Every step Lucene took rang with hollow questions. What was she doing? Why was she doing it? Her every instinct screamed that she was walking into a trap, that she should be doing whatever she could to look for a way to end this entire ordeal before it was ended for her. Yet struggle and rage could not quell the overwhelming truth of the matter. Denial could gain no purchase. She could not plant her feet or bury her head in the sand when clutched and carried off by the grasping talons of Tyranaxxia’s overwhelming presence. That presence tugged at her, nipped at her ankles, lifted her feet and urged them forward. It shrank Lucene’s universe to the there and then, while illuminating the vast, unknowable expanse of an existence which could allow her to exist in the same space as something so impossibly greater.
Her foot caught a loose stone; Lucene ¹, and so too did her thoughts. She steadied herself, and felt as though she were coming up for air. This was wrong; Tyranaxxia was awe inspiring, but Lucene would not, could not falter. Her loyalty to her princess was resolute. She closed her eyes, and made a silent, solemn vow: no force, no foe would make Lucene abandon her quest. She would see Princess Izelle safe. Her fear would not quell, awe still burned in her core, her legs still shook at the sight of such a magnificent being, but she would not so easily snap.
That did not mean her task would be easy. Even as she swore to uphold her purpose, Lucene felt the dragoness’ will closing in all around her, urging her forward, sidelining her, diminishing her, pushing her into the background of her own world. Like rising water, struggling and splashing would keep Lucene from slipping under for a time, but inevitably, it would completely submerge her. Tyranaxxia led, and through spacious, winding, opulent, well-lit halls, Lucene followed. Legs which moved outside her volition carried Lucene ever forward.
The entire place felt like a maze, keeping any sense of direction felt impossible in her current state. Trapped in a labyrinth of twists, turns and innumerable doors, Lucene was forced to accept a simple truth: each step robbed her of options, of agency, of hope. The walls themselves seemed to taunt her, to ask her how she could ever hope to find Izelle, to find a way out, to ever do anything but follow. At the same time, something new burned in Lucene, an ember, a light, a voice, the voice of her awe, her insignificance in the face of something so magnificent as Tyranaxxia. It told Lucene not to worry, not to fret; Tyranaxxia guided her way, Lucene needed only allow the dragoness to guide her, and the way would be found for her.
As much as it angered Lucene to find herself in such a position, as much as she felt listening to that voice was a very bad idea, there was little else to be done. And so, Lucene was led, her gaze, her thoughts captured by the sight of Tyranaxxia’s tall, slender, graceful, powerful form. On more than one occasion, Lucene found herself trailing behind, and felt her pace instinctively quicken. The thought of being left alone, lost in this labyrinth—no matter how well lit and opulent it was—frightened Lucene, though any understanding as to why such a thought seemed so terrible eluded her.
Eventually—any exact time estimate was lost on Lucene—Tyranaxxia rounded one final corner, leading the way into one last long, spacious hallway, which ended in a set of towering, ornate double doors. Tyranaxxia paused for a moment a few paces from the doors, and, without warning, they creaked open, revealing a spacious and lavish bedroom. Three women dressed in revealing, delicate underclothes lay sprawled over the bed, cuddling, sharing kisses with one another between idle chatter. The moment Tyranaxxia entered the room, she immediately captured their undivided attention. Blind delight and adoration lit up each of the girls’ faces as a now quite familiar chorus of gasps and coos filled the room. Tyranaxxia took a moment to fix each of the women in her sights, then murmured something in a gentle, fond tone. The words were too soft to properly reach Lucene’s ears; still, given how the three women immediately nodded, blushed and scurried out of the room—each receiving a tender stroke or two from Tyranaxxia as they scurried past—it was easy enough to approximate what had been said.
With the room clear, Lucene was silently instructed to sit on the bed; her body moved to obey before her mind could think to act. Tyranaxxia stood at the foot of the bed for a moment, devouring Lucene with that burning gaze. She stood in place for silent seconds uncounted, pinning Lucene in place, muscles tense, ready to pounce and rend at a moment’s notice. She didn’t. Then, as though her ability to lay Lucene completely bare with no more than a look was no more extraordinary than a handshake, her spell was broken. Tyranaxxia crossed the room, and sat on the bed, facing Lucene. She hummed in thought for a moment, then spoke. “I suppose I should let your mind off its leash for now,”
Without warning, something clicked in Lucene’s mind. A piece which she had never noticed to be misaligned returned to its proper place, and she felt herself return to the forefront of her own mind. Of course, Lucene could still feel that oppressive will casting a hazy mist over her thoughts, but the space Tyranaxxia occupied within Lucene’s world diminished just enough that the lady knight no longer felt as though she had been pushed out to the far-flung frontiers of her own awareness.
She took a moment to center herself, taking in her surroundings. The room itself was, of course, impressive, but that was to be expected. Its walls were towering, the bed itself comfortable and decorative. All manner of aesthetic flourishes and art pieces decorated the walls. Lucene had grown up in a palace, she was impressed, but hardly speechless. At least, the room itself hardly made her speechless. There was, of course, the more pressing matter to consider, however. Tyranaxxia sat across from Lucene, looming over, and leaning toward her, the dragoness held her face close to Lucene’s, barely half a foot apart. She regarded Lucene with a soft, innate intensity, drawing the lady knight ever inward by the brilliant glow of her eyes. Her plump lips, painted a dark green identical to her scales, glistened in the warm light of the room. The were curved just the slightest bit upward into a patient, amused smirk. Her breath, still filling the air with that sweet, heavy scent, warmed Lucene’s bare skin. A baser urge bade Lucene lean inward, stirring her desire to touch, to feel the softness of Tyranaxxia’s flawless skin and gorgeous scales against her own. She was hardly cold, but Lucene wanted to be warmed.
Worst off all, the anger which Lucene had so futilely tried, and failed to grasp at had been liberated. It was finally within reach, yet Lucene was far too taken by the magnificent sight before her. She silently cursed herself, then fate itself. How could she allow herself to be yanked along by base temptation? And why was she so unlucky? What wicked forces had conspired to set Lucene again a monster who’s terror was matched only by her beauty?
“Speechless, hmm? It’s to be expected I suppose. Or perhaps you’re simply being a very good girl and waiting for me to grant you permission to speak.” Tyranaxxia breathed an indulgent chuckle, and Lucene tried to pretend the praise had no effect on her, but there was no hiding that shiver, the way her toes curled, or how her lips trembled. “Regardless,” she continued. “Perhaps I should take advantage, and explain a few more things to you.” She made a sweeping gesture with her hands. “This is my home; I share it with my girls. With you, now, as well. We are currently in, of course, one of my many bedrooms. More pressingly, we are here because it is time I made you mine.”
Lucene opened her mouth to protest, but before any words could escape her lips, Tyranaxxia pressed a finger to her lips. Lucene’s words were blown away by the sharp exhale of breath which involuntarily escaped her lips at the bright, electrifying sensation she felt from contact. “None of that, now, dear lady,” Tyranaxxia crooned. “I know you think you can resist me. I know right now your fear, anger, and desire are at war. But do not worry, I’ll free you from that conflict. I’ll shine the brilliant light of obedience and purpose on those dark, uncertain nooks and crannies of your thoughts. I’ll warm the cold and lonely edges of your person with all the companionship and love you could ever want. And when we are done, when you have been molded into my beautiful, powerful champion, I will take you to see the princess you hold so dear. I will show you that she is safe and sound, thriving under my guidance, just as you soon will be as well.”
Tyranaxxia paused, staring intently at Lucene, drinking her in, watching, perhaps waiting for something. The moment passed, and she nodded to herself, and leaned back, supporting herself on her palms. “I have said my piece now, my lady. Now is your chance to get all that moaning and wailing out of your system; go ahead, I’m waiting.”
It took Lucene a moment to recover from her shock at the sheer bluntness of Tyranaxxia’s attitude. She spoke as though the entire ordeal was simple routine to her at this point. Under other circumstances she might think to leverage that overconfidence, but everything about Tyranaxxia suggested her confidence was well earned. If anything, the dragoness was being modest—she silenced that line of thought. “What do you expect?” Lucene asked. “Some dramatic speech? If I were good with words I would be an orator, or a herald. But I am a knight, so know this: when the opportunity comes, I will run a sword through your heart.”
And amused smile crossed Tyranaxxia’s face, she sighed, and shook her head. “Why do you think me a monster, dear lady?”
“You are an enemy of the king and his people, bent on bringing about the downfall of countries and nations.”
A puff of smoke burst from Tyranaxxia’s lips as she audibly scoffed. “Lie to yourself all you like, Lady Lucene, you’ve been doing so since you first laid eyes on me, but do not lie to me. Your loyalties are not with your king.”
Lucene relented, nodding in concession. “You’ve been kidnapping women all over the country, perhaps the world, for goddesses know how long. That alone should be enough, but then you made it personal by—”
“By taking your dear Izelle,” Tyranaxxia concluded. “But you’ve seen yourself how well taken care of and accommodate the women here are. I assure you, your Izelle is unharmed and thriving.”
“Then prove it; take me to her,” Lucene demanded. If she could just find Izelle, she would be one step closer to a way for both of them to get out—assuming the dragoness even told the truth.
A single shake of Tyranaxxia’s head erased the option entirely. “That isn’t how this works, my lady; you know that.”
“You’ll only let me see her once you’ve corrupted my mind like the rest of your ‘treasures,’” Lucene snarled.
“Who is to say I have corrupted their minds, twisted their wills? Would you say the same of what you humans have done to your hounds? Have you not considered the possibility, my lady, that abject awe—the feeling of one's place and significance in the world wither and diminish—is simply the natural response your kind has when made to confront beings far greater than they?” Every last one of Lucene’s instincts screamed that Tyranaxxia’s flagrant display of shameless arrogance should have been making her blood boil. It didn’t. In truth, Lucene understood. Who could blame the countless women who had gladly fallen at the dragoness’ feet? Tyranaxxia was a being of incomprehensible grandiosity. Her voice shook the earth, the wind blew in time with her breaths, the sun rose and set at her convenience.
And how could something so small and insignificant as a human being not be frightened? Some might even call it generous, then, how Tyranaxxia offered an out; a way to shrink down the incomprehensible unknown of a reality where humans could be so thoroughly outshone into a small, safe, bite-sized existence, even if it was a lie. It did not matter what great terrors lurked within the unknown when the greatest terror of all was there to ward them all away. There was comfort in that thought, Lucene almost regretted knowing she’d have to kill the dragoness in the end. At that, Lucene felt herself internally stumble, practically choking on her own thoughts as she realized just what direction her mind was taking her. But before she could fully pull herself away, Tyranaxxia seized Lucene by the chin, forcing her to meet those infernal eyes.
A choked gasp escaped Lucene’s throat. This was the first time she had felt Tyranaxxia’s flesh against her own, and the feeling was overwhelming. She was so soft, so warm, warm unlike anything Lucene had ever felt. It flowed into her, took root in her heart, in her belly, in her mind. It seared Tyranaxxia’s image into her retinas and stopped her heart, only so it could be started up once again. Dim light glistened off polished, pointed teeth as Tyranaxxia smiled, and continued.
“Does it not feel natural, my dear, to sink to your knees in my presence?” Lucene was already seated, but she could feel her legs weakening. “Does my unbridled beauty not inspire deference?” Lucene could not tear her focus away from Tyranaxxia’s hated face and wicked voice long enough to answer. “Does my very aura not make your sword arm cry out at the mere notion of being raised against me? Does my scent not cloud your judgment, liberate your inhibitions? There is no shame in this, in knowing who your betters are, in wanting to claim a proper place and purpose. Your princess is with me now. So long as you have her, is there a meaningful difference between serving under your old king, or your new queen?” Lucene did not know. “There is.” There was. “With me, you will receive the dignity, the appreciation—the rewards—which befit your duties. It is okay to want what I am offering, my lady. They all do, in the end.” And was it time, finally? For the end? Lucene had a dragon to slay. And yet, something felt wrong.
Keeping her grip firm on Lucene’s chin, Tyranaxxia leaned in closer, until Lucene could feel the heat radiating off her flesh, until all she could see were those burning eyes, until their lips brushed together as the dragoness spoke. “You want this, my lady. Now ask for it.”
Lucene felt them: all of her emotions, her thoughts, rushing up and condensing into words. Confidence, certainty surged up within her. That smug bitch was so sure of herself, now was Lucene’s chance to speak her mind, to shatter this entire charade. Her lips parted. “Please.”
The moment passed. Lucene felt herself internally recoil in shock, horror, and relief, but her body remained still. This was wrong, Tyranaxxia was her enemy, a blight on the world, wasn’t she? Lucene had come to slay this foul dragoness, yet somehow the monster had twisted her inside and out, and the young knight had never even noticed. She had to—the clawed hand gripping her chin tightened. Tyranaxxia’s sharp talon’s dug into Lucene’s skin, just enough to steal her focus and heighten her sensation. Another hand seized Lucene by the back of the head, and suddenly hot lips were claiming her own.
Lucene did not—could not—think of her anger, her resistance. Her eyes shut tight, closing off the wider world, sharpening their moment together. Tyranaxxia’s lips were so soft, her mouth so sweet, so spicy. Searing heat danced on her flesh as the dragoness pushed Lucene backward onto the bed, and used her mouth. The dragoness’ tongue pushed past Lucene’s lips, dancing against her own, carrying the heat with it. Her entire world was bright, blissful, blazing sensation. Lucene was certain that, were she to open her eyes, Tyranaxxia’s light would blind her. And then, with her lips locked tightly against Lucene’s, Tyranaxxia exhaled, long and slow. Lucene breathed deep, filling her lungs with that sweet, spicy, heady miasma. Nothing had ever burned so bright and beautiful. The heat claimed her, filled her with fiery passion and desire. It branded Lucene’s proper place in the world into her very soul, and singed away doubt, fear.
Time was meaningless trapped in the warm, comforting heat of their passion. But eventually, Tyranaxxia broke their kiss, her hand lingered on Lucene’s throat, wrapping around her neck, not to constrict, but to claim. The heat remained, building slow, sending wonderful tingles over Lucene’s tender flesh. Seconds uncounted passed, and just as the heat began to reach crescendo, Tyranaxxia removed her hand, and as she did so, gently brushed her fingers over Lucene’s throat. An errant gasp burst from her lips as pleasure sang through her body, the flesh which Tyranaxxia had clutched only moments ago had grown so sensitive. Though Lucene’s eyes remained shut, she was certain that—were she to inspect herself in the mirror—she would see the lingering imprint of Tyranaxxia’s hand seared into her soft neck flesh, a permanent reminder of who and what she belonged to.
Lucene’s eyes opened, and she stared upward at her Mistress, her Queen, her Goddess with blind devotion.