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the Crown of Ice

Chapter Two, continued

Spryte held a candle-stub aloft as he strode down the hallway to his room -- but pushing the door open and holding the candle high, what did he discover? Instead of bedding- down in the guestchamber, the tipsy Cub was sprawled snoring gently atop the quilt in Spryte's own bed! He felt a brief flash of annoyance, but realized that Buck -- in his condition -- likely plumped himself down in the first bedroom he came to. Spryte set his candle down, and tugging the soft celadon-colored quilt from beneath the Cub, he spread it properly over him, then blew out the light. Shucking off his blue trunks, Spryte climbed into bed next to fuzzy Buck, elbowing the bed-hogging Cub aside, and laid his worried head on the soft pillow. As he drifted off to sleep, he felt Buck's furry back and smooth bottom spoon close against his own chest and thighs. Spryte put a comradely arm around the close-snuggling Cub, and heard the heavy patter of rain begin drumming on the roof as sleep overcame him at last.

Spryte woke slowly, with the sound of rain still rushing in his ears. The grey light from the window might have been dawn or noon, as the silver raindrops poured down heavily behind the glass. Buck was still cuddled close with his back against Spryte's stomach and thighs, but the quilt was over his head. Spryte smiled gently despite yesterday's alarming events; he felt oddly comforted by the Cub's fuzzy nearness, much as he had long ago when Grandmama Gebin tucked him in with a soft stuffed animal.

But as Buck shifted in his sleep and his smooth bottom slid across Spryte's upper thighs, the sprite was abruptly aware of a sensation alien to him in those childhood days. His spritestick sprang abruptly to attention, poking into Buck's back, and driving Spryte nearly mad with the sensation of fur tickling across it! Careful to move slowly, he slipped his arm further 'round the Cub's waist and cupped the heavy furred pouch between Buck's legs, kneading it gently.

The sprite's surreptitious massage was soon rewarded, as the sleeping Cub's dink expanded and raised up from its nest of dark fur to quiver in the warm darkness beneath the bedclothes. Spryte ran his pale-green fingers delicately up and down the pulsing shaft. He'd never played this game in quite this way with Buck before, but if the Cub were upset he'd stop. A low rumble sounded from Buck's throat, like the purring of some great cat.

Buck rolled abruptly onto his back, his stiff cubdink tenting the quilt, and groaned. "Oh, oh, oh, my head hurts!" the Cub moaned, holding his temples with both hands. "Sshhh, friend Cub, I can help," Spryte whispered. He put his palms on Buck's head and murmured a quiet incantation. With each muttered word, the Cub felt the pounding in his skull lessen. "Mmmmmmm, that is better, Spryte, oh thank you. But how did I come to be in your bed?" Buck yawned bemusedly. "Don't worry, my friend, you are welcome here," Spryte said, pulling the Cub close and again taking hold of Buck's stiff cubdink.

The Cub was rarely shy, but he felt his cheeks warm as Spryte handled him intimately. But it felt, oh!, so nice. And he could clearly feel that Spryte's own stick was stiff and hot against his bottom. His friend shifted beneath the quilt, and Buck was abruptly aware that Spryte's shaft was now poking between the shamefully-smooth cheeks of his bottom.

"Oh! Spryte, what are you doing"? the startled Cub asked. "It's all right, Bucky, lie still and it will feel nice in a minute," his green friend responded. Spryte pushed himself closer until his spritestick was nudging firmly at Buck's tight-puckered cubhole. "OH!" the Cub exclaimed, surprised.

"It will sting a bit for a moment, Buck, and then it will be wonderful, I promise!," Spryte reassured his friend. "Well -- all right then," Buck answered, squirming in delight as Spryte handled his dink. Spryte gritted his teeth, and then pushed his hips forward, driving the tip of his stick into the Cub's hole.

"EEEP!" Buck yelped, his whole furry body stiffening in shock as he felt the painfully- prickly invasion. He tried to wriggle his hips away, but Spryte's arm around his waist became a band of iron, preventing any movement. "Ow! OW! It hurts, Spryte, it hurts!" the Cub complained, "Take it out, ow!" "I promise it will only hurt for a moment, Bucky, and it will all be worth it in the end," Spryte grunted as his stick was enveloped in the tight warmth of the Cub's hole.

Slowly Spryte sank the full length of his stick into whimpering Buck; then rested enjoying the delightful sensations. In less than a minute, he felt the Cub pushing greedily back against him. "Oh -- it DOES feel nice, Spryte!" Buck groaned, and Spryte pulled back and then thrust forward again, to be greeted by a guttural woof of delight from his fuzzy bedfellow. Spryte's hand slid up and down the Cub's hard dink as he plowed in and out of his smooth bottom. Suddenly Buck's grunts and whuffles of enjoyment changed to loud panting, and he called out, "Oh! OH! Spryte -- I'm going to -- I'm going to.. OOOOHHHH!!!" and the sprite felt a wet warmth gush onto his hand, as he buried his stick in the Cub and emptied his own tension inside of his furry chum, his green toes curling in ecstasy.

They lay thus entwined for several minutes, until Spryte's softening stick came free of the Cub with a soft "pop!" reminiscent of a cork drawn from a winebottle. "Ahhhhh -- thank you Spryte!" Buck said, turning to give his friend a bone-crushing hug. "That smarted awfully at first, but then...what a fine birthday-present! I never did anything like that before, but it was so much fun! Did you think it up specially for me? You are so clever, Spryte! What do you call that?!?!" the Cub chattered guilelessly. Spryte, still recovering from the intensity of his release, could only pant in response. But slowly Buck's words echoed back to him through the patter of the rain.

"No, I didn't think it up, but I hoped you'd like it. And most of the names for it are nasty, 'though it's a nice thing, Bucky, so don't worry. But what's all this about a 'birthday- present'? " Spryte asked. He knew he'd said the wrong thing as a pout set dark dimples into the Cub's face.

"It's my birthday to-day!," Buck said, "You didn't forget, did you?" Spryte was ashamed - - he HAD forgotten, amidst the worries of all he had to think about. "I'm sorry, really, Cub," Spryte apologized as he slipped out of bed and donned his blue trunks, "It's just that all this mischief, and the letter from my cousin, drove it out of my mind," he said.

The drumming of the rain continued as the Cub sleepily remonstrated, "But I TOLD you, Spryte! And you promised we could go to the tavern," Buck pouted. Dimly Spryte recalled the conversation, and his promise to take Buck to the Golden Lion. "I haven't forgotten, my friend, and tonight we'll go to the tavern," Spryte assured the Cub.

"Mmmmmmm, I feel so nice and now I'm sleepy again," Buck mumbled as he rolled over under the quilt. Spryte quickly drew on his pale-blue boots and stole quietly out of the bedchamber.

The kitchen was dank and full of fog as Spryte tended the fire and coaxed the embers back into flames. Even as the fire blazed, white fingers of fog crept in through the window and under the door. He shut the window tight, and flung logs onto the fire until it blazed brightly and banished any fear of mist creeping beneath the door.

But his palms tingled terribly; Buck must suffer to still the itching of his hands, much as he hated the idea -- especially now that he'd introduced his friend to the play and fun of field- license, though Spryte grinned, knowing in no wise could one's bedroom be considered the "field."

Yet a birching there would be! Spryte thought as he made breakfast to the counterpoint of the rain.....

Some twenty minutes later, with the bacon just beginning to hiss in its pan and bread speared ready upon the toasting-fork, Buck the Cub appeared in the kitchen doorway scratching himself and yawning broadly. "Mmmmmmm, it smells lovely, Spryte!" he said, settling himself at the table. "I'm glad you think so; it's after ten, you know," Spryte responded curtly.

"But I was so sleepy, Spryte, and it's my birthday, mayn't I sleep late on my birthday?" the Cub replied in a petulant tone. "Well -- it's all right this time, but we've still to discuss the matter of your behaviour last night," Spryte said portentously, setting down a wooden plate of bacon and toasted bread before Buck. The Cub looked down in embarrassment, and asked, "May I have some tea, please?" As Spryte poured the steaming, spicy tea into cups he announced, "Don't think I've forgotten my promise, Buck, nor that you'll be let off because it's your birthday. You know me better than that!" he said.

Buck silently spread honey on his toast from the squat pot on the table, then burst suddenly into entreaties. "It wasn't my fault, Spryte, your neighbour was horrid to me, and then the slimer, er, nightdweller came, and, well..." he trailed off. "No excuses, Cub," Spryte said adamantly, helping himself to some of the honey. "I said you'll be birched, and birched you shall be once we've had our breakfast. You must learn to be more temperate in your drinking!"

The rest of the meal was eaten in silence; apprehensive on Buck's side, while Spryte yearned eagerly for even a temporary ease in his palms' infuriating tingling. When the Cub had swallowed his last bite, Spryte spoke. "Up to the study, and wait for me in the corner, Bucky," he ordered. "No arguments," he said, causing Buck's mouth -- opened to make a final appeal -- to snap shut in submission.

Slowly but resignedly, the Cub left the bright warmth of the kitchen and climbed up the vines to Spryte's cozy study. From long practice, he pattered to the far corner of the room and stuck his nose into it, standing still with his paws atop his head. He did not have long to wait, for in mere minutes he heard the sprite enter the study and close the door portentously.

"Come here, Bucky," Spryte ordered, and obediently the Cub turned and strode forward. "Bend over the back of the chair," he was commanded. Hiking himself up so his feet left the floor, Buck positioned his hips atop Spryte's hart's-hide desk chair. With a murmured incantation from the sprite, vines slithered through the air to curl around Buck's wrists and ankles, binding him firmly to the massive chair.

Spryte reached into the brine-barrel and withdrew the supple birch rod he'd decided on the day before, shaking it to let the glistening drops of salt-water fly away twinkling from the bundle of pliable switches. Without another word, he drew back his pale-green arm, and brought the birch whistling down across Buck's bare bottom. SSSssssssTHACK! "OW!" the cub cried out, mostly in anticipation of the blow -- but in a moment the sizzling burn of the birch penetrated fully, and "AAHHOOOOOOOOWWWW!!!" he howled in agony. It was awful!!! It hurt a hundred times worse than any spanking Spryte had ever given him!

Again the birch descended, flailing across the tender flesh of his bottom and even cruelly kissing the exquisitely-sensitive area between his fuzzy legs. "YOOEEEEOOOWWWW!" Buck cried out, struggling in his bonds. "PLEASE, Spryte, PLEASE NO MORE!!" he begged, horrifyingly surprised at the terrible pain of the birch-rod compared with the straps and paddles Spryte had punished him with in the past.

Spryte was nearly past caring about his friend's torment: though each stroke elicited a pitiful scream, the terrible itch in his palms lessened blissfully. "OH! OWWW! OH OH OH PLEASE SPRYTE! I'LL NEVER DRINK AGAIN!!!" Buck howled, the horrid tips of the birch setting fire to his bottom-flesh everywhere.

He'd meant to only give the Cub ten strokes -- few enough, given the spankings Spryte had delivered in days gone by -- but caught up in the glorious relief to his hands, he briskly applied ten more. Spryte suddenly realised that Buck's howls had subsided into a piteous sobbing, and his scarlet furless bottom was cross-hatched with thin purplish welts. His palms at last at rest, the sprite cast the rod aside.

"You've learned your lesson then, Bucky?" he demanded. "Oh! Oh! YES I've learned, please, Spryte, please no more!" the Cub sobbed pathetically. "All right then," Spryte conceded, muttering the few words to loosen Buck's bonds. The Cub slipped backward onto the bracken-strewn floor, clutching his roasted bottom and bawling miserably.

"I hope we won't have to repeat this, Buck," Spryte said curtly, though secretly he felt ashamed at the extent of his punishment of the Cub -- but his palms had ceased itching, thanks be!

"No -- never, I promise, I promise Spryte!" Buck mumbled through his tears. Spryte was overcome with both remorse he couldn't express, and compassion for his very-thoroughly- spanked friend. "It's all done now, Buck, come on, stand up here and let's be chums again," he said. "We've an appointment at the Lion tonight, after all!"

Standing and drawing himself up with an air of injured dignity -- though he still madly rubbed his flaming bottom -- Buck replied sullenly, "No! I won't go with you, never ever!" Spryte stepped back, amazed at the always-meek Cub's angry reply. "Now, now Bucky, let's have none of that," he said firmly but kindly, "you know I warned you."

"I don' care!" Buck said, "That was too too TOO hard for just having too much wine, and you're not my friend or you wouldn't have done it! I'm going home!" and without so much as asking Spryte's leave, he headed for the door. "Here, Buck, wait now," Spryte said, catching hold of the Cub's arm as he passed. "You're right, I was too harsh," he admitted, and Buck turned to face him, both surprised and somewhat-placated.

"This wickedness that's abroad in the land torments me, friend cub," Spryte sighed, leaning back against the massive desk. "My palms itch and tingle so it seems I've put them into a nest of dyre-ants, until I can soothe them by disciplining mischief," he explained. "I shouldn't have struck so many times, but Bucky, I couldn't help myself -- I was mad with the itch! Forgive me, friend, please?" Spryte appealed.

The Cub's anger melted away at the sincerity in Spryte's voice, and his big brown eyes filled again with tears, not tears of pain this time, but of compassion. Why hadn't his friend told him of his affliction? "Spryte -- oh, I am sorry. I didn't know why you beat me so hard, I didn't know your hands were hurting you!" Buck said with a catch in his throat. Now he was ashamed of the awful way he'd spoken to the sprite, even though his bottom still burned terribly hot and sore from the birching. "Would it help them if you just spanked me a little every now and then when we're together?" the Cub offered helpfully.

Spryte opened his green lips and let forth a mighty gale of laughter. Only his guileless friend Buck could stand there with his bottom aflame and make such an offer! "We'll see, we'll see, Bucky," the spryte chortled, his laughter subsiding. Buck didn't quite understand, but he smiled, seeing that Spryte was pleased. "Come on, then, come down to the kitchen and I'll put some balm on your bottom, and we'll be friends again!" the sprite said, putting his arm 'round Buck's waist. "...And we can still go to the Lion tonight?" the Cub asked timidly, provoking another gust of wry laughter from Spryte. "Yes, yes, you shall have your cake and eat it too, this time!" the chuckling sprite agreed, leading Buck out of the study.

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