Cold Steel Ch. 03byFeotakahari©
In an abandoned building that had once been a warehouse, a girl with red skin watched another girl's eyes blink open.
"Please, wake up. And don't wake up any of the others. I need to talk to you."
"What--who are you?"
"I can't remember. It hurts so much. But the Commander says that I was called Meg."
"Meg?" The girl on the floor stared at her. "What happened to you?"
"Tell me who you are first. It took me several days to catch up to you. I need to know why I remembered your face."
"Meg, you're scaring me."
"I'm trying not to. I killed a goat, to change myself back, and then I stole this dress so I could come to you like a human."
"I'm the monster you saw at the burned barn, the one that almost killed you. But I think I wasn't always that way."
The other girl remained silent.
"Don't scream. I promise I won't hurt you. I just need to know who you are. I need to know who I was. I need to understand--" She broke off. "It hurts so much," she repeated.
"Meg, let me tell you a story..."
- - - -
Nika did not beg, did not show any emotion, on that long-ago day when the Tyrant's soldiers dragged her before him. "Caught stealing in the marketplace," one told him. "We would have thrown her in prison, but you said you wanted any Brutes that broke the law."
"Indeed I did," he told them. "See the treasurer about your payment. Leave the girl with me."
The throne room emptied--too quickly. Nika had a horrible feeling that what would happen next required no witnesses. The Tyrant stood, and gestured at her to come closer.
"Tell me, girl--without me, you Brutes would never have conquered this country. I led you from the barren wastes, uplifted you from your sorry lot. What do you think I do to those of you who break my laws?"
Best to be direct, she figured. "Your highness, it's said that you're a rapist."
"Is that all?"
"There are rumors that your tastes are strange. That you use your magic on the girls you take."
"Do you believe that?"
"No, your highness. I give no credit to slander upon your honor."
A mistake. "Do you see these red eyes of mine? Do you know what they mean?"
"Great magic, greater than that of anyone in this country. A power that made our soldiers stronger and faster than any other."
"Close. These brown-eyed folk draw out the essence of things, and in their arrogance they think they control the soul itself. My power is over physical forms." His throne was atop a platform, and standing on it, he could match even the height of a Brute who was standing on a lower step. Now he leaned in close to her face. "Can you imagine the feeling?"
She crushed her fear into a little ball, and hid that ball away inside her heart. It was one of the advantages of being a monster. "No, your highness. I can't."
The Tyrant laughed out loud. "So honest. As befits a good Soulcrafter girl."
He merely gestured in her direction, and the strength fled from her legs. Before she could fall, he grabbed her right arm in a bone-crushing grip--literally, as she howled in pain. Her entire body scrunched as dark ripples covered her skin.
"Real Soulcrafters resist my power. Something about their essence changes them back, unless I break their minds and their wills. But Brutes are at my mercy. Tall, short, strong, weak--everything is under my control. And with that power, I can have as many Soulcrafter girls as I want--or at least convincing imitations. Now, tell me you love me, before I seal your eyelids shut."
"Don't waste this," another voice called out, and both Nika and the Tyrant turned to stare.
Neither had noticed the Soulcrafter girl, standing to the side of the enormous throne room, mopping up what looked horribly like a bloodstain. "What is your name," the Tyrant called, "you who dare to speak to your king that way?"
"My name is Meg, and I've been here several times when you had a Brute brought in. You almost never manage to make their eyes turn brown, and the last time you did, the criminal started out as a man. As I recall, he didn't survive what you did to him for complaining, but you said afterwards that you might have had use for a Brute who could pose as a Soulcrafter. You've got your chance now. Don't break this one like you have all the others."
"You're certainly an audacious sort. I believe the locals call this balls, don't they? But no, I'm not in the mood to turn you into a man. Take off that maid uniform, and I'll look you over."
To her astonishment, Nika found herself protesting. "Your highness, she's done nothing!"
"We can't deprive the throne of its fun, now can we? She'll recover in time. You won't."
Before Nika could speak further, Meg caught her eye, and gave her a small nod. Then Meg stripped off her clothes, parading her pert little breasts before the Tyrant. He all but drooled.
"Almost perfect. But too small. My touch is needed . . ."
The Tyrant didn't look at her face as he walked to her. He didn't look at her face as he stroked and pinched her nipples, tugging at them, pulling at the skin and letting the flesh follow. Meg's breasts grew larger and larger, her nipples puckered and opened up like flowers--and then the Tyrant hitched up his robes, and did something to Meg's left breast that Nika hadn't thought was physically possible.
Nika couldn't block out the sound, the horrible squishing of a cock going somewhere it had no place being. Not even a Brute's self-control could handle such a thing. But unlike the Tyrant, she saw Meg's face, her expression of quiet defiance that no degradation could ever make waver.
At last the Tyrant finished. "You'll be back to yourself in about a day. I'll have use for you then. I've been experimenting, seeing what the power of flesh can do together with those of the mind and the soul. I'll need an assistant in the labs."
Meg could only nod.
"And as for you, little Brute . . ."
"If you hurt her," Meg broke in, "I will never help you."
"You're a strange one," the Tyrant said. "Your people say the Brutes have no souls. But you would sacrifice yourself for one?"
"It's no business of yours."
"Balls indeed. I will enjoy breaking you slowly. But in the meantime, your little friend is safe."
- - - -
It was the red-skinned girl's turn to gape. "I did that?"
Nika smiled. "You're the only person I've ever seen look dignified with semen dripping out of one nipple. Nothing could ever break you."
"But your eyes . . ."
"By the time they turned green again, the Tyrant had taken a fondness to me. I'd taken your place mopping the blood in the throne room. It was a hard life, but every time you passed by, you smiled at me, and I felt strong enough to go on."
"You loved me." It was not a question.
Nika did her best to evade. "I admired you."
"In the way of Brutes."
"It's . . . not unheard of for us."
"Did you know the rebels are headed this way? They'll kill everyone when they get here. But they can't beat me. Not with your help."
"I don't understand."
"A little sweat. A little life. A little love. I promise it won't hurt." Nika's eyes widened as Meg bent down and kissed her, then licked her cheek.
"It's not too late for you, Nika. You haven't been broken the way I have. That's why I need to protect you. For your sake and for everyone else here, I'll be a monster."
"Meg, I can't let you do this."
"I'm sorry, but that's one order you can never give me. Commander."