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Most Valuable Asset

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“I thought I warned you,” Vex growled as she slammed Delvin backward into the rough stone wall, “that the next time I caught you watching me bathe I was going to cut off your most valuable asset.”

Delvin chuckled, apparently entirely unfazed by her hands at his throat. “Value lies in the eyes of the buyer, love. As I see it, you’re the one who stands to take a loss on that transaction.”

She slapped him hard across the face with a leather-gloved hand. The sound of it echoed off the damp tunnel walls around them.

Delvin grinned impudently.

“Listen to me very carefully,” Vex hissed into his ear. “When I make a warning like that it isn’t a threat. It’s a promise. And as sad as I would be to see your little friend go—” she grabbed his crotch roughly, squeezing much tighter than she knew was comfortable and savoring the way he writhed under her touch. “That pales in comparison to the satisfaction I’d feel carrying it out.”

Delvin’s breath was hot against her skin. There was a voracity in his eyes that only fanned the flames that were already licking their way through the inside of her body. Vex squeezed his balls harder and he let out a whimper.

“You’re lucky I don’t feel like scrubbing blood out of the floor today,” she said after letting him sweat for a moment. “But I’m still going to have to punish you. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” he gasped in exhilaration.

“Good.” Vex smiled wickedly and released her grip on him. His sigh of relief came a little too soon for her liking. She lifted his chin delicately with her fingertip, examining the purple bruise that was already forming on the side of his face.

“Hmm,” she said, pressing on it and enjoying his small wince of pain. “That’s a start, I suppose. Take off your clothes and get on the bed.”

“I live to serve,” Delvin simpered, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Vex rolled her eyes.

“We’re alone down here tonight, you know,” she remarked, opening the trunk that sat at the foot of the bed with a key she wore on a leather string around her neck. “There’s not a soul in the Cistern who can hear you. Not even Nocturnal can save you from me now.”

Delvin had the cheek to chuckle at that. “That’s only assuming you can make me scream, love. I’m not as soft as you might think.”

Vex grinned as she carefully selected her tools from the trunk and set them aside. “We’ll see about that.”

Delvin lay back on the bed, fully nude with his hands pillowed casually under his head. She yanked them out from under him and used two lengths of supple leather to bind them to the bed frame. A sharp tug on the bonds confirmed they would hold fast. He flexed against them and grinned as the headboard creaked in protest.

“What tortures am I to be subjected to tonight?” he taunted. “The brass bull? The rack?”

Vex said nothing. She simply picked up the cane she’d set aside from her trunk and folded her arms, regarding him dispassionately.

The switch was one of her favorites. She’d cut it herself from a young ash tree and sanded and oiled it until it was butter-smooth and cut through air like a well-honed dagger. It looked thin, but it stung mightily and left lovely violet bruises wherever it kissed virgin skin.

Despite his bravado, Delvin’s face was flushed a deep red and his cock stood half-erect already. Vex made him wait, letting her eyes drag over every inch of his skin while he glared at her from his vulnerable position on the straw mattress.

“I’m amazed you still manage to be this cocky after all these years,” she remarked as she stepped slowly toward him, letting the suspense build. “One would think that eventually I’d have managed to break your spirit.”

“I’m a Mallory, love,” he said with a laugh. “We don’t break easily.”

Vex traced the line of his jaw with the tip of her switch and he shuddered. She drew it down his chest, bringing it agonizingly slowly down to the base of his cock. Delvin’s breath hitched in his throat.

“We’ll see about that.”

The cane whistled through the air and made contact with the outside of Delvin’s thigh with a sharp smack. He laughed—actually laughed—and anger flared up, white hot, in Vex’s chest.

“You think this is funny, do you?” she growled, striking the same spot again, harder. His toes curled, but his expression remained defiant. Vex grinned to herself. She was going to enjoy this.

The next lash bit into his skin hard and he flinched. Vex allowed herself the tiniest smile, wound up, and struck his other thigh. Delvin’s brow furrowed, but he held fast. Vex reminded herself that this was hardly the first time he’d been beaten over the years. Between her and his tendency to get himself into rough spots, he’d certainly built up a tolerance to it.

“The sooner you give in, the sooner the pain stops,” she reminded him. The cane swished through the air and stung the inside of his thigh. The muscles in Delvin’s jaw jumped, but he remained silent.

“I’m disappointed.” She brushed his cock with the tip of the switch, threatening. He was hard as iron and leaking already.

She wound up and brought the cane down on the inside of his thigh, marking the tender flesh there with a bright red welt that immediately began to swell. Delvin hissed sharply through his teeth.

“It’s only going to get worse from here,” she cajoled. “I want to hear you scream.”

Delvin stared her down with an expression that indicated that in this moment he would rather die.

Vex smirked. “Suit yourself, then.”

The cane bit into his skin again and again, until his thighs were a mess of raised welts and already purpling bruises blooming under hot and tender flesh. Vex struck him in the same spot precisely, on the delicate skin of his inner thigh just below his more sensitive bits, over and over. Though the cane never came close to impacting his balls, it was a constant threat, and the way he flinched and braced himself every time she drew her arm back satisfied her greatly.

His first muffled scream of pain was music to her ears. Delvin shuddered and flexed against the leather bonds, his cock twitching. Vex grinned wickedly and struck him again sharply in the same spot.

This time he howled openly. His shouts echoed back at them from every damp wall of the cistern, mingling with the sound of dripping water.

Vex stilled her arm and let him catch his breath. His face and cock were flushed deep crimson that contrasted the blue and purple bruises she’d left on him in a lovely way. She lifted his chin with the tip of her cane and he shrank away.

“Have you learned your lesson?”

“Yes,” he panted.

She tightened her grip on the switch. “Louder.”

Delvin swallowed. “Yes, Vex.”

“That’s what I like to hear.” A smile curled her lips. “Perhaps you deserve a small reward.”

Delvin breathed a sigh of relief when she took the cane away and she laughed internally. There were other ways to make him suffer. He should have known that all too well by this point.

He gasped and stiffened when she took his cock in hand, paying no consideration to the sore and broken flesh at its base. She stroked him roughly, setting a steady pace, watching him squirm. He was well and truly helpless like this, still bound tightly to the bed frame and entirely at her mercy.

It didn’t take long before Delvin’s gaze was unfocused and glassy and his breath hitched in his throat with every stroke of her hand. She persisted, pulling him ever closer to the brink. She knew from experience that he was close when he started muttering a constant stream of profanity under his breath, straining against his bonds to get more friction.

She stilled her hand.

“Damnit, Vex!” he cursed, trying in vain to thrust against her iron grip.

“Patience is a virtue,” she said coolly. “Did you really think I was going to do all the work for you?”

He glared at her.

“My arm is tired. You can do it yourself.”

He narrowed his eyes but appeared to have thought better of the biting remark that was sure to have leapt to the tip of his tongue. He thrust upward into her fist, using his bonds for leverage, with long strokes that grew faster and more insistent as sweat trickled down his brow.

He was wet enough from the anticipation that they didn’t even need oil; his slick cock pumped into Vex’s gloved hand with little resistance. He cursed and grunted, his rhythm stuttering as he approached the brink again—

Vex took her hand away.

This time Delvin cursed foully, groaning in frustration as he thrust against empty air.

“Oh, my mistake,” Vex said with an impish smile. “Were you about to cum? How rude of me.”

“When I get out of this,” Delvin panted, “I am going to make your life miserable.”

“I look forward to it.”

Vex leaned in, pressing her fingers to the welts that stood out on his thighs. He whimpered.

“If you want to cum, you have to ask first.”

“Rot in Oblivion.”

“I’m waiting.” Vex crossed her legs.

Delvin clenched his jaw for a moment. “Please,” he spat with venom.

“I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Please,” he said, looking as if begging were causing him more pain than the caning had. “I want to cum.”

Vex took his cock in hand once more, this time relenting and doing at least some of the work. She was able to bring him rapidly back to the tipping point, his cock straining against her grip and his every breath a stream of curses and grunts. She matched the rhythm he set, not stopping when he finally cried out and spasmed under her touch and his hot cum spilled down her fingers.

He shuddered as the aftershocks wracked his body, fighting to catch his breath. Vex carefully wiped her hand on a rag and then reached up and released the straps binding his wrists. He flexed and stretched his hands, rubbing at the angry red marks where the leather had dug into his skin.

Vex returned the cane and leather straps to her trunk and retrieved a potion of minor healing she kept around for times like these. She didn’t want to take all the sting out of his wounds—if she did, the entire exercise would have been pointless, after all—but she didn’t want him not to be able to walk either.

She poured a little of the crimson potion onto a clean strip of cotton and daubed at the welts on his thighs. Delvin hissed as it touched his skin. Vex knew from experience that the marks stung like hell while they were healing, but after a moment it would pass. She tended carefully to the wounds she’d left, applying just enough of the potion to leave Delvin with a lasting reminder of this encounter but still allow him to do his job unhindered. When she’d finished, she set the bottle and the rag aside.

“How’s that feel?” she asked, sitting on the bed beside him. It creaked under their combined weight.

“You are a wicked woman,” he replied in a voice already heavy with sleep. His eyes were half-closed, and he looked well and truly exhausted.

“Maybe you’ll remember that the next time you think about crossing me.”

Delvin smirked. “I doubt it.”