Guardians of the Last Jungle Ch. 06



Unless it was her imagination, the noisy shaking of the elevator cage worsened, worser and worser, the higher and higher they were lifted. Its ponderous chains rasped and rattled and squealed. To her ears, they sounded alive, and they sounded agonized. She feared the whole contraption would clatter apart around them before they could make it all the way to the top of the tower—she would fall, screaming, and she would die. She couldn’t stop imagining this, and it made her stomach heave. All the same, perhaps, she was hoping for it to happen. Then, finally, she was stricken with disappointment when it didn’t.

Like another scornful slap across her face.

Since Donnijo, same as herself, had not seemed to have changed since the time before, Jace didn’t expect Valan to look any different either. She did, though. The former queen was thinner than she used to be, and she’d been sleek to begin with. She’d gone from sleek to outright gaunt. It made her eyes look larger, and her ears stick out more, like an elf’s. Valan’s shocking hair was still colored purple, yet not the same, not quite. It was now a paler shade than Jace recalled. It still reached clear down to the floor, divided perfectly in half and draped forward over her shoulders. Its strands didn’t move around on their own anymore; just hung flat and heavy. Ordinary, lifeless.

Valan’s dress was simple, a sleeveless white shift. She wore no jewelry or cosmetics, and her feet were bare. Very long, somewhat bony toes. They weren’t ugly, though, even so. The nails were unpainted, but trimmed neatly.

Altogether, somehow, she looked younger than she should have, despite the significant weight loss and that curious fading of her hair. Captivity had diminished her, but it still hadn’t managed to age her or disfigure her. This was most apparent in her face and it was also conveyed in her posture. She stood very straight with her chin lifted and her eyes half-lidded. Her hands were clasped in front of her waist, almost as if she’d been praying or was just about to. As if she’d just stood up from her knees when she heard the elevator ascending. Yes, to Jace she looked much more like a priestess waiting to receive them, than a prisoner.

Her room at the top of the tower, her chamber or whatever you might want to call it—the place matched the look of her. It didn’t feel like a prison, stark as it was. More like a temple. Maybe it only seemed that way because of Valan herself. That contemplative pose which she’d put on.

Jace had never enjoyed going into churches of any form, neither in her present life nor the one before, long forsaken, a whole world away. Such places were far too hushed and austere. They made her feel cold and dismal and unwelcome. Always.

There was no furniture except three tall cabinets or wardrobes along the walls. They looked like coffins. Where did the woman sleep? On the bare floor, like they made Jace do? Or did the former queen, evil as she was, close herself upright inside one of the coffin-like cabinets like a vampire? Between them were three arched doorways, opening to the sundrenched walkway that Jace knew entirely ringed the towertop. Thin curtains hung across the arches, the same color—the same cloth, in fact-as Valan’s garment, and currents of wind ruffled those hangings from time to time as they crossed through the chamber. Whenever they did, they were surprisingly chill. It was on account of the height.

Donnijo didn’t open the door of the elevator. They stayed inside the cage almost as if they needed its bars to protect them from Valan. She nodded at them, a very courtly nod, very grave, and then she followed it with a smile— a slight smile, with just half her face, or less than half.

It was difficult for Jace to meet her gaze. She only managed not to slump with great strain, grinding her teeth. She clasped her hands in front of her in the same way Valan was doing, just under her belly button. Which anchored them there on that spot and prevented her—prevented them, rather—from crossing themselves over her breasts as they wanted to do, reflexively. She would not cringe or cower before this woman! Despite her nakedness, and the dog leash around her throat, and the traces of semen she knew were still perfectly visible across her nose and chin.

Jace couldn’t do anything about her blushes, though, or the trembling of her legs.

“So,” started Valan, “Jace the Jungle Goddess. At last. At long last, you’ve come back. I’ve often wondered if you would. Our Commander Donnijo was always quite confident of it, I think. Not I. Not usually. Couldn’t decide. Now finally the question is resolved. Here you stand. How does it feel, seeing me again after all this time? You don’t look any different. I’m not sure you would say the same about me, would you? Is this everything you expected, Jungle Goddess? Are you getting what you needed?”

“Needed? What would I possibly need from you? I was brought back against my will. This wasn’t my choice.”

“I görükle escort wonder if you truly believe that, Jungle Goddess.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. The commander captured a student of mine. Did anyone bother to inform you? She was trying to stand up for what was right, which was admirable. The commander and his men shouldn’t have been hunting where they were. But my student was outmatched and she acted too hastily. I had to exchange myself for her freedom. That is the only reason I stand before you like this. Whatever else you might imagine, it’s nonsense.”

“Your student must be the other girl I’ve seen down in the camp, from my balcony. The soldiers get a great deal of sport from her.”

“The commander didn’t honor our agreement.”

“You surprise me. Donnijo is generally so scrupulous in such matters.”

“The girl was given a fair chance,” Donnijo interjected, “She threw away that opportunity. She couldn’t bear to abandon her teacher.”

“Which speaks well of her character, except it invalidated Jace’s sacrifice. Not a strategic move. From what I’ve witnessed, she’s paid dearly for that mistake. Yet I think it’s safe to say at the same time she’s already adapting very nicely to her situation. She’s not suffering hellish agonies, not like you might expect. She’s learned to make the best of things, instead. As you did, Jace, the last time. The two of you have strongly similar natures, it appears, in that respect. Of course with you as her principal influence, that makes perfect sense. Yes indeed. She’s an avid little savage, when I watch the men get her going down there, exactly like yourself. But perhaps it’s not truly your fault. Maybe instead it’s this whole jungle that does it. Something in the air or in the water or in the soil, or all those things—everything around us. Then it gets inside of us. Very soon it transforms anyone who comes here. Please notice, I do not exclude myself.”

Jace doesn’t know what to make of that. “You don’t?”

Valan shook her head and snickered through her nose. “I don’t. How do you think it’s been since you left us? How do you imagine we’ve been spending our time?”

Jace shrugged. “I never worried about it. Never gave it any thought.”

“Is that true? Well, I suppose there’s no sense fighting with you over it. It hurts my feelings, a bit. It’s a little insulting. I’d like to believe you’re lying.”

“I’m not.”

“You didn’t miss us? You didn’t at least get curious, every once in a while?”

Jace just shook her head. “I had plenty of other things to think about. Much more important matters.”

“Yes, all those sacred duties you like to go on about. When you remember to, anyway. When you’re not too … distracted.”

“The Last Jungle gets trespassers from every side. The men of your city were not the first to invade, or even the worst I’ve had to face. You Tenacious are not as special and singular as you like to imagine.”

“I might say the very same thing about you, Jace. I don’t think you’re half as important to this wondrous, horrible realm as you tell yourself. Actually it gets along perfectly fine without you. It certainly did last time, didn’t it? And now? I haven’t noticed any great darkening of the skies or trembles in the ground.”

“The spirits of the trees still have trust in me. They know I will soon return to them.”

“Will you?”

“I will.”

“Perhaps. I have to admit, you did last time. In the end. I didn’t expect it, but indeed you finally did. You abandoned us. You abandoned the commander and all his soldiers. You abandoned me. Do you know what happened after you were gone? Do you know how we coped with that? Can you imagine? Can you guess?”

“No. Just tell me. You’re dying to tell me—I can see it. So do it. You’ve been waiting for this. You don’t have to wait anymore. The time has come.”

“Has it? Has it really? I thought when I saw Donnijo marching you into the camp, I thought it was going to happen right then. But that was days and days ago. I’ve already lost count. Donnijo has a great talent for cruelty. He kept me waiting up here all this time, all alone. Knowing full well what it would do to me. So many sleepless nights. I haven’t been able to sleep since your return. Not for a moment!”

“Hush,” said Donnijo, “We’re here now. Your wait is finished.”

“How do I know? You still haven’t come out of that cage! How do I know you’re not just teasing me some more? How do I know you won’t go away again without doing anything? Jace, he has completely ignored me this entire time. Because he’s spent all of it with you.”

“No he hasn’t. Not all of it. Most of the day he leaves me by myself, except for Little Brother, that dreadful panther of his. Men come in with food or to wash me. But the commander only spends the night with me, and even then he hardly touches me. He hardly looks at me!”

“Really? Ha! I think I understand. The same preparation görükle escort bayan for both of us. Well, not quite the same. But similar—more similar than I realized. The commander has a talent for this sort of thing, just as I told you.”

Donnijo laughed, though it was more of a grunt. “You are embarrassing me a little, my queen.” He unlatched the door of the elevator cage and shoved it open. The metal rasped and squealed. Then he shoved Jace out of there ahead of him.

Valan retreated a few steps, stumbling slightly. She was breathing very hard, and her face was flushed and shiny with sweat. More sweat had rendered her shift almost entirely transparent over her breasts. Jace noticed—she could not help noticing—that both the former queen’s nipples bore tiny gold rings, identical to the ones that dangled from her own,

Donnijo handed her the end of Jace’s leash. Then he went to one of the cabinets against the round wall. At first he’d picked the one on the left, but then he changed his mind and shook his head. He went to righthand one instead and tugged open the door.

It didn’t open sideways like a normal door. It tilted straight down, hinged at the bottom.

A machine was revealed, unfolding as the door of the cabinet was lowered all the way to floor level. Once it stood revealed, the machine looked too large to have fit inside its container. A framework of wood and metal, oddly shaped and overcomplicated. It was not immediately apparent when one looked it over, what the hell the damn thing was made for.

The commander reached for Jace’s leash and Valan returned it to him. “You can take off that dress now,” he told her.

“Yes, sir,” Valan replied, and pulled it off over her head as quickly as she could. It fit her too tightly and she did it too fast, tearing the side in her haste.

She wore nothing else beneath it. Her sex was shaved smooth, like Jace’s. One of her long legs, the left, was decorated from hip to ankle with a spiraling tattoo. A twisted, intricate green and purple vine of thorns and flowers. It was quite striking. She didn’t used to have that, when Jace knew her before. But then again, had she ever seen the queen’s bare legs back then? She couldn’t quite recall. She might have, back in those days, or maybe she never had.

Jace would have liked to have her leg tattooed like that. Yes, it made her genuinely envious of Valan. She wondered how one had a thing like that done. Who did you go to, and how long did it take, and what was the price for it, and how much did it hurt when it was put on? Some of the various tribes in her realm tattooed themselves in different ways. Some of them did it very crudely, while others were more advanced. Jace could, in time, get someone from those more sophisticated groups to do an elaborate vine like Valan’s for her, probably. But only if she knew they could do as good a job, or better. And only if they didn’t demand too high a price from her. That, as in so many of her dealings, would be the most worrying aspect.

Maybe she’d get a matching vine along her opposite arm, to go with it. If it could be done right. Maybe the two vines could join diagonally across her belly or her back, or both? She would have to think about that more, before she decided …

Right now obviously there were several other much more timely and crucial things she should be concentrating on.

Donnijo unclipped the chain from her collar. He left the collar around her neck, however—no surprise there. Now he wanted her to climb on to his machine. He was going to strap her in the middle of it, somehow.

She was shaking. She was nervous. Hell, she was afraid. Of course she was. How could she not be?

Valan was going into the thing, too. When he got finished, if Jace understood correctly, they would be facing each other. Quite close.

And then what?


“You both have scores to settle, don’t you?” said the commander, “Here is your opportunity.”

In the beginning there was a pair of narrow triangular saddles in the middle of the bizarre contraption. Jace and Valan perched astride them, somewhat precariously because they were made to bend so far forward until the tips of their noses almost touched. This was in order for their ankles and wrists to be confined beneath them, manacled to separate wooden arches inverted under the saddles. Two wide arches went with each saddle, thus four in all—one was for their hands and the other held their feet. They looked a bit like unstringed longbows except thicker and sturdier, not at all flexible, and with pivots on the ends, with gears and pulleys. The arch for their legs was wider and also a little lower down than one for their arms. The manacles connected to them on both were longer than Jace was used to, and made of leather. More like sleeves than cuffs, they encircled most of her forearms and most of her calves. These gripped less painfully than the far heavier metallic wrist and ankle bursa escort clamps she’d grown accustomed to.

Donnijo pulled a lever which shifted with a loud clunk, and then he turned a crank beside it. He worked it ’round and ’round several times, having to grit his teeth a little—it took considerable effort to keep the handle going. Its revolutions were almost as noisy as the one that worked the elevator cage.

The arches swung forward. The motion wasn’t smooth—a series of spasmodic jolts. Donnijo’s crank slowly, jerkily rotated them completely around the front of each saddle and upward, carrying his prisoners’ limbs along with them. When he was done, the arches didn’t stick straight up. He kept shifting them until the pairs tilted backward slightly away from each other, and of course Jace and Valan were tilted backward at the same angle. Their bottoms barely remained on the extreme edge of their saddles, while their arms and legs stuck up into the air over their heads, cruelly suspended and stretched. The saddles didn’t take much weight off their limbs. Their legs were held wider apart than their arms. Both captives could still clearly see each other. Donnijo had made sure that no uplifted limbs obscured their sightlines. He must have put a great deal of thought into the engineering of this machine.

Jace watched Valan’s toes flexing feverishly. Her own did the same. She curled them as tight as she could, over and over. It was oddly comforting, a little. A small distraction. An anchor point. The muscles of her arms and legs were already burning harsh inside from too much tension on them, while rapidly the same burn kindled in her back and in her bottom and in her belly.

The commander pulled another lever which thumped and clicked and then thumped again, louder, and Jace felt a vibration through the bows above her, a faint loosening. She could pull downward on them and they would move when they did. They would slide like the handles of an exercise machine from a gymnasium. Not very far, and not easily. She had to strain, and even at full strength she could only bring either arch down a few trembling inches, and only for a few seconds before their resistance overcame her and they raised themselves back to their starting position.

Valan cried out. A short, wordless exclamation, little more than a grunt or a huff. Jace didn’t understand why she did that, until Donnijo pulled a third thumpy lever which evidently engaged Valan’s arches in a matching fashion to Jace’s. Now the former queen could pull hers down the same way, and with the same result. Which Jace hadn’t noticed until Valan demonstrated.

Pulling the arches down caused cylindrical protrusions to lift from the front portion of the saddles they sat upon, if the ridiculous dangling positions they held balanced against the saddles’ back edges could be dignified with such a description. Jace’s movements powered the cylinder that had emerged from Valan’s saddle, and vice-versa. Their arm-arches made the rods go up and down. Their leg-arches caused the rods to rotate on their vertical axis—and the motion was amplified through a system of gears, so that one could quickly build up a sustained spin of considerable force without having to move one’s legs at an equal rate. That was not the case with the arm-arch. It would thrust its connected rod only as fast and as far as you pulled with your arms.

The rods appeared to be made of ivory. They were elaborately carved and decorated. They were very warm, as if heated internally. They were phalluses, of course, yet neither was shaped with anatomical fidelity, or anything like it. Both had extra ridges and bumps all over them to increase their potency, spiral patterns across their heads and around their shafts.

Extended to their fullest reach, applied with the greatest force, neither rod could quite penetrate either of the suspended captives. The angle wasn’t quite right. Was this a miscalculation on the commander’s part, or entirely the opposite? Both rods moved up and down across the women’s openings, spreading them in the process and tickling them, yet never entering them all the way. Not even halfway, not even a third of the way or a quarter. They did, however, bring repeated pressure directly against the women’s clits.

“Let’s see which of you can best the other,” said the commander, “It shall be a contest of endurance. Whichever of you first succeeds in bringing your adversary to climax, you shall be the victor. You shall be proven superior.”

Could it be done? Jace wasn’t sure at first. Could the machine bring her to orgasm, or just make her want one? It was a torture device, after all. It didn’t fuck you properly. It only made you wish to be. It tortured you. It would only tease and tickle, no matter how hard you or your enemy strained on its levers.

And yet … Once Jace started to experience it, once Valan was showing her what the damn machine could do to both their bodies, she changed her mind. She changed it very soon. It seemed it would probably get her there eventually. Given enough time. It wouldn’t happen quick, and it wouldn’t happen easy. Even so, she was pretty certain it could bring her over, provided Valan kept her end of things going long enough to see her through.