The Mist and the Lightning. Part 15

Ви Корс
The Mist and the Lightning. Part 15

Chapter one

Business bustle reigned in the Ore town and its environs. Yes, of course, Ore town was not such a huge and densely populated city as the capital of the Black Ones. The Black City was home to at least a million inhabitants: black, half-blood and unclean. Stretching for many kilometers, it was the center of this world, and in fact it was a few cities which united in the Upper, Lower and Unclean limits.

And only about twenty thousand people lived in Ore town. But it had its own indescribable charm, and was not at all a dirty and gray town of miners and dusty mines, as one might think. No.

Ore town was bright and beautiful. The reds loved contrasting colors and painted their homes and palaces with tall, twisted spires in all the colors of the rainbow. Their city seemed like an outlandish toy, a piece of jewelry, covered in gold and carvings. The richness and beauty of Ore town was also facilitated by the large quantities of diamonds and other precious stones mined here. Not all of them went to the Upper World, and the townspeople prospered. A motley crowd seethed in the streets, as bright as the surrounding houses. Smart, richly decorated men, women and children walked in numerous parks, rested in open restaurants, gathered in groups like flocks of exotic birds, talked noisily with each other, and cheerful laughter could be heard from everywhere. The market squares were filled with townspeople, women in embroidered capes meticulously choosing from a variety of goods on the shelves. Free townsfolk were not at all as downtrodden and submissive as Lis portrayed to Karina. They were not altered or mutilated, nor did they wear a completely covering cape. Such a fate was prepared only for slaves, and even then, not for all.

The town belonged to several wealthy families who had their shares in the mines. There were seven of them, and they all competed in the beauty and luxury of their palaces. A long time ago, they agreed that each family would have its own primary color. Therefore, the city had: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, blue and purple palaces, and all the servants and slaves also wore the colors of their master, depending on which house they belonged to. The tall spires of the intricately twisted towers of the Palace of the City Mayor Kudmer shimmered with all the colors of the rainbow, connecting the seven families together, so that the city could easily be called not Ore, but Rainbow town. And the high gloomy mountains with mines in its vicinity didn’t spoil the bright festive impression at all. The city of miners here, in the Lower World without a sky, was beautiful, as if its inhabitants, who came here from the Upper World many generations ago, tried to compensate for their longing for the real sky and the sun, making their habitat so festive and elegant. They managed to do it. And, of course, the outlandish bright Ore town amazed the imagination and forever remained in the memory of any traveler who visited and saw it.

The roadside inn was not crowded during the day.

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes, sir, very much,” the red warrior answered quickly. His clothes were frayed and torn in several places, his gilded shoulder pads and bib were dented, there were abrasions on his forehead and sharp chin, and his right hand hung from a sling.

The old man nodded to the maid, and the girl quickly placed a plate in front of the young warrior.

“Eat,” the old man winced, “you smell with tobacco so much. Even the smell of food doesn’t kill this vile stench.”

The warrior froze:

“I beg your pardon, sir Igmer.”

“Eat,” the man nodded imperiously towards the plate of stew. He was no longer young, and his hair was grey like a mountain ash with hoarfrost. The whiskey was almost white. Clothes made of scarlet brocade were decorated with embroidered patterns and precious stones, luxurious fabric shimmered in the sun rays falling from the windows, and flames seemed to run through it. And in spiky yellow-orange eyes, despite his age, fire also danced. He literally burned the red warrior with an attentive gaze.

He, embarrassed, began hastily and awkwardly to wield the spoon, holding it in his left hand, hastily sipping from a deep bowl.

Igmer sat down opposite and began to look at him thoughtfully.

It was a long time ago… a very long time ago… and… like yesterday. They utterly defeated the enemy’s army at Komra, most of the blacks died in a deadly cauldron of encirclement, and those who survived were captured and very soon will envy their dead comrades.

“This one, half-blood, is very fast, he fought well,” his adjutant says to Igmer and points to the young soldier.

Bright red, thin and short, with neat, but at the same time a bit predatory facial features, the prisoner looks like a wild beast, directly in the eyes, not lowering his gaze, not bowing his head, his mouth is stubbornly compressed into a hard line.

“Yes, I noticed him on the battlefield, and not only because of his hair. He fought to the last.”

“A young animal from the school of Daniel Crassus.”

“Another cannon fodder from the school of Daniel Crassus,” Igmer shakes his head skeptically. “What is your name, red half-blood?” He addresses the prisoner in black language.

“Atley Alis,” he answers, still not embarrassed, looking with narrow yellow eyes full of hatred.

Igmer freezes:

“Alis? Where you're from?”

And the half-bloods tells the name of a seedy town, almost a village that Igmer knows all too well.

“Why is your last name, Alis?”

“That was my mother's name,” he is not surprised by the question, apparently he is often asked. Igmer notes to himself that the guy keeps well, doesn’t curry favor with him, despite the fact that he is a clear half-blood and this is now his advantage over other prisoners. But he behaves like black, and doesn’t make the slightest attempt to creep into the confidence of the red to save his life.

“And the name of the father?”

“I don’t have a father,” the redhead half-blood answers without any emotion, and Igmer moves away from him. Later, he gives the order to feed the captives, all the while mentally returning to the guy Atley Alis.

In the evening he comes to look at him again, scrutinizes him, as if thinking, and as if trying to solve something for himself. The half-blood is very thin, emaciated, and it is strange that he had the strength to fight. Igmer watches as he hastily eats from a rough iron bowl, without distraction, but not as greedily as one might expect, with some dignity. Only he doesn’t know that the reds, mocking their captives, poured them a soup from a trough for pigs, he doesn’t know it and doesn’t seem to even guess, is not surprised at the taste.

“And what does Crassus feed you in his school?”

The prisoner interrupts for a second, looks at Igmer:

“Nothing,” he finally says seriously and continues to eat.

Igmer breaks down and abruptly takes the plate away from him, splashing the remains on the floor:

“Give him a normal meal!” He shouts. And the red-haired half-blood looks at him with incomprehension.

“You look bad,” Igmer said finally, forcing himself to look away from the hungry red.

“I miraculously survived and got here without hope of reaching, sir Igmer,” the warrior raised his head and pushed the plate away.

“Well?”

“It is he. I'm sure. I remember him perfectly. There is no doubt that Sigmer is indeed back, and it is not another red who pretends to be him. Not an impostor, as many believe. Yes, Sigmer has sunk into oblivion, and I don't know how he managed it, but he returned. And he returned with the army.”

“Have you seen him?”

“Yes, sir, close, just like I see you now. And I didn't have the slightest doubt.”

“How is he?”

“Still the same. He hasn't changed at all. He is fearless, very fast, fights on the front line, takes risks,” the red warrior paused, “ he is a professional,” he added, “no red can do that, he combines the mind of the highest race of red and the animal sense of black savages. He’s in charge. There are many black and unclean ones with him. All are fighting together and all are with him and for him. There is always a girl near him, fighting nearby, his fighting girlfriend. She is also very fast and fights on a par with men. She often insures him, literally throws herself with her chest, like a mad woman, shields him, a bold black savage. I'm sure this is his woman, as soon as we stopped attacking or were forced to retreat, he immediately hugged her.”

“How does she look?!”

“I can't say for sure, she was covered, there was a scarf on her face, I saw only her eyes, and at one of the moments we clashed with her, her eyes… it's impossible to forget them! Bright, beautiful, bestial, like cat’s eyes. She literally burn you out when looking at you. She is thin, graceful, but at the same time she perfectly works by a sword, controls it like a feather. She is very strong and hardy. As long as he was on the wall, so was she. And as soon as he gave them a break, she clung to him. Even in battle, they often, repelling the attack, immediately approached each other, he pressed her to him, and she was literally ready to climb on him right there.”

“Beautiful cat eyes?!”

“Yes. My warriors called her that – Sigmer’s wild cat.”

“This is she, it can only be she.”

“Do you guess who I'm talking about?”

“This is Karina!”

“Yes! You're right! I remembered! He shouted to her several times: “Karin”.”

“He's with her again! He found her and returned!”

“Frankly, I understand him. I myself, having met her gaze only once, will now never forget her. I will recognize her from a thousand, despite the fact that I have not seen her face.”

 

“He returned her to himself,” whispered the red one named Igmer, “this black savage who killed him. He returned her, managed to survive among the blacks and rise. He gathered an army,” tears appeared in his eyes.

“Sir, did you come this way to find out the details?”

“Yes. I've heard rumors that Sigmer is back. But I couldn't believe it. Now I believe that it really is him.”

“And you left the Upper World for this?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me, how is lady Ethel?”

“All is well. She is a good mother and devotes a lot of time to her son.”

“Oh, sir Igmer, your grandson is probably already very big?”

“Yes,” Igmer smiled.

“You replaced his father.”

“It was not difficult, he is a reasonable and calm boy.”

“Sigmer doesn’t execute prisoners, he needs warriors. My man remained in his army. Soon there will be the first reports left at the appointed place. I will decipher them and pass them on to you.”

“Does he have many soldiers?”

“A lot, sir, and they all fight like the last time. I saw Zagpeace Gezaria. I saw Scavenger. They defended Crimson Rock with teeth and claws. They have gunpowder and have learned how to use it. More soldiers from the Black City came to their aid. We were defeated, and many reds again stood under the banner of Sigmer, they remember him and want to fight in his army. Their next target is the Ore town, there is no doubt about it.”

“It’s too risky.”

“And what does the mayor intend to do?”

“Kudmer clearly underestimates the threat. He believes that the fortress walls of Ore town are indestructible, and even a few thousand blacks cannot take them.”

“Has he sent to other cities and the capital for help?”

“No. And I think this is his big mistake. He is too presumptuous. He poorly imagines the strength of the black army.”

“But this is what you want? Isn't it, sir?”

Igmer was silent, thinking, finally he looked up:

“You are free,” he said. “Rest, you are wounded. I'll call you later, I need to think.”

“Thank you sir, I also think that Kudmer underestimates the enemy. They need to take the most radical measures to protect Ore town, this is a real threat.”

“Yes,” said Igmer.

And when the warrior left, he, left alone, squeezed his temples with his hands:

“You have managed to do it,” he whispered, “you're back. You have done it! You have done it! But how?!”

The Limit

Our morning is like night, and the night is for me…

Chapter two

Lis handed her a formless pile of black rags:

“Put it on.”

“Cape? No, please…”

“When we get back to the Fort, you'll wear it. And now you will put it on. Get used to it.”

“No, please…”

“Put it on! Chastity belt and cape, and don't leave the room without my permission.”

Karina slowly put on the shapeless bag that covered her from head to toe. The wide sleeves almost reaching the floor were sewn.

“I don't see anything, this fabric is too thick. I can't breathe!”

“Get used to it!”

It was impossible to move normally, breathe and see in the cape. Karina became scared, panic seized her:

“I can’t see anything! I can't see your face!”

“It's not a problem.”

“I can't move in it.”

“Learn!”

“I'm not a slave!”

“You are mine! You are my wife, my property and my slave.”

“Yes, I'm yours, but why are you doing this to me?!”

“There is nothing bad in it. You are a woman, and red women behave modestly and wear a cape.”

“No.”

“Yes! And they obey their husbands without question! The red ones say: “A woman’s paradise is under the foot of her husband.” And you know this very well, and you know that many red women have their tongues cut off since childhood, and they never leave their rooms at all.”

Karina cried, suffocating in this cocoon of total slavery and humiliation.

“I don’t want to cut off your tongue, but you must learn to show me respect: wear traditional clothes, speak only when I allow. You will only learn to do what I say. Otherwise,” Lis raised the whip, “I will teach you. You promised to obey me and respect me. It seemed to me that you began to improve, and now it starts again. While we're stuck here, train, get used to it. Walk around the room. The eyes will get used to it, you will become better oriented.”

“Walk around the room from corner to corner?”

And Lis whipped her so hard on the back that even the dense fabric of the cape didn’t save her from the burning pain. Karina shrank, fell to the floor, hoping he would not continue. But he hit her several more times with a quick draw, and she couldn’t resist, screamed out loud and sobbed.

“I warned you,” he said very calmly. “I will punish you for the slightest disobedience. I will beat you. You will be the perfect wife and thank me.”

Karina continued to cry, choking and gasping, sitting in her cape on the floor like a shapeless sack. She became hysterical.

But Lis was ruthless:

“I repeat once again, tears won’t help. I'm doing the best for you. Time will pass, you will be grateful to me for this. And you will wear what I say.”

She froze in a stupor.

He walked over and pulled off the top of the cape over her:

“Wipe your face,” he handed her a towel, sat down next to her, “why are you resisting? Why can't you understand that I want the best? Why do other women want to be unique and beautiful only for their beloved man, but not you? Your fucking nature doesn’t let you be good? If you say that you love me, and sometimes it seems to me that you are not lying, then why? Why don't you want to be only mine if you see that it pleases me? Why show yourself to others? What for? Explain to me?”

Karina was silent, she wiped her face swollen from tears and red from stuffiness. As soon as she did so, Lis put the cape over her again, pulling it tightly over her head. Karina again found herself in darkness and practically without air.

“You can go to bed and lie down. Think about my words if you love me.”

“I love you.”

“Do you want to be only mine?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want your beauty to be just for me?”

“Yes…”

“Good. You will sleep like this tonight. I won't let you take it off until you get used to it.”

Nikto came to them:

“Come to my living room, I invite you to dinner.”

“Okay,” said Lis.

Nikto looked at covered Karina.

“Karina will go like this?”

“Yes. She is getting used to the cape. Karina, I give you permission to answer Nik.”

“I want to be an exemplary wife and show respect for my husband and… master. Not to flaunt myself in front of everyone, but be only for him.”

“Let's decorate her,” Nikto said, “we can make beautiful tattoos. At the bottom of the abdomen there can be flowers down to the pubis, and we will write, as if on a tape, that she belongs to you. We will decorate her ass with patterns, make a beautiful drawing on the tailbone. Marg will draw a crown with precious stones on her tailbone, like a real one, and you can write your name again, that her ass is also yours. Under the breasts we will make a beautiful pattern, like thin lace, and intertwined threads with beads around the nipples and on the breast, have you seen this on my slaves? And where you carved your sign, you can draw colorful birds on the sides. Marg knows how to decorate girls very beautifully. Do you want to write something on her face? It will be cool to tattoo the whole lower part of her face. And let there be a large inscription with your name on her lips, it will be the very cool! After all, you still intend to cover her face with a mask or cape. I understand correctly? She will always be closed, completely, right? Then let's decorate her face. And you can also decorate the neck, chest, tailbone, navel with rhinestones. Marg knows how to implant precious stones into the body. Let’s insert them into her nose, cheeks, around the lips. It will be very beautiful! Let's hang up the chains. You put a chastity belt on her, you can do better while we're here. We can pierce her outer labia, insert rings on both sides, and then, through these rings, you will stretch a chain. You know, it's like… like lacing. You will lace everything between her legs, tightly, as it should, and hang the lock. Only you will be able to open her and unlace her hole. The ass can also be closed like this, I did this to Arel, inserted two rings along the edges of the hole, they can be connected with a padlock. Connected and closed. It's more comfortable than a chastity belt.

Lis froze, he turned pale:

“D… do what you want… N… Nik, just don't touch her face yet, please.”

“Why? Do you still want to open her? Show?”

“No, no…”

“Then all the more let's decorate her face!”

“Please, Nik, no, she already has a pierced nose and lip.”

“But these are very small stones, they are almost invisible.”

“They are noticeable.”

Nikto shrugged his shoulders:

“Okay, whatever you say. I don’t insist, I just suggested.”

And Lis’ face showed a clear relief:

“Maybe later she will wear the traditional jewelry of married red women.”

“Do you want to marry her again when we take over Ore town and you become king? Now according to the Rite of the reds?”

“Yes.”

Karina knew this tradition and saw a crescent-shaped jewelry on red women. Made of gold, richly decorated with patterns and precious stones, often with fringed chains and beads at the edges, it was threaded through the nasal septum with a bow and hung under the nose with a wide sickle-shaped plate, obscuring the lips and lower part of the face. There was a clasp on the back wall of the jewelry, if desired, it could be passed through specially made punctures in the lower and upper lips, fastening them together like a pin, preventing the submissive woman from opening her mouth.

Skillfully crafted by jewelers, the jewelry, of course, were very beautiful, but still reminded Karina of a slave muzzle.

Through the dense fabric of the cape, she couldn’t see the expression on Lis’ face, she just silently listened to their conversation, thinking that her life was over, with absolute indifference. Let them do whatever they want with her body, she belongs to her husband, she is in the hands of her beloved, and nothing else is needed.

Slowly, stumbling and tangled in the long hem, she followed Lis. In the living room she silently sat down at her place at the table. She didn’t see the expressions on their faces, only vague spots, didn’t really see what was on the table in front of her. Her father was here, but he said nothing. They didn’t address her and didn’t say anything to Lis, he talked to everyone as usual, apparently believing that his wife should look like that. And at the moment Karina resigned herself.

“How are you feeling? How are you?” Nikto asked.

“Everything is all right,” answered Lis, “is your holiday coming soon?”

“And it already took place,” Nikto answered him as if nothing had happened and looked around them with a mischievous look of his bright eyes. He looked like he was laughing at them in his soul, making fun of their confusion, and the expressions on the faces of Lis and Kors genuinely amused him.

“What?!” Lis literally choked on wine.

“The holiday has already been,” Nikto repeated, continuing to have fun, “a lot of guests came from distant worlds too. I myself didn’t expect it,” he slightly shook his light tousled head and, as usual, made an involuntary movement, touching the rings in his nose. “Do you remember, Lis, I told you and Karina about my friend, whose ancestors came from the world of insect-like creatures, and she had four arms.”

“About the spider?” Specified Lis.

“Yes.”

“This can’t be forgotten.”

“Well. There were too many beings, and from such worlds too. I decided that you cannot go back to your normal life if you remember them. It's still not for people. And I erased your memory.”

Lis, Vitor Kors and Karina froze.

“And… and how much time has passed?” Lis finally managed to squeeze out of himself.

“Lis, don’t worry about the Fort, we will return to the same point in time from which we left. I promised, in your world, not a day will pass.”

“Then… then, if your holiday is over and your insect-like friends have done whatever they wanted with us, maybe we can come back?”

“Here it begins,” Nikto drawled, “Lis, stop shivering about someone needing your ass like that.”

“Please, let's go back.”

“We'll be back in the coming days, don't start. I also need to do a Mission in this fucking Fort, so of course we'll be back, don't whine.”

 

“Where is Arel?” Kors asked cautiously.

“I left him in the room, don't worry, Kors, your Arel hasn't gone anywhere. The unclean spiders didn’t drag him into their world. And they didn't drag anyone away, you're all right! The conversation is over! Drink!”

When they returned to their room, fairly drunk Lis fucked her for a long time. But he didn’t change his original decision and didn’t take off the cape from her, only lifted it up, and she couldn’t touch him with her hands, only through the fabric, and couldn’t really see whether he was happy or not. But judging by how long and with pleasure he fucked her, he was pleased. And in the morning, barely waking up, he continued. She didn't ask for anything. Resigned, she just got up and lay down as he wanted, allowing him to do whatever he wanted with her body.

Habir Verniy entered Kors’ room without any ceremony:

“Get ready, master ordered to bring you,” he growled deep-chested.

Verniy seemed to sense how Kors treated him, how he didn’t like the unclean dog, feeling disgust and fear. Kors knew that dogs feel when someone is afraid of them, and usually, sensing fear, they attack, but he couldn’t help himself, so this vile, predatory unclean irritated him. And the fact that Nikto loved him with some kind of unjustifiably tender love and constantly dragged him everywhere with him, even more infuriated him. Kors was ready, he pulled himself together and put his appearance in order. His hair was neatly styled and pinned in a ponytail, his clothes smelled of expensive perfume, and precious rings glittered on his neatly nailed fingers. Kors came to his senses after all the failures, or so it seemed. And the dye on his face was almost completely faded, which is why Kors couldn’t even without shrinking internally look at his reflection in the mirror. Yes, he tried not to think about anything and drank a lot of wine to stay in a relaxed oblivion, but it was almost the same Kors – spoiled, broken, but not surrendered. He, obeying the order, followed Verniy into Nikto’s room, and when he entered, he noted with surprise how big it was and one might even say luxurious, but at the same time the Demon had neither windows nor a balcony, like in Karina’s room. Twilight always reigned in his personal World, but it seems that Nikto was not oppressed by it. He was used to living in a witch's cave like in a burrow, Kors thought, staring at the polished stone walls and black slabs of the floor. The ceiling was propped up by carved columns, resting against the vault with openwork arches. Kors saw that Arel was kneeling on the steps by the high bed, undressed, in slave attributes, he didn’t raise his lowered head, and still Kors noticed that something was wrong with his face.

“Hello, Vitor,” said Nikto and his voice was calm and cheerful.

“Glad to see you, my Demon,” Kors replied, kneeling down.

“Hey, get up, come on without ceremony,” Nikto smiled, “I love you as a noble master who made me first a slave, and then his lover and his thing.”

Kors only smiled bitterly, he no longer believed Nikto. And yet, when he knelt on these black floor slabs, he was almost on a level with Arel and involuntarily noticed that his lower lip was strangely pushed forward.

“Make yourself comfortable, Vitor, make yourself at home, sit down at the table, pour yourself some wine, if you want – smoke,” said Nikto, getting off the bed and going up to him. It was unusual for Kors to see him so, not crippled, not lame, but because of his thinness, even somehow graceful, like a weasel. And still, despite the fact that Nikto was in good spirits, Kors involuntarily shook as Nikto approached him.

“Vitor, what’s the matter? Why are you so afraid of me?” Nikto asked, even somehow a little surprised.

“What about Arel?” Kors tried to avoid answering.

“Eh?” Nikto turned to the prince, “Arel, raise your face!” he ordered, and Arel immediately followed the order.

Kors saw that something big and thick had been threaded into his lower lip – a bottle cork!

“What is it?!”

Nikto laughed:

“I made a small cut and stuffed a cork into it. It suits him, right?”

“But why?” Kors was shocked, and Arel with a protruding lower lip didn’t look good at all.

“The unclean do this, they insert a cork into the lips of inveterate drunkards as punishment. It's funny, and it's immediately clear who is in front of you.”

“But you yourself allow him to drink, give him wine!”

“Well, what remains for me if he cannot live without it? I did it to him just like that, for nothing.”

Kors looked at Arel. With a ring in his nose, a hole in his cheek and now with a disfigured mouth, he looked really bad. Arel's eyes were not overshadowed, but he didn’t raise them and did not look at Kors.

“You know, Vitor, why I called you?”

“No,” and now Kors was really scared.

“I'll decorate you now,” said Nikto, and Kors shrank inwardly.

“Your dye is almost erased, I'll paint you again, better. Get out your jewelry,” Nikto took out a box with jars in which there was paint, “I will make it more beautiful, with shadows. You will see how good it will be for you.”

“Who cares, nothing’s going well with the dye,” said Kors grimly. “This is a shameful make-up, no matter how beautiful it is.”

He didn’t dare to disobey and twisted three thorns from under his lower lip.

“Don't move, you will get used to yourself like that.”

“I won't get used to it.”

“So what? When we return, will you go to Zagpeace, will you ask to cancel the punishment? Will you repent, crawling on your knees at his feet? Will you disown me? Will you disown the shameful connection with a filthy half-blood?”

“No. How could you think that?!”

“I caught your thoughts.”

“It was just a momentary weakness, I cannot control my every impulse. But I won't do that.”

“But you suffer no worse than your slave Adrian, he is also sad that he has become a slave, and every minute he reproaches himself for his cowardice”

“Don't compare me and a slave!”

“Yes, you're right, Adrian doesn’t hope for forgiveness, but you do.”

“I don’t hope for anything either, Demon who hides his true name and only pretends to be a pathetic half-blood.”

Nikto chuckled:

“You tried to read Zagpeace’s thoughts, what he thinks, but you failed.”

“It didn't work,” agreed Kors, “probably because he is not connected with you. And I can only “hear” those who belong to you.”

Nikto just smiled slightly and dipped the brush in gray dye. Not a single thought in his head contained even a hint of his conversation with Peace, and Kors didn’t “hear” or know anything. He couldn’t even imagine that Nikto and Peace had agreed on something.

Nikto painted Kors’ face with all the diligence, as he could, beautifully shading the cheekbones and making the facial features more expressive. Kors looked at himself in the mirror.

Nikto really emphasized his beauty, made him “mysterious”, but Kors was not at all happy about it, because he hoped so much that when the dye disappeared from his face, he would not have to apply it anymore. He hoped that Peace and his former comrades-in-arms would not find fault with him, and that his rash offense would be forgotten.

“I'll replace your jewelry,” Nikto said, appraisingly examining his work.

Kors was depressed and silent.

Nikto inserted a complex decoration into his punctures. The silver peaks in it were much longer and more massive than the previous ones. The central one bifurcated at the base, and its upper part was like a sharp spike, and the lower arc descended downward and, like a hook, clasped his chin.

Now, when Kors lowered his gaze, he could easily see them, and the hook, digging into his chin, prevented him.

“Gods,” he whispered, “for what?”

Nikto heard him:

“I'm not punishing you, it's beautiful.”

“They bother me.”

“Well, not as much as Arel’s cork, you will get used to it.”

“Now I have to wear a mask in the Fort.”

“Go to Arel!”

Kors looked at his tormentor in confusion.

“Come on, go! Sit next to him!”

And when Kors hastily got up from his chair, walked over to Arel and knelt beside him, Nikto said:

“Kiss!”

But neither Kors nor Arel could do this because of their “jewelry”. Kors only rested his spikes on Arel's lip, and Arel couldn’t move his mouth at all. Kors saw now how the round top of the cork rested on his lower teeth and Arel couldn’t properly close his mouth and from this the upper lip is deformed too.

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