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In the dulled mountains that ran down the center of Rossiya a young man lay near a pool of snowmelt as he watched the sun set. His name was Vasily. He had recently caught himself a deer that he was finishing enjoying. He had put his fire out and was ready to go to sleep early, when a sudden sound caught his ear.

He sat up and reached for his bow, but he was certain that whatever was nearby was no threat. No animals in these mountains actively sought out to kill humans. In Vasily’s mind, it was just a squirrel or some other animal that just happened to be running by.

That was until he heard the sound again, and this time more clearly. It wasn’t a hooved putting like a deer makes, and there were no quiet chirps like a squirrel. Instead it was a dragging and pushing sound, something he’d never heard before. His village elders had warned the younger men of a giant creature that lived in the mountains, but he had always assumed that was some kind of scare that they used to keep the villagers from venturing off and living in other towns. Surely some creature like that could not exist, especially these days with the current demon lord who only seemed to care about making her subjects crave men. Even then he was certain that all monsters in Rossiya had legs. He based all of his mamono knowledge on the native kikimora who would help keep house and cook for her husband. Centuries ago they weren’t particularly dangerous creatures either, but they were annoying with their screaming in the middle of the night. They still scream at night, but for very different reasons.

The sound was getting closer and was picking up its pace. Suddenly, a woman appeared over the tall grass and looked at Vasily, but more specifically the quarter-eaten deer next to him. Vasily could see she was almost naked, but she was wearing something that covered key parts of her body. More importantly on her head were several spikes that almost looked like a kind of crown. Her hair was the color of dirt and she had golden, slitted eyes.

“Food!” she shouted and she lunged at the deer, completely ignoring Vasily. She began eating wildly and only stopped when she was spoken to.

“There’s enough for both of us if you aren’t greedy like that,” Vasily told her. His eyes naturally flowed down her scantily clad body where they met a long, very hard tail. He looked back up at her eyes and noticed she was now staring at him. “What are you?”

The woman laughed. “A wurm,” she said. “Can I eat this?” she asked pointing at what remained of the deer.

Vasily nodded. Was she some new kind of monster that he hadn’t heard about? Was she going to attack him or let him be? His mind flooded with questions of the creature before him.

The truth was that a wurm, while an aggressive hunter like many of her mamono sisters, is unable to think of more than one thing at once. While she hunted for food, she had to ignore hunting for a husband or shelter or other things because of her small intellect. In other words, even though she had a man in arm’s reach, she was too focused on her food to realize this fact.

“That was good!” the wurm said as she lay down to rest, “But it makes me sleepy.”

Vasily stared at her as she drifted to sleep within a few moments. When he saw she was fast asleep, he shook his head of his confusion and tried to make sense of it all. “OK,” he thought, “She’s obviously a mamono, and she’s probably just like the kikimora. Maybe she’ll be like the kikimora and cook dinner and things? I’m not sure why she’d have a tail of hard scales like that, though. Mmm…too bad I’m not looking for a wife just yet.” He rolled onto his back and drifted off to sleep when he pegged the wurm as a docile mamono.

He awoke the next morning to a still sleeping wurm. “Don’t wanna wake her up,” he thought as he quietly packed his things. He walked away from his campsite for a few minutes and stopped when he realized he’d forgotten one of his shirts. He started back until the sound of a breaking boulder caught his ear. He looked up to find a large dust cloud near where he was camped.

Not knowing what to think or do, he began running back down the slope towards the valley forest. “What can do that much damage?” he thought as he ran. His eyes widened as he turned his head to see behind him. “Poor wurm. I hope she didn’t suffer.”

Suddenly there was another sound of breaking stone, and fragments of rock began raining down. Vasily took refuge behind a large tree hoping its thick truck would protect him. He turned around when the rocks stopped falling and he saw a trail of dust leading away from his campsite towards where he was standing.

Vasily sprinted into the forest and hid himself in the tall grass behind a tree before noticing the Utva River nearby. He knew its waters were still deadly cold, but at least Utva would be more forgiving than a giant creature capable of crushing boulders. Fortunately, the frigid waters would keep such a monster at bay.

He hesitated as he looked at the freezing waters and looked back up the mountain slope. A trail of dust led from the first cloud, then down to where he was camping, and was continuing towards him. He quickly hid himself below the tall riverbank and hoped he wouldn't need to swim to the other side, and to safety.

Within minutes he could see the creature distorted by the dust so he couldn’t make it out clearly. He felt like he could hear a woman's voice shouting, but he couldn't understand what it was saying.

Suddenly the ground shook and a tree flew over the other treetops and landed nearby, on the opposite bank of the Utva. The young man flinched. He had no idea such a powerful creature could exist, and worse, it was so near him.

"Urgh...come out!" a woman's voice yelled. Another tree was uprooted. "I smell you! Come out!"

Vasily's face drained of color. The creature knew he was there and was going to keep uprooting trees until it found him.

"I need to get out of here!" he thought, "The Utva better save me!" He backed up and slipped and fell. He immediately noticed the sound of a tree cracking stop suddenly. Seconds of silence passed.

"I found you!" the woman's voice said happily and suddenly. Vasily looked up to find a beautiful woman smiling down at him. She didn't seem to be wearing any clothes, but she was holding one of Visily's shirts, the same one he forgot. Whatever else of her was covered by the grass and ground since she was much above him. "I found you! Now you're mine!"

Before Vasily could say anything, he was pulled up from the sandy bank of the Utva and onto the grassy ground above. He was pulled into a tight embrace with the woman behind him and he noticed that her hands were covered in abnormally hard scales that formed something like gauntlets. Immediately he saw the massive tail of a snake with very hard scales covering it. He also saw the woman was connected to the snake tail and he realized it was the wurm from before.

A sense of relief overcame him when he saw her familiar face, but he was unsettled at how strong she was as he connected the boulders and the trees to her. As he tried to say hello, he felt her trying to remove his clothes. He held her arms so that she would stop and he found she was surprisingly weak for possibly breaking boulders, though she was still strong. "I don't want that," he told her firmly.

She responded by grabbing him in her arms and dragging him back up the mountain at almost unbelievable speed. The entire time he yelled at the hybrid to release him or to at least tell him what was going on. After some time Vasily found himself in a cave with a few treasures lying about such as a few gold coins and a decorative sword, though that was about it. He was released and collapsed onto the ground where he stood up quickly to be more agile in front of this earth-dragon.

"What do you want, wyrm?" he asked as he drew his small knife and pointed it at the hybrid's soft front right below her ribs.

She smiled and put her scaly hand on the blade and squeezed. Her scales resisted being cut and her strong fingers bent the knife so that it wasn't usable anymore. Vasily looked at his broken defense in until the feeling of something sliding around his leg drew his attention.

The wurm was wrapping her powerful tail around him until her torso was even with his. She pressed herself firmly against him. "Be good," she said with a smile. She held Vasily's arms down with her own arms and her tail so he couldn't resist her. She threw him to the ground hard and lowered herself onto him.

When she was finished with her deed, she let out a loud sigh and embraced Vasily again who was able to free his arms because her grip loosened so much.

"What's your problem?" he asked spitefully. "I told you no!" He slapped her cheek.

The wurm looked back at him with a hand covering the new red mark on her face and tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry!" she screamed and her tail's grip on Vasily tightened, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" She sat up and sobbed hard into her hands until she looked back at him. "I need to do that sometimes. Please forgive me."

Vasily looked at her annoyed. For some reason he didn't entirely hate what she did to him, but he wasn't happy about it either. "I don't know if I will." He wriggled out of her loosening tail and fixed his trousers. He stood up and began his way to the exit until the sobbing wurm got in front of him.

"No! You can't leave!"

"Yes I can. Move!" He picked up a large rock and prepared to hit her skull with it.

"No!" the wurm cried as she grabbed the rock and his hand with one arm and wrapped her other arm around him, "I won't let you! You're mine now."

"I can't be," he told her, "I have my own village to go to."

The wurm charged him and knocked him to the ground and crawled onto him. "No. Too cold here, you have warmth. No warmth, I die."

Vasily looked at her soft front and remembered the sword and drew a plan. "Fine," he said with venom dripping from his words. Her death would probably please him, as much as he hated to admit.

The wurm let her grip on his wrists go and she hugged him as tightly as she could. "You will love me! I promise!"

Vasily didn't reply. He felt that this dull-minded rapist wasn't worth his words. Instead he allowed her to coil around him again and hug him tightly as she went to sleep soon after.

When he was absolutely sure she was fast asleep, he slowly got himself out of her arm's grip and gently wriggled himself from her tail. She didn't wake up. He removed his shoes to quiet his footsteps over the stone and he slowly went to the decorative sword. In the moonlight that poured into the cave he could see it was flimsy at best, but it was capable of at least one pierce. He looked back at the wurm and then drew the sword. As he walked along her tail, his bloodlust kept growing until he saw her human parts.

This was the first time he was able to get a good look at her and he could see how blindingly beautiful she really was. His grip on the sword tightened as he brought it above his head to pierce her heart, but he hesitated killing her. He hated her for kidnapping and raping him, and he was certain this sword could kill her, but he seemed to be under a spell. He closed his eyes hoping it would help, but the sword became heavy in his hands. He dropped his arms and slouched: no matter how vengeful he was or how much he hated the dragon, he couldn't kill her. Defeated, he went to another part of the cave and lied down to rest.

Vasily awoke to the wurm lying on her stomach with her elbows holding her chin up. She was smiling at him with a genuinely happy grin. The sunlight was reflecting softly off of her and its rays bathed her in golden light emphasizing her beauty. "You like?" she asked pointing at the sword, "I want more but I don't know where to look." She looked sadly at the blade then back at Vasily and her smile returned, "But now I have you, and you're my favorite treasure!"

Vasily sat up and leaned against a stalagmite with a firm grip on the sword. Hopefully the wurm didn't know that it was just for decoration, not combat. "I'm not some shiny, you know. It wouldn't be right to trap me in this cave."

The wurm lost herself in thought. "Then we live at your village?"

Vasily shuddered at that idea. He tried to imagine his parents' reaction to seeing him with a wurm, as well as his brother's and the rest of the village. He would surely be exiled. "No, no. The cave is fine..."

"Oh yay!" the wurm squealed happily, "You're happy with me now!" She threw herself onto Vasily again and hugged him tightly. He responded by dropping the sword and pushing her off of him. Surprisingly she was very malleable despite being so much stronger than him.

"No, I wouldn't say that. I still can't forgive you for what you did yesterday," he told her. "Truly if I could kill you I would."

The wurm either didn't understand or chose to ignore him since she cuddled back up to him again only to be pushed off once more. She giggled probably thinking he was trying to play a game or something until she found herself at sword point.

"Don't," he told her.

"Why won't you love me?" she asked as tears began to well up in her eyes.

"I can't love what I just met. Especially if she's violent, dull, and I don't know anything about her."

"I'm not dumb!" the wurm cried in anger at his calling her dull, "I'm not!"

"Then I can't love what I don't know," Vasily corrected himself so he wouldn't provoke the wurm into hurting him on purpose. He did his best to not look fazed, but on the inside he was deeply fearful of her.

The wurm's mood seemed to change again. "Then my name is Inessa. I was born in the big desert that way," she pointed south, "and I was sleeping in this cave during the cold times. What's your name?"

"Vasily," he told her, "I was born and raised in that village I mentioned."

Inessa nodded with a warm smile on her face and she got closer to Vasily but stopped advancing when she noticed the sword again. "It's cold again...can we...get warm?"

Vasily would rather see her suffer, though. "I don't trust you." He pointed the sword tip at her throat and coerced her off of him, back to the cold stone.

"Wha...why not?" she asked.

"How do I know that's not an excuse to try to rape me again?"

"How would I do that?"

"You'd be close enough that this long sword would be hard to thrust at you."

"Oh. Well I'm cold and can we cuddle a little?"

"I'm not bending to you," he said, "especially after telling you that."

Inessa looked at the floor sadly and turned away. "I don't know why you hate me..."

Vasily didn't reply. He had explained to her that he didn't enjoy being raped. He also thought even a simple creature like a wurm could understand that. To him, if she didn't understand it on her own, then explaining it would do no good.

  •                                                                 *                                                                     *

He had to stare at her tail after hearing her sad pleas for warmth from him because looking at her human parts almost enthralled him, like she was completely human. He didn't want to feel bad for her, and he especially didn't want to apologize and invite her to cuddle with him.

He began to feel the chilly air and he pulled his knees to his chest to help stay warm. Inessa was lying on the cold stone on the verge of passing out. Even with her extreme strength, he could probably overcome her in her current condition easily. He stared hard at the suffering hybrid before him and felt a pang of sympathy accompanied by an urge to warm himself and a heavy vengeance. If she couldn't understand why he hated being raped by her, maybe he could make her know what it's like to be raped. She would barely be able to move, and probably wouldn't realize it was him.

Vasily stood up and approached Inessa. He grabbed her shoulder in a powerful squeeze and violently rolled her onto her back. She looked up at him in a dazed expression as he moved his hand to her throat and roughly rubbed his thumb against her cheek. Soon Inessa began to warm up slightly and she tried to move her arms to him, but each time he would pull his hands from violating her as roughly as possible and force her hands back above her head in a submissing position. For a long time his fingers and his lips trespassed on her skin until he felt she had enough. It wasn't until his last deed did she warm up and finally know exactly what was going on.

Inessa watched Vasily walk away from her, understanding that what he did made her warm again and she was very grateful to him. She also recognized a strong, dominating side to him which only added to her love for him. She smiled the entire time she watched him sit back down and reclaim that pretty sword. She didn't know why he did what he did but she was happy he did.

After a few moments, all the new spirit energy settled into Inessa's body and she began to warm up enough to move freely. She sat up and looked at Vasily with a warm smile.

"What?" he asked when he noticed her staring.

"Thank you," she said and bolted straight to him and hugged his arm before he could even grab his sword again. He knew he should have expected her to be so quick. "I understand now."

"Understand what?"

"You did that to make me warm. You do like me!"

"What? No! That was...never mind." He decided if she couldn't figure out that that was absolutely not to make her warm, especially after the lecture he gave her about boundaries and such then it was pointless to try to tell her.

Inessa closed her eyes as she cuddled up with him and began to coil her tail around his legs.

"No," Vasily told her and he grabbed her tail to show her what he meant.

"Oh. Sorry," she apologized and uncoiled her tail from him. "Whatever you want my love."

Vasily winced at being called her love. "I don't want a romantic relationship with you. You're not a human girl, anyway. I can't survive in this cave like you."

Inessa let go of his arm and sat up. She looked away with tears in her eyes and slithered away without saying anything. "Why does he have to be so confusing?" she thought, "I love him, he knows I'll have sex with him whenever he wants, I let him live with me...how much more could he want?" Her thoughts were interrupted by her growling stomach. "I need food. Does Vasily need food? What do men eat?" She grabbed her head as she pondered. "Ugh...why does all of this have to be so confusing?" She decided she wouldn't waste more time thinking about things and would just get some food for the both of them. Surely Vasily ate what she ate. She slithered up the rocks and out of her cave into the cold air outside.

The stiff wind made it colder and the clouds hiding the sun only sapped away more heat. "Food is food," she thought and she continued out into the frigid air.

Vasily sat against his stalagmite wondering where Inessa went. The more time he spent with her, the more she began to fascinate him. Her figure enthralled him and he began to look back at molesting her with fondness. It wasn’t getting back at Inessa that he enjoyed so much, but rather getting to touch her as he pleased. He began pondering her physically and socially with wonder and a hint of fondness.

He remembered his knife and how she bent it with her own hands and it couldn't cut her scales. He stood up and walked over to where he dropped it, and found its deformed figure lying on the cave floor. Its metal was bent and five grooves from her fingers were imprinted on the blade. It was useless now, and he doubted the decorative sword was of any real use either.

Frustrated, he threw his broken knife at the wall. Sparks showered from where the knife collided and Vasily froze. He realized himself and ran up to the wall and picked up his knife again. He pounded his knife against the wall until the sparks appeared again. He looked at the wall closely and found a vein of what must've been flint. He grew a big smile and turned around to look for something in the cave that he could burn. Luckily the strong winds outside blessed him with some kindling, but not much else.

After some time Vasily had made a small pile of kindling and stacked several big rocks around it to keep it from blowing away. The only thing left to do now was wait for Inessa to get back and ask her to get some logs and sticks. He retreated back to his sword and stalagmite and waited.

Sometime later, Inessa returned with a goat. "I have some food," she said as she dropped the goat in front of Vasily. "If you don't want it I can look for something else."

"The goat is fine, but I need wood," he replied.

"Wood? Why?"

"You'll see. Just get me five sticks the size of your arm," he held out his open palm to show her five, and then pointed at his forearm to explain the size he wanted.

"Uh, OK, five sticks like my arm," she said and repeated it to herself as she climbed the wall and left the cave again.

Meanwhile Vasily looked at the goat closely. Part of its face was caved in and its shoulder seemed to be as well. He sighed knowing the meat would be bruised and gross now, and frustrated because he knew Inessa won't let him leave the cave to go hunt for his own food. He sighed again and went to lean against his stalagmite and wait.

Eventually Inessa returned with the sticks. She had six of them and they were all different sizes. One was a skinny twig about the width of her little finger while another was a big log as big around as she was. "I brought you the sticks. Did I do good?" she asked with a hopeful smile.

"You brought an extra, which is good I guess," Visily replied.

"What? No I brought as many as you said," she held up her hand and counted each log for one finger and another for her palm.

"Oh, I see what you did," he said, "No harm there, but they all seem to be different sizes."

"I couldn't remember if you wanted one as big as my arm or as big as my body," she explained, "So I did both."

"And the little one?"

"I thought it was cute," she said with a smile.

"Oh alright," Vasily sighed. Evidently it would be more difficult to adjust to life with Inessa than he thought. "Now you get to see what they're for," he said. He picked up the sticks and dragged the log over to the pile of kindling he had. Inessa followed him closely since her curiosity was so strong. Vasily pulled his broken knife from his pocket and set it down next to him as he stacked the logs against each other in a pyramid shape. Next he struck his knife against the flint vein several times. Nothing happened for the first strikes but eventually sparks showered onto the kindling. The sparks became flames which cracked and popped as they spread onto the logs.

Inessa screamed and hid herself behind a pillar as fast as she could. Vasily could hear her frightened sobs from where he was. "It's just a fire. It won't hurt you if you don't touch it."

"Mm-mm," was the reply.

"Come on, I promise you'll be fine."

"Really?" her sobbing stopped and she poked her head out from behind the pillar.

"Yes, really," he told her. Inessa slowly made her way out from behind the pillar and slowly advanced toward the fire and Vasily. "A strong dragon like you is scared of fire...? Don't you breathe fire?"

Inessa shook her head. "My sister can but not me."

"Your sister? Why not you?"

"She isn't my real sister, but we knew each other since we were babies," she explained.

"Oh, I see," Vasily replied.

Inessa stopped about twenty feet from the fire and looked away from it. "Is this close enough?"

"No, of course not," Vasily walked over to her and grabbed her armored wrist. He pulled her towards the fire and he held her hand close to the small flames, but not too close.

"It's warm!" she laughed, "It's like you." She sweetly cuddled up to him and he didn't push her off but he didn't grab her either.

"It's not so scary now, that fire?" Vasily asked.

Inessa smiled. "No. Thank you."

Vasily smiled at her. He hated her less as time went by and she was starting to be cute rather than just pretty. "We haven't eaten yet."

Inessa's eyes opened and she stood erect. "I forgot!" She let go of Vasily and darted over to her kill and brought it back over to the fire and took several bites from it as she did so. "Here," she offered the carcass to Vasily who looked down at it then at his broken knife. It was too bent up to cut any meet off of it.

"Can you cut this with your claws?" he asked Inessa.

"Why?"

"Because we humans eat differently than this."

"Oh! Sorry, I didn't know," she apologized. She quickly cut some meat off of the goat with her claws and handed the thick strips to Vasily. She watched him intently as he pulled the tiny stick that she brought back from his side and stuck it through the goat meat. "Wha-no! You're ruining it!"

"No, just trust me," he told her as he held the meat over the fire to cook it.

Inessa groaned quietly. "Are you sure you're not ruining it?"

"Yes," he told her, "I can get you some like this if you cut more off."

Inessa hesitated before handing him the slab of meat. She always just ate things raw, never cooked and she was nervous about eating heated up meat. After some time she was given back what she cut off. It was a brown color and smelled different. Vasily was eating his and seemed to enjoy it so she took a bite. It burned her tongue and she spat it into the fire. "Ow!" she yelled and covered her mouth with her hand.

"Hot?" Vasily asked.

"Mm-hm," she replied.

"Then blow on it," he blew on his to show her what to do. She copied him and then took a bite. It was warm and warmed her up despite the cold stone and air.

"It's good. I like my way better," she said.

"That's fine. I didn't expect you to like it." He finished his meal and looked at Inessa. "Can I leave the cave for some water?"

Inessa looked away and scrunched her nose in thought then looked back at Vasily. "Mm...alright. But I have to go with you."

"You still don't trust me?"

Inessa shook her head. "You're mine and I want to be with you. I don't want to be alone anymore."

Vasily stared at her. She was dull but she was like a young child, always speaking her mind and filled with naïveté. She was violent but also cute, and she seemed much more submissive since he molested her in return for raping him. "You can come then." He stood up and she followed suit, tailing him to the edge of the cave.

"Hold still," she said as she wrapped her arms around him from behind him and his muscles tensed up. She raised herself on her tail, pulling Vasily up with her. They reached the top of the cliff and she let go of Vasily who fell and collapsed to his knees from the unexpected impact. Inessa giggled as she slithered around to his front. "That wasn't a big fall. You're so silly, Vasily!"

Vasily froze. He knew what Inessa was thinking.

She stared for a second then hugged him tightly. "That's such a cute name for you! Silly Vasily..."

"Oh no," Vasily muttered.

"Oh yeah, the water," Inessa thought out loud, "Come on." She grabbed Vasily's arm and pulled him down the mountain slope.

"Stop!" he finally managed to croak out.

Inessa did as he commanded and looked right at him. "What's wrong?"

"Not so fast," he said, "Slow down or you'll rip my arm off."

Inessa giggled. "OK. For you." She started again but tried to go just as slow as Vasily's walking pace.

Vasily looked at Inessa the entire time they went down the mountain slope and he began pondering her behavior. She wasn't as violent anymore, she was more loving and obedient and he didn't know why. The entire way he tried to understand her better, but got nowhere.

"Is this where you wanted to go?" Inessa asked as soon as they arrived. Vasily looked at it briefly before he noticed his clothes from the other day. Most were lying on the ground and few were in the tree branches anymore. He could also see the disturbed ground that Inessa tore up when she came through.

"Yeah, this is it," he replied.

"Well go on," she nudged him, "Drink if you're thirsty."

"Aren't you?" he asked when he reached the edge of the pond.

"Mmm...no," she replied. "I don't drink water."

"Right," Vasily replied as he knelt down to the water. He figured she must get her water through her food in some way, and she just didn't realize it. He cupped his hands and drew some water to his face and drank. When he finished he noticed Inessa staring at him curiously.

"Is the water cold?"

"Yeah," he said, "Cold water is nice."

Inessa quickly coiled once around him and wrapped her arms around his neck. She leaned back and they both fell into the pond. Vasily surfaced and gasped for air. The surprise and shock of cold water took his breath out.

"Are you crazy?" he scolded Inessa when she surfaced.

She scrambled disoriented until she was completely out of the water.  She curled herself up tightly and looked angrily at Vasily. "You said cold water was nice!"

"Nice to drink," he said back to her from the water. "How could you even assume I meant it was nice to swim in when I was drinking it?"

"How'm I supposed to know? I'm not a mind reader," Inessa defended herself.

"It should be obv...never mind," he said. He remembered her dull mind and guessed that she couldn't take context very well. "Just help me get my dry clothes and let's get back to the dry cave."

"Those ones on the ground?" Inessa asked, "Why would you want those?"

"Those are the clothes I was washing when I met you," he said with frustration in his voice. He got himself out of the water and the chilling wind bit at him.

"Be nice!" Inessa scolded him for his tone, "I'm not...I'm not as clever as you..."

"I know," he muttered. He walked to his old clothes and took as many as he could fearing that Inessa would make them wet with her soaked body.

"Do we go now?" Inessa asked with two shirts in her arms pressed up against her chest exactly as Vasily didn't want. He tried not to let it bother him since she didn't know any better, but it was still annoying.

"Yeah. I'm ready if you are."

"Yay. It's too cold here," Inessa said shivering hard.

"You can put one of those on if you want," Vasily said pointing at a shirt that she was holding. It wouldn't be any drier if she didn't wear it, so he figured she may as well wear it. He didn't realize that her coldblooded body wouldn't make heat to be trapped by the shirt.

"Oh, uh, I'm OK," she replied. In truth she didn't know how to wear a shirt and she was worried Vasily wouldn't like her if he knew that. She was worried that he knew she wasn’t as smart as he was, and that he would leave her if he thought she didn’t know how to wear clothes.

"Alright," he replied. He felt Inessa grab his arms and they started going faster - Vasily was nearly sprinting to keep up with her. "What's got you so worried?"

"It's really cold and I want to be warm again," she replied. "Are you warm?"

"No, I'm probably just as cold as you," Vasily said between gasps of air. His dropping core temperature and the intense running was sapping his already empty stamina. "Aren't you tired?"

"What? No. I don't get tired," she replied, "At least I've never been tired from running before."

Vasily looked away. He'd seen her sleep, so he wasn't sure what she meant. "Hold...hold on," he said suddenly as he pulled on her arm and dug his heal into the ground.

Inessa dragged him for a few feet before stopping. "What is it?"

"I'm tired...give me some time to rest," he said through gasps of air.

Inessa coiled herself around him loosely. "Aww you're so warm," she cooed as she hugged him and placed her hands on his bare skin under his shirt. He flinched from her cold scales touching his skin.

"Don't get too comfortable," he told her when he got used to her scales.

"You like it," she said as she set herself to curl her human body over him. She flinched and squeezed him tightly when the boom of thunder rolled through the mountains. She uncoiled herself in a flash and grabbed his arm. She dragged him all the way back to the cave, all the while keeping a frantic eye on their surroundings.

By the time they got there, the rain had started pouring and they were drenched again. Inessa dragged Vasily back behind a pillar in the cave and coiled herself tightly around him. She was shivering frantically and quietly sobbing.

After a moment of trying to figure out what was going on, Vasily started trying to free himself, or at least his head. Another thunderclap sounded off and she screamed again. She also tightened her grip on Vasily to the point that he was being crushed. He let out a grunt and yelled to Inessa who quieted her sobbing when she heard his voice.

An especially loud thunderclap sounded off and Inessa uncoiled herself from Vasily as her body glowed. She grew to be a hundred feet long and about ten feet wide. Her human parts disappeared and were replaced by the impenetrable scales of an earth-dragon. Along her entire body were two rows of jagged spikes that were connected by razor-sharp scales that were styled like webbing. She slithered to the mouth of the cave and let out a mighty roar, louder than any thunderclap that had been heard that night.

Vasily covered his ears but it did no good. Inessa's dragon roars were so loud that the cave shook and Vasily had to crouch down to avoid being vibrated off his feet. To him, it was a familiar sound that the villager elders warned of: a mighty wyrm that lived in the mountains and wanted to devour human flesh. When the roaring stopped his ears were ringing more intensely than ever before. He tried to get Inessa's attention mainly because he thought another roar might bring down the cave.

He ran to her tail and began beating on it as hard as he could, but the scales were too thick to let Inessa realize what was happening. He remembered the sword and ran to it. He could see Inessa sucking in air into her massive lungs as he picked up his sword and ran back to her tail. He hesitated thinking about what she could do to him, but he put his faith in the hopes that she wouldn't attack him, and would change back into her other form as opposed to roaring again and causing the cave to collapse.

With one quick motion, he stabbed the sword deep into Inessa's tail and the blade cracked and broke at first, but it did find its way into her flesh after a few stabs. The wyrm turned around in a flash and stared at Vasily. Her mouth bared three rows of razor sharp and jagged teeth. Her eyes were a cold black against her grayish-green scales. Around her head was a crown of spikes connected by webbed skin. She lunged at him and stopped only a few feet from him. This close he could see that her mouth was almost perfectly sized to take him whole. The imposing image threw Vasily off of his feet and he could do nothing but stare and wait for whatever repercussions followed.

Inessa began glowing again and she took her less scary form, and she lunged at Vasily and wrapped him in a tight hug. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" she said. "I'm just so scared."

Vasily took a moment to calm himself after staring such a creature in the face, and even Inessa's lewd form wasn't enough to calm him quickly. Another boom bounced off the mountains. "Inessa," he spoke to her, his voice shaky and distressed, "Inessa it's just thunder."

"Vasily," she whispered, "Be quiet! It will hear. It wasn't afraid of my roar and now it might come looking!"

"What will?" he asked aloud.

"Sh! The thing making that noise. It will hear us and find us!"

"Inessa, it's harmless," he tried to assure her.

"How do you know?"

"Because it's just the sound those flashes make," he said. A bolt of lightning struck nearby, its bolt visible only to Vasily since Inessa had buried her face in his shoulder as she was sobbing from fear. An especially loud boom shook their cave and the mountain.

Inessa screamed again and started sobbing into his shoulder uncontrollably. She was nearly crushing Vasily in her attempt for comfort during the storm. "I don't believe you!" she sobbed, "I don't think you know."

"Inessa, listen," he said with his voice as calm as he could make it, "If the noise wasn't because of the flash, then why do the brightest flashes make the loudest noise?"

"I don't know! Stop talking or it'll find us!"

Vasily wriggled his arms free and hugged Inessa back. "You said I was clever earlier?"

"Yes," she said after rolling her head so her face wasn't buried in his chest. She sniffed from her sobbing.

"Would a clever person not know what makes those noises?"

She loosened her grip on him slightly and made eye contact. "No...clever people know lots of things," she said. She was beginning to calm down now.

"Do you trust me?"

Inessa didn't have a reason to not trust him since he'd been honest about everything so far. She sniffed and pulled herself a foot or so from Vasily while uncoiling her tail from him. She smiled slightly and nodded. An untimely boom of thunder sounded off and she screamed again as she tightened herself around Vasily once more. She quickly unwrapped herself when she realized she was crushing him. "Sorry."

"It's alright. Should we go deeper into the cave? It might be quieter."

Inessa hugged him with only her arms. "Yes."

Vasily let go of her and she let go of him and they began walking deeper into the cave so that the thunder would hopefully be muffled by the mountain. They walked for a few short minutes with Inessa clutching onto Vasily for security until they happened onto a large cavern. There was the sound of running water and the air was warm and very wet. "There must be an underground lake," Vasily said aloud even though he was sure Inessa could make the connection.

"I've never been this far," she told him, "I've been asleep till the day I found you."

"That's weird, the air's really warm," he ignored her statement, "I guess you don't know why that is?" They stopped walking when they saw in the dim light a ledge. The cavern was too dark to see into, though. "We should run back and get a torch."

Inessa didn't move when Vasily began walking back. "Mm-mm. I want to stay here. There's no loud noises here."

Vasily smiled at her. "Should I go, then? Neither of us can see, and it'd be better on us both to have water inside the cave."

Inessa hesitated for a few seconds. "You go. I feel better here, but you need light. Hurry back, I don't like worrying about you."

Vasily hugged her to keep her calm. There was no way he was going to let her change into her real form again. "I'll be fine." He turned around and hurried back to the vestibule of the cave to get some sticks for another bonfire.

When he arrived he found one stick and tore off a piece of one of his shirts. He wrapped it around one end of the stick and placed it in the fire. After a while, his torch had lit up and he took it with him back into the cavern.

He found Inessa right where he left her and she turned to face him as he approached. She backed away as he approached, but she remained cognizant of the ledge. "Don't come closer!"

"Why not?" Vasily asked. He stopped moving just in case.

"That...light is not right."

"What do you mean? It's just a torch."

"I don't like it," Inessa said, "Please don't bring it any closer."

"It's a harmless torch," Vasily said, "If clever people can understand the loud noises and bright flashes, then we must be able to understand fire, right?"

Inessa stopped backing off as he reasoned with her. "I guess so."

"So you don't have anything to worry about. This is the same warm light that I showed you yesterday."

Inessa slithered cautiously over to him until she was able to see the torch clearly. It was the same as the other fire, and Vasily was just doing more clever things to make it not be on the ground. She extended her arm towards it as a final test. The closer her hand got, the warmer it felt until the fire suddenly pulled away from her and she gasped and retracted her arm.

"Careful," Vasily said in a comforting tone, "If you get too close, it will hurt you."

"Oh," Inessa muttered, "I'll be careful."

"Good," Vasily replied and he held out his free hand for her which she took. "Let's go."

The two carefully scaled the slope as they made their way to the water below. The slope was relatively smooth with few stray rocks any bigger than a pebble freed from the main rock. When they reached the bottom, Inessa noticed there was a lot of wet rock, but Vasily's shoes kept the ground's consistency hidden from him.

"Lots of water," Inessa said.

"I know," Vasily agreed as he looked out at the big pool in front of them. There was a waterfall at the far end of the cavern and it seemed to be filled with steam or haze. He held the torch close to the water and saw tiny, nearly transparent fish swimming around. Apart from that there wasn't anything else in the cave save for them.

"It's big," Inessa commented as she looked at the pool.

"It is," Vasily quickly changed the subject while the thought was in his head, "Are there any others like you around here?"

"I don't think so," Inessa said, "I was the only one who went this way when I left my tribe last warm time."

"And your kind doesn't go anywhere when it's cold and white?" Vasily asked.

"No, we stay in a cave and sleep."

"That's good," Vasily said, "You're enough for me."

Inessa giggled happily and hugged him. "I'm glad you only want me."

Vasily nodded and then tried to scoop some water in his palm to look for any dirt in it. As he did so he pulled his hand out very quickly.

"What's wrong?" Inessa quickly asked as her scales moved over her sensitive skin as she prepared for a fight to keep Vasily safe.

"The water is...hot," he said.

Inessa's scales went back to where they usually were since she couldn't do anything about water. "Hot?"

"Well not burning, but it's warm...like this fire, or me," he clarified for her.

Inessa reached down to touch the water for herself. It was very warm and felt just as good. "It is warm! It's just like you!"

"It is, and it's a good thing," Vasily said as he removed his still soaked shirt, "We can get warm without the fire!"

Inessa wasn't listening since she was too busy staring at Vasily take his shirt off. She shook her head out of her hypnotism and asked, "What?"

"We can swim in the water and we'll be warm. It won't be like the water outside, I promise." He turned to face Inessa to find her staring lustfully at him. "If I swim in here, that means you have to swim with me, and you have to be naked, too."

Inessa looked at herself then back at Vasily. "But I'm always naked. Silly Vasily," she said in a playful tone.

"Then...what about your scales doing that clever censoring?" he inquired while pointing at the two scales covering most of her breasts.

"Oh...uh...I don't know about them," she replied. "Sorry."

"Alright. But get in the water with me."

Inessa crawled to the water's edge and let herself slide into the warm depths. "Hurry up," she taunted him when she surfaced.

He removed his pants and left his underwear on. He placed his torch on the only dry ledge he could find near him and he looked at the water. He jumped in right next to Inessa and he tried to make as big of a splash as he could. The water was beautifully warm and put all the heat back into his body. He opened his eyes to find the water was incredibly clear and Inessa was standing on her tail in the eight feet deep water. He swam up to the surface where Inessa scolded him for the splashing.

"You jerk!" Inessa said as she splashed him back.

Vasily laughed. "Consider it payback because you can't get naked like me," he taunted her.

Inessa giggled evilly as she slowly approached him then pounced on him and forced him under with her. She quickly let go and surfaced where she took a big gasp of air. Vasily surfaced a moment later and watched her try to catch her breath.

"You don't swim much, do you?" He figured she couldn't go long without air since she was bound to the earth and therefore not used to water.

"Mm...never. I don't really know how," she said as her breathing returned to normal. Vasily grinned and Inessa took notice. "Don't be mean, Vasily."

Before she could do anything, though, he dove under the water with a mischievous intent. He reached forward and began trying to tickle her exposed stomach. She wriggled in the water as he touched her, but not quite as he was expecting. Above him he could hear Inessa's muffled cries, but they certainly didn't sound distressed. Still he kept at it until he needed air again.

"Why did you stop?" Inessa asked as he surfaced.

"I need air," he replied, "Wait...you liked that?"

"Of course! It was amazing."

"Huh," Vasily said somewhat confused, "I always hated being tickled." He noticed Inessa was breathing hard, and he knew that the water was too deep for her to stand on her tail very long. "Come on; let's find a shallow place to rest."

"OK," she said and she slowly swam after him, hardly able to keep up since her body was built for burrowing, not swimming. Vasily soon reached a place that he could stand and he pulled Inessa up to him when she was in his reach. When she could stand on her own, Vasily let her go and sat himself down in the water. Inessa coiled herself once around him and ended with her human half sitting on his lap. "Can you do that thing again?"

"Which thing?"

"Where you rubbed my tummy. Can you do that again?"

"Oh, sure," he replied. He was beginning to wonder since he still thought he was tickling her. He placed his hand on her belly and rubbed his fingertips firmly on her skin. Inessa started breathing hard again but she never struggled in his grasp. She started being more vocal, but only with grunts and quiet moans. Vasily kept rubbing her belly and he began to realize what he was really doing to her.

"Don't stop this time," Inessa commanded after about a minute of receiving her pleasure.

==  "If you're good, I'll keep this up," he teased her. Inessa replied with a louder-than-before moan and her scales began sliding out of their normal places and exposing the soft skin beneath. He rubbed his hand up between her breasts and she moaned again. Vasily briefly stopped to adjust her much to her dismay, but he began again before she could yell at him. His hands continued to explore her sensitive skin well into the night where they finished their night with a happy ending, and they slowly drifted to sleep in their warm embraces and the warm waters in their new home.