Merlin approached the lake with uncommon caution, sneaking looks behind him every few steps. If he’d told anyone about this (if he ever told anyone about this), they might have found it odd that was more worried about someone he knew following him than about the mysterious creature rumoured to be lurking in the lake.
If so, then they had never met Arthur and his stubborn, oblivious knights. Magical beasts were much simpler to handle, at least as long as Merlin was alone.
But for once, it seemed that his king and comrades had stayed safe in their bedrolls where they belonged. A lack of witnesses would make dealing with whatever waited in the dark water much easier: a little magic, maybe a bath afterwards if things got messy, and he could be back to camp in time to make breakfast.
The lake sat still, black and glossy in the faint light of dawn. Merlin watched it for a moment and then picked up the rock closest to his foot and threw it in. It made a satisfying plonk, but otherwise stirred nothing more than a few ripples. He threw in another, harder and farther, and got a bigger spread of ripples—and nothing else.
He frowned. The whispered warnings in the last village they passed through had made it sound like a person couldn’t get five horse-lengths from the water’s edge without risking an attack.
Maybe the monster liked to sleep late in the mornings, like lazy kings. But that probably wasn’t fair to the monster, who may well have had a late night terrorizing the countryside (or at least as much of the countryside as ventured within five horse-lengths of this particular lake).
A chill morning breeze rose off the water. Merlin shivered, missing his warm bedroll between the fire and Arthur. He was half tempted to call it a morning and slip back into bed for a few more winks before someone (Arthur) kicked him awake. Another sorcerer might have already come to deal with the monster, or perhaps it had decided to retire and caught a river current down to the seaside.
He turned around, ready to leave, but then stopped and turned back to the lake with a resigned grimace. Ever since he had met Freya, he had felt a certain obligation toward lakes, as if he owed it to her to keep them clean and safe. He wouldn’t even let Gwaine use them as a place to throw his chicken bones.
Focusing his sleep-deprived brain with an effort, Merlin began considering what sort of spell might rouse a drowsy monster from the cosy depths of its lake.
Then something wrapped around his ankle and yanked him off his feet.
He was halfway into the lake before he caught his breath enough to defend himself. “Auuugh!” he managed, which was not a spell with any particular magical effect to his knowledge.
But to his surprise, whatever was dragging him into the water paused. Merlin lay with his head and shoulders pressed down into the mud, water lapping against his back while his lower body hung in the air from the iron grip on his ankle.
“Hello?” Merlin tried to crane his neck to get a glimpse of his captor, but his neck was already bent at an angle both uncomfortable and unhelpful. He hung for another awkward moment before trying a cautious magical poke.
The grip on his ankle tightened until he felt the stricture through his boot. A shiver travelled through the length of the – arm? rope? – holding him up.
Strangely, it didn’t feel as hostile as it had before, so Merlin tried again to reach out with voice and magic. “Er, it’s nice meeting you? Maybe you could let go of me now?”
The answer to that became clear a second later when his entire body jolted free of the mud.
"Wrong way! Wrong way!" He yelped and swung out over the water, which filled his vision in nauseating ripples.
Two more mysterious restraints wrapped around his arms and slowly drew him upright. He got his first look at the creature that had captured him.
"Auuuugh," he shouted again, though this time it came out as more of a gurgling, despairing whimper.
The monster was a mass of writhing tentacles. It had a body but no features, as though the bulk of it served only as a means of keeping all those tentacles in more or less the same place, linked together as each one worked its own nefarious will. Merlin could discern no eyes, nose, or even mouth, unless he counted a vertical slit that winked at him from the middle of the massive trunk.
Three of the tentacles were wound around Merlin, catching him like a rabbit in a snare. If that slit was a mouth, Merlin had the terrible feeling that he would be meeting a similar fate to the rabbit.
The monster seemed in no particular hurry to eat him, though. It lifted him higher into the air as if considering its options. Merlin spared a wild thought to wonder whether Arthur would find his broken body flung beneath the trees along the shore, or whether Merlin would be dragged down to die in the icy waters and Arthur would never find him at all.
Frantic at the thought of never seeing Arthur again, Merlin sent an unfocused blast of power at the monster. Killing magical beasts was rarely that easy, but he had no research, no books, no Gaius, not a single clue as to its nature or weaknesses, so he had to do what he could.
It shivered again, seeming almost... pleased? Merlin scowled and struggled against the tentacles wrapped around his arms.
"Fancy yourself a bite of sorcerer for breakfast, do you?" he snarled and lashed out with the most power he could focus without the use of his hands.
The monster outright shuddered that time, but seemed no worse for the wear. Additional tentacles snaked out and wrapped around Merlin's other leg, his chest, his shoulders, his waist, supporting his full weight easily.
He had to admit it was pretty comfortable. It wasn't hard to let himself relax in the thing's grip. Maybe if it thought he had given up, it would be easier to catch it by surprise.
The tentacle around his middle squeezed him with surprising gentleness. It slipped up to his chest and then down to his hips, squeezing every few inches as though testing him for something. "Seeing if I'm tender enough?" Merlin grumbled aloud. “Oh, hullo, what are we doing now?”
Another tentacle worked into his trousers to acquaint itself with him more intimately. It twined around Merlin’s cock and began squeezing him in a counterpoint to the squeezing around his midsection. Merlin got caught up in the rhythm despite himself, so much so that he failed to notice the third tentacle sneaking in the back. When it ripped his trousers right down his legs and flung them away, Merlin yelled in surprise.
He yelled again when the slippery tip of another tentacle probed between his cheeks. His yelling devolved into whimpering soon enough—the tip exuded a substance that was not just making him slick, but making his arse feel very good inside.
The deeper the tentacle delved, the better he felt. “Oh,” he said faintly as it rubbed its slippery stuff over his prostate. “All right, then. I guess we can be friends.”
He was bizarrely grateful to have so many tentacles supporting him, because he felt like he was melting inside, in the most enjoyable way possible. His cock was the only part of him with any firmness left to it. The tentacle inside him engorged until he groaned and then went deeper, spreading that pleasurable substance around until the core of him felt happy and relaxed.
The gentle, insistent penetration felt more like preparation than copulation. He felt no surprise when the tentacle shrank down and withdrew, after which Merlin’s legs were lifted and spread as wide as they could go. “Time for the main event?” he mumbled through his pleasure haze and wondered what a tentacle monster’s cock would look like and how it would feel while it fucked him.
But instead of guiding him onto a cock, a tentacle reached back toward the slit in the monster’s body, forming a scoop with its tip. It probed inside itself and emerged with a mound of glowing, translucent globes.
“Oh. Oh, my.” Merlin’s eyes widened as the scoopful of what could only be eggs drew closer to his body. “I get it now. Oh, this is awkward.”
The preparation had left him too relaxed to resist and too aroused to care. He felt a little sorry for this lonely monster. Obviously he would have to get rid of the eggs before they spawned, but there was no harm in going on with the process a little longer. He had a sneaking suspicion there would be an orgasm in it for him somewhere along the way.
So he didn’t even try to clench up against it as the tentacle burrowed back into his arse with its load of eggs. He groaned at the pressure as it pushed them deep into his gut and then went back for another load.
He had three scoops of eggs in his belly before the monster purred with satisfaction. Then a new tentacle rose up, hovering between Merlin’s legs—and there it was. He knew a cock when he saw it, even one that was preternaturally long and flexible, with odd protuberances along its length.
It sank into him in one easy push and settled there, buried deep in his body. Merlin squirmed when it didn’t move, wanting a proper fucking.
Instead, one of the protuberances lodged itself just inside his rim and began to swell. Merlin groaned at the new pressure, and groaned louder at the first gush of fluid that flooded him. The thick knot secured his entrance while the tentacle spurted inside him.
A shiver of pure magic went through him as the creature fertilized its eggs. “That’s why you were throwing all those other people around,” he slurred as his body arched in pleasure. “That’s why you liked me. You were waiting for someone with magic.”
Magic users were undoubtedly much scarcer now than when this creature had been born. Merlin wondered how long it had waited to find someone with enough magic to nurture and bear its young. He almost felt bad that he was going to have to rid himself of the eggs as soon as he got free.
His belly had bloated up quite nicely by the time the knot deflated and the tentacle slithered free. Another tentacle quickly took its place, using its flexible tip to rub his prostate while the tentacle already wrapped around his cock began jerking him off in earnest.
Yet another one stroked a milky substance over his lips. It tasted sweet with magic when he licked a drop of it, and when the rounded tip pressed harder against his lips, he opened his mouth and suckled greedily. He could tell at once that the milk was a sedative as well as a nutriment, but it did not lessen the pleasure as his body convulsed into a long, magic-flooded orgasm.
Merlin kept suckling as he relaxed into the spectacular afterglow. The tentacle only slipped from his mouth when he became too drowsy to suck. He rested in the cradle of the beast’s many arms as it moved back toward the shore.
He heard the sound of something digging in the wet ground. With some effort, he turned his head to see two tentacles scooping out a shallow hollow at the point where the shore met the water. When the hole was Merlin-sized, the creature gently lowered him into it and began packing the wet earth around his swollen body. Once he was covered to his neck, the creature gave a great sigh and sank back under the water.
Merlin lay still for a while, half dozing, secure in the ground. After a bit, he worked one hand through the mud until he could rub his belly and feel the magic there. If left to his own desires, he might wait and let the new life grow inside him until he was certain of what it was. But he had another destiny to serve and a king waiting. And he was not at all certain that Albion needed more tentacle monsters.
With some effort, he dug himself out and pushed his newly gravid body to his feet. His trousers hung from a nearby tree. Merlin stumbled towards them, but the first few steps shifted the eggs in his belly and he gasped from the sheer bliss of the magic. He sank to his knees and then rolled onto his back, reaching for his cock.
As he stroked himself, he watched the sun climbing over the tree line. He sighed. Arthur would just have to get his own breakfast today.