Cold Steel Ch. 02byFeotakahari©
"Bleed!" sang a voice like a hammer on an anvil, and with a high swipe a Brute's head flew clear of his shoulders. "Spray it!" The creature that had once called itself Meg was enraptured at the gushing red that coated its metal skin.
"Behind you!" shouted its Commander, but it could already sense the pulsing lifeforce behind it. In a quick turn, another fighter squirmed on its blade. It drank deep of the unfortunate man's energy, then let him slide off the blade, dead before he hit the ground. Something in what was left of its mind knew better than to luxuriate in the pleasure.
It understood little. Not the war in which it fought, victorious rebels mopping up the remnants of the Brutes now that the Tyrant was dead. Not what each of its victims in turn thought as an empty suit of armor advanced on them. Not even the thoughts of its Commander, who every night promised the girl whose name he'd never learned that someday he'd find a way to free her. It understood blood, and power, and the joy of fulfilling the Commander's orders.
But on this day, a day like so many others in the past, it was to remember something else. As it drove its sword into the chest of another terrified soldier, slamming him to the ground, it looked beyond him to the people he guarded, huddled without weapons in the burned remnants of a barn. And it saw a face.
It could not remember why this face was so important. A girl, her hair and skin brown like the Commander's, but her timid eyes as green as a Brute's. The thought sprang unbidden: I know those eyes.
My next target, it told itself. When this one is dead--it drove its sword deeper, out the man's back.
But it did not withdraw it.
Energy rushed through the metal monster, more energy than it could stand, but it held firm as it stared at the green-eyed girl. "Who are you?" it yelled out.
A voice behind it interrupted its thoughts. "Have you lost control of it, Tolliver?"
Its bliss only heightened as the voice of its Commander answered. "I'm waiting, Vyce. I need to know what she's doing."
The girl and the monster watched each other silently as the soldier's body vanished, flesh and bone drained away. When all was gone, the metal beast sank to its knees.
Blade and armor alike cracked and sundered, overwhelmed with too much power. At last they fell apart into a thousand pieces.
Fell apart and revealed a young woman, naked and trembling.
The green-eyed girl escaped in the chaos.
Tolliver was alone now, except for the girl, but the voices of the rebels continued to ring in his head.
"What the hell do we do with her?"
"I've got one idea for such a pretty little girl."
"You're her 'commander,' Tolliver. You figure this out."
Tolliver had found no reply.
It was night, and it was his turn to stand watch. The girl stood by him--she had neither left his side, nor spoken a single word. He stared at her once more by the faint light of his lantern.
She was bare of hair as well as clothing, utterly exposed to the elements, yet she did not shiver in the night air. Her skin was flushed, red as blood, and her eyes were the color of steel, but she seemed small in the darkness, and something about her was very young.
She raised her head and stared back at him, and then gestured out into the night.
"I don't understand," he said.
She said nothing. She simply started walking. He knew no other option than to follow.
It hurt to think.
Her mind bubbled and seethed, half-formed memories rising to the surface. As each vanished into murk, it scalded her very soul.
She walked in a straight line. The rebels had not advanced far after the day's battle--only ten minutes' time brought her to the burned-out barn. She did not look behind her till she'd reached it, did not confirm that her Commander had followed her.
He was there, of course, panting to keep up. "Is this about that girl?" he asked.
"I need to know who she was."
"I don't know. I never saw her before."
"I need to know why it hurts."
"What are you--"
She was never to know whether that question would have ended with "talking about" or "doing," since it abruptly ended as she stood on tiptoe to kiss him on the lips.
"Do you like that?" the gray-eyed girl asked as she broke away from him.
He stammered. "I-I-I don't know."
She ran her tongue along his neck, stopping in the hollow of his throat. "You taste good," she told him between licks. "Your sweat--there's a power in it. And I can feel your blood beneath your skin."
"You're not going to bite me, are you?"
"Not at all, Commander. You never gave me pain."
"I don't understand."
She pulled at his pants, and his erection embarrassed him as it came into view. She shoved him to the ground, far stronger than she looked, then ran dexterous hands up and down his prick.
"It was pleasure, all of it, and that's why I'm taking revenge."
"This--I--" The Commander gasped under her.
"Tell me to stop," she told him, "and I'll stop. Tell me you don't need this, not the way I need blood." His flesh was firm, pulsing in her hands, but he gave no reply.
"It hurts," she repeated. "It hurts to remember. But I know I was scared. So much pleasure, and I didn't want any of it. But I couldn't stop. And then I forgot everything except the blood."
"I couldn't help you. You--" He could barely keep his focus. "You were already gone."
"You used me, and I loved every second of it. I remember another man before you, but not even he made me enjoy what he did to me. And you love this, don't you? You don't want it, but you can't bring yourself to end it."
A bit of liquid leaked from his cock, and she eagerly licked it up, savoring the flavor, the life, the power. She took her hands away, and lowered her mouth onto him, licking and sucking, feeling his need build.
She swallowed greedily as he came. Then she stood and turned away from him. "A little bit of death sends the metal away. A little bit of life makes it come back."
Her back arched as she shivered, feeling the steel under her skin.
Tolliver closed his eyes, but he could not block out the sound, humanity violently expelled in a macabre rapture. He opened them again to look upon a blood-smeared suit of armor.
"Don't kill me!" he screamed, and the metal creature froze. Its sword, regenerated in a manner he couldn't guess at, dipped to the ground.
"Don't kill me," he repeated. "Please. I know you hate me, but--" He couldn't even continue. What could he say?
"Hate you, Commander?"
"Don't you? You were going to kill me."
"But you are my Commander."
For a moment, he dared to hope. "All you wanted to do was to teach me a lesson?"
The armor seemed to stare at him. "I can't remember, Commander."
That was her mistake, he thought to himself. It must be harder to think when you don't have a brain. One order was enough to make her forget everything. I just have to keep telling her what to do, and I'll never need to fear her again.
Tolliver had never hated himself so much as in that moment.
The metal beast was again enraptured. Alone with its Commander...
"I'm not your commander," he said.
"The Commander is not the Commander?"
Even flat on his back, he radiated power. "I'm renouncing my commission. You have to be ordered to do things, so I'm ordering you to think for yourself. If you want to go, then go. If you never want to kill again, I won't make you." His voice grew quiet. "If you want to kill me, it's nothing less than I deserve."
It stared silently at him. "I am made to obey."
"You wanted to know who that girl was? Go and find her! Protect her. I have no right to tell you anything else. Well, except for one thing."
"I do not understand, Commander."
"The files in the lab mentioned a girl named Meg. That was your name, wasn't it?"
For just a moment, another memory shimmered. "Don't make me remember, Commander. Don't make the pain come back."
"I'm sorry, but this is my last order. Even if you forget everything else, always remember who you are, Meg."
"Commander, you're the cruelest man I've ever known."
"And I'm about to be crueler. Get out of my sight."
It did not respond. To be given such an order . . .
It turned and ran, heedless of direction, and the man it had worshipped was left alone on the ground, holding back tears by the light of a dying lantern.