Queen of Swords

QUEEN OF SWORDS: QUEEN OF HEARTS

Santa Helena’s market day was winding down. It was late afternoon when Doña Maria Teresa Alvarado arrived. For once, she rode in alone. Marta was left behind to prepare dinner. In truth, Tessa wanted nothing more than to see the havoc she’d earlier wrecked in the guise of the infamous Queen of Swords. It had taken four hours to first shake Captain Grisham’s pursuit, and then get back to the Alvarado hacienda without being seen, and finally to changed back into Señorita Tessa Alvarado and take the long trip back into the pueblo.

“Hmm, all looks strangely calm,” she said, disappointed. She’d expected to see soldiers running around frantically, trying to satisfy Colonel Montoya’s ridiculous commands in his frustration. “You’d think nothing untoward happened today.”

Of course, she knew exactly what had happened. The Queen of Swords had conducted a daring midday raid on the Colonel’s office, stealing the taxes being prepared for shipment back to the Viceroy in Monterrey. Since he would have double guards on this shipment, she decided to take it before Montoya posted the guards, in the place he felt safest.

Boy, was he surprised!

“Tessa! Tessa!” a familiar feminine voice called.

Doña Vera Hidalgo hurried across the dusty plaza toward her. The young Doña was one of the most beautiful women in the area, with long, golden blonde hair that cascaded over her bare, alabaster shoulders in silken waves, mischievous blue eyes and shapely body. She was the wife of the area’s richest, most powerful landowner, Don Gasper Hidalgo. Vera was wearing a dress cut just like Tessa’s – off the shoulder, tight bodice, and long flowing skirt. But where Tessa wore a white cotton bodice and russet skirt, Vera wore blue silk.

“Tessa, where have you been?” Vera scolded lightly, starting to fan herself vigorously. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Why? Did something happen?” Tessa asked all innocence. “I was at home all day. Tell me.”

“Oh, it was terrible! The Queen of Swords swooped into the pueblo and stole all of Colonel Montoya’s tax money!”

“Oh, really? She came into the pueblo in broad daylight?” Tessa said, fawning shock. “So daring! Was it scary?”

“Worse!” Vera cried, all a-flutter. “She hurt my poor Marcus.”

“Captain Grisham? Was he killed?”

It was an open secret that Vera was having an affair with Colonel Montoya’s American Captain of the Guard, Captain Marcus Grisham. Montoya was trying to get Grisham to court, and marry, Señorita Tessa Alvarado, so the Colonel could either steal her lands and wealth, or control it through Grisham. She wasn’t sure which, but she had no intention of letting Montoya or Grisham get their greedy hands on her or her fortune.

“No! And don’t say such things. You’ll bring bad luck to my Marcus,” Vera said, becoming flush with consternation.

“Then what happened?”

“She kicked him in the face!” Vera said, blue eyes flashing. Then she was prettily a-flutter again. Tessa wondered how she did it. Was it natural, or did Vera have to work as hard to act so shallow as Tessa had to work to act like an air head. “She broke his nose.”

“Oh, how terrible.”

“Of course. His beautiful face is ruined,” Vera said, pouting prettily a second. Then her sparkling blue eyes turned mischievous, and she held her hand before her on nose, forming a large bubble shape. “It is huge! Hideous. It breaks my heart to look at him now.”

“Speaking of the devil,” Tessa said, noticing Captain Grisham riding into the plaza before a line of a dozen bedraggled soldiers.

Vera cut Tessa a sharp look. Tessa ignored her look, warning herself to be more careful what she said in the future. That was more of something the Queen would’ve said than prime and proper Maria Teresa.

“It seems the good Captain is returning empty handed again,” Tessa said somberly. His nose was rather angry looking, even under the white bandage. “I hope Colonel Montoya isn’t too hard on him.”

Vera gave her a curious look, and then turned stern eyes on the arriving soldiers.

Dios mío! Do you know nothing of men, Tessa?” Vera said.

“What? I don’t understand.”

“They gave up the chase hours ago. Captain Grisham is returning from the Delgado Hacienda,” Vera said with a touch of anger in her eyes. “He went to fetch the soldiers up there.”

“Fetch the soldiers? From the Delgado Hacienda?” Tessa said, totally confused. This had the sound of a covert operation of the Colonel’s. As Captain Grisham’s mistress, the beautiful blonde Doña was an excellent gatherer of information. Fortunately for Tessa, and thus the Queen of Swords, Vera couldn’t keep a secret. And Tessa Alvarado was her best friend and recipient of all of her acquired secrets. “Why would they be up at an abandoned hacienda?”

Vera laughed and slapped Tessa’s bare arm with her folded up fan. It stung a little, forcing Tessa to rub the spot as she cut a stern look at her now jubilant friend.

“Surely you have heard!”

“Heard what?”

“About the Delgado Hacienda,” Vera said. “About how it was bought. And what it has become.”

“Someone bought it?” Tessa said. She knew about the hacienda and the grant that went with it. Don Delgado was one of the first to settle the area, getting a land grant just at the edge of the pueblo. But when he sent for his young bride in Spain, she took sick and died on the long cruise to Alta California. Devastated, the don abandoned his grant and returned to Spain. Shortly thereafter, Colonel Montoya seized the property for owed taxes. So Tessa assumed Montoya owned the hacienda now. “I thought Montoya owned the Delgado Hacienda.”

“Oh, he did,” Vera said. “And he still owns all the lands, but he sold the hacienda to a man from Mexico named Armando del la Cruz.”

She gave Tessa a knowing look. A look full of meaning and mischief. Tessa was baffled. Was she missing something?

“What, Vera? Don’t keep me in suspense. Tell me,” Tessa begged.

“Señor Armando bought it from the Colonel,” Vera said in a hushed tone. Then she looked around to ensure they were safely out of hearing of everyone one else, and leaned in close. “Señor Armando is a pimp.”

Dios mío, the Delgado Hacienda is a bordello?”

“Has been for almost a month now,” she said, now acting all superior since she knew something Tessa didn’t.

“That’s terrible,” Tessa said, horrified. “I can’t believe Colonel Montoya would allow such a place to exist. I think I will speak to the good Colonel about this, and remind him of his duty to the people and God.”

“Save your breath, my friend,” Vera said. “I have heard from reliable sources that the Colonel gets a healthy cut of the profits for looking the other way. And it is a very popular place, too. Especially with the Colonel’s soldiers.”

Tessa was shocked and confused. This bordello thing was beyond comprehension. But how could Montoya allow his soldiers to patronize a bordello right after the Queen robbed him? He would usually have them out for days looking for her. Vera had an answer for that, too.

“I hear there is a special woman up there. The Queen of Hearts, they call her,” Vera said. Tessa’s blood suddenly ran cold. She knew where Vera was going, and it sickened her to contemplate it. “She dresses exactly like the Queen of Swords, and the soldiers all go visit her after they are defeated by the real Queen. Marcus says it make them feel better about themselves, and will help dispel some of the mystic about the Queen, so they aren’t as afraid of her afterwards. My Marcus says that soon they will be so contemptuous of the Queen, so unruffled by her past successes and legend, that they will stop making stupid mistakes and just do their job. When that happens, the Queen will be captured and hanged.”

“Who is this woman that pretends to be the Queen? What is her name? Have you seen her?” Tessa said.

“No one knows who she is. She is masked, too. Marcus says her identity is secret because it gives her the same mystic as the real Queen, so the soldiers spend all their money on her,” Vera said casually, starting to loose interest in the conversation. “And the more they spend, the more Montoya makes.”

“Oh, my. She could be any of these women shopping,” Tessa said, noticing several faces she hadn’t noticed before. Four of them were pretty, young women.

“I doubt it,” Vera said. “They say that she is available whenever the Queen strikes, for the soldiers. So I expect she is out at the Delgado Hacienda right now, answering the base needs of an off duty soldier.”

# # #

The Queen of Swords proved active over the next six weeks. Colonel Montoya was determined to get the taxes to Monterrey, and the Queen kept stopping him. He was getting quite ingenious in the ways he tried. Then finally, a supply ship arrived and he arranged for the taxes to be carried aboard it. The Queen of Swords couldn’t stop and rob a ship at sea.

The Queen of Swords eased through the night-shrouded streets of Santa Helena. The plaza was empty of all but a few townspeople enjoying the cool evening breeze. Soldiers guarded the jail and Colonel’s residence. The taxes Montoya just collected were locked in a cell within the small adobe jail. But he had a decoy tax chest under heavy guard in the basement of his residence. It was a trap for the Queen.

“Surprise,” the Queen said to the startled soldier, alone at the back door.

She kicked him in the chin, and he collapsed bonelessly at her booted feet.

The Queen of Swords was dressed for night time mischief. She wore tight black pants stuffed into tall boots, black silk shirt and a black corset over that. Her pants were belted with a wide silver sword belt, and over that a bright red sash. She was armed with a sword, pistol, and main gauche dagger in her boot. And, of course, the infamous black lace “mask” covered the upper part of her face, and hid her identity.

The Queen eased up to the back door of the jail. Now unguarded. With a little expert manipulation of the lock, she quickly found herself inside. Pausing a step inside, she listened intently. Montoya only posted the usual three guards at the jail, one outside the back door and two outside the front. She wasn’t fooled by his carefully orchestrated disguise. But she didn’t know of any guards he might’ve snuck inside.

“Empty,” she muttered, pleased with herself. The guard room was empty as she expected. “Montoya will be beside himself with anger tomorrow when he finds his precious tax money gone.”

A lantern burned low, giving her just enough light to pass through the main guard room without disturbing anything. Any noise and the guards out front would come charging in. Not that she feared them. The Queen was quite confident she could defeat any five guards at any time. More than that and it got tricky, especially in close quarters. The more soldiers to fight, the more room she needed to maneuver. Indeed, she had taken on the entire garrison in the plaza several times, and won every time.

Opening the door to the cells, she said, “Time to put another kink in the Colonel’s life.”

“Funny, I feel confident you will fail, my Queen,” Colonel Montoya said.

The Queen jumped back, pulling her sword. The Colonel, Captain Grisham and a dozen soldiers were waiting behind the door. There was no tax money in the jail, just a trap for her.

“Well, Colonel, I’m impressed. It’s been a while since you fooled me like this,” she said, a roguish smile spreading across her masked face.

“It was not hard, my Queen,” he said. “You are more arrogant than normal lately.”

“I suggest you surrender, Queen,” Grisham said from over the Colonel’s shoulder. “I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to you, and spoil the dramatic hanging ceremony the Colonel has planned for you.”

“Ah, Captain, always the gentleman,” the Queen said. “And so attentive to a lady’s needs. I’m moved.”

In answer, Grisham smiled and then shouted, “Guards!”

Instantly, the two guards out front charged in to block the front door, rifles aimed at her. At that time the guards behind Montoya and Grisham moved forward and pointed their pistols at her.

“Drop your weapons, Queen,” Grisham commanded. “Or I will give the order to fire.”

“But Captain, I am standing between your soldiers. If they fire, some of your soldiers will die. Most likely, both soldiers at the door,” she said smugly. “I might be caught in the crossfire, but I won’t go alone. You or the Colonel might even be killed.”

Consternation crossed the faces of all the men at that instant. Realization dawned and they all hesitated. But not the Queen.

The Queen of Swords lunged forward, impaling the middle soldier on her long sword. He grunted and doubled over, even as the others cried out in rage and raised their weapons to fire. She hesitated, to ensure they got a bead on her, then dropped to the floor.

“Fire!” Grisham cried.

BOOM!

The blast reverberated through the small room, now filled with gun smoke. Her ears were ringing from the loud report of a dozen firearms in close quarters. Then the room was filled with the agonized cries of wounded and dying soldiers. The Queen didn’t hesitate, but leapt to her feet and raced out the front door. Colonel Montoya’s commands to pursue and kill her followed the Queen out the door.

First thing, she saw half-dressed soldiers filing out of the barracks. She raced straight into their midst, slashing left and right, causing havoc and panic among the still groggy soldiers.

Then she was past them and racing towards the Colonel’s residence.

“She’s going after the taxes!” Grisham shouted. “Get her!”

The Colonel wasn’t the only one who knew how to employ deception. She couldn’t get this tax shipment now. But they didn’t know it. So she got all the soldiers charging Montoya’s residence, while she doubled back behind the adjacent buildings and headed for her horse, Chico.

To her surprise, the Queen of Swords found Montoya had a mounted contingent ready and waiting. Within seconds they picked her up and the chase began. So she circled around the pueblo and then struck out southwest. Once she hit the beach, she would try to make it to an unknown trail she’d discovered and leave them combing the beach for her until daybreak. It had worked before.

But Montoya had another surprise for her. Apparently he had four groups of soldiers waiting, north, south, east and west. She soon picked up the second group. Indeed, she rode right through them in the darkness, causing no little chaos in her passing, and three of the five horsemen discharged their pistols fruitlessly.

The Queen laughed mockingly as she vanished into the darkness, now pursued by two groups of five soldiers. The second group slowed her down, allowing the first group to gain far too much ground on her. But she was starting to spread the inept soldiers out, and soon they would be down to a manageable number.

“Over there!” someone shouted in front of her. “It’s the Queen!”

“Damn!” she said, reining up and looking around. She was trapped between two groups of angry soldiers. It had been a while since she was in such a tricky situation. “Nothing to do but attack, Chico!”

The Queen of Swords spurred her powerful steed forward, straight at the third group of soldiers. In turn, they lowered their pistols and fired at her. In the dark, riding horses, every one of them missed her, though she heard a soldier behind her howl in pain.

“Ha-ha! They are killing each other,” she cried as she pulled her pistol and charged. She fired her pistol at the leader of the third group. It was too dark to make out faces, but she recognized Corporal Sánchez’s gruff voice. “Die, pigs!”

The soldiers all ducked when she fired, and half of their horses turned aside and started bucking in terror. Laughing, the Queen raced between them and vanished into the darkness again. But they quickly recovered and joined the pursuit, which had once again gained some on her.

“I’m lost,” the Queen admitted to herself after another fifteen minutes. Chico was beginning to tire, as well. It was rough country, made tougher by the darkness. And it was clear the soldiers were slowly gaining on her with their fresher mounts. There was only one thing to do, as much as he hated the thought. “Chico, head for the cave.”

With that last command, the Queen of Swords rolled out of the saddle and hit the hard ground. She paused only long enough to ensure Chico didn’t stop and come back for her. But he took her last command and headed due south, for an old cave she used when she first started. And without her to burden him, Chico would lead them on a merry chase indeed.

Scrambling into the cover of night-shrouded rocks, the Queen’s black garments blended in perfectly as the pursuing soldiers raced past seconds later. She could hear the eagerness, the joy, in their voices. They knew they were gaining on their slippery opponent for once. She smiled with wicked glee to think how disappointed they would be when they finally caught Chico, without his infamous rider.

“Montoya will be furious,” she mused, grinning.

It was still early evening, and the moon wouldn’t rise until after midnight. It was slow going striking out cross-country. The pampered Spaniard wasn’t used to long treks afoot. She either rode a horse, or in a carriage or wagon. She rarely walked more than a few hundred feet in any direction, and it was a leisurely pace at that.

The moon was just beginning to rise when she finally, thankfully, spotted lights in the near distance. It was a hacienda, and brightly lit for so late in the evening. As she grew nearer, she spotted coaches and wagons, and – HORSES. With one of those horses, she could be home in time to catch a few hours sleep.

Within fifteen minutes she reached the hacienda. There were more horses, saddled and ready, than she anticipated. Many were fine beasts, clearly owned by wealthy landowners. She looked around a long moment, but saw no one guarding the horses, though there were several grooms and carriage drivers huddled at the barn. She suspected they were playing some game of chance, most likely dice.

A peal of feminine laughter pierced the cool night air. The Queen stopped and stared at the hacienda. It didn’t take long for her to realize she was at the Delgado Hacienda. The bordello. The bordello containing a whore with the gall to call herself the Queen of Hearts.

“I think the Queen of Swords needs to have a heart to heart with the Queen of Hearts,” the Queen muttered darkly.

Slipping around back, she snuck inside and headed up the back stairs. The upper floor was gaudily decorated, mostly in red and gold. The Queen began checking rooms, quietly, and looking for her quarry. Halfway down the hallway, she heard footsteps on the stairs. A man and woman’s voice reached her. Slipping back into a dark corner, the Queen was astonished when a dark-haired woman stepped into view with a middle-aged peon from the Hidalgo hacienda. She wore an exact copy of the Queen’s black clothes, with a few minor exceptions. The Queen doubted any man would’ve noted the differences in corset or boots, and the more subtle difference in the lace mask.

“Come. Don’t be shy. The Queen LOVES peons even more than soldiers,” the whore Queen purred in a rich voice similar to Tessa’s. “Let me show how much the Queen loves you.”

The Queen of Hearts led him to a room at the opposite end of the hall. The Queen of Swords eased down and waited well hidden. In less than ten minutes the peon left with a big grin. The real Queen scowled at him, then entered the whore’s chamber.

“I’ll will be right there, Armando!” the Queen of Hearts said irritably. She was riffing through a large, iron-bound chest next to the plain wardrobe. She didn’t bother to look back to ensure the person that entered was her pimp Armando or not. “That goat-stinking peon tore my shirt.”

The real Queen eased the door closed and locked it. The fake Queen tensed at the sound of the lock being thrown. Then she glanced back and gasped.

Madre de Dios! The Queen!” she cried.

“Not a good idea, my Queen,” the Queen of Swords mocked, gasping the hilt of her sword threateningly. “I suggest you be very quiet.”

The Queen of Hearts still wore her lace mask, but nothing else. A sheen of sweat covered her shapely body, showing exceptional dampness on her brow, belly and cleavage. She was fair complexioned, and clearly a Spaniard. Her hair was a bit darker than Tessa’s, and slightly longer. Her breasts were larger, with large pink nipples.

“I have many friends among the soldiers,” the Queen of Hearts threatened, her dark eyes flashing. “Leave now, or I will watch you dancing at the end of a rope before this time tomorrow.” She glanced out the window, and smiled broadly. “Indeed, here are some of my friends now. Surely here to arrest you.”

The Queen of Swords realized almost too late that her bordello incarnation was about to sound the warning and betray her presence. The Queen lunged at her. The whore yelped and fell back from her attack, tripping over her Queen of Hearts costume and hitting her head on the open chest. For a second, the Queen feared the whore was dead. But a quick examination determined the woman was unconscious with a large knot on her head.

“Ooo, bet that’ll hurt tomorrow!”

In the next instant, the Queen’s eyes were drawn toward the open chest. The contents shocked her. She saw gags and whips, chains and shackles, and other erotic apparel. Apparently pretending to be the Queen for horny soldiers and peons wasn’t her only talent. But it solved a problem for the Queen.

“I can’t have you waking up and alerting the soldiers of my presence until I’m ready to leave,” the Queen told the unconscious woman. “Therefore, I hope you really enjoy using these kinky sex toys.”

With that, the Queen found a strange looking gag, made of a ball of rubber and a leather strap to keep it in place. She had several, and was soon wearing one. Then the impostor Queen’s wrists were bound behind her back, and a rope wrapped around her upper body to keep her arms from moving. Then the Queen of Swords dragged her to the wardrobe, heaved her inside, and began binding her legs tightly. Soon, the Queen of Hearts was bound up in a ball, so wrapped up in rope that she couldn’t move a muscle.

“It’ll probably take an hour to untie you,” the Queen said with a smirk. She dumped the Queen of Hearts costume on top of the unconscious woman. “You’re welcome.”

With that, the Queen closed the wardrobe and went to the window. The soldiers were still out there, laughing and joking among themselves. She counted five, led by Corporal Sánchez. She was surprised to see them shedding their blue coats and rifles, leaving them with their horses.

Dios mío, they’re off duty already?” she said. Glancing at the wardrobe, and recalling how Vera said they liked to visit the Queen of Hearts after an encounter with the Queen of Swords, she decided it was time to depart that room in particular, and the bordello in general. The thought of riding off on one of the soldier’s horses amused her as they made their way inside the bordello. She decided to take Corporal Sánchez’s bay gelding, for he was an arrogant bastard that needed to be taken down a notch. “This has been exciting enough for one night.”

Exciting or not, she was still miffed that Montoya had fooled her. She was unlikely to stop that tax payment to Monterrey. But there was always next time.

She started to open the door, but heard a man’s voice and the sound of footsteps. She opened the door a crack and peeked out. A woman’s laughter filled the air as they reached the top of the stairs. She playfully scolded a man for touching her inappropriately. He thought that was funny, and pulled her top down to expose her breasts. She didn’t scream or run, but instead laughed and grabbed his head to pull in for a fierce kiss. After a moment of passionate kissing, they headed toward the Queen’s room.

Her heart raced. She couldn’t believe how that woman — that whore — allowed the man to treat her. It was disgraceful behavior, even for a peon and a whore. She so wanted to go out and trounce the man, and scare the whore so badly she returned to Jesus and Mother Church. The couple entered the room across the hallway from her.

I really shouldn’t, she thought, a little war of conscience sparking within her. Reluctantly, she decided it would cause a major amount of noise and alert the soldiers to her presence if she confronted the adulterous couple. It was best to just slip out the back and steal Corporal Sánchez’s horse. “Another day.”

A knock at the door startled her. Jumping back, she gawked at the door. Who could it be? She’d been so caught up in her dark thoughts she wasn’t paying attention.

“My Queen! An admirer here to see you,” a man’s voice called with a hint of laughter.

“That’s a good one, Armando,” Corporal Sánchez’s voice said.

The Queen of Swords realized that the door was unlocked and still slightly ajar. She stepped forward to push is closed and lock it, but was too late. Armando pushed it open and stepped through.

The bordello owner was a short, burly man of about forty, with graying temples and a thick mustache. He had a lot of Indian in him, and spoke Spanish with a Mexican dialect. And Corporal Sánchez behind him could’ve been his cousin, though lighter complexioned and taller, he was just as burly and even more dangerous looking.

“Ah, the beautiful Queen of Hearts,” Armando called happily. “As you can see, Corporal, she is eagerly awaiting your arrival.”

At a loss, and staring at Corporal Sánchez, the Queen just smiled. He smiled back. He didn’t seem to notice it wasn’t his usual Queen. Neither did Armando.

“The sword is a nice touch, my Queen,” Corporal Sánchez said. “But I wouldn’t wear it if I were you. Colonel Montoya doesn’t like anyone wearing a sword who isn’t legally permitted to. You wouldn’t want him to think you are the REAL Queen of Swords, now would you?”

“Oh, of course not,” she said hastily. She noticed Armando scowl at her, his eyes dropping to the sword. She started to remove the sword, when the pimp stepped up and removed it for her. He took her gauche dagger from her boot as well. “Oh, can I have those back?”

She tried to act as helpless and as far from dangerous as possible, but Armando snarled a “No” and departed, closing the door behind him. The Queen found herself alone with Corporal Sánchez, who was suddenly all hands.

“I love these games we play, my Queen,” Sánchez said in a husky voice. “Put up a little more fight this time.”

“You can count on it,” the Queen said.

“Got you, Queen of Swords,” Sánchez said more elaborately than would be normal, but he was playing a game. The Queen wasn’t sure how the game played, but didn’t intend to carry through. But she knew the first thing she needed to do was get the Corporal’s sword or pistol. “You led me a merry chase earlier, but won’t escape me this time.”

“How did you find me, Corporal?” she said, going along as she maneuvered to get his sword.

“Your trail was easy to follow, my Queen. You are arrogant and sloppy,” he said, and reached for her wrist. She pulled her hand back just in time, then lunged for his hilt. Unfortunately, he moved just as quickly and seized her wrist. “Not this time, Queen of Deception.”

To her shock, the Corporal twisted her arm behind her back and pushed her up against the wall. Her head bounced off the wall and he snickered. The pain lancing through her head was quite striking.

“It’s not easy being a masked vigilante, is it, my lovely Queen?”

“I’ve had better days,” she groaned.

He laughed and seized her other wrist. To her horror, he quickly had her wrists bound together. Then he started unlacing her corset. He struggled with it a moment, then growled angrily and pulled his belt knife. The lacings parted easily before the knife’s keen edge. Before she knew it, the corset was tossed in the corner and her shirt was ripped open and pulled down to her tiny waist. He easily cut that off as well.

“I’m not paying for that, Señorita,” he growled low. “You shouldn’t have changed corsets after I got used to the other one.”

The Queen fought inner turmoil to remain calm. She prayed her face wasn’t as red as it felt. A whore would not be embarrassed by being manhandled and stripped so ruthlessly. If he even had a hint of suspicion she was the real Queen it would be the end of her.

“Oh, you fiend,” she said with more heat than she intended, but far less than she felt. Never had she been so mistreated, so disrespected. So humiliated. “You will pay for this outrage. Mark my words.”

“Of course I will,” he said and laughed. “You’re good.”

He admired her face a long moment. She feared he actually recognized her as the true Queen, or worse, realized she was Maria Teresa Alvarado. Then he smiled almost warmly.

“What have you done? Your lips look fuller, more inviting, tonight,” he whispered.

Then he seized her hair at the back of her head, bent her head painfully back and kissed her full lips with relish. His tongue pushed past her lips, and explored her mouth for long moments. And to her astonishment, she felt the first twinges of sexual excitement tingle throughout her body, as her heart raced and her breathing became harsh through her nose. The Queen was utterly helpless for the two to three minutes he ravaged her warm, full lips, then he slammed her forehead into the wall again.

The Queen’s knees buckled. Sánchez let her go and she was left sprawled at his booted feet. Laughing and taunting her, Sánchez quickly removed her boots and pants. In no time the Queen found herself lying before her enemy wearing nothing but her red sash and gloves.

“You’ve never looked lovelier, my Queen,” he said.

Seizing her by the hair, Sánchez forced her to kneel before him. Then he unfastened his trousers and let them drop around his ankles. The Queen gasped in spite of herself, which made him pause and look at her strangely. But she couldn’t help herself. He was huge. The expression hung like a horse came immediately to mind. The Queen had never been with a man, either as the Queen or as her True Identity of Doña Maria Teresa. Indeed, Corporal Sánchez’s penis was the very first she’d ever seen, but she’d thought they were much smaller than that.

Madre de Dios! she thought, terrified. I’ll never be able to handle that!

With his hands still in her hair, he pulled the stunned Queen’s lips into his groin and semi-erect penis. She felt the dick pressed against her face. The skin was hot and soft, and the head of the dick was rubbery and oozing a sticky substance. But the stink of it overwhelmed her senses!

Madre de Dios! Does the man never bathe? she thought, disgusted and sickened.

“You know what to do, my Queen. And make me believe you mean it this time, or else,” he said. Then more menacingly. “No half ass job like last time, Queen, or I will kick your ass twice as bad as usual. I’ve already made arrangement with Armando if it is necessary.”

What kind of monster is Sánchez? she thought. For the first time she felt sorrow and pity for the whore she stuffed into the wardrobe. Was this her life? Beaten and abused, and forced to perform perverse acts on men? How did she endure it? The Queen decided right then and there the whore called the Queen of Hearts had to be far tougher than her.

“I’m waiting,” Corporal Sánchez growled, eyes mere slits of barely controlled rage and violence.

Bound and naked, the Queen was in no position to fight Sánchez. Indeed, it suddenly occurred to her that the real Queen of Hearts could regain consciousness at any time and start to struggle. Her moaning and groaning would clearly be heard, of that the Queen was sure. If the Queen of Hearts woke before Sánchez departed, then the Queen of Swords was lost for certain.

Bile rose in her throat as the Queen opened her mouth and sucked Corporal Sánchez’s monster cock into her mouth. She closed her eyes and tried to ignore the overwhelming stench of his unwashed nether regions, or of the salty, urine taste of his prick. She had to swallow several times to keep the bile at bay and down.

“You call that sucking?”

The Corporal rapped her painfully on top of the head. The Queen winched and tried harder. She had to get him out fast. But it was so hard, so terribly hard. Stench and taste aside, her mouth had a difficult time stretching around that huge cock. Getting his cock head into her mouth was hard, but sucking any more of him proved all but impossible. But struggle she did, until she had half his cock inside her overtaxed mouth.

“Good girl,” he said, grinning. “That’s the most cock you’ve gotten in so far. You get better every time.”

That was no consolation for the Queen. She began bobbing her head, his cock going in and out of her overstretched mouth. Her full lips were stretched thin, but take him in she did. The Queen sucked hard, doing everything he asked. And he asked a lot.

He had demands and suggestions about everything, from teeth to lips to tongue activity. She did them all to the best of her ability. The worse, she felt, was sucking on his sweaty balls. His stiff dick bounced off her face the whole time, all the time oozing that clear sticky substance and pubic hairs came loose in her mouth. And with her hands bound behind her back she couldn’t remove the hairs and was forced to swallow them.

It was utterly disgusting. But strangely, the tingle of excitement deepened within her belly. She felt her breasts swelling, the skin becoming tighter, and the nipples more sensitive to the cool night air.

“Good girl, my Queen,” Sánchez said, clearly pleased with her performance. He reached down and pinched one of her exposed nipples. The pain was intense, but she was even more surprised to realize how hard and erect it was. Then in a quieter, more contemplative voice, “I’ve never seen you become aroused before.”

He pulled his cock out of her mouth and released his painful grip in her hair. She fell back to her firm, round buttocks before him. He regarded her with interest and no little pleasure as she sat there, looking up into his eyes with a look of shock and wonder, while panting and trying not to squirm from sexual frustration and excitement. She prayed he was through with her and would leave. The real Queen of Hearts would wake at any time. He had to leave.

“You are full of surprises, my Queen,” Sánchez muttered, a glint in his dark eyes. “So full of surprises. But sometimes …”

She waited, wondering what he was babbling about. Why wasn’t he leaving? Surely he had used up whatever time he paid for. Surely God wouldn’t allow him to continue to torment her so shamefully.

“Now I’m ready,” he said.

Ready? Ready for what? she thought. Then it occurred to her. Sex. Oh, God, no! I’m a virgin!

Too stunned to think, she was like clay in his firm hands as he turned her around and forced her to bend over. Within seconds she found herself in the most compromising position of her twenty year old life — ass in the air, face pressed to the floor. Sánchez moved up behind her.

Dios mío, I’m really going to enjoy this,” he said hoarsely.

“Oooo,” she gasped as he stroked her now throbbing twat with his monster cock.

“You’re wet,” he said, amazed. “This is a first. I guess you’re enjoying this, my Queen. I knew you were a shameless slut, and this just proves it.”

The Corporal was clearly excited now. He mounted her swiftly, pushing a good quarter of his dick into her pussy before she tightened up and stopped him. She silently thanked God her maidenhead was burst years ago due to a riding accident, otherwise she have some explaining to do.

Madre de Dios,” he breathed. He stiffened, then pulled back almost all the way out, then pushed again. The Queen cried out as he pushed another inch deeper with that thrust. And another inch with the next, and the next. “I don’t….you’ve never been so tight, my Queen.”

He clutched her flaring hips and thrust hard, pushing half his cock into her tight pussy. The Queen gasped and cried. She kicked her feet and arched her back to instinctively give him a better angle so he could push even deeper. And deeper he went, too. With great enthusiasm, at that.

“Ooooo, Dios mío, mercy! Mercy!” she cried. He pulled almost all the way out again, and slammed it in hard and deep. She felt that cock stroke to her bones and beyond. “Aaaiiiieeee!”

“Yes!” Sánchez said, very enthusiastic now. “The Queen of Swords likes it! I knew you would, my Queen of Sluts. Queen of Harlots! Dios mío, I’m fucking the Queen of Swords!”

“Ahhhhh,” the Queen groaned low. “Oooooooooooooo.”

What’s happening? she thought, confused and scared. Where were these urges coming from? She felt hot and vulnerable, and happy and horny all at the same time. And the physical sensations she was experiencing! Madre de Dios, where did they come from? No one — neither Marta nor her friends — ever told her about such feelings. Such consuming feelings and urges.

The Queen’s whole body was a-tingle and flushed with heat. Corporal Sánchez’s strong, rough hands on her warm, silken skin was exhilarating, but not so much as the feel of his manhood deep within her body. She felt every stroke of his monster cock to her very bones, her very soul. Even then, she knew neither the Queen nor Tessa Alvarado would ever be the same after that night.

“Ooooo, Corporal,” she breathed. “Be gentle. Please, you are hurting me so. Mercy please… Ooooooo, Dios mío.”

Corporal Sánchez grinned fiercely. He knew what he had now. The whore was never that tight. The Queen he was fucking was the true Queen of Swords, pretending to be the whore Queen of Hearts. He was sure she never intended to go through with the sex act, but he was too fast for her, too demanding, too strong! In the beginning, he thought they were just playing the usual game, and she was better than usual at it, too. But now he knew the truth.

I just deflowered the Queen of Swords, he thought with fierce pride and joy.

And supreme satisfaction.

Now all he had to do was keep her occupied until he could get the Captain and Colonel up there to witness her fall. Montoya would surely promote him to Lieutenant for capturing the Queen of Swords, and probably throw in a hefty reward for doing it so wickedly.

Combined with his excitement about capturing the Queen of Swords, his thoughts of personal rewards was too much for Corporal Sánchez. He felt that exhilarating rush to orgasm begin. He began pumping in and out of the Queen’s super tight pussy with wild abandon.

“Aaaiiiiiieeeee,” the Queen cried as Sánchez began fucking the shit out of her. It was too much. That wonderful tingling sensation turned into something she’d ever experienced before. Within seconds she understood, she was building quickly to a powerful climax. “Madre de Dios, save me! Oh…. please…. oh, my….. I can’t…. I….. Aaaiiiieeeee!”

Corporal Sánchez climax at the same time as the Queen, filling her up with his seed. The Queen cried out again at feeling his release deep within her body. It was the most wonderful feeling. She climaxed again.

Sánchez continued to pump in and out of her pussy until he went limp, but not before he got a total of five orgasms out of her sweating, exhausted body. He truly enjoyed watching her writhing and panting, gasping and crying out beneath him. He never seen, or heard of, a woman so consumed with pleasure and awe. Each orgasm exploded through her shapely body, wracking her with tremendous waves of pleasure that made her belly quake and quiver. After the second climax the Queen even gnawed at the rug for a short time in her sexual delirium. When he finally pulled out, the Queen fell over and sprawled out before him. He could see her firm belly still quivering with the aftershocks of her last climax. She had a beatific look on her masked face as she lay before him.

“My Queen,” he said, eager for some gloating. But she didn’t respond. “My Queen, are you awake?”

No response.

Dios mío, I fucked her into oblivion,” he said, his barrel chest puffing up even more. Then he looked down again, enjoying the view of her gorgeous body, so young and shapely and firm. Her dark hair was long and silky soft, and plastered to her sweat soaked face and neck. And her face – was still masked, though only above the nose. Her lips were firm and full, and highly talented. But who was behind the mask? “Hmmm, I’m sure Montoya wants to be first, but…”

Quickly, Sánchez pushed the Queen’s lace mask up to her hair line. It didn’t take a second before her recognized the beautiful Maria Teresa Alvarado, a woman he’d had many sexual fantasies about. And in the end, she proved better than he ever dreamed.

Quickly pulling the mask back into place, he stood and looked down upon his greatest victory. It felt great. He couldn’t wait to reap the rest of the rewards he so richly deserved. Then while she was still asleep, he checked around the room until he found the real Queen of Hearts, still out cold. He quickly removed her from the room and fetched his four men.

“I’ll be right back,” he told them outside the room. “I have an errand to do, then I’ll be back. Your orders are to stay with the Queen of Hearts until I get back. I already paid Armando for all night, so you boys be sure to keep her occupied the whole time I’m gone. Remember, fuck her all you can, for I get her when I return. I want her nice and pliable.”

The four soldiers agreed it was the best orders they’d ever received since joining the army. The Corporal stayed long enough to see the first soldier well mounted on the Queen of Swords before he departed.

The Queen of Swords was all but mindless. The bastard Corporal Sánchez paid for an all-nighter. Then he left four of his men there to bedevil her. And they were voracious, too. First, they took turns fucking her normal, missionary style, they called it. After all four had sated his lusts on her now very sore pussy, she was forced to lick each one clean. After that, they passed her around for another two hours. The Queen, to her disgust, learned new sex acts that never occurred to her before, like two-at-a-time, anal and what the soldiers called, “titty-fucking.” She was beginning to think it was her fate to die that night with a soldier between her legs and another down her throat.

The Queen was building toward her second climax since mounting the soldier, wondering if the bastard would ever cum and give her a rest. At the moment, she was straddling Private Pedro Alcala, his cock well ensconced in her aching pussy. He was a tall, lanky peon turned soldier, with more Indian blood than Spanish. He seemed especially excited about screwing a full-blooded Spaniard. She was bouncing on his lap, sliding up and down his long, thin cock. He enjoyed watching her bouncing tits almost as much as fucking her.

“Oh, my Queen, you are so beautiful,” he teased. “One day, maybe, I’ll risk the Colonel and Armando’s wrath and pull that mask off. You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Queen Puta?

“Ooooo,” she groaned, unable to speak clearly. They liked it when she moaned and groaned. It made them feel mucho macho. “Oh, please. Mercy, my lord.”

That did it. Calling him “lord” excited him enough for her to feel the change in his cock. It hardened, and his efforts became more strained, more desperate. He was about to cum inside her. Finally. She thought the other three still too spent to start abusing her immediately.

And how she longed for just five minutes to rest and recuperate!

“On your feet!” Corporal Sánchez shouted upon entering.

“Oh!” the Queen cried as the man she was straddling and fucking suddenly stood up and dumped her on the floor. An instant later, Alcala released his load and spewed hot, sticky jizm into her face. Turning angry eyes first up at him, then at the door, she saw something to turn her blood to ice. “Oh!”

Buenas noches, my Queen,” Colonel Montoya said smoothly, a look of utter victory upon his arrogant face. Captain Grisham stood behind him, grinning from ear to ear. “I’ve never been so pleased to see you.”

Buenas noches, Colonel,” the Queen of Swords said, desperately wanting to cover her nakedness with her hands, but too proud to let him see her look so pathetic. Besides, her hands were still tightly bound behind her back. “You have me at a disadvantage.”

“Yes, I see, and quiet a reversal of fortunes, it is, my Queen,” Montoya said. “I’m pleased to see you aren’t even going to try and deny being the Queen of Swords.”

The four soldiers that had been banging her for the last few hours gasped and started muttered frantically amongst themselves, totally forgetting their commanding officer and dignity in their excitement.

“Would it have worked?”

“No,” Captain Grisham said, leering down at her. “The real Queen of Hearts is downstairs, and really wants a piece of your hide, too.”

The Queen glanced at the wardrobe. Sánchez chuckled and told her that after he fucked her into unconsciousness, he searched the room and found her. That was the first time the Queen realized that Sánchez wasn’t fooled by her, and new all along who and what she was. She felt even more humiliated by that fact.

“You got me, Colonel,” she said. “Now what?”

“Now I discover the truth,” he said as he stepped closer. “I finally learn who is behind the mask.”

“But that would spoil the fun, the mystery, Colonel.”

“Ah, you are wrong again, my captured Queen,” Montoya said. He signaled to Grisham, who strode forward and pulled the Queen to her wobbly feet. “I find the true joy, the fun, if you will, is in solving the mystery.”

The Queen of Swords struggled briefly, but Grisham was too strong, and she was too exhausted from over four hours of non-stop sexual use and abuse. Montoya pulled a knife and laid it against her overheated left cheek. The Queen gasped from the coldness of the blade and froze in place, too afraid to move.

This is not how I wanted it to end, she thought dismally.

She felt the cold blade slide up and beneath the lace mask just in front of the ear. A simple flick of the wrist and she would be unmasked. Exposed. Ruined, and utterly lost.

“A bargain!” she said. “We can strike a deal. I have gold, lots of gold! In fact, I have all the tax money I captured over the past nine weeks stashed away, and then some.”

Montoya turned the knife edge out and pulled it down. It easily sliced through the delicate lace, and the infamous mask slipped away from the Queen of Sword’s face. The Queen froze with a gasp, eyes wide in shock. Montoya’s eyes grew wide, then filled with satisfaction.

“I should’ve known, Señorita Alvarado,” he said. “Like the Queen, you were always found around that damn doctor. Indeed, now that I know, I don’t see how the mask ever fooled me.”

“It must’ve been her clever act as an air headed noblewoman,” Grisham said, leering over her shoulder at her naked tits. He reached around and seized one of her nipples, and pinched it hard. She flinched, but refused to give him the satisfaction of crying out. “Ah, Colonel, before you hang her, do you mind if I…?”

“Hmm? Oh, yes. But of course, Grisham,” Montoya said magnanimously. “After all, we know her true identity. She can’t very were escape us now.” He regarded her a long moment. Long enough she feared he would decide he wanted her once himself. “In fact, I think all the presidio’s soldiers deserve a little time with the woman that caused them so much pain and grief.”

“No! That’s monstrous! It’ll kill me for sure,” Tessa said.

Montoya shrugged. “Corporal… I mean Lieutenant Sánchez, you are in charge of scheduling the men for their allotted time with the Queen. Give each soldier plenty of time to sate his lusts.”

“Yes Sir!”

The Queen gawked at Sánchez in disgust. The perverted bastard received a major promotion! And he was sooo proud of the fact, too. Considering what he did to her, he should’ve been flogged.

“Captain Grisham, and these other fine soldiers will keep her busy until then,” Montoya said. “I want the rotation to begin at eight tomorrow morning, Lieutenant.”

# # #

Two weeks later, Colonel Montoya returned to the Delgado Hacienda. Maria Teresa knelt on the floor before him. At the moment she looked stunning, dressed and made up like the Doña of a great hacienda. So beautiful in expensive crimson silk and black lace, but with such sad brown eyes.

“Buenos Dias, Señorita Alvarado,” Colonel Montoya said, bowing slightly.

“Buenos Dias, Colonel,” she said, suspicion in her beautiful dark eyes.

He laid out some papers on the desk. Kneeling, she couldn’t see what was written on them. But from his arrogant, victorious demeanor, she knew what they were.

“I need you to sign this paperwork, Señorita, transferring title of your estate to me,” he said.

“And if I refuse, Colonel?”

“Then you will be hanged this morning, and I will purchase the estate for taxes owed, Señorita.”

“Good, it’ll cost you more and be more obvious to one and all why I was really hanged.”

“But, of course, you won’t be hanged until after you witness the hanging of your accomplices,” Montoya continued.

Her blood froze. Accomplices?

“Dear me, Señorita, I seem to have rendered the usually exuberate Queen of Swords speechless.”

“I have no accomplices, Colonel. I work alone.”

“Not true. Your faithful gypsy servant, Marta, for one. She has been arrested, along with Doctor Helms,” Montoya said. “Both will be hanged first, then you.”

Tessa seemed to collapse within herself. She had clung to the hope Montoya would spare her loved ones. But she should’ve known better. He was a vengeful, hateful man.

“You will hang them anyway,” she said dismally.

“Not true. In fact, if you sign over you hacienda to me, right here and now, then I will let your friends go free,” he said. “And you won’t be executed, either.”

Her head came up. It was a trick. It sounded too good to be true.

“Of course, you will remain the Queen of Hearts here in the bordello,” Grisham said. “So my men and I can enjoy your company for a long time to come.”

Tessa’s heart sank at Grisham’s frightening words. Her only hope, the dream she clung to, was the knowledge all the abuse would soon end, when Montoya finally executed her. How could she live like that for the rest of her life? It was too terrible to contemplate.

“The dons will not stand for it,” she said, now angry. “Once they learn what you’ve done to one of their own, they will rise up against you, Montoya.”

“On the contrary, they have heard all about you,” he said, well pleased with himself. “They were shocked to learn you were the Queen of Swords, and flabbergasted to discover you were also the Queen of Hearts.”

“No!”

“Yes, imagine the peoples’ shock and disillusionment when they learned that not only was the beautiful Señorita Maria Teresa a common whore on the sly, but so was their beloved Queen of Swords,” Montoya said with pleasure.

“Strangely enough,” Grisham said. “The people aren’t interested in being saved by a nasty whore.”

“You’ve destroyed everything I cherished,” she muttered, eyes downcast.

“So, Señorita, will we have a triple hanging today? Or will you save yourself and your friends?” Montoya said.

There was no choice. He might betray her trust and still execute her friends, but it was their only hope. Tessa stood up on wobbly legs and stepped to the desk. She signed the papers everywhere Montoya indicated.

“Good decision, my Queen,” Montoya said. Then to Lieutenant Sánchez, “Take Maria Teresa to her room. I will be up shortly to consummate our new working arrangement.”

Once she was gone, Grisham turned to Montoya. “Are you really going to set the Doctor and Marta free?”

“Not exactly,” Montoya said. “I sold Marta to a bordello in Mexico. Helms will be returned to his duties as the pueblo’s doctor until I can find another doctor to replace him.”

“Excellent,” Grisham said. “Then you’ll turn the doctor over to me?”

“Of course, Grisham. Of course, I expect you to take your time killing him,” Montoya said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a beautiful Señorita awaiting my attention. Thankfully, you and the men have trained her well. I’ve never lain with a woman more skilled in the arts of love than Maria Teresa, which is the main reason I decided to let her live out her days in this bordello.”

“I must agree, it was one of your better decisions,” Grisham said. He winked. “I’ve already reserved her services for tomorrow night.”

And in the meantime, he would go back to the jail and enjoy Marta’s gypsy charms while Montoya banged the ousted Queen and deflowered Doña, Maria Teresa.

“I know,” he said. Handing the Captain a glass of wine. “To victory, Grisham, and the fruits of victory.”

THE END

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