‘Stronger Than Hunger’

by GoldFox

Mair and Seth are property of Duo Radon and are used with permission.

The market was a busy place, populated by furs, demons and monsters alike. Many had little shops, selling their wares, while others bought, or stole, what they wanted. Seth wandered the dirt street, careful not to hit, or be hit, by anyone around him. He wasn’t selling his potions today, having another purpose in mind. He shifted the leather bag on his shoulder, the satchel heavy with potion ingredients he’d been in need of.

As he walked, he noticed a tiny little stall and stopped for a look. The stall belonged to a small little golden vixen, the size and shape of a normal fox. She was selling tiny creatures; dragons, furs, regular animals, and even humans. Humans were a rare find, as they hardly ever ventured far away enough into the wild to slip into their world, and not many wished to risk their lives by trying to catch them. The diminutive creatures were three inches tall, which put them not only at the ideal size as a pet, but also made them perfectly bite-size. She had many creatures examining her wares, small in size like her along with normal-sized customers.

She was currently sitting on a stool, in conversation with a blue-furred demon, who was considering a tiny human in a glass jar. The demon’s barbed tail flicked by his two-toed feet as his three-fingered hand rubbed thoughtfully at his chin. The little human was very thin and trim, not an ounce of fat on him, and as an oddity, his slicked back hair was a soft silver-white color. Little blue eyes were wide in confusion and fear as he looked back into the golden eyes of the blue demon, who then grinned, baring his fangs, nodding at the golden vixen. The little vixen accepted his payment, and the blue demon walked off with the jar, licking his lips. It was easy to see that he wasn’t planning on keeping the human as a pet.

The little gold fox spotted Seth watching and swished her tail, trying to get him to come over, but he smiled and shook his head. She smiled back at him, then went to her next customer.

He walked past the shops, and finally reached the end of the market. From there were two paths. One path led to a huge area, into which would be led large monsters. Currently, the auctioneer, a smug reynard-fur, was shouting and taking bids for a large blue dragoness. She wore a leather rag which strained at her full breasts and a golden bracelet was wrapped around her tail, above the spiny barb. She shifted on the dirt, her body swelled with eggs. Seth considered joining the auction, but decided that he could buy dragon eggs another time. Instead, he went on the last remaining path.

This led to a normal-sized auction platform on which a huge fat raccoon fur was handing the leash of a green-haired bat-fur to a very pleased-looking green demon. Seth took his place by the stage and watched as a cage was brought out. Inside was a black lump, with streaks of green. Seth caught a glimpse of hoof as the creature moved and guessed it was a horse of some kind. The raccoon consulted a card and then bellowed loudly to the crowd, “Now here’s an interesting item! This little horse demon is hardly a few weeks old, but already shows signs of being a carnivore. It’s a shape-shifter, but won’t realize these abilities for a couple years yet, folks, so don’t worry about it running off!”

He pulled the cage forwards and removed one of the walls. The little demon uncurled and looked up. Apparently it had been sleeping and didn’t understand the noise around it. It was small, hardly two feet tall, and was covered in short, jet black fur. Its hair was a bright green, but its tail, again horse-like, was black as the rest of it. On its back were a series of what appeared to be spikes, but they were simply hardened fur and not tough in anyway. Its back feet were hooves, but its hands had three fingers. Fur tufted at its ankles and elbows, giving it a scruffy appearance. It yawned hugely, revealing tiny little fangs and Seth found himself smiling. Perfect! He’d been looking for an equine demon for a while now! He had never had one before, but was told that they were delicious.

He raised his hand, shouting, “20!”

“25!” came an accented voice behind him. Seth turned and saw another demon behind him, but it was in human-form. He looked like a young French-man, but his black and red eyes gave him away.

Seth turned and shouted, “40!”

The other turned, saying, “Too rich for me…” and walked off, deftly snitching a purse of gold from a red demon who was too concerned with his bags to notice.

“40 once, 40 twice…” the auctioneer pounded his stand with the gavel, shouting grandly, “Sold to the blue demon in the third row!”

Seth walked up to the platform and accepted the leash to the little demon. It walked on all fours, following him willingly, sniffing curiously at the claws on his two-toed feet. Seth started walking and the little demon fell in step.

As they passed a meat shop, Seth heard a soft whickering noise come from the little demon. He looked down at it, feeling straining against the leash, and saw it trying to attack at a hanging string of dragon sausages, snapping its little fangs at the meat. Seth sighed, but decided that he’d have to start feeding it soon anyway. It was way too skinny and needed serious fattening. He bought the sausages, tucking them into his satchel.

He heard a thud and looked down to see that the little equine demon, which had leapt for the dangling end, had landed flat on its face. However, it instantly got up, begging for the treat, pawing at him with its hands while making noises like whinnies and whickers.

“You don’t talk much, huh?” Seth asked as he walked off, and the little demon followed, still begging. It would run on all fours to catch up with Seth, beg at his leg or tail, run to catch up again, then beg again. After nearly tripping over it twice, Seth realized he’d never get home at this rate and sighed, turning off to a grassy spot. He sat down and instantly had the demon between his legs, trying to dig into his satchel. Seth’s tail whipped up and restrained the eager demon as he reached into his bag and took out one of the sausages. He offered it to the demon and then placed it on the grass and let it go. It pounced on the meat and began to tear it apart. Its fangs were small, but obviously effective as it devoured the spicy meat and then licked its little paws clean.

It sat on its backside, legs spread, and this time made an odd whimpering noise. Seth guessed its meaning and continued to feed the little demon until it finally turned its head away from the offered meat. Seth stared. The little demon had eaten nearly all the sausages and had blown up like a balloon! Its gut was huge and it was whimpering as it tried to get back on all fours. But it was too big! Its little hands and hooves couldn’t reach the floor! Seth smiled, however. If the equine demon ate that much at a time, it’d be stew-worthy in less than a month! Seth then stood up, and since it couldn’t move on its own, gently gathered up the little demon, which promptly fell fast asleep, sucking a finger.

Walking home, Seth saw dark clouds gathering. He frowned. Great. Rain was all he needed right now! He hurried home and made it into the base of his tree just as the first fat raindrops began to fall. He sighed happily and opened the door to his workshop with his tail as his hands were full. He walked in and deposited his satchel before heading through the back door into his bedroom. He placed the little demon down by the fire and walking to his shelf, brought down two metallic bands. Gently he reached down and locked them around the demon’s upper arms. The bands would keep it from escaping during the night.

He then got up and went back into his workshop, then through a side door to the kitchen. He stood before the book shelf and finally picked one entitled “Still Breathing; the Do’s and Don’ts of Cooking Live Meat”. He sat down and began to flip through it, trying to find a suitable recipe. About half an hour later, he heard a soft repetitive grunting noise. He got up, curious, and peeked into the workshop and stared in shock. The little equine demon had somehow crawled out of his bedroom and was making its way across his workshop. It had tried to go under his chair, but had gotten stuck and was whining as it struggled to free itself. Seth sighed and stepped into view.

The little demon’s yellow eyes lit up at seeing him, and it began to whinny as it reached for him. Seth had to smile at that, and said, “Well, you’re certainly not the smartest little guy.” Despite its trapped position, it wriggled happily; legs kicking and tail swishing. Seth came over and helped it out from under the heavy chair. It squealed in happiness and clung to his shirt, nibbling at the golden hem curiously.

Seth carried it back into the kitchen and set it on his lap as he picked up the book again, flipping through the pages. The little demon, which had settled to sleep, suddenly got up and peered at the book. Seth then had to hastily yank the book from its reach as it snapped at the pictures of steaming meat. Seth then poked it’s still bulging belly with his tail, asking with a smile, “Gluttonous, aren’t we?” The equine demon suddenly yawned hugely and went to sleep, sucking again on its finger.

Seth stared at it for a while before getting up and replacing the demon by the fireside. Seth watched it sleep for a long time, before he forced himself up and back to the kitchen. He sat down and for a while, didn’t pick the book up again. He instead stared at the door, back towards his room, towards the little equine demon. After a while, he sighed heavily and picked the book up, picking through it lightly.

The next day, Seth woke up to feeling something warm by his side. He looked and saw that the little demon had somehow climbed up onto his bed and had curled up against his stomach. It was lying on its side, and surprisingly, its fat belly was decreased from the night before! Seth poked at it, amazed at the equine’s rapid metabolism. The little demon giggled in its sleep, rolling to its back awkwardly to let him rub its belly. Seth smiled at it, and noticed for the first time that the little demon was male. He scratched gently at the black-furred ears and the demon nuzzled into the caress, whickering very softly.

After a time, Seth got up, stretching. The little demon woke up and watched him, then tried to mimic his actions only to fall onto his back and struggle helplessly, like a flipped-over turtle. Seth laughed loudly and turned him over, walking to the kitchen. He turned and saw the little demon waddling after him, his little tail swishing like crazy. Seth felt a tiny pang in his conscience, but pushed it aside as he sat down and pulled the cookbook towards him again. He heard a soft thud and suddenly noticed his tail felt odd. He looked down and saw that the little demon was lying on his fat belly and was holding Seth’s tail, sucking on the tip innocently, yellow eyes closed as he smiled. Seth smiled and turned back to the book.

The next day, Seth had to work on his potions, and as he did, the little demon would wander clumsily around his workshop, sniffing and trying to nibble on everything. After stopping him from eating a beaker, Seth finally went into the slaughter room and got an old bone from one of his previous meals. It was a femur, blood still covering some areas, and he gave it to the demon, saying sternly, “Here. Nibble on this and leave my things alone!” The little demon immediately obeyed, crunching on the bone as Seth went back to his work, muttering, “The sooner he’s in the pot, the better!”

After half an hour of blessed silence, Seth looked over to see the demon licking the blood from the bone, then nibbling on it ineffectively, then licking again. Obviously, he was trying to get the marrow inside. He began to whimper and banged the bone on the floor, which of course did nothing. Seth then got up, and took the bone. With his powerful fangs, he turned the bone and cracked down into a weak spot, splitting the bone open. The little demon squealed in joy and reached upwards eagerly for the bone, clenching his paws eagerly. Seth gave it back and watched as the demon greedily began to lap out the marrow, gnawing on the bone. Seth then went back to work, but would stop every now and again to watch the little demon out of the corner of his eye. He told himself it was to make sure that it didn’t cause more damage, but another part of him felt warm when watching his little antics. He felt slightly regretful that the little equine demon was destined for his stomach, but shrugged and went back to work, trying to concentrate. And not succeeding very well.

For the next week, Seth was busy working on his potions, and thus had no real time to eat. To get through the day, he’d grab a couple tiny furs or creatures and munch them during work, but otherwise, hardly ate a thing. During this time, the little demon had become quite familiar with his new home, and had become quite a handful. Seth had discovered, however, that if given a bone that was only slightly cracked, the demon could work his little fangs into it and eventually get the marrow out. It took him several hours to do and Seth used those hours to work, glad of the only slightly distracting sound of the little demon sucking and gnawing at the bone. Seth was unhappy that he had no time to fatten the demon, but knew that if these potions weren’t finished soon, it was quite likely that HE’D end up as someone’s dinner. He shivered at the thought, and kept working.

After a couple days, Seth noted with astonishment that the little demon’s huge belly had shrunk down to nothing. But he found that he didn’t mind. The little demon was kinda cute when he wrestled with the bones like that, growling as he tried to suck the stubborn marrow out. When he finally finished his last potion, capped it and labeled it, he leaned back in his seat, letting out a loud groan of, “Finally!” His voice made the little demon’s head snap up and he looked down at feeling the demon climb up into his lap, cuddling to him and nuzzling his stomach. Seth grinned, and gently placed his hand on the little head, pressing it harder against his belly, saying with a grin, “Now that I’m done, you’ll finally be able to get in there.”

The little demon just reached around, hugging Seth’s waist, murring happily.

Seth froze in surprise, staring. What was it doing? He just said that he was going to eat him, and yet the little demon, instead of running, was hugging him! Seth’s tail-tip flicked back and forth in confusion. He tried to gently push the little demon away, but he hung on tighter, whickering quietly.

That night, Seth was in the kitchen again. Now that his work was done, he could focus on his dinner. But how to prepare it? He was craving steak, but at the same time, a thick chowder-like stew was a very tempting idea. He flipped a few pages and stared at the recipe for a roast, trying to read. But after a time he gave up and looked down at what was distracting him.

The equine demon was rolling on the floor, toying with a shard of bone. Seth watched as he pretended to use the bone fragment as a sword, attacking invisible enemies and grunting heroically. Seth smiled in amusement but it flickered and died as rare guilt asserted itself. He tried to push it out of his mind. After all, he’d eaten other creatures before! Why should this little one be any different?

An answer floated through his mind, hazy and vague, and he grunted in frustration as he slammed the book shut and then slumped back in the chair, glaring at the book. The demon paused, seeing him with his arms crossed and looking huffy. It seemed to think something over and awkwardly got up on its back feet, still getting used to his hooves and waddled over, catching himself on the pale-blue tail. Seth glanced down at him questioningly, watching as the little equine hugged his tail, eyes shut as it whickered softly and happily.

It was trying to cheer him up.

Where that thought had come from, Seth couldn’t say, but it made the guilt appear again. He got up, knocking the little demon to the floor and stalked off to his bed, deciding it was high-time for bed. As Seth stripped and got into the bed, he noticed that he smelled rain. This was confirmed as he saw a bright flash and then a low rumbling roll of thunder. He got into bed, scowling, feeling confused and frustrated and embarrassed. Why was he feeling like this?!

But before he could form an answer, he heard clopping and a frightened squeal right before something small jumped onto the bed and scurried into his covers. He was shocked as the little demon instantly scuttled in next to him, huddled against his chest, shaking and whimpering. Obviously, it had been scared by the thunder. Seth rolled over and tried to ignore him, but the demon crawled over his side and huddled to his chest again, hugging his neck and pushing his face against his throat, shivering.

Seth tried to push him away, but when he lifted his arms, he found himself gently embracing the demon, his tail slipping up to gently caress the demon’s back. It relaxed and promptly fell asleep and Seth found that he didn’t want to let go. Confused, he snuggled tighter with the demon and fell asleep.

The next morning, Seth woke up to feeling a weight on his body. He looked down and saw the little demon sprawled on top of him, sucking its little thumb, tail draped over Seth’s side and twitching slightly as it dreamed. Seth reached and gently stroked the bright green hair, grinning as the demon moved into the touch, releasing his thumb to whinny quietly. Seth then got up, carefully rolling to let the demon slide off his chest, and got out of bed. He dressed and walked into the workshop, grabbing a few mini-furs. He ate them quickly as he went outside, desiring sunlight. Licking blood from his fingers, he sat by his door, lounging in the sunlight, smiling to himself. He heard clopping and saw the little demon next to him, now sitting on its haunches, smiling foolishly.

Seth groaned and spread his legs, intending to get up, but the demon immediately leapt as soon as his legs were apart and curled up between them, resting his head on Seth’s right thigh. Seth nearly pushed him away, but decided that it wouldn’t hurt anything if it lay there a while longer. As the demon fell into a doze, Seth gently began to stroke his body, running his claws delicately down the small body, feeling the muscles and tendons. One part of him was praising the tenderness of the meat, but the other part hesitated.

Seth then shook his head and reached down, sliding his hands under the demon’s armpits and lifted him up to his face. Once the yellow eyes had lazily blinked open, he said sternly to the black-furred demon, “I’m going to eat you. You get that, right? As in you’ll be chopped up and all the little pieces will go into my stomach. Get it?” The demon blinked sleepily and leaned forwards, licking Seth’s nose.

Seth froze and watched in shock as the demon leaned further forwards, now licking his cheek tenderly, the little pink, rough tongue scraping gently against his skin. Seth numbly placed the demon down, which curled up with him again lovingly, murring as it went back to sleep.

That night, Seth was looking at the recipe book again, forcing himself to look at the pictures and try to read the words. But he couldn’t help but keep glancing down at the little demon sleeping on his left toes. He was on his back, body curved as it lay on the foot. He had his hands up and his right hoof kept kicking idly now and again. Seth gulped hard and looked again at the cook book, but was unable to see the pictures of food and compare them to the little equine demon.

Seth’s tail beat a soft irritated tattoo against the leg of his chair and the sound woke the little demon, who yawned hugely, revealing his white fangs in his pink maw. Seth couldn’t help but think ‘cute’ and then mentally kicked himself, literally forcing himself to look at a recipe for marinated steaks. He felt something pawing at him and looked down to see the demon clamber up into his lap, curling up and staring up at him, smiling broadly as his tail swished back and forth happily. Seth stared at him for a while and with a rueful chuckle, pushed the book away.

He gathered the demon into his arms, prodding his belly as he said, “Do you have to be so cute?” The demon grabbed his hand clumsily and brought it to his mouth, teething lightly on the slim fingers as he burbled happily.

Seth knew he couldn’t do it now. He didn’t usually skip an opportunity of a meal, but as the demon gnawed lightly on his finger, he knew that this one would never end up inside him.

He then sighed, and used his tail to flick at the little black hooves, saying, “Well, you need a name, don’t you? But what?” He thought this over as the demon kicked its hooves happily. Quietly, he mused, “Well, you love to tear at your food…”

The demon looked at him and burbled clumsily, “Mare?” obviously trying to say ‘tear’ but unable to say the ‘t’, saying it instead as an ‘m’ as infants will often do.

Seth shook his head, but then paused, and said, “Mair. That’s perfect. You are Mair.” He poked the demon’s forehead with his tail as he said it, to try and imprint it in the little demon’s brain. Mair looked confused, and then grinned, grabbing the blue tail and nibbling on it.

Seth hugged him tightly, lovingly, as Mair whinnied quietly.