by Jay David

Chapter 1: Allure

The inside of his home was dark, and it had been many hours since the sun had set beyond the horizon. Carefully, he made his way down the stairs of his home, trying desperately to not cause them to creak as he did so. Every once in a while, the old stallion would stop and look behind him, to the room he'd just come from. In moments of silence, he could still hear her, the mare who now slept soundly in their bed. A grimace forms upon his lips as he looks away, unable to bear the sound of her peaceful slumber. Why? Why do I do this? Why do I betray her? She's my wife, my everything, and I just...can't stay away! It was a thought he'd had many times before, and not just tonight, but even so, he knew how this went. The guilt, the self-loathing. He’d experienced it all, and yet, it never changed anything, for he knew he would still go there, to that place. The grimace remained as this notion sank in, and he began to continue to make his way down the stairs. Thankfully, not a peep was heard in the entire time he was walking, and as such it wasn’t long before he made his way outside, feeling the cool night-time air all around him.

As he'd done many times before, he looked around to make sure he wasn't going to be spotted. Sure enough, the streets were all vacant, and he breathed a sigh of relief. But it was a short-lived feeling, as that sensation began to make itself known to him once more. The feeling of needing to be somewhere, to be drawn to something he wanted more than anything. He hated that feeling, just like everything else, but still he followed it, making his way beyond his home and towards the outermost edges of the village, constantly on alert in case anypony spotted him. Although old, he could still run with the best of them, and because of this, he soon found himself outside of his settlement, heading straight towards the vast forest land that lay beyond. It was a dark and foreboding place, and was known as the kind of area that nopony would wish to find themselves. But, in spite of this, the old stallion didn't care, and simply charged in, regardless of what danger he would find.

Many strange and disturbing sounds passed him by as he galloped onwards, but all that mattered to him was that he reached his destination. Despite the darkness and the gloom, he had no trouble whatsoever in finding his way. After all, this was a path he had travelled many times before, as evidenced by the dozens of hoof-prints embedded in the dirt beneath him as he journeyed. It was a grim reminder to him of his repetition in coming here, yet another thing to be ashamed of. But shame, it seemed, was not enough to stop him, and as he charged, it wasn't long before he found himself exactly where he needed to be. A clearing, bathed in the glow of the moonlight, dotted with many beautiful flowers and fresh green grass. He looked around, hearing only silence now, and for a brief moment, he wondered, perhaps, even hoped that she would not be here tonight. But that hope was, sadly, all too brief, as a nearby rustling was followed by a soothing and sultry voice.

"Well...it's good to see you keep to your promises."

Slowly, the old stallion turned his head, and saw before him what many would describe as an absolutely beautiful sight. It was a Pegasus mare, far younger than he was, bearing a cream-coloured coat and the longest golden mane he had ever known. She walked gracefully through the glade, swaying her hips slightly as she approached him. The stallion stood there, paralyzed with her beauty, and looked deep within her piercing yellow eyes. Her mouth changed to a sly smile once she reached him, raising a hoof and caressing the side of his face.

"I missed you. Did you miss me?"

He opened his mouth, but couldn't get the words out. It was a sight that caused his "companion" to giggle slightly as she began to walk away from him, her tail swaying from side to side as she did so.

"Oh, there's no need for words, my dear. No, words are the last thing we want here, isn't it?"

The stallion frowned and looked at the ground, trying hard not to keep staring at her. She's always like this, he thought to himself. Always making fun, telling jokes. It's like she doesn't realise that this is wrong. Well, I suppose she does know. She just doesn't care. So deep in thought was the stallion that he failed to notice the approach of the mare once more, who gently placed her hoof under his chin and brought his eyes upwards towards her. She was still smiling, and stepped forward to quietly whisper something in his ear.

"You want this. You always do. And I need your love. I am so...very...hungry."

That, perhaps more than anything else, was what shamed him the most. His betrayal of his wife was bad enough, but to do it with the enemy of his people? That was something else altogether. He gazed upon the beautiful face of the mare before him, knowing it was merely a mask. Beneath the surface was a creature more dangerous and vile than anything ponykind had ever known. It was a thought that almost made him sick to his stomach, but he couldn't help himself. Everything she did, and not just her looks, drew him to her. The way she spoke, the way she moved. By Tartarus, he thought, even her smell is heavenly. It was like a flowery perfume, or the kind of scent that lured a small insect into the jaws of a waiting predator. Regardless, it was clear that she knew the thoughts that ran through his mind, as evidenced by the sly grin she gave. He had no time to react as she moved forward, pressing her lips against his own. Although taken aback by this, it was not long before he was lost in the kiss, wrapping his forelegs around her and holding her close.

And from there, he was lost. The kiss became more and more passionate as time went on, to the point where the two had fallen into the grass, rolling around and embracing each other. He could feel the warmth of her fur against his body, and it sent his senses into overdrive. He wanted her. He needed her. But throughout every moment of this union, there was that feeling of self-hatred. She looks like my wife, he thought, back when we first met, first fell in love. Did she take this form on purpose? To mock me as she feeds on me? To make me hate myself even more? Is it not enough that I break the vows of my marriage? She has to show me that face while I do it? Loathing and shame, enticement and anger, fear and regret. All these and more poured through the old stallion's mind as he continued to be with this false mare. Time passed and, as one might expect of such a union, things progressed far further than mere kisses. In time, the forest echoed with the sounds of great passion and lovemaking, screams of ecstasy abound from both mare and stallion.

But, as with all things, it eventually came to an end. The stallion did not know how long he was out from the exhaustion, but he didn't care. He'd done the deed, as he'd done many times before. It was not just the physical exertions that had drained him. No, his love had been fed upon as well, he knew that at this point. So, he looked up as the mare walked away from him, stopping just short of the treeline to glance back and give him a wicked smile.

"Same time tomorrow...friend."

A chuckle escaped her lips as she continued to move beyond the trees, and for a moment, the stallion swore he could see her engulfed in green flame, the sign of her transformation. He couldn't see her afterwards, and upon reflection, he didn't want to. Instead, he simply got up and looked towards the sky. As expected, there was the slightest hint of light approaching. Day would soon come, and he knew he had to be back home before his wife awoke. But he did not run. Instead, he simply took slow step after slow step, with tears falling from his eyes every moment of the way.

"Oh, my darling...forgive me."

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