More Than She Can Chew

Chapter 6

by boundcatgirl

Tags: #cw:gore #cw:noncon #dom:female #f/f #sub:female #transgender_characters #vampire #D/s #fantasy #first_person #humiliation #imprisonment #pov:top #royalty
See spoiler tags : #enemies_to_lovers_kinda #pov:bottom #sexual_slavery

I'm never making promises about the length between chapter uploads ever again, I said this one wouldn't be as long as the last, and it was like 3x longer because my life hit the fan

“And where do you think you’re going?”

Madeleine stopped in her tracks and sighed. Any headstart she got would’ve been extreme luck, but she’d barely started down the stairs and Mina had already caught up!

“Good morning to you too, Mina,” she says, turning around and watching her guard approach. 

“That doesn’t answer my question,” Mina responds, though she has a smirk on her face. With one hand she takes the torch from Madeleine’s hand, holding it aloft as she gestures to the bundle of cloth the Princess carries with the other. “What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m taking our guest a blanket,” Madeleine tells her, setting off down the stairs once again. “Days and nights are getting colder and I think she might want this. Even the prisoners in the normal dungeon have blankets with their beds, why should she be any different?”

“Because she tried to–!” Mina starts, “And ‘guest’? Will I ever convince you that she is a credible threat that should be taken seriously?” Regardless of her opinion on the Princess’ behavior, she follows her down anyway.

“Probably not!” the Princess calls back up the narrow staircase. “I do recognize her as a threat, otherwise she wouldn’t have made it to my chambers that first night, I just believe she has been sufficiently contained.”

“I firmly believe that if she could escape, she would have done so by now.”

“Don’t underestimate her, milady,” Mina warns as she opens the door to the dungeon. “She has been alive for 300 years, who knows what strategic knowledge she’s picked up in her time. She could simply be biding her time.”

“I…… don’t think so,” Madeleine counters, “remember how she tried to escape the other day, as a bat? That first morning? That attempt reeked of desperation.”

“Perhaps, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to take that at face value.” 

“Whatever,” Madeleine scoffs, “maybe you’re just jealous I’m paying attention to her and not you. Did you ever think–” She stops abruptly as the vampire’s cell comes into view, where the lone occupant is sprawled out across the floor, her lips and lower face stained with red. “Oh Goddess, what? Is that blood? How could this happen??”

“‘She can’t escape’, huh?” Mina asks. “It certainly looks like blood, but in the interest of your safety I must advise against getting closer to verify.”

“No, yes, of course, that makes sense,” Madeleine agrees. She sets the blanket on the desk opposite the cell and backs away, before turning around and storming back up the hallway. “We need to talk to the city guard, see if anybody was mysteriously killed last night, assess the damage before we investigate how she got out.”

“There were no reports of murders in the early reports this morning,” Mina says, catching up to her, “but I could take another look, see if there were any deaths that could have been her but were misattributed.”

“That won’t be necessary,” the Princess says, “I can do it myself. You should get some rest today, I want you down here tonight from sunset to sunrise.” 

“As you wish, Your Highness.”

For some reason, I wake up well before sunset tonight. It’s not as bright as it was the other day when my captors woke me up, so I cautiously open my eyes and look around. Daylight fills the top half of my cell so I move around without fully standing up, slinking over to the small pile of bones pushed in a corner. They’re all that remains from the messenger raven last night, but there’s still small flecks of meat and gristle on some of them so as far as I’m concerned, I’m not done yet.

I’m busy gnawing on a leg bone when I hear the dungeon door creak open in the distance. Curiously, only one set of footsteps starts coming toward me. Tossing aside my bone (Goddess that makes me sound like a tamed dog), I get up and make my way to the front of my cell, careful not to enter the now-rapidly-diminishing sunlight, until I can see the princess’ knight stalking toward me. She doesn’t look particularly happy, but I fail to see how that’s my problem.

“Where’s Her Royal Bitchness?” I call out, snorting at the dirty look she sends me.

“Pff,” she huffs, “I’ve heard better insults from newborn children.” When she gets to me she takes up position with her back to the wall opposite my cell, but she takes care not to meet my eyes. Maybe she’s heard something about my powers; oh well, I don’t see any keys on her belt so I’m not sure she could let me out if she wanted to. “And regarding the Princess… since you have come to the castle, her desire to learn about you has caused some of her royal studies to fall by the wayside; her sleep being chief among them.”

“So I’m not getting any food tonight, am I?”

“I think you had quite enough last night, don’t you?” she retorts. “It’s been hours and there’s still blood all over your face.” There is? Sure enough, I run my fingers across my cheek and they come away with specks of dark red under the nails.

“Oh, that?” I ask. “That thing was tiny. It’ll be a miracle if it had enough blood to last me two more nights.” I can only hope she doesn’t question the specificity of the time period, but for some reason my words only seem to agitate her further.

“You killed… a child?” Her voice is quiet, but it’s not hard to hear the barely-contained rage in her voice. Why does it sound like she’s taking that so personally? I mean sure, it’s hers and the princess’ responsibility to keep me down here, but this seems like something more. Maybe she didn’t have a great childhood, but I suppose I’m not really one to talk when it comes to that.

“What? No!” I scoff. “First of all, if I could get out to feed (which I can’t), why would I come back? Second, does this look like a human bone to you?” I grab the raven’s skull from the pile of bones and pick a couple pieces of bloody flesh off of it before tossing it in her direction. “It was a raven, not a kid. Someone sent me a message last night, and the poor thing couldn’t get back out because of the stupid enchantments. I put it out of its misery.” She catches the skull and spends a few moments examining it before casting it aside. Her expression is stony the entire time, and my first thought is that I shouldn’t have given away a food source with how much blood was still on it.

“Say I believe that,” the knight starts, and instantly I roll my eyes. Of course she doubts what I even have proof for! “Say you did receive a message last night; that just poses more questions. Who sent it? What did they say? And arguably more importantly, how did they know where to find you?

“Fuck if I know!” I shoot back, throwing my hands up. “And even if I did, who says I’d tell you? The princess is at least kind to me, I don’t have to give you shit.”

“I find it hard to believe you don’t know who sent you a message OR what that message said. At least, I’d be surprised if you were that stupid.” That insufferable smirk never leaves her face, and I quickly realize she’s the greater of two evils when it comes to my captors. She’s a lot more crass when the princess isn’t here to temper her attitude.

“Oh fuck off,” I say, “you know damn well I could answer those questions if I wanted to; I just don’t know how they found m–”

“‘They’? Who’s ‘they’?” the knight jumps on my words, immediately paying more attention to everything I say and do. Mentally, I kick myself for making such a slip-up, but what’s done is done. “Was it from the people who sent you? Or was it someone else, someone… closer?” Is she implying that it was from someone I love? She knows I’ve been in a cell for sixty-seven YEARS, right? Goddess she’s annoying.

“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re trying to say,” I retort. She relaxes a bit as I lean back against the wall, but the tension doesn’t totally leave her body. “But what does it matter; I got a message, I killed the messenger… I’m certainly not going to tell you what it said. You and your whore of a princess will just have to content yourselves with not knowing its contents, sound good?” Even if I hadn’t killed it, I’m not sure if the Council’s ravens can repeat their messages, so there’s a chance those two would still be shit out of luck. I’d like to believe there is at least.

“You sound awfully certain for someone who sleeps as heavily as you do,” she says, “what’s stopping me from coming in there in the middle of the day and taking the parchment from you while you sleep?”

“Maybe the fact that there isn’t any parchment? Search all you want, there’s nothing in here. The bird itself carried the message, y’know? Like a painting that moved, but it was also kinda see-through.” I pause. “Do you guys even have that kind of magic? Or do I just sound insane?”

“Perhaps the Princess is familiar, but I’ve never seen such,” she says, and for whatever reason, I’m inclined to believe her. Maybe it’s the humility. Every knight and guard I’ve ever met (mortal ones, at least, and a good deal of immortals) have been the most insufferable braggarts, so hearing one admit about not knowing something isn’t exactly what I expected. I wonder if it’s because she’s a woman?

We fall into an uneasy silence after that, watching each other with narrowed eyes, though she still refuses to meet my gaze. I want to go back to my raven bones, but doing so while she watches feels like an admission of weakness, of being tamed, and I need to project strength. Her and her liege may have momentarily humbled me, but they haven’t broken my spirit; not yet.

So I busy myself with studying my companion.

Almost to be expected for a knight, she’s tall, almost a head taller than me, and while her armor makes it a bit harder to tell, she seems thick with muscle, and carries herself like someone who knows how to use it. With broad shoulders and biceps I would struggle to wrap my hands around, she cuts an imposing figure even as she stands nearly immoble across from my cell, and I can only imagine what she’d look like on a battlefield. She doesn’t have her helmet on, which strikes me as a bit odd, but I’m not exactly complaining.

She’s really quite pretty, and I don’t know how to feel about that.

Not as pretty as Princess… Madeleine, was it? But still attractive nonetheless. Her eyes are the same brown as the hair that cascades in waves halfway down her back, but they contain the subtle darkness of a woman forged in fire by her experiences, a weight on her soul that she cannot let go. Her beauty is different from the princess’; a precious gem cut and refined by others’ hands compared to an untouched natural vista.

“What’s your name again?” I ask.

“Mina Westenra,” she says, before narrowing her eyes. “Why?” I shrug.

“I dunno, just wasn’t sure I remembered it right,” I say, leaning back on my elbows. “What was it your princess said? ‘It’s nice to know the name of who you’re speaking to’? I’m bored, and I don’t see anyone else coming down to talk to me tonight, so…” Her eyes stay narrowed, like she doesn’t even believe that.

“I suppose, but you’re saying you remember 3 centuries ago better than what happened 3 days ago?”

“One’s death tends to be a rather formative experience for that person, some might even call it a ‘significant event’,” I smirk, and she rolls her eyes. “Are you trying to say you remember everything that’s ever happened or been said to you?”

“Not everything, perhaps,” Mina admits, “but certainly most. Part of the training to become a knight, and especially a royal guard, is improving mental acuity and memory.”

“I’m not sure I believe that, but okay,” I say. “I mean, I got past you just fine, and I haven’t had any formal training,” I continue when she raises a single eyebrow.

“My training focused on primarily human opponents,” she scoffs, but I brush her off. Excuses. Justifications for why she wasn’t enough to protect her precious princess, even though they seem near inseparable. 

I get up from where I’m sitting and begin to pace. How long have I been in this cell? Three nights? Stretching my legs would probably be a good idea, and it’s not like I have a whole lot else to do. I could look out the window, but that might make Mina think I’m up to something suspicious, and I don’t know if I want to answer any more of her questions. But wasting her time would be pretty satisfying… Alright, that settles it. To the window I go. 

But I’ve barely taken a step when a shudder forces its way through my body and I hear a loud cracking sound, like bones snapping, or the shell of an insect breaking apart.

No, no no, nonononononononono, this can’t be happening. Not now, please not now, I think, my whole body tensing, it hasn't been that long, has it? I roll up one of my sleeves to reveal my forearm and I’m disappointed (but not entirely surprised) to see dark cracks running down my skin, disappearing up under my sleeve. I know exactly what caused these, but that doesn’t stop me from running my other hand along the breaks, feeling where skin turns rough and jagged while still contouring to my body.

“Mina,” I say without turning around. “Can you write?”

“Yes,” she responds, but I can hear the hesitation in her voice, “why?”

“Because I have a request for you, or rather for the princess.”

“And why should we honor any request from you, our captive?” I roll my eyes at her words. She’ll never do anything out of the goodness of her heart, will she? With a sigh I roll down my sleeve and turn back around.

“Because…” I trail off, debating whether or not I want to use this bargaining chip already. It’s worth it, though. “I’ll tell her whatever she wants to know. About anything. Vampires, who sent me, my life, anything. Do we have a deal?” I stare into her eyes as she thinks it over, and relief floods through me when she finally nods.

“Okay.” And with that one word, there’s a hope that maybe I can survive this whole mess. “What’s the request?”

“Just write down what I say,” I tell her, then wait for her to retrieve some paper and a quill from the princess’ desk before I continue. When she’s ready, I begin to list off “1 liter goat’s blood, 3 sphinx’s tear petals, 5 grams of yew bark, 4 bat wings, 9 leaves of milkweed, 1 teaspoon of castor oil, 8 river bass scales, and a half-cup of shaved deer antler.” She’s been so desperate for information this entire time, I’m almost surprised when she doesn’t hurry off and deliver it.

“My orders are to remain down here and keep watch over you until sunrise,” she explains, sensing my confusion. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily.” She smirks as I scowl at her, but ultimately there’s just nothing I can do about it.

I haven't really beta-read this chapter, so feel free to let me know about spelling/grammar mistakes, and as always, I hope you enjoyed!

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