284 Chapter “P-Please don’t speak of it like that. It’s… very important to me.”
Riftan’s face pulled into a subtle wince. His voice was derisive as he said, “Of all the mountains of jewels I’ve given you, this grubby coin scrap is what you treasure most?”
“They’re all precious to me,” Maxi said in a choked whisper, stroking his cheek appeasingly. “But… th-this coin is something you’ve had with you for a long time. It reminds me of you… whenever I look at it.”
Something stirred in his black eyes, making him appear more like a fragile young boy. When Maxi pressed her lips to his, trying to dissolve his pain, he responded with a low moan. He broke out of his tense posture and pulled her into a tight embrace. His fingers trembled with desire as they ran down her sweat-slicked back.
Maxi gently sucked his tongue as he slid it between her swollen lips. With her breasts crushed against his chest, she could feel his heart pounding like a drum.
He laid her on the ground and bent over her, pouring kisses across her face. His hands roamed every inch of her body. Maxi felt herself instantly heating up. Slowly, his lips traced down her neck and paused at her rosy breast. He continued down to her stomach, which was twitching with tension. Breathing heavily, Maxi pushed her thighs together.
“I-I don’t want—”
Maxi rocked back and bit her lip. Riftan, having pried her knees apart, lowered himself between her legs and began kissing her most intimate part. She wrenched a fistful of clothes when his hot breath played over her sensitive folds. Her thighs tensed, and her back arched. White vapor puffed out of her mouth, rising up to the dark cave ceiling. Each time his tongue flicked her swollen nub, her spine melted from an almost painful pleasure.
Unstable to withstand the intense sensation, Maxi began to writhe. Riftan’s grip on her hips clamped down as he mercilessly continued.
Maxi cried out. Her face felt so inflamed she was afraid it would burst. Riftan pushed his tongue deep into her dripping entrance, then withdrew, only to enter a second later. She peered down at the top of his raven head between her legs, but the blazing heat within her soon forced her eyes shut.
On and on, the pleasure built. Clutching his hair, Maxi began to convulse as though struck by lightning. Sparks swirled beneath her eyelids. She twisted her waist like a snake, her face turning white.
When her climax subsided, Riftan raised his head from her groin. She watched with faraway eyes as he swiped his thumb across his wet lips. Then, he turned her over. Climbing on top of her, he interlocked their fingers and tucked his hardened member between her buttocks. Maxi squeezed her hands until his protruding joints dug painfully into her skin. It felt as though a burning rod branded the place where they touched.
He brushed aside her disheveled hair covering her back and nipped at her nape, slowly rocking his hips back and forth. He seemed half unhinged with desire, but he made no attempt to enter her.
Crushed under his rock-hard body, Maxi panted heavily. She shuddered when she felt fingers tease between her legs again. She was too spent to even utter a moan. With her face pressed against the coarse fabric, she began to sob like a cornered beast. In the next moment, she went slack.
The tension that had gripped her body all day evaporated as her remaining reserves drained out of her. She slipped into oblivion as she listened to his moans filling her ears.
Maxi slowly opened her eyes to something damp and lukewarm grazing her skin. The dim wall of the cave and the dying fire were the first things she saw. She vacantly watched the flickering, golden flames when something cold touched the skin between her legs.
She flinched and looked down. Riftan was gingerly wiping her groin with a damp linen cloth. As mortification washed over her, her face burned a fiery red. A sharp pain shot through her whole body as she sprang upright.
Moaning, she steadied herself by placing her hands on the ground. Every part of her ached as if she had been beaten, and her limbs felt weak.
“Lie back. You’re covered in bruises.”
He gently pushed her back onto the blanket and draped his clothes over her. He then took out an ointment from her pack. While he applied it to her throbbing hips and thighs, Maxi stifled her groans of pain with his cloak. He continued down to her calves and blistered feet, making sure to cover all the exposed areas with his clothes before moving on to her back and arms.
Maxi scrunched her nose against the pungent herbal scent. Glancing up, she noted Riftan was only in his trousers. She realized why a second later — his remaining garments were all draped over her.
Aghast, she hastily offered him his clothes back. Though she began shivering almost immediately, she hated the idea of him bearing the icy conditions even more.
“R-Riftan… please, put these on, or you’ll catch a—”
Her voice croaked to a stop. She had screamed so much that she sounded terribly hoarse. Her face flushing, she fumbled the ground in search of her own garments.
“I-I will wear mine, so—”
“Your clothes are still wet,” Riftan cut in, pointing at the wall. “Keep them on.”
Glancing over, Maxi spotted them hanging on his steel chain.
“We can stay like this.”
With a low sigh, Riftan placed the ointment jar on the ground and hoisted her onto his lap with one arm. He leaned back against the wall and wrapped both sturdy arms around her waist. Maxi happily nestled into his embrace.
The heat radiating from his body seemed to sink deep into her. He was tugging their makeshift blankets to ensure she was fully covered when she let out a drowsy sigh. He stopped to pick up a flask and bring it to her lips.
“It’s melted snow. You perspired a lot, so you need to drink.”
When he carefully tipped the flask, Maxi obediently gulped at the water. A few sips into her parched throat cleared her head slightly. She glanced at the cave’s entrance as she wiped her lips.
“Did you go outside… w-while I was asleep?”
“I would never leave you alone in a place like this,” he replied brusquely. “And the blizzard hasn’t died down yet. It’s just snow from the entrance.”
“I-I see.” Maxi gulped, adding nervously, “Do you think… the others are all right? They must be worried.”
“They’re probably frantic,” he said dryly.
She cautiously studied his face and realized he was livid. His chiseled jaw was clenched to suppress his rage, and his lips were drawn into a thin line. She nervously shifted her eyes. There were too many things that could have angered him to pinpoint what was behind his current mood.
A heavy silence stretched between them before Riftan spoke first.
“We best light another fire. How many firestones do you have left?”
When she saw his brow furrow, she quickly added, “B-But I also have fire drake stones! I can light one… with them as well.”
He paused before saying, “Then we should be able to last until the blizzard passes.”
With another low sigh, he handed her the pouch containing the magic stones. Maxi extracted a firestone and placed it next to the dying flames. Soon, ignited by a rush of mana, a second flame began to rise from the new stone. The air grew warm, easing the tension from her shoulders.
The cave was as quiet and gloomy as a grave, but Riftan being there with her made it bearable. She stared up at the dark stalactites jutting from the ceiling. Briefly forgetting about her state, she pressed herself close to him, setting off a pain that racked her whole body. She was indeed covered in bruises.
Groans of pain rose in her throat, which she managed to suppress. While her back hurt the most, she was mortified to find she was sore all over, including her groin and nipples. She furtively felt the tip of her stinging breast before peeking beneath the covers. Besides her slightly swollen nipples, her arms and thighs were mottled with bruising, and her knees were close to purple.
Though most of the injuries could be attributed to her many falls, the pain in her breasts and thighs was undoubtedly from their rough coupling. As she touched the red handprint on her thigh, she wondered with a hint of regret if they had been too aggressive.
Suddenly, Riftan spat an angry curse above her head.
She hastily covered herself again, but he was already pulling the garments away. The light from the flames bathed her whole body.
“The bruises are worse than I thought,” he said, his face contorting in shame.
“Please… don’t blame yourself… Th-These were from the golem.”
“Is the golem to blame for this as well?” he asked coldly, cupping one of her swollen breasts.
Maxi blushed. “No… but I was the one who urged you on.”
“That’s true,” Riftan agreed grimly, “but I should have restrained myself. I’m sure you never wished for it to go that far. I should not have been so eager when you could’ve been hurt.”
Twiddling her fingers, Maxi looked away and mumbled, “I-I… e-enjoyed it… just the same.”
As soon as the words were out, she flushed all the way down to her neck with shame.
Not wanting him to think her wanton, she hastily added, “I-It’s been three years, after all. Though it wasn’t the most ideal situation… I loved… being in your a-arms again.”