started as the smooth appendage began to coil around him, first his torso, and then looping up to bind his arms to his side. He marveled at the amount of control she had over it, and then cried out in surprise as she pulled him into her open maw.

Her lips closed behind him, and he was bound by her tongue in the wet darkness of her mouth. His heart was racing, and he felt panic rise, but he forced it back down. Bound as he was, he felt the tongue, now lubricated with her saliva, start to rub over him. He groaned as it loosened and tightened, sliding back and forth over every inch of his body, including the most sensitive one.

He spasmed and struggled futilely as the coiled tongue forced him to orgasm, the tip of her tongue teasingly came up and traced across his face as he gasped loudly. Only when he’d stopped moving did the tongue begin to loosen around him. Her mouth opened again and he was lifted back into the light, she uncoiled, dropping his spit-soaked form into her waiting cupped hands.

“That was amazing,” he breathed, watching the firelight dance over her face. He was already feeling himself get hard again, “A-Are you…” he looked at her mouth and licked his own lips, “Are you going to wrap me up with your tongue again?”

She gave a manic giggle, “You DO taste good Gareth, but you’re going a bit lower next…”

She shifted him into her right hand and then her left went down to her short brown skirt. He watched nervously as she fiddled with the belt, pulling it off. He tried not to let her see his relief as it fell away, revealing a very human looking womanhood. He’d been subconsciously steeling himself in case it was… different, but as he was brought closer to it the only feature that really stood out was the bright green hair that matched what was on her head.

Her fingers parted her lower lips, and he stared at the glistening pink opening in awe. Slowly she guided him towards it, angling him up and forcing him against herself. He was already wet from being in her mouth, but now he was soaked through with a thicker fluid. His senses were filled with her smell and taste, a sharp pungent smell that he could swear was stronger than any human woman’s even accounting for his size. She screamed suddenly, and there was a final pulse of the sticky fluid before he was drawn away again.

“That was fantastic,” She said, panting. She stretched a minute and held his sticky form above her, dangling him by one arm.

“It was,” he agreed breathlessly.

She lowered him down between her breasts and sighed contentedly. The two of them spent a minute enjoying the afterglow, the low firelight from outside the tent flickered across the hide ceiling.

“I know marrying me wasn’t what you wanted when you came here Gareth,” Phoebe said quietly, “but is it really so bad?”

“No,” he admitted with a soft chuckle, “No, it’s not.” He placed his arms behind his head, letting himself be cradled by the giant breasts. “I’m going to have so much explaining to do when everyone back home finds out I’m married to a Lamia,” he muttered.

“WE are going to have so much explaining to do,” she said dreamily, “We’re married now right?”

For a moment Gareth really felt at peace. Could this really work out? He laughed softly at himself, they were already off to a better start than most marriages among the nobility…

His world spun as he was plucked up again, this time he was held upside down by his leg. He was slowly brought up to her face and she grinned up at her captive.

“I’m not tired yet husband,” she said, the forked tongue flicking out again.

He grinned excitedly, “I’m not ready for sleep either…”

Phoebe smiled, then opened her mouth wide. He flailed as he was dropped into her waiting maw, and as her teeth snapped shut behind him for the second time that night, he felt the familiar tongue begin wrapping itself around his legs.

Gareth wasn’t sure how late the two of them had slept, it had been a late night after all. He did know that the sun was high in the sky when a giggling blue Lamia had come to wake them up. The messenger had taken an extra-long look at his tiny form snuggled against Phoebe’s cheek like a stuffed animal before leaving with a giggle and a wave.
As Phoebe groggily got dressed, he felt a small measure of pride that he’d managed to tire her out even at his tiny size. She grabbed him off the cushion they’d slept on and slithered out into the open air. Lessie was waiting in her tent for them, and she shooed away several of the other Lamia that were hovering around the area, giggling and trying to get a look at him.

“Just set him down right over there,” Lessie said, pointing to a cleared area on the floor. She approached with a small dropper, holding it above him she squeezed gently and he blinked as a droplet the size of his face splashed into him.

He felt that same itching feeling from when he’d initially shrunk, and he almost cried in relief as the world began to compress and get smaller around him. After a few seconds he was standing, still naked of course, at his old size. Lessie’s tent, and Lessie herself, both still towered over him, but she was merely a large figure instead of a colossal one.  

“Gareth you’re fixed!” Phoebe slithered forward and coiled around him with shocking speed. The snake skin brushed against him as she squeezed tightly, hugging his head against her. As he felt the air leave his lungs and looked up at Phoebe’s Amazonian form, he realized that growing back to his normal size hadn’t closed the gap in strength between them nearly as much as he’d hoped.

“Don’t break him Phoebe,” Lessie said in an amused tone. “Even if he’s a bit bigger now you’ll have to learn to be gentle, after all you’ll be my size in a few more years.”

Gareth’s eyes went wide as he looked up at Lessie’s form, “Y-you mean you ALL get that big?” He swallowed nervously and looked at Phoebe, his wife, who already stood several feet taller than him.

Lessie shrugged, “give or take a few feet, we don’t really stop growing until we’re in middle age.”

Their future life together had just gotten more interesting. She hugged him again, thankfully with her arms and not with her coiled snake’s tail… though even her arms felt as strong as iron.

“C-Can I get dressed?” he asked weakly, Lessie had his pack and his things stashed in one corner of her tent.

“Aww I was enjoying you being without clothes,” Phoebe teased, but she didn’t stop him as he stepped over and began putting his things back on. As he buttoned up his shirt he looked back to Phoebe, who was still wearing his hat, and decided to just let her have it. It was cheaper than a ring after all…

“So Gareth,” Lessie said, coiling herself comfortably on her favorite cushion, “You have some difficult decisions to make about how to proceed.”

“I’ll just go back and tell the Elf Queen everything,” he said, buckling his sword belt back on.

“It won’t be so simple,” Lessie said with a frown, “I asked a few of the girls to go scout the situation for me, they said that there was smoke over the city and a few fires overnight. I think your Elf Queen has been overthrown.”

“Damnit,” he growled, “Maybe we can get word to the Empire, get some soldiers and-“

“It will take too long,” Lessie said dismissively, “and besides the old Queen is doubtless still alive.”

He looked up at her in surprise, “How do you know?”

“Elves are highly superstitious,” she explained, “They won’t execute a member of their royal family, even a deposed one, until the next moon. From what my sources tell me she was a popular one with the common folk, so superstition or not they won’t keep her alive much past that. That gives you a few days to think of something.”

“Maybe you could help somehow-“ he began but Lessie just waggled a finger at him

“I think not,” she said, “Phoebe is your wife, she may help you if she wishes, but I have to look out for my tribe. I’ll give you anything you want in the way of supplies, call it a wedding gift, but I can’t get my people involved… not for free anyway.”

“For free?” he asked, regarding her suspiciously, “Why do I get the feeling I won’t like the cost of your aid?”

“Lessie!” Phoebe protested, “Come on, stop playing around.”

“I’m not playing dear,” she said. She reached behind the cushion and pulled out a book, it looked almost comically small in her hand, but she delicately opened it and turned the pages.

“Hey,” Gareth said with a start, “That’s my diplomatic corps field manual!”

“It is!” Lessie said with a grin, “I found it while going through your things last night. It’s got a brief summary of all of your laws on anything a diplomat from the Empire would need…” She turned it to a page she had bookmarked, “Look here, Imperial Marriage laws!”

“I don’t know if I like where this is going,” he muttered.

“A member of the Emperor’s family may marry multiple spouses in order to secure diplomatic alliances with non-human kingdoms,” Lessie said, tracing her finger along the relevant passage.

His blood ran cold, “T-This is hardly a kingdom!” he protested.

Lessie shrugged, “Phoebe would you be willing to call me a Queen?”

“I guess,” Phoebe said uncertainly, “Lessie what are you saying exactly?” She coiled around Gareth protectively, and he found himself appreciating the gesture as the larger Lamia loomed over them both.

“Gareth has royal blood,” Lessie said with a grin.

“Barely!” he exclaimed, “My family married one of the Emperor’s daughters a century ago, that hardly counts as-“

“Look the diplomatic corps included this helpful family tree!” Lessie said. She unfolded a wide parchment, “Look Gareth here’s you!” she traced the emperor’s lineage down through the lines until she found Gareth at the very bottom edge of the parchment, his name was circled in red ink that he didn’t remember being on the sheet when he’d left the capital.

Gareth sighed, and gestured for Phoebe to release him.

“You have discovered it then,” he said with more confidence than he truly felt, “I am a scion of the Emperor, and subject to the Royal family’s laws.” He sucked in a breath and looked up at the giant Lamia, “Name thy terms for aid.”

“Thy?” Lessie giggled, “Gareth you are just ADORABLE.”

“She wants to marry you too,” Phoebe said, glaring at the larger Lamia, “Don’t you Lessie?”

“Clever girl!” the older Lamia said excitedly, “What do you say Gareth? Marry me, and I’ll bring every Lamia at my command to your side, we’ll sweep the rebel elves before you.”

“Never!” he shouted, “Come one Phoebe let’s-“

“The whole tribe?” Phoebe asked calmly. She started stroking Gareth’s hair thoughtfully. “Well, you were definitely going to need another wife or two at some point… I guess it might as well be someone we know, and we’re definitely getting something out of it.”

“You can’t seriously be considering this?” he asked, shocked. He’d just finally brought himself around to accepting one Lamia as a wife, but two? And this one twice the size of the first!

Phoebe playfully squeezed him, “This is great Gareth, I didn’t know you were part of the royal family, and I don’t really know anything about politics or money or anything a royal wife would need to know… but Lessie’s really smart when it comes to that stuff! She’s a perfect second wife.”

“Lamia are quite good at sharing husbands,” Lessie purred as she began unfolding another document, “our wild cousins often only have one man to share among dozens.”

 He was suddenly very conscious of the larger Lamia’s tail tracing behind him. He gasped as it looped under his arms and plucked him out of Phoebe’s grasp. She constricted around him a bit tighter than Phoebe would, and he was brought up to Lessie’s face.

“That lovely field manual of yours helped me draw up a legally binding treaty,” Lessie brought one of her human-looking hands up and a giant finger traced down his cheek, “Once you sign this your marriage to Phoebe, and myself, will be an official alliance, sanctioned by the Emperor and all of your courts.”

He gulped seeing Lessie’s smug grin. Suddenly he realized that she had endeavored to trap him in more ways than one.

“Very well,” he muttered, “let me read it at least…”

With a giggle he was set down again between the two Lamia as he read over Lessie’s treaty. It recognized her as Queen of the Lamia, sole landholder in the swamp… it would cause some trouble of course, but nothing outrageous… he frowned as he reached the next section.

“You want the Empire to provide a husband for every Lamia in the village?” he asked incredulously.

“They don’t ALL need to be good looking royals like you Gareth,” Lessie said dismissively, “I’m sure that, in exchange for saving your alliance with the Elves, a grateful Empire can find a few hundred men to send out here.”

“Besides once they get here they’ll never want to leave!” Phoebe cut in excitedly.

He paused when he got to the final section, “Wait it says here I have to marry THREE women of your choosing?”

“Oh darling, you’re already marrying two monsters,” Lessie said sweetly, “what’s one more?”

“Wait what?” Phoebe cut in, “Lessie I’m his first wife, I get to have a say in that kind of stuff!”

The bigger Lamia slithered around him, leaning down to Phoebe’s ear. He heard a bit of whispering that he didn’t like one bit, then Phoebe brightened and giggled.

“Okay I think you can sign it,” Phoebe said.

“What did she say to you?” He asked, pulling the pen from his pocket.

“I’ll tell you in a minute.”

He glanced down at the treaty that would lock him into marriage and sighed. A part of him had thought that maybe he could still flee when this was all over, but once that paper was signed he’d be Phoebe’s, and Lessie’s, and… whoever’s, under all Imperial law. If he ran off his own government would send men to chase him down and bring him back to them.

“The things I do for this country,” he muttered as he scrawled his name. Pricking the tip of his thumb he winced, watching the small drop of blood appear. He thumbed the side of the contract, making sure that a good image of his fingerprint was visible.

“And our alliance is made, HUSBAND,” Lessie said smugly. She suddenly wrapped around him so quickly that he gasped with surprise, the air being forced out of his lungs. At twice Phoebe’s size she had the strength to match, and as his now second wife leered down at his trapped form, he felt something stir in him… was he starting to like this?

“Now before we go any further we need to consummate this marriage,” Lessie growled.

“Uncoil him Lessie!” Phoebe said playfully, slithering closer, “Let’s at least get his clothes off!”

“W-wait,” he started, “Phoebe are you staying for this?”

“Watch this Phoebe,” Lessie said with a grin, “I haven’t done this in years…”

He felt the giant Lamia’s coils slide over him, causing friction against his entire body. She kept circled him once, then again, he felt his manhood beginning to rise. He gasped as she picked up speed, the coils sliding over him, loosening and tightening in a quick time. He spasmed in pleasure, and as he did Lessie giggled and tightened her grip on him.

“Oh, Lessie let me try it next!” Phoebe said eagerly.

“I’m going to need a minute,” he panted as Lessie uncoiled him, letting him drop to his knees. He scowled as he realized she’d made him climax in his only pair of pants.

“Now here’s another neat trick for human lovers Phoebe,” Lessie said, “Gareth look up here please,” he blinked and looked up and found himself entranced by her eyes. “Gareth,” Lessie’s melodic voice said, “You’re feeling very lustful, you could go again right now!”

He blinked and then gasped as he felt himself growing hard again.

“Mind over matter!” Lessie said with a giggle, “Now let’s take off the clothes husband.”

Gareth lay on the cushion in Lessie’s tent, completely drained. Phoebe and Lessie had made good use of their trance ability to keep him going long past what should have been physically possible. Phoebe slithered in and handed him a cup of wine and a small plate of what looked like sliced pork.

“Eat up,” she said sweetly, “you need to get your strength back.”

He groaned and forced himself upright, Phoebe guided a piece to his mouth and he eagerly took a bite.

“I feel like I’ve just fought a battle,” he said with a laugh. “And that’s just with two of you, what are things going to be like when I’m married to THREE Lamia?”

“Oh your last wife isn’t a Lamia,” Phoebe said idly, bringing the cup of wine to his lips.

He sipped and frowned, “Not a Lamia? What do you mean? Who else would Lessie want me to-“

“Do you remember that giant spider lady you were supposed to be hunting when I first caught you?” Phoebe asked.

“Yes,” he said, “but what has that got to do with,” the realization hit him suddenly. “Oh,” he whispered, “Oh no…”

“The treaty says three wives of Lessie’s choice!” Phoebe said cheerfully, “She wants number three to be Severa! That’s her name by the way.”

“I’ve heard she’s eighty feet tall,” he protested.

“That must be from someone who hasn’t seen her in a while,” Phoebe said, “I think she’s closer to one hundred these days.”

Seeing his pale expression she gave him a hug, “Don’t worry you’ll do fine! She’s going to LOVE you, I mean it won’t be THAT much different from when you were shrunk and I played with you right?”

Gareth just stared ahead, thinking. This mission was far from over.

Chapter End Notes:

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