The Lieutenant

PART ONE: GAIA’S SOLDIER

First Lieutenant Nobu looked forward to a well deserved rest after pulling several graveyard shifts in a row as per the demands of his posting as a Monarch’s Hand Officer. It had been a particularly nasty week that had led to the deaths of 30 Monarch’s Hand Officers and at least a dozen witches in their prime.

However, just as he was looked forward to making the trip to the Tree Dome he called home in what used to be Ambrosia in the dark world, his squadron Commander insisted on taking him and the rest of the squad out for a few pints of the Woodlands’ finest mead.

Nobu was not in the mood for alcohol and would have much preferred to go home to sleep instead but he could not oppose the wishes of his Commanding Officer and knew it would blow his cover if he resisted and so he followed the Commander and squad mates to the infamous ‘Lion’s Den Tavern’ and reluctantly took up pint after pint of the beer offered to him.

After a while, Nobu noticed that his Commander and squad mates were trying to get him drunk and he was very suspicious as to their reasons for needing him so inebriated. One of the Officer’s greatest personal strengths was that he could hold his liquor but he decided to play along and pretend that he was getting hammered.

Under the presumption that he was drunk, his Commander began interrogating him about his personal life; about the girls he had dated, the plans he had for the future and about his personal beliefs.

Nobu narrated stories that he had carefully constructed in his mind over time of the life he assumed an ordinary Monarch’s Hand Officer would lead. His Commander seemed somewhat satisfied by his stories but there was a look in his eye implying that he was doubting some of the fabrications Nobu so eloquently presented as true facts.

As the wee hours of the early morning dragged into the mid-morning, Nobu’s Commander continued to press him for details on his personal life. He argued that Nobu was a total mystery to all who knew him and they wanted him to open up more. Nobu supplied all the information he was asked to present, never missing a beat. His squad mates were satisfied enough but the Commander still had that knowing look in his eyes.

Nobu was just about to call it quits having spent a reasonable amount of time drinking with his comrades before his final trial was presented to him. The Commander extravagantly ordered for escorts to be brought into the Tavern for his men, much to their hearty applause and joy.

The escorts comprised of some barely-legal witches in their prime under the effects of the psychedelic drug ‘Angel Eyes’ or Angel as was more commonly known as. The drug was known to induce a powerful illusion in the victims’ mind increasing their suggestibility and making these unfortunate women docile and even aloof in the face of the horrific depravities people of his kind were truly capable of inflicting on witches.

His squad mates were happy to grab a hold of their preferred escorts, the Belles, the barely-legal witches that were all dolled up for their sick enjoyment. The sight of the innocent young girls dosed in Angel Eyes made Nobu sick to his stomach. His Commander spoke to the Manager of the Lion’s Den in whispers and the Manager nodded before rushing to meet his request.

“Nobu, please have a seat. Allow me the courtesy of your company,” the Commander said ushering him to sit right next to him.

Nobu reluctantly complied and watched as his colleagues all left with their Belles in tow. His Commander then ordered a round of ‘Pixie’s Poison’ drinks for them and Nobu downed them reluctantly fighting the effects of the drinks with all his might.

“Nobu, you know what, I have always admired your work ethic. You are an exceptional soldier with a record that cannot be soon beat. You follow instructions perfectly. By all accounts, you are the perfect soldier. Our Monarch would be proud to call you her son,”

“Thank you, Commander. On my honor,” Nobu said bowing respectfully to his Commander. Soon the Manager came back and whispered in the Commander’s ears. The Commander thanked him, picked up everyone’s tab and a generous tip and then asked Nobu to follow him which Nobu did as instructed. The Commander led him to a cozy little cottage not a mile away from the Tavern.

The Commander retrieved a key from his pocket, opened the door and ushered Nobu in after him. He firmly shut the door behind him, locked it with the key and then magically enchanted the door so he couldn’t leave.

Nobu nervously looked around the room before he was ushered into the bedroom of the small cottage where a witch was chained to the bed with her mouth gagged.

The Commander carefully unbuttoned his expensive uniform coat and neatly folded it before placing it on the vanity chair next to the vanity mirror in the room. The Commander then walked up to the bed and gently caressed the witch hostage’s face and Nobu suddenly felt like throwing up.

“There, there, my sweet. I have brought a friend with me today. Would you like to meet him?” the Commander spoke sweetly to her.

She nodded very enthusiastically.

“That’s a good girl. Nobu, come,” the Commander ushered.

Nobu bid the commands of his Commander.

“Nobu, what do you think of Colette?”

“Sir?”

“The witch. What do you think of her?”

Nobu examined the witch and felt tears sting his eyes. Her eyes betrayed her mental and physical anguish more than the deep scars and bruises marked on her body. The woman tied up to that bed had endured unimaginable torture and pain at the hands of his Commander and he could barely look at her straight in the eye without wanting to weep for her.

“She appears to be in distress, Commander,” he supplied with all the emotion of a robot. So robotic was his answer that his Commander turned to face him, stunned but momentarily assured of Nobu’s devotion to the entity.

“Indeed. My Colette has been through a lot but that is entirely her fault, as she would explain. She had a lot of fight in her, you see, so the re-education was unfortunately, longer and more strainous than I’d hoped,”

“Sir, I believe you successfully managed reigning her in,”

“Indeed? I appreciate your comment on it. You see, I find using Angel such a burden when breaking a witch is so much more… exciting as you can attest, I’m sure. You have broken witches before, have you not, Nobu?”

“Yes, Sir. On my honor,” he said with a respectful bow.

“As I have explained, I admire your work ethic and I believe you can teach this old mutt new tricks. Please be at liberty to demonstrate all the tricks in your witch -breaking book to me,”

“Sir?”

“Demonstrate how you break witches on my Colette. Don’t hold back, Nobu. Release all the built up anger and hatred you have for these god-forsaken wretches. Use whatever tools you may desire,”

“Sir, I feel that doing so would be counter-intuitive considering she is already broken,”

“I’m sure my darling Colette could use a reminder or two. Come on now, Nobu. I am giving you a rare honor. An honor your comrades would no doubt kill for,”

The Commander waited patiently as Nobu faced the hostage. There was no denying that Nobu was in a tight spot and he worried that he would soon be discovered.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

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