What a lovely afternoon to relax with an old friend and reminisce over tea.
We laugh over stories of our adventures together, and for a moment, it’s like we were never apart.
She reaches across the table and takes my hand, and I smile like I haven’t in years.
“What happened to us?” I wonder aloud. “We were unstoppable together. Why did we ever go our separate ways?”
The smile my friend has worn during our meeting takes on a rueful tinge. “They captured me, Lily. Don’t you remember?”
It was so long ago, it’s hard to recall…
A flash of memory comes to me. “Right. We were on the quest to stop that cult from resurrecting what’s-her-name—”
“The Goddess Virona.”
“Yes, that rings a bell!” I pause. It’s all so hazy, but…yes. I remember the midnight abduction of my dear partner.
“How…” I hesitate for a moment, embarrassed to ask the question. “I don’t remember how I rescued you?”
She squeezes my hand tightly. “You didn’t, my dear.”
I didn’t? But then what came next? I rack my brain for clues.
Something comes to me.
“They brainwashed you.”
“You could say that.”
“I remember you wearing their robes, worshipping their dark goddess.”
Her smile widens encouragingly. She nods at me to continue.
“How did you escape the cult?”
Her face takes on a pitying look. “I didn’t, Lily. I remain Virona’s faithful servant.”
But that doesn’t make sense. It’s been years since then, and we had to have defeated the cult, or else she would have returned and covered the land in wickedness.
Instead these years have been peaceful, haven’t they?
I release her hand and stand, pacing the balcony.
Why does my mind recall nothing that happened since then? How did I get here?
She’s standing, walking toward me with a confident sway to her hips like she never used to have.
“Let me make this easier,” she said. “I killed you.”
Her eyes are deadly serious.
She steps closer to me, putting a hand on my chest. “It was with a dagger to your heart, and it broke mine to do that to you.”
Disbelieving, I push her away. Or try to. Though she is smaller and slighter than me, she does not budge.
She gasps my wrist with inhuman strength and pins it to the wall behind me with shocking force. I try to struggle, but she does the same with my other arm.
This is not right, I was always the strong one, how…?
“The Goddess offers many gifts to Her loyal servants, Lily.”
She leans her head close to mine, body pressed against me in a way that summons feelings I long ago thought I’d learned to ignore.
I still don’t understand what’s happening. “If you killed me, then…”
“…how are you alive?” She finishes for me. “Another of Her gifts.”
A third arm emerges from her side, bearing fearsome claws that she drags lightly across my throat before wrapping her fingers around my neck. She does not squeeze—much—but she reminds me who’s in control.
I feel, rather than see, a fourth hand grab me at the waist.
As she stares deep into my soul, a small additional pair of eyes opens above the original pair. Her smile widens, showing off razor-sharp teeth.
“The more faithful the servant, the more gifts She chooses to bestow. And, my dear one, I am Her most devoted of all.”
My breathing quickens, and not entirely due to fear. She presses her body harder against mine, and I let out an involuntary whimper.
“Mmm…” she purrs. “There’s a pretty sound.”
Her hand slides up under my shirt, and I arch my back in anticipation of her touch.
“You, my love, are my favorite gift of all She gave me. Ten years we worked to subjugate this land, and when we won, She offered me anything my heart desired.
“What else could I ask for but you?”
She brings her lips to mine, and I do not resist the intrusion of her tongue.
Her taste lingers even after she pulls away.
“Of course, here is where we have to take care of business before we can truly indulge in pleasure,” she says, emphasizing her words by raking those claws of hers down my back.
I gasp in pain, certain she drew blood with that.
“What do you want?” I plead.
“Well, my Goddess was a bit hesitant to grant my wish to resurrect you,” she responds. “You’ve become something of a martyr and a symbol to those who resist Her, and She does not like the idea of giving Her enemies hope.”
“I am…good at that.”
“So you are, Lily. You were the greatest hero they ever knew.”
Pressing her thigh between my legs, she draws another desperate whine from my mouth. I shiver, and my hips move involuntarily to grind myself against her.
“Which is why it would break them completely to see you lovingly draped at Her feet alongside me.”
She gropes a breast, teasing my body further. It’s like she always knew how much I wanted her. Did she truly feel the same this whole time?
“All you have to do is give yourself in worship to Virona. She’s already won; you don’t even have to do much to serve Her. Just be a pretty bauble at Her feet where everyone can see how far their hero has fallen.”
All four of her hands are on my body, peeling clothes away.
I did not even notice when she stopped pinning my arms behind me. I wrap them around her, no longer caring to resist her strength.
She reaches down below, touching me, working in rhythm with the movement of my hips.
“You always knew the right thing to do, didn’t you, Lily?”
I can only pant desperately in response.
“All you have to do is give up knowing what’s right. Let Her decide for you. And we can enjoy each other like this all we like.
“If you’re very good, maybe I’ll convince Her to take you to bed with me. You’d like that, I promise.”
“All you have to do,” she whispers in my ear, “is say yes.”
“Yes,” I cry. “Yes!”
I’ve never meant anything more in my life as my body shakes and quivers in my partner’s arms.
“Good girl,” she murmurs. “I told Her you could be taught.”