Leomi takes hold of the warhorse’s saddle and pulls herself atop of it in one go. I walk around to its left flank and set my foot in the stirrup before taking hold of her wrist and dragging myself behind her.
The horse departs at trotting pace, likely because it’s night so she doesn’t want to go too fast. It feels odd to me because I can see quite clearly even if the colors are mostly subdued.
Elizabeth, who isn’t interested by the fire in the dungeon, reaches out to feel Leomi’s breasts. She stays focused and doesn’t complain, her nipples merely grow harder under Liz’ caresses. Leomi’s lack of overt reaction and raised guard are annoying Dame Vil who was looking to take her by surprise. Don’t call me that.
“Show me your one-handed riding technique, kitten.” Elizabeth whispers.
Leomi changes her grip on the reins without missing a beat. Elizabeth wraps our hand around the right she freed and pulls it behind her back. It would be much easier to toy with her if the Little one was there.
Only if you want her to lose it, Leomi might believe she can handle it but she didn’t see her own reaction when we told her. Kitten’s as good as we are at deceiving herself when she wants to.
I pull Leomi’s hand up to our lips to lay a kiss inside her palm. This simple action causes her to briefly arc backward, a reaction more intense than when Liz tried to tease her breasts. I grin from this small victory.
“You know that, if you pushed, you could have gotten her to beg for it.” My mouth delivers words of evil into Leomi’s ear in revenge. I mentally glare at Liz for selling me out.
“I am aware.” Leomi responds self-assuredly.
“Oh, are you?” Elizabeth asks, far more annoyed than I am by our kitten’s overconfidence. “Jessica is so sensitive about her state right now that you wouldn’t need to touch anything important to get her off.”
The words cause me to blush fiercely, I even experience a thrilling tremor as my imagination runs wild. Wait, why are you embarrassing me while taking revenge for me? Just sit back and enjoy it, you weirdo. Hey, I’m not… Don’t be lying to me now, I’m you. I fall silent, inside and out, while Leomi chuckles.
“Don’t be mean to Jessica.” Leomi berates with tenderness in her voice. “You’re both innocent in different ways and it’s a great seductive quality.” She adds, landing a blow on us.
Elizabeth pushes her hand flat on our chest before sliding it down inside our cloak. I brace myself for whatever is coming, knowing that Liz is trying to prove she isn’t as naive as I am in spite of the fact that she is.
Liz guides Leomi’s hand inside my knickers. Leomi slowly spreads her lithe fingers to stroke my lower-stomach. I grit my teeth and push my face against her back to resist the pulses of hollow desire that wishes for no more than to be filled.
“You’re so soft, tender.” Leomi murmurs.
“Uhm.” I acknowledge in a tiny voice.
Elizabeth lets go of Leomi’s hand and reaches around to venture inside her clothes and seize one of the firm breasts. Liz applies some strength to jerk it slightly to the side, causing Leomi to shift posture which in turn makes the warhorse swerve.
“If you did this, how mad and pleased Jessica would have been?” Elizabeth murmurs.
“Uih.” Leomi acknowledges with a high-pitched voice.
We can feel her body trembling, she’s clearly shaken by Liz’ action in directing both her and the mount in one cruel move. Yet, Leomi’s pride is such that she refuses to even say a word, much less protest about the mishandling.
“I lit a fire in you, haven’t I?” Elizabeth gloats.
“Hrm.” Our kitten groans.
“Would you stop involving me?” I interrupt them, quite peeved.
“No.” Leomi replies.
“No.” Elizabeth does as well with a giggle.
Leomi strokes me gently, the sensation of her fingertips caressing my skin is so intense it pretty much silences both of us. Elizabeth recovers and slips our hand inside her laced silky underwear, directly entrapping Leomi’s hair-less moist vulva.
“…” Leomi’s breath catches.
“If you did this, oh, if only you did, you could have bent her to your will for hours.” Elizabeth murmurs inside her ear.
Liz demonstrates by shifting our hand just slightly to the left, causing Leomi and the horse to turn. Liz then moves to the right, making us return on course to the dungeon but also slipping our middle finger inside her sex’ inner lips.
Her flesh is velvety, her folds thin to the point where they truly feel like the petals of a rose. Quakes go through Leomi’s lean muscular body but we fail to estimate whether she’s about to have an orgasm or lash out in fury. Elizabeth’ mood and thoughts are growing more aggressive.
I prepare to put an end to this, mostly because this feels wrong, in an exciting way but still. Yet, before I can, Leomi retrieves the hand laid on my lower-stomach to take hold of our wrist in a flash.
“Our vow of abstinence will be broken.” Leomi declares with tremors in her voice that match those shaking her body. “We’ll lose our virginity.”
Elizabeth releases the tension in our hand immediately, the three of us are aware that this kind of situation and mood isn’t what we desire to take this huge irreversible step in our relationship.
Leomi immediately pulls our hand out of her underwear and up to her mouth. Her lips wrap around my middle finger and she licks it clean of her own excitement. We belatedly realize that she’s taking advantage of her own surrender to deny us the spoils of victory.
“Rruaah!” We growl in anguish at the loss. She guards herself too well, when will we be able to taste her?
“Don’t be disappointed, you won this bout by a wide margin, my loves.” Leomi reassures us with a gentle voice that still carries evidence of what Liz just did to her.
Elizabeth falls utterly quiet in my head, utterly stunned by Leomi’s indirect declaration of love for her. I don’t tease her or even congratulate her, it isn’t easy to hold my mind back because the two of them united by messing with me.
No, I leave Liz to herself because she needs time to recover and fully savor, I shouldn’t spoil this for her. Besides, it makes me really happy and only very slightly jealous so it’s manageable.
She releases my wrist so I kiss her cheek and get busy fondling her breasts over her clothes. I do so to mess with her a little as she tries to cool down but, truthfully, it’s mostly for my own enjoyment of her perfect round twins.
“There is a ridge straight ahead.” I tell her, noticing a dip in the terrain.
“How bad?” Leomi asks.
“Rough, I don’t know if the horse can handle it.” I reply.
“It can but there’s two of us riding so the risk of injury is higher.” She says, pulling on the reins to angle our course.
The hills soon give way to a plain with no trees as we approach the coast. The fire is on the ground but it enlightens the entire dungeon so the blaze was lit outside and is fierce enough to be noticeable from kilometers away.
I find it unusual but then I notice that there’s also fire on the first floor so it’s likely that they’re cooking game outside. I still prepare the shell of an air-blade because I don’t trust Nobles. A lightning construct would be better in efficiency but not in effectiveness, not to mention it wouldn’t be wise to reveal a Rykz construct.
“I think they’re cooking some animal outside.” I speak up.
“Agreed. The kitchen is too small or damaged.” Leomi replies.
Our lustful mood ebbs as we grow closer. The dungeon made of white granite has turned dark from bad weather and patches of green moss grew all over. The last floor is flat but there’s a platform with a roof in the middle to welcome a guiding fire for ships.
Many of the surrounding buildings have crumbled in piles of wood and stone. I’ve never been here to the seat of the Barony but even I know that there should at least be a stable, a smithy, and a barrack. Yet, there are maybe only two buildings left standing.
“It looks like the Rykz smashed it down.” Leomi notes with some tension in her voice.
“You sure this wasn’t done by humans?” I ask.
“For it to end up like this? Unlikely.” She responds a bit more calmly. “The dungeon itself doesn’t look damaged.”
“If I had to venture a guess…” I hold my tongue, unwilling to say something she’s likely already thought off.
“Go on.” Leomi encourages.
“The Rykz used the dungeon as a headquarters. They destroyed the buildings to create obstacles and clear their line of ‘sight’.” I tell her.
“Hm, that’s more likely, yes.” She agrees.
As I wonder what other reason she thought of for the destruction here, Leomi pushes the warhorse towards the blaze in front of the tower’s entrance. There are no people warming themselves up, or animals grilling for that matter.
“Hey there!” Leomi shouts at the first floor’s empty window. “We come in peace!” She adds as no one answers.
I hop off the horse because this isn’t normal. She nods at me and joins me on the ground. We both place our hands on our weapons as we make a wide loop around the fire while avoiding to look at it because it might blind us since our sight is used to the night.
The dungeon’s double doors are either wide open or entirely missing, there isn’t even torchlight on the ground floor. As we move closer, a woman wearing a hard leather armor suddenly walks out from the darkness with a drawn bow.
“Who are you?” She asks.
Leomi takes a step forward and opens her mouth to reply but I hear a grunt above us at about the same time I notice the bloodstain on the woman’s boot. Things then happen in a flash, I unsheathe my hunting knife while linking to Leomi’s full reserve and retrieve half, the other half disappears.
I don’t hold back, I immediately use the unstructured flow to slow my perception of time for a brief second. I feel some pain in the back of my eyes but it doesn’t stop me from following the arrow as it leaves the bow.
I assemble and use a lion strike to slash in front of Leomi, intercepting the projectile just before it hits her chest. A golden spike burrows into the woman’s throat and bursts, ripping the neck apart with a wet gargling sound.
The woman in leather armor stumbles slowly for a moment before crumbling down on the stone floor in one go. Leomi suddenly stabs upward, aiming just above my head with her sword.
Clink. The tip hits something hard that then slams at our feet with a blunt noise, a large stone of about five kilograms. Leomi drops to the ground a moment later with a bleeding gash on her right temple. Fuck, the shift in the flow of time destabilized me.
I swipe away distracting thoughts to take stock of the situation. I lion’s step backward while using my air-blade shell to make an air-shield bubble around Leomi, injecting forty portions.
I used ten to gain one second, that I then wasted because I wasn’t prepared enough to use the perception construct. It leaves me with twenty portions. I’m sure Leomi has at least sixty left but it’s not in her reserve anymore so I can’t see it, I would need to send flow in her body to recover it.
I’m not too worried about Leomi, the wound isn’t too bad but she’s going to wake up angry and with a headache. There’s no one at the first floor’s window but I still keep an eye on it because, clearly, someone dropped the stone from there and then extinguished the fire.
There aren’t many enemies or they would have chosen to ambush us by surrounding us on the ground floor when we entered. Dropping a stone is a gamble, although it worked because I screwed up and Leomi didn’t manage to protect us both while parrying it for me.
“You knocked out the wrong one out of the two!” I yell out.
“She’s the Noble, girl.” A man responds through the window in a defiant and slightly mocking tone.
Good, he didn’t notice me taking her energy or shaping the air-shield so they don’t have eyes on me right now. I slowly approach the entrance to give my eyes some time to adjust to the pitch black darkness inside the dungeon.
There’s rubble and scrap metal as well as remains of tapestry scattered on the floor, and one intact but empty weapon rack. The woman in hard leather armor doesn’t wear any crest on herself, and her sword’s guard has signs of rust. Outlaws.
“She would have taken pity on you, I will not.” I tell them in a calm but loud voice.
I receive no answer, which is fine by me. I warm myself up by changing grips on my hunting knife. Elizabeth stirs. Let me slaughter, I should have been ready to help. You weren’t. She doesn’t try to give me any excuses, she merely communicates her deep guilt as an apology.
I understand but it isn’t enough for me to relinquish my own revenge for failing Leomi. I throw a look over my shoulder at her limp body. Elizabeth links to the half-sphere of flow protecting Leomi.
Liz anchors the construct to her kitten’s body and then uses that to float Leomi away from the fire and the dungeon, burning a dozen portions in the construct to move our love. I don’t criticize her, myself, because she’ll be safer from attacks there.
What will you do? I don’t respond. Words or thoughts would dishonor the cold fury in my chest. I find the staircase at the back of the circular room and start heading upstairs step by step.
I crouch as I approach the first floor to reduce my profile as I throw a look. The room is empty as well, there are remnants of a table and decorations but that’s it apart from the still smoking torches and fireplace.
A glance to the gray scenery tells me that there’s no one here anymore so I keep going upstairs as slowly and quietly as possible. I prepare no more constructs than lion steps and strikes.
Using too much flow would scare my opponent into running away when I want him to face me. I can’t abide even the slightest risk of losing him. There are likely several enemies.
I reach the second floor but there’s no one so I don’t waste time and keep heading up at a slow pace. My temper is running short and my nerves are being tested but those are less important than securing the task at hand.
I set apart ten portions in case I need to slow down my perception again as I come closer and closer to the top floor, becoming aware that I’ll be most exposed when I arrive there because there won’t be a staircase or walls to cover my flanks up there.
I occasionally hear some noise, like footsteps and grinding metal hinges, as well as make some myself, but the most I can conclude is that there are at least two humans above me. The fourth and fifth floor are empty, as expected, so I engage on the last flight of steps.
At the top, there is a hatch large enough for two people to climb side by side. It’s closed. I push it a bit, making the metal hinges grate with a high-pitched sound. I leap backward, landing three steps below.
I heard something like this on the fourth floor, but it wasn’t as bad. That is likely because of the speed involved, the noise wouldn’t be as bad if I gave it a firm push. I keep staring at the hatch above, yet not a thing happens.
It’s likely they don’t have enough energy for anything fanciful like air-blades, or even several uses of an armor-piercing construct because, otherwise, they would try to kill me through the thick wood.
I climb down to the fifth floor, which used to be a bedroom, to throw a look out the window. Leomi is still safe but her situation hasn’t changed. I suppress a burst of bloodlust and calmly head back to the hatch.
I close my eyes and focus, preparing my long hunting knife with an armor-piercing construct. I don’t hold much hope that I’ll be able to catch a flicker of silver through the thick wood so I enhance my hearing.
The sole of a foot shifts above me, making gravel roll and scrape on the granite top floor. I wait patiently, my hand steady in spite of the fury raging inside me. I catch a low and discreet squeal of metal on the left side of the hatch.
Anyone not focusing with enhanced hearing would have missed it, but I don’t. I activate the armor-piercing construct and stab out with closed eyes. The blade easily penetrates the wood and the iron hoop screwed to it.
“Arrh! My hand!” A man screams, I hadn’t heard him before.
The tip of my knife is now darker than the rest. I got him. I snap my eyes open and take advantage of the commotion to press my knuckle on the hatch and throw it wide open.
“You cannot achieve victory!” The ambusher shouts out, losing his cool.
I hold my position, unwilling to rush up before taking stock of what I’ll find up there. The one I injured is whimpering but he merely retreated a few steps. It was likely his left hand so he isn’t out of commission.
It wouldn’t bother me to be severely injured in exchange for their lives but that would involve sacrificing certainty of victory for expediency, which cannot be tolerated.
I walk back downstairs to inspect the size of the fifth floor in order to prepare to leap on the top floor. It would be stupid to jump too far and fall off. Which, now that I think about it, could be their plan.
They want to either ambush me as I climb up or pincer me to force me off the roof. I shake my head and estimate the distance. I adjust my lion’s step and return to the hatch once again, this time ready to go.
“There will be no surrender. You have three seconds to prepare for a fight to the death.” I inform my opponents with a cold voice.
I hear knuckles and leather crack in different ways as the dead men tense up from my warning. After three seconds pass, they should relax just slightly as no one can stay on their sharpest edge for long without facing a threat. I count to five before jumping up and backward.
I slow my perception of time in mid-air as I leap by two silhouettes in hard leather armor. A moment after the optimal moment to attack me, which was right as I passed in front of them, two networks of silver roots expand inside their right arms.
I twist my waist to give my body a spin, avoiding the slash from the one on the left. My hunting knife blocks the lion strike coming from the right. It propels me to the left a bit but not so much it disturbs my landing.
This time, the return to a normal flow of time doesn’t shake me. I take a lion’s step and arrive right atop the one who missed me first. A right to left lion strike severs his throat. He retaliates with a desperate up and forward swing, stabbing the air where my left shoulder would have been.
A flicker of silver gives me the warning I need to crouch and dodge the horizontal strike coming from the one who hurt Leomi. The one I sliced loses his strength and hits the ground, panically trying to stop the black liquid with a hint of a red hue from pouring out of his neck.
I leap forward from my squatting posture. I hear the sound of a sharp sword flickering in the air behind me. I catch the glimpse of silver too late for it to be any use, still the warnings are much easier to notice in the dark.
“Ghrraaa!” The ambusher growls in rage behind me.
I kick the ground with one more lion’s step, flipping around in the air to face him as I land. I throw a glance at the floor, confirming that there is only one opponent left. The pillars holding the roof above the platform in the center isn’t so large it can hide another enemy.
With naught else to distract me, my mind focuses entirely on my enemy. I see his mouth move but I cannot hear anything. I let loose the rage in me, rushing him fearlessly with my hunting knife held high.
He tries to welcome me with a stabbing lion strike but it’s child’s play to slide around the blade. I run my shoulder into the center of his chest, destroying his balance. He staggers back but I calmly take a few steps to keep him inside my range and too close for his sword to be of any use.
I shift my grip on my knife, pinning the bottom of the handle between my thumb and pinky finger. I release the weapon with my other fingers to let it fall down with a rotation. I let it go entirely and catch it in a reversed grip.
The man strikes my side with the pommel of his sword but the pain is mere information, unworthy of attention. I bring my hunting knife down, aiming the tip just behind my enemy’s left collarbone to avoid the inconvenient rib-cage and directly stab his heart.
His eyes widen and he gapes at me, like he can’t believe what just happened to him. There is very little blood seeping out of the deadly wound I inflicted because I leave my weapon there to prevent him from dying too soon.
My eyes remain locked onto his as he drops to his knees. I watch him die, his traits shifting from surprise to horror to unwillingness in varying shades of gray. The lack of color eminently fits this situation.
Otherwise, I would have to make use of destructive red flames to paint the world as a consequence for Leomi Lance’s injury. Jessica? What is it? Cut his damn head off.
I nod and proceed to hack the worthless piece of flesh off. His face is frozen in a terrorized expression. I grab the head by the hair and walk to the edge of the roof to throw it into the raging blaze below.