“Is that a fucking dragon flying around out there?”
“This is the stuff humans enjoy,” he says. “I have studied the contents of your collective consciousness and determined that females will be most satisfied being imprisoned in a tower with a terrifying beast outside.”
“I… uh…” I was about to tell him that he’d misunderstood my species, but I’m not so sure. There is something very cozy and even nostalgic about the way this place makes me feel. It’s like being wrapped up in a fairy tale, transported back to a time that never was.
“Look down,” he says.
I do, and find that I am wearing a princess gown. Not a silly, sparkly, poofy thing, but a long, willowy, wispy type garment which clings to me romantically. I feel as though I have stepped back in time, and completely abandoned whatever part of space I was just inside.
“You like it.”
He is not asking a question. He is telling me how I feel. And he is absolutely right. I do like it. I like it very, very much. I never expected I would like anything like this. I’m a metal chick. I’m whatever punk turned into, circa 2021. I’m hardcore. I’m… a pretty princess.
“I have taken the liberty of furnishing this place…”
There’s a four poster bed, and I mean a real four poster, massive, fucking bed. Like, big enough to put eight people in, and not in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory way. I mean side by side.
It looks like it’s almost big enough to fit… him.
I find myself glancing at Terrible out of the corner of my eye, considering him in yet a new light. He obviously doesn’t like humans, but he seems to have gone out of his way to do something he thought I’d like.
“This is actually the nicest thing anybody has ever done for me.”
He stares at me, then makes a garrumphing sound, as if he is uncomfortable and unhappy to hear that.
Suddenly, I feel awkward, but it’s too late. I’ve already shown him all my feelings. Fuck, I hate when I do that. I’ve spent my whole life doing my best not to let anybody know how I feel. They can’t hurt you if they don’t know what you like.
This human is looking at me with what I suspect to be the beginnings of tears in her eyes. They are not ones of sadness or pain, or contrition, any of which might perhaps be preferable to what is actually happening — she appears to be happy and pleased.
I suppose I wanted her to be happy and pleased. Rewards should please the recipient. If they do not, they are not terribly effective. But I must admit, I did not intend to provoke so emotional a response.
This human has been emotionally neglected by the other humans. So much so that the merest kindness, a simple fantasy bedroom, brings her to tears. This tells me, as if I needed to be told again, that humans are an awful species.
“But the dragon looks kind of fake, so, whatever,” she says turning away in a show of ingratitude which I think relieves us both. It is easier when she behaves like a wild thing. Then I get to play my role without having to consider whether my conceptions of her might be incorrect.
“You are able to summon food with the bell beside the bed. Simply call for what you feel like having, and it will appear on the table beside the window.” I gesture to the elegantly carved surface with whorls and swirls in the shape of dragons running down the legs. This is my finest work, and I suppose I am pleased she likes it.
“So you’re going to take this away if I don’t do what you say?”
“The consequences of disobedience may very well involve losing this, yes.”
“Of course. I should have figured. You’re just like all the rest. Everything’s a trinket to you, isn’t it. Something to bargain with. You give me something I like so I get scared you might take it away. How about this? How about you go fuck yourself with the dragon?”
I do not understand her sudden swing of mood, but I know I will not tolerate being spoken to that way. I demand respect, and I will have it from this little human.
It is the matter of an instant to grasp her by the arm and haul her, kicking and screaming over to the bed. There, I sit and place her over my thighs. This is an archaic way to punish a human. It fits the surroundings which I have created, and it certainly seems to fit her. I have never encountered a female who demands so much punishment. She could not maintain her happiness even for a matter of minutes.
“Do not be an ungrateful brat,” I growl down at her, using my roughest and sternest tones to communicate with her fleshy form. “That you have this at all is a miracle beyond miracles. By all rights, you should be living out your miserable, tedious life down on that cesspool of a planet from which you originated…”