A giant fist came right for them. Claudia took the impact, arms stretched out instead of blocking. Everyone suddenly doubled over from pleasure pulsing at their groins.
"Ugh… Why am I… feeling like this?" Shatiel winced.
"Claudia, turn off your Project Pain! It's working on us but clearly not on them!" Kanae yelled.
"Oops, sorry. I have it switched on by default— whoa!"
The statue picked Claudia up and smashed her repeatedly into the ground like a ragdoll. Fortunately, Kanae wasn't on the brink of climaxing so Project Pain had been turned off in time. Everyone split into different directions as the smaller statues— though still life-sized— chased after them.
"Death knights, bone brutes, attack!" Edina summoned an army of undead to clash against the statues. Necro Lord Cantu, who had since been turned into a death knight with a penis flopping between his legs, pummeled the attackers with an iron maul.
"Haha! I feel alive again! I'm not weak. My strength is indominitable!" Cantu's laughter filled the worship hall up until a dozen statues dogpiled onto him. "Help! HELP!"
Running beside Kanae was Shatiel, whose pupils were outlined with a faint red glow.
"Kanae, these are earthen constructs! I'm pretty sure they're made of the same material and magic that built this place!" Shatiel explained.
If these were made by the dwarves, too, Kanae believed it. They were reminiscent of the constructs they encountered in Ha'Vavish, and the letter about a dwarven engine in this temple lent credence to that. Those horny bastards… did they align themselves with the devil of Lust?
"What can we do to defeat them? Can you dispel them?" Kanae asked.
"It's… complicated. Dispelling something with such complex magical engineering takes time. I know Mass Dispel, but we don't want to risk nullifying that's keeping this temple dry," she said, shaking her head.
"Ah, great! I'm so done with dwarf stuff!"
Undead soldiers crawled out of portals in the ground like rising from their graves. They formed a defensive line around Kanae and Shatiel. Across the chamber, Edina battled the smaller statues and Claudia fought the large one. Where was Jannie and Mitty?
Shatiel pointed behind the crypt in the middle of the room. The two of them were hiding behind it, their heads poking half out watching the battle unfold. Beside them was the Rift, or so they assumed it was one. As a Sage and Pathfinder, those two weren't exactly combatants. Better they enter the Rift and stay there where it was safe.
So, Kanae signalled to Jannie and Mitty to get their attention. When their eyes were on her, she made a circle with one hand and stuck a finger through with the other. Mitty made an odd look. He dropped his pants, pointed at his dick, and pointed at Kanae. Jannie recoiled in disgust.
"NO, I don't need your dick right now!" Kanae slapped a hand to her face. "Get in the portal. The portal!" she yelled over the commotion.
It wasn't until Shatiel performed the same gesture, but instead of sticking a finger through the hole, she made a running motion into it with two fingers. Jannie caught on. She grabbed Mitty by the scruff of his tunic and ran into the Rift before statues descended on them.
"Fuck this!" Edina shouted, and in the next moment, her hulking dracolich emerged to swipe its tail across the chamber.
The life-sized statues weren't a problem. The colossal one, however, fought both Edina and Claudia on equal footing. Whenever the Mistress of Pain laid into the thing with her paddle, it shrugged off each attack without so much as sustaining a crack. Determined, Claudia went in for another only to get backhanded into a wall and fall to the ground. The statue lifted foot carved with surprisingly fine detail over her.
"Yes, yes! Step on me! I've always fantasized about a bigger woman giving me the—" The rest of Claudia's sentence was cut short as the stone foot planted down on her.
"Kanae, this broad is useless!" Edina complained while trying to shake off statues climbing onto her dragon.
"Why couldn't the Queen-Mother have sent me Hilde? Or Ambrosia!" Kanae threw her hands up and groaned, then turned to Shatiel. "Leave the smaller ones to us. Start dispelling the big statue!"
"I can do that!" Shatiel nodded.
Kanae shattered statue after statue with Lust. The tip of her whip punched through their heads with ease, but there were so many. After destroying one, the walls seemed to birth and give shape to new ones.
Meanwhile, the Spellbreaker pulled out chalk. She hastily drew a circle on the floor and runic symbols within it. When pieces of stone from the battle clattered inside, Shatiel furrowed her brows and pouted a little before brushing them off. Eventually, it was complete and the whole circle glowed with energy.
"I'm done. Now we just need to get the statue inside!" Shatiel explained.
"How do I…" Kanae saw that Claudia was still being stomped on, and a bulb lit up in her head. "Edina, protect Shatiel while I get the Mistress of Underfoot!"
The necromancer cast Legion of the Dead, summoning an army that fell into formation to protect Shatiel and the magic circle. She leaped off her dragon and landed on the shoulder of a death knight.
"Leave it to me." Edina smirked.
Kanae flew up to the colossal statue and buzzed around the head. It tried to swat her away, but she was too quick. Casting Heightened Haste allowed her to defty dodge every strike. She managed to lead the statue away from stomping on Claudia, who was lying in a foot-shaped crater with a blissful smile on her face.
"Come on, you foot fetishist!" Kanae picked up the succubus and made a beeline towards the circle.
"Kanae? Excuse me, but it's rude to interrupt a succubus' fun. I was on the verge of feeling pain!" Claudia's expression was awash with disappointment.
"Oh, don't worry. I'm just moving you." She dropped her onto the magic circle.
Shatiel and Edina booked it as the giant statue's foot cast a shadow over Claudia.
"Ah, yes! Sweet agony comes! I welcome your painful em—"
A crushing stomp buried the Mistress of Pain underneath the statue's sole. The magic circle activated. Bluish energy ran up the stonework leg. Cracks fissured all the way up to the head, then it went still. For whatever reason, the other statues stopped their assault and instead dropped to one knee, framing a path up to the Rift.
"Are… Are all succubus like her?" Shatiel asked.
"Definitely not! Blame the Queen-Mother. I raised my kids to be perfectly normal!" Kanae retorted.
The gargantuan statue fell backwards onto the sarcophagus and broke at the neck. Its impact didn't so much as dent or chip the coffin's stone make. A shimmer of energy rippled across, revealing a magical dome barrier. At least they knew now there was magic protecting it.
"I give that a B for effort. I was beginning to feel a bit of pain." Claudia brushed pieces of rock off her shoulders and stretched her arms.
They walked up to the Rift portal and hesitated to go in.
"Is this really a Rift? Something about it feels different, and we've been into plenty of Rifts before," Edina said.
"Jannie and Mitty already went in. Only one way to find out." Kanae entered the portal first.
Traveling into a Rift was usually very disorienting. This time, Kanae didn't experience the same weightlessness or nausea going through. Her eyes adjusted to the light of an enormous and extravagant bedchamber. Instead of a demigod, a statue of a succubus was the first thing to greet them. Water cascaded down from wall fountains on the sides of the room. Paintings of beautiful women hung on the walls, and sconces were shaped like dick and balls with a torch on it. Ahead was a large bed of red silken sheets and cushions.
"Kanae, you're okay!" Mitty ran up to her.
"Shatiel! Are you hurt?" Jannie grabbed her friend and looked her all over for injuries.
"I'm fine! More importantly, what is this place?" Shatiel asked.
Both Jannie and Mitty shook their heads.
"There's no demigod to talk to us and no trial here either. It's just this room," Mitty explained.
"Well, that and… someone's on the bed." Jannie motioned uneasily to the fanciest piece of furniture here.
Lying asleep on top of the bed, hands clasped together over his chest, was a high elven man of middle-age judging by the wrinkles. He was dressed in a red and gold clerical robe. Very modest, though it parts slightly around the chest. Short hair like the streaks of sunlight was combed neatly to one side. His expression was stern, even while resting. Jewelled rings glinted from each finger. An almost regal aura cloaked him.
"Is he asleep?" Edina asked.
"There's a barrier around him," Mitty began. "We tried yelling, tapping the barrier, and making a mess of the room, but he just won't wake up."
A sinking suspicion creeped up on Kanae that this was Saint Rue, Ruedegard Ducante. If true, then his body had been sanctified in order to preserve it. If she remembered right, sanctification was part of a process done to consecrate a place into holy grounds. But Edina's undead were perfectly fine. In other words, the sunken temple was never consecrated. Had they been interrupted, or was Saint Rue never intended to be…
"Mitty, are you able to detect any other rooms? Is this it?" Kanae asked.
"Yeah. This room is all I can sense. That and the portal behind us," Mitty said.
Kanae approached the bed and flicked Dispel at it using her hand. The spell didn't connect. She asked Shatiel to try as a Spellbreaker. That also failed.
"We haven't tried brute force yet!" Claudia gripped her paddle with both hands and brought it down on the barrier.
The force reflected, sending the Mistress of Pain skidding across the room.
"What made you think brute force would work when magic didn't…" Kanae rolled her eyes, but staggered upon seeing the statue of Satine moving.
Everyone except Claudia, who didn't yet see the statue, were gaping. It turned on the round pedestal. The succubus followed their eyes and grinned.
"The elf and goblin hasn't tried making a mess of the statue. Let me!" Claudia was about to clobber the statue when a voice rang out from it.
"Power Word: Climax."
Like someone had snipped the strings to her wings, Claudia collapsed to the ground quivering like crazy. Drool slipped from the side of her mouth. Kanae raced up to Claudia to help her up, but as soon as she grabbed her—
"Aaahhhh! Stop… I'm sensitive… I can see stars… My body… won't stop… cumming…" Claudia mumbled.
The Mistress of Pain, whose strength came from her incredible resilence, was brought to the ground by a mere spell? It… It looked like fun…
"Kanae, don't even think about it. Step away from the orgasm-inducing statue, you dumb slut!" Edina yelled.
"Guh… You're not the boss of me, Edina!" Kanae stampeded for the statue with every intention to hurt it.
"You fucking dumbass—"
"Power Word: Climax."
Something inside Kanae bent. It bent hard. Pleasure tormented Kanae like thousands of prickling needles upon every inch of her skin. Instead of pain, they set fire to her senses and seared into her the meaning of ecstasy. Kanae hit the ground, orgasming repeatedly and unable to stop. Pleasure unlike anything she had ever experienced before, not even with her partners and magic combined, came down like the blow of a hammer. The mere act of twitching on the ground was like being fucked by countless dicks at the same time.
When Kanae returned to consciousness, she was sitting upright against the wall next to Claudia. The spell had worn off, but they were still feeling weak from climaxing so hard.
"You got zapped, too? I can barely feel my legs." Claudia gave her thigh a light punch.
"Where did the others go?" Kanae asked.
"Not sure." She shrugged. "They were gone when I came to."
Kanae tried to move and a letter slipped off her person. It had Edina's messy, almost illegible handwriting scrawled all over. Apparently, since she and Claudia were passed out 'like idiots' at the time, the others decided to investigate other parts of the cathedral.
Together, they helped each other up and exited through the portal. A pew that survived that battle offered them a place to sit.
"I hope this doesn't come off as insensitive considering all that's going on, but… I've been having a lot of fun," Claudia said suddenly.
"Oh, I can tell. Especially when you were getting stepped on by a building-sized statue." Kanae teased.
"Ha! That was good for me, maybe not so much for the statue! What I meant was, I used to venture out with Alicia all the time. These moments remind me of her. I didn't exactly find closure on her death, but you helped me more than my own family did after her passing. Until this war is over, you have my paddle and whip. Your battles shall be mine, and we will find and deal the most exquisite agony!"
"And… what about after the war?"
The two held each others' gaze for a moment. Maybe it was the lingering effects of the statue's Power Word: Climax spell, but a burning desire raged between the both of them. Their lips drew nearer until the echo of approaching foosteps cut in.
"Look who's awake!" Edina exclaimed with taunting intent. "Surprised you two didn't hit the statue again."
"I got your note you left on me. Did you guys find anything?" Kanae cleared her throat.
"Nope. Shatiel found this book though. Said it seemed important." She tossed Kanae a leather-bound journal with gold accents on the edges.
"The book was protected by magic. I easily broke it, but… We couldn't read it. Maybe you can?" Shatiel urged her to open its pages.
Kanae did so and was in fact able to read the journal. Claudia leaned in, too. A date was written at the top. The 'words' were written in symbols much like the ones in front of the door into this worship chamber. Its first few pages were mostly ramblings about building the temple without being noticed. A common name… or title was mentioned multiple times with reverence and polite speech uncharacteristic of the remaining texts.
The Cult of Lust and Depravity.