Elena rose before dawn.

After two interminable hours of incessantly squirming in her chains she had given up hope of getting back to sleep again. With practised ease she used her closely held feet to pick up the keys for her shackles from the floor and opened first the handcuffs that held her arms behind her back, then unlocked the second pair clasped around her ankles. She'd learned to sleep in restraints during her tempestuous relationship with Victor; and though it had been awkward at first, she had kept the habit even after their break-up. Tonight, however, not even the comforting embrace of the familiar steel had been able to quell her anxiety.

In the brightly lit bathroom's large mirror she critically appraised her reflection, knowing this to be the last time she would ever see herself not wearing the permanent shackles and other, more intimate accoutrements. Looking back at her from the mirror was a tall and slender, almost delicate young woman with large, somewhat frightened hazel eyes. Her face was beautiful, even despite the peculiar set of piercings that now adorned it. Elena was heartily glad they had healed so well; remembering vividly how the initial bruising and swelling had made her fear she was permanently disfigured.

Immediately after the surgery, she had looked (and felt!) like someone who had been run over by a truck. After a week or so, however, the worst had been over and the bruises had gradually started to fade, until at long last her mirror image became familiar again, although strangely transformed by her barbaric perforations and the hardware they hosted. She had spent the first few days of her recovery in Dr Lowry's clinic, diligently looked after by Lisa who tended to her wounds and taught her how to take care of the new piercings herself. Dr Lowry (or rather Greg, as Elena had come to call him) came by twice a day as well to take note of her convalescent progress and occasionally to replace the dilating pins with fresh ones. His initially cool demeanour towards her had noticeably warmed after he recognized the depth of devotion that was behind her ostensibly frivolous acceptance of Victor's conditions, just as Elena had taken a liking to the conscientious and witty personality hiding behind his abrasive exterior.

On his seventh visit Greg pronounced her sufficiently recovered to leave and had Lisa drive her home, albeit not without personally reviewing the aftercare procedures for her piercings with Elena first. She left with a sack full of medical supplies and detailed instructions of when to swab which potion onto what wound. Elena had followed the advice religiously and now her new perforations looked like they had been precision cut by a laser drill. When at last the unsightly sleeves of extraneous sheathing not fused with her skin had frayed away (helped along by generous applications of some dissolving agent), they left behind slightly silvery rims that gave the cleanly defined holes an almost otherworldly appearance.

A fortnight ago she had discarded the last remaining dilating pins. By then the healing process had long passed the stage where they were still necessary to keep the punctures open and as a matter of fact, according to Greg, even if they were left permanently voided, those punctures would never close again. Without the pins, her piercings were much less conspicuous however, a boon that Elena was most grateful for on the occasion of her rare sorties from the protective walls of her apartment. Even more importantly, with her tongue and lips rid of their distorting presence, her speech patterns had become nearly understandable once more. Although she tended to avoid exposing herself to the bewildered stares of her narrow-minded neighbours, she regularly had visitors. Victor was not amongst them, unfortunately; instead, he contended himself with having his minions shepherd her along the path he had set.

Apart from Lisa, who regularly dropped by to monitor the progress of her recovery, a hotshot solicitor was her most frequent guest. Dr Mangel had been hired by Victor to help her put her affairs in order, for as Victor's slave she would effectively cease to exist as an independent woman. Victor was to be legally appointed and act as her legal guardian in every respect and because she would not be permitted to own anything, Dr Mangel had been charged with disposing of all of her worldly possessions, or rather ‘realize her assets' as he preferred to put it. Although Elena was not privy to the details, it was clear by now that Victor had to be even wealthier than she had speculated when they first met. Everything she owned would be donated to a charity and it was her job to pick one. She felt at a loss at first, for without doubt the state of the world was such that an abundance of worthy causes vied for her attention.

In the end, she had decided on an organisation that promoted women's rights in less enlightened regions of the world. The somewhat paradoxical nature of her choice did not escape Elena. After all, she was about to renounce the very freedoms this organisation fought for so hard. Nevertheless, she felt there was a world of difference between her voluntarily surrendering her mind and body into a life of bondage, and the misfortune of being born into one. Besides, if humankind was to stand an albeit slim chance at survival, then men's atavistic struggle for supremacy would best be kept in check by women's moderation.

Elena was somewhat distressed to learn how smoothly the liquidation of her former life went. Obviously the imprint she'd left on the world was far more fleeting than she had hoped for. By now, her apartment was nearly empty of furniture but for a camp bed and completely devoid of any personal mementos. To her surprise, she was mostly glad to be rid of her belongings; particularly, when she considered the energy she had expended to acquire them in the first place. Nevertheless, she felt as if a great burden had been lifted off her shoulders.

In comparison, the process of putting herself into Victor's custody proved to be a lot more involved. A number of different public authorities, which until this point in her life had never taken any interest in her welfare, suddenly started to worry about her. Fortunately, Victor's silver-tongued solicitor seemed to possess some kind of lucky talisman that made most difficulties disappear almost magically; the rest, Elena suspected, were taken care off by an irresistible blend of bribery and pressure from higher up. Dr Mangel, it appeared, was well-connected with the top echelon in every pertinent agency. Or maybe Victor was, although this distinction was purely academic.

Dr Mangel never let on how he personally regarded Elena's somewhat bizarre appearance and the task he was asked to discharge. His manners were impeccable and he always acted as if it was perfectly normal for a young woman to consign herself completely to a man and become his property, body and soul for all intents and purposes. Given Dr Mangel's uncanny efficiency, Elena wondered whether he had been asked to handle similar cases in the past, but his forbidding reserve quelled any impulse to ask him outright. It was too late now: Dr Mangel had made her sign the final documents the evening before, then had bid her farewell. His parting ‘Good night and good luck.' was the most amicable remark he had uttered during all of their dealings.

On the other hand, something akin to a friendship had developed between her and Lisa. On Lisa's last visit, they had talked for hours and discovered a surprising number of things they had in common. When she finally left, she had hugged Elena tightly and promised to look out for her.

The remembered hug took Elena back to the present. Regardless of Lisa's promise, this day she would have to face on her own. Predictably, the attempt to get some rest had failed miserably and so she studied her reflection once more to assess the damage the sleepless night had done to her face. She wanted to look her best when she finally presented herself to Victor as his reformed and worthy slave girl. Fortunately, the resilience of youth and her remarkable constitution minimised the impact a few hours of lost sleep had on her and a hot shower then some light touches of make up were all it took to restore her pristine beauty.

The next order of business was to get dressed. Elena was spared the agonizing dilemma of choosing an outfit to wear on this most momentous day of her life by the simple expedient that there was only one choice left: the light summer dress she had worn to all previous stations of her quest. Since the weather was still fair, this was not a problem, and anyway, in the future she expected to spend much time without a thread of clothing. With her preparations completed, all she could do was to wait.

Nervous energy kept her from sitting down and actually look at the pages of the book she pretended to read. It was on the approximately thousandth time she crossed the few steps between the camp bed and living room window that she spotted the taxi approaching down in the street. Without further thought, she grabbed her keys and after one last furtive glance around her emptied apartment, closed its door behind her forever. Only when she raced down the stairs did Elena's mind catch up with what she was doing. Her steps faltered and she paused in the doorway, suddenly beset by last minute doubts. There was still time. She could still back out and return to her former life; unscathed apart from a peculiar set of piercings she would need an explanation for, but on the other hand, she would never see Victor again. And, she would never sample the bittersweet pleasures of a life as his ultimate slave that she had begun to crave. The moment of indecision passed and Elena quickly crossed the street to the waiting taxi.

The driver's eyebrows visited his hairline when he took in her appearance, but thankfully he refrained from making a remark. Nevertheless, she felt her face flush. During the ride she sensed his appalled stare in the rear mirror more than once. Pretending not to notice, Elena crossed her legs and looked out the window.

Finally, they arrived at the metalworking shop where her quest had begun so many weeks ago and as before the parking lot was nearly deserted. Her heart sank when she failed to spot Viktor's lovingly preserved Mercedes SL-300 Old-timer anywhere. Only then did she realize how much she had hoped he would be there to accompany her on this last, pivotal step of her transformation, the consummation, or so she thought at that point, of her enslavement. Dispirited, she proceeded to the recessed entrance and rang the bell.

The door opened at once, admitting her to the reception area beyond where Alex awaited her with a huge smile on his face. This time he was impeccably groomed and attired in an obviously expensive anthracite suit; yet in her considered opinion he still looked like a nerd, albeit one who tried to pass off as a banker.

“Hi Elena, it's nice to see you again. You're even more beautiful than I remembered you to be.” Alex sounded completely sincere, as though he was unfazed by the rather bizarre sight her new facial piercings presented. He certainly was not oblivious to them; in fact, his gaze lingered on the circle of silvery dots that outlined her lips when he shook her hand in his customary effusive manner.

"Thank you, Alex. You're sweet. Your belief that my new look constitutes an improvement is not a universally shared though, I'm afraid. My cab driver, for one, disapproved.”

“Victor shares it however,” he countered, “so what if some bigot or other might think different. It mustn't bother you, must it?”

“Touché!” Elena conceded, suppressing her own nagging misgivings. “Speaking of Victor, where is he? I had hoped he'd be here.”

“He won't meet you before it's all done. He vowed not to take an active role, but to wait until you had surrendered yourself to him, completely of your own volition. In the future, there will never be any doubt in your or anyone else's mind that you choose to fulfil your destiny on your own.” Alex smiled. “Victor's monitoring your progress closely, however. And rather eagerly, I might add.”

“Then we must not keep him waiting any longer. Let's get started.”

Alex swept her an ironic bow before opening the heavy, soundproofed door to the workshop and beckoning her through. She passed him with a sideways glance.

“Nice suit, by the way.”

Alex shrugged.

“I've been asked to officiate at some function in honour of one of our more important customers this afternoon and probably won't have time to change. Otherwise, I certainly wouldn't have suited up as a business buffoon.”

He steered her through the maze of heavy machinery until they reached the room's far end. There, on a cloth covered workbench, a large assortment of lustrous, organically curved metal parts grabbed her attention. Elena immediately realized that once they were assembled around and inside her body and anchored to it by her new piercings, she would be ensnared in an inescapable web of unbreakable alloy. She was so engrossed in the sight and its implications she did not even notice the third person present until Lisa cleared her throat.

“Hi Elena!”

“Lisa! What are you doing here?” Elena exclaimed in surprise.

“I thought you might prefer to have the more ... ah ... intimate procedures done by someone who actually knows what she's doing.” Lisa nodded towards Alex. “No offence intended.”

“None taken. As long as you don't mess up the hardware, I'll be glad to defer to your superior experience with the, ah, soft parts in question,” Alex replied.

Lisa rose from the out-of-place looking medical treatment table she had been sitting on and joined them. Elena pulled her close and embraced her tightly.

“I'm really glad you're here, it means a lot to me. Thank you.”

Lisa hugged her back.

“You're welcome! I promised I'd be looking out for you.” After a long moment Elena let go and composed herself.

“Well, we'd better get started before I loose my nerve.”

“Ready when you are. I've already completed my preparations.” Lisa smiled, gesturing at the white coat she wore.

“Then let's begin,” Alex interjected. “There's a lot of work to do and we're on a tight timetable.”


Elena's breasts were scheduled to receive their permanent adornments first. Unsurprisingly, she was asked to slip off her dress first and then stand away from the treatment table, leaning forward with her upper body parallel to the floor so that her breasts hung pendulously away from her chest. Meanwhile, Lisa and Alex scrubbed and helped each other put on surgical gloves. Lisa next applied a disinfectant to Elena's body in much the same way as she had when preparing her for her stint as Greg's pincushion. Lisa noted her friend's mounting trepidation and smiled at her encouragingly.

“Don't worry. We're done with the needlework. This is just a precaution to assuage my occupational paranoia, as Alex here would put it. However, yours certainly isn't the type of jewellery you'd simply take off in case an inflammation developed, so I deem it better to err on the side of caution.”

Elena responded with a nod and a weak smile of her own, then Alex approached with the first parts of the assembly meant to imprison her left breast. Two metal tubes, both with cross-holes through their centres, were carefully inserted into the piercings that perforated Elena's breast vertically and horizontally near its base. Their five mm diameter was intentionally a bit too large for the perforations, so they stretched the firm flesh that played host to them uncomfortably. Nevertheless, thanks to the special lining of her piercings, both tubes slid in easily. Once they were fully inserted, about two millimetres of their length remained exposed beyond the contour of her breast on either side. Another, shorter tube of the same kind was inserted into the hole that punctured her breast horizontally behind the nipple and carefully centred, then Alex rotated each tube until tiny marks at their ends confirmed the proper orientation of the eyelets at their centre, before the next component of the restraining hardware was installed. This consisted of a sturdy post with three cross-bores unevenly distributed along its length, oblate at one end and tipped at the other by a small sphere, so that it resembled an oversized, blunt map pin. Since the post was destined to occupy the frontal piercing that extended through the nipple into the mound's centre, it had to fit through the openings in the transverse tubes. Nevertheless, its gauge as well proved slightly outsized for the puncture it was about to fill.

Elena clenched her teeth while Lisa slowly pushed the pin into her soft flesh. It did not particularly ease Elena's plight that Alex, in order to facilitate the process, stretched her breast downwards by pulling at the ends of the tube through its uppermost lateral perforation. Aided again by the lining ingrown into her tissue, the post sank smoothly up into her breast, slowing only once when it encountered one of the transverse tubes whose central hole had not been perfectly aligned yet. As soon as the pin's full length had vanished into her body, with the ball at its end pressing tightly into her nipple, Alex produced two more, somewhat thinner rods. One after the other, each rod was inserted into the appropriate lateral tube at her breast's base and pushed all the way in. Along the way, they passed through the corresponding cross-bores of the outward projecting post that now resided in her nipple's central piercing and thus anchored it firmly in Elena's breast. The bar's lengths were precisely measured so they ended flush with the surrounding tubes. Elena lowered her head and marvelled at the appearance of her metal studded breast. The striking contrast between her own familiar flesh and the foreign alloy that invaded it fascinated her deeply.

Alex went on a foray to the workbench and returned with the two halves of a massive hoop. At the semicircles’ ends, its oblate cross section was exposed; about two centimetres high and a half centimetre wide it provided ample space to support the symmetrical pairs of sturdy locking posts. Corresponding mating holes waited to join the two half rings into a complete circle. Both halves were painstakingly positioned around the base of Elena's breast so that their still separated ends met at a 45-degrees angle with respect to her body's long axis and in this configuration, four slots cut into the hoop's inner circumference were properly aligned to accept the transverse tube's exposed ends. So far Lisa and Alex had worked in silence; now the latter spoke up.

“When the two halves are pushed together, locking pins will engage and make the whole ensemble completely irremovable. So, if you had any second thoughts, now is the time to call a stop.”

“I've talked to Greg and Alex earlier.” Lisa added quietly. “We'll back you up, no matter what you decide.”
Elena closed her eyes and tried to still her chaotic thoughts. The hard metal inside her body made its presence felt in deliciously restrictive ways, with every breath she took. She suddenly realized that once the hardware became embedded in her breasts, she would effectively be prevented from laying on her stomach, or at least strongly discouraged to do so because of the discomfort, if not outright pain, that would result.

“Do it! Do it now!” she called out impulsively, prodded by a sudden surge of burgeoning masochism.
“If that's your wish, so be it!” Alex acknowledged.

He nodded to Lisa and she immediately started to pull down on the ball that capped the pin sticking out from Elena's breast, until the skin at its base was stretched tight. Alex checked the ring's positioning one last time, then pressed its halves together. The locking pins engaged with a series of solid and terribly final sounding clicks. Once closed, the hoop's adamantine metal clasped her breast tightly around its base in a not unpleasant, but definitely authoritative manner and immediately, Elena felt the constriction cause her breast to swell and become more sensitive with entrapped blood. She was given no respite to come to grips with the ambivalent sensations since the last parts of her breast's elaborate fittings were next mounted without delay.
Alex produced a stout post capped by a conical head at one end and threaded at the other, accompanied by a matching locknut and a massive, U-shaped shackle. He stood by while Lisa positioned the shackle so its arms framed Elena's nipple and the eyelets at their tips were aligned with the openings of the tube that distended her aureole piercing, then immediately slid the post through the whole array. When its threaded end emerged from the hole at the top of the U's far side arm, the cone-shaped locknut was screwed onto this end of the aureole bar. Soon, the screw became too stiff for his bare fingers and Alex resorted to the help of two small, custom Allen keys that fit into corresponding sockets at the cones’ top. He managed a few more turns, then the muscles in his arms started to stand out. Nevertheless, he persisted until something gave way with a sharp twang sound. Suddenly deprived of the resistance, his right hand slipped off and despite his best efforts to soften the blow he hit Elena hard in the sternum.

“Ouch!” She yelped from the unexpected pain.

“Sorry! My mistake. I should have been more careful!” Alex apologized contritely.

“What happened? Did something break?” Elena inquired worriedly while she rubbed her aching chest.

“No, no. Everything's fine. To do damage to this kind of alloy, you'd need more serious equipment. What just happened is that the ceramic coupling between the end cap's protective, outer shell and the internal locknut shattered, as intended, thus making the cap virtually irremovable. In addition, the debris is now locking the threads. I simply did not count on the ceramics being so tough.”

He held up his hands, where the imprints of the Allen keys were still clearly visible. Elena contemplated her breast's latest permanent additions with renewed awe. The substantial U-shackle alone was forbidding. Since its generous dimensions allowed it to swing freely past the ball resting against her nipple, it lent itself to act as an anchor for all kinds of tethers, as her fevered mind duly noted. Experimentally, she pulled at the shackle and the tension she applied was instantly transferred to her entire breast, thanks to the clever system of interlocking axial and radial rods embedded in her flesh. It was the damnedest feeling and Elena quickly let go of the shackle as if the metal had burned her fingers.

In the course of the next few minutes, each step of the elaborate procedure, minus the accidental blow to her chest, was faithfully repeated with her other breast at the receiving end and soon it too had been decked out with the same fearsome implements of subjugation. Elena languished in deep subspace when Alex's voice intruded.

“We'll move on to your vulva now,” he informed her. “First, we'll need to install some grommets in your labia. Could you please get onto the table now, then move your bottom close to the edge and open your legs?”

Elena needed a few seconds to come out of her trance-like state before she sat down on the table, reclined and spread her legs. Lisa fetched a low stool and sat down between them, then with an indulgent smile, wiped away the wetness that seeped out between Elena's nether lips.

“I guess we're ready here,” Lisa announced and accepted the first of a dozen widely flanged grommets from Alex. Each one came in two parts that would be joined inseparably with the help of a compound lever, heavy duty grommet setting tool. Lisa located the first of the holes that had been punched into Elena's left labia majora, then pulled on the thick fold of skin and deftly manipulated the grommet's sturdy tube through the too small opening, until its broad base rested against the stretched lip's inner side. Next, she mounted the complementary end piece on the lip's outer side and gripped both parts between the tool's jaws. Lisa pressed the long handles until her knuckles turned white with the strain and with a snapping noise, the grommet's halves finally mated, bringing its wide flanges into overall close contact with the tender flesh trapped between them. Her achievement elicited a gasp and some subdued jerking by Elena.

“You're OK?” Lisa inquired.

“I-I guess so,” Elena answered hesitantly. “It just feels a little weird.”

Working from Elena's perineum up to her pubic mound, Lisa steadily added grommet after grommet until each of the five holes on either side played host to the reinforcing hardware. Elena felt her nether lips subjected to a constant, but bearable pressure and a less agreeable burning sensation where the connecting tubes of the grommets’ halves stretched the surrounding tissue. Fortunately, the latter was already abating and would hopefully fade completely over time when her body adapted to the intruders. She briefly wondered in what deliciously wicked ways Victor intended to use the new hardware now permanently resident in her labia. It would only take a couple of padlocks to render her sex effectively inaccessible. However, judging from her past experience with Victor's imagination and his henchman Alex's technical prowess, she strongly suspected nothing that simple and pedestrian would be entailed. Elena's lustful speculations were interrupted by Alex's voice.

“We'll do your clit and its hood next. You may want to brace yourself.”

Alarmed, Elena turned to Lisa, who pushed her palms down in a calming gesture. She spared a withering glare at Alex, before trying to assuage her friend's fears.

“No big deal. The worst part's been the piercing and that you've weathered admirably. Now that everything’s healed, the holes’ lining will make the actual insertion of your clitoral hardware rather, uh, anticlimactic, I’m afraid.” She smirked. “Some men mistake their own whininess for a common standard. You know, if they had to have babies, our species would have become extinct long ago.”

Elena was less than reassured by her words but did not demur when an unruffled Alex handed Lisa what appeared to be a miniature eyebolt: a sturdy metal rod capped by a collared eyelet at one end and threaded at the other.

“I'll install the anchoring bar now. Please try to hold still,” Lisa advised.

With a few masterful strokes, Lisa teased Elena’s clit from its hiding place, thus making it very difficult for her to limit her reaction to a few throaty moans. Then, Lisa grasped the rod in a pair of needle-nose pliers and pressed its threaded tip against the blood engorged, sensitive organ’s base while holding it captive with the fingers of her other hand. Elena’s clitoris had been pierced vertically deep through its shaft, with the puncture running from just above the urethra to the top of the hood. Ever so slowly, Elena felt the rod slide into the piercing, overcoming the resistance her swollen flesh offered. The sensation drove her wild, to the point that Alex had to press down hard on her pelvis to keep her from rearing up violently.

“Whoa, easy tiger! Otherwise I’ll have to go and fetch some belts to strap you down.”

Fortunately, he did not have to make good on this threat and now that Elena knew what to expect, she managed to get a grip on her agitation, allowing Lisa to finish her task without further incident. To complete the assembly, Lisa screwed a matching eyelet onto the bar's exposed end and when she was done, both eyelets were perfectly aligned, with their rounded shoulders pressing firmly against Elena’s clit respectively its hood from either side. A few drops of a high-strength, permanent thread-locking compound that a considerate Alex had applied beforehand guaranteed the irreversibility of this final step and thus eliminated any chance Elena would be able to rid herself of the bar any time soon, if ever.

Lisa took a moment to turn the rod so that the eyelets’ openings faced sideways before finally pronouncing her work finished. Elena straightened up and doubtfully eyed this newest addition to her growing inventory of body jewellery. The twin eyelets extended a silent invitation to attach all kinds of controlling equipment to her most sensitive spot and Alex’s next words confirmed that her fears were well-founded.

“I happen to know that Victor has some interesting applications in mind for your fittings, but for now, let’s keep it simple.”

He held an oblong, oval, small metal cap in front of Elena’s eyes and slowly rotated it so she could study it from all sides. It was formed like a miniature hard hat with a narrow brim all around that elongated into a peak both at the front and back. At both ends, along the hat’s centre line, two thin slits were cut into the metal that extended from the peaks' midpoint halfway up into the crown. Elena vented a weary sigh when she deduced the cap’s probable purpose and Alex smiled thinly.

“Exactly, from now on access to your clit will be restricted to authorized personal only.”

He passed the cap to Lisa, who spread Elena’s nether lips apart so that the clit, its hood and eyeleted bar were fully exposed and easily captured within the impenetrable metal shell of their new prison. She aligned the cap, then pressed down on it until the eyelets at the transfixing bar’s ends fully emerged through the slits in the cap and Alex could guide the shackles of two small, but sturdy padlocks through them. The locks not only secured the cap however, but their hasps were also run through the adjacent grommets in Elena’s labia and so pulled her cleft partially closed around the imprisoning metal dome. Two subdued clicks ended Elena’s discretionary power over the centre of her lust, paradoxically stoking the latter to new heights.

Alex dangled a pair of keys in front of Elena’s face.

“I guess you’d like to have these.”

However, when Elena reached for them, he playfully snatched them away and shook his head with feigned regret. “These belong to Victor, I’m afraid.”

“Of course.” Elena conceded petulantly. Almost against her will, her hands found their way to her sex. Alex looked on tolerantly while she probed the dome that protected her clit from her prying fingers. It easily deflected her increasingly frantic attempts at gaining access to her trapped flesh and after some more experimentation, she subsided with a weary sigh. Elena quickly came to the conclusion that she would still be able to stimulate herself, albeit only indirectly, and at the price of mixing in equal parts of discomfort and pain into the pleasure; all things considered maybe it was not so bad a deal for someone of her masochistic make-up. It could get worse - and most probably would!

Meanwhile, Lisa had collected a tray that contained the next pieces of Elena’s metal adornments. It was time to emplace her facial jewellery, starting with her tongue. Three holes, forming a roughly equilateral triangle, had been punched through the muscular organ, with the foremost one centred about a centimetre behind the tip and the other two located further back, a half centimetre or so removed from either side. Elena had to extend her tongue as far as possible so that each perforation could be reinforced with another one of the wide-flanged, permanently mounted grommets. She hated to think what these additions would do to her only recently regained ability to enunciate intelligibly; however, their presence suggested that Victor was not inclined to give her much opportunity to make conversation anyway, since their primary purpose presumably was to assist in immobilizing her tongue.

Further corroboration was provided by the installation of small, silvery eyelets into the piercings that surrounded Elena's mouth. The punctures closely followed its outline but were separated from the actual lips by a few millimetres. First, the three piercings symmetrically located above her upper lip were filled, followed suit by their counterparts below her lower lip. At last, a pair of more substantial grommets was mounted into the slightly larger holes at the corners of her mouth, about a half centimetre removed from them.

The visual impact of these additions was severe. In comparison, the piercings alone had been rather discreet, despite the silvery sheen caused by their lining. Now, the eyelets' wider flanges drew the attention invariably to her lips, probably making even a casual beholder wonder whether they could be used to lace her mouth shut like a shoe. Elena was sure that this was the case; however, since she was well familiar with Victor's penchant for fiendishly efficient gags, she surmised that the eyelets would also prove useful when it came to fastening a gag's outer shield securely to her face. She forcibly stopped herself from probing the new hardware with her tongue and teeth yet again. Without doubt it would take time to get used to their invasive presence.

“This certainly looks bizarre,” Lisa commented critically, then quickly amended, “but also interesting in a good, kinky way,” when she saw Elena's alarmed expression.

“Wait till we've dealt with her nose,” Alex countered.

“What awout my nothe?” Elena managed to put in, glad that her pronunciation was only slightly off. With a little practice, she would probably get the hang of it. To her chagrin, her question was ignored just the same.
Instead, Alex and Lisa proceeded, next placing the grommets in her ears. All four holes in each auricle received their permanent metal reinforcements, but only those in the earlobe and at the top of her ear shell were also equipped with sturdy, utilitarian looking U-shackles. Their industrial appearance disabused any notion of them being purely decorative in nature and strongly hinted at their real, far more sinister purpose. The remaining two piercings, perforating the tragus in front of her ear canal and the cartilage across from it, were spared this additional indignity. As her alert mind dutifully noted, the configuration of these holes allowed for a horizontal rod to be run through them, and thus would make sure that anything Victor decided to put into her ear canal would stay inside. Elena somehow doubted it would be hearing aids; more likely the opposite.

“I recommend that you be an especially good girl in the future, or Victor may bring the outdated educational concept of pulling one's ear into the 21st century,” Alex teased, then sighed wistfully. “This sure would come in handy for my nephew. The little monster will pay me a visit next week.”

Lisa patted his arm in mock sympathy. “I'm sure you'll be able to handle one little boy. Just keep him away from all your expensive toys.”

Alex panicked gaze flitted around his workshop, probably identifying dozens of ways how an industrious three-year-old could wreak havoc among its delicate machinery. He shuddered, then with a visible effort got a grip on himself again and gestured for Lisa to return to the task at hand. Elena secretly wondered how many of the ideas behind her bondage were inspired by suppressed fantasies of disciplining an unruly child.

Finally, it was her nose's turn to have its share of subjugation equipment installed.

“Please lay back flat on the table again!” Alex requested and waited until she had hesitantly complied with his command.

He then produced a small, conical, oblate, metal sleeve and slipped it into her right nostril. Its profile matched the interior of Elena's nose perfectly: flattened on the side that rested against her septum and appropriately rounded were it pushed against its outer wing. The sleeve had a substantial set of cross bores partway along its length and Elena had become more than a little concerned upon seeing their diameter. He carefully pushed it in until it became stuck in the narrowing nostril; then he mounted its counterpart into her other nostril. The precision of his planning and workmanship became apparent when he knelt down at her side and sighted through the piercings: The holes in her flesh and the corresponding cross-bores in the cones were perfectly aligned, allowing him to shine his pocket lamp clear through them all. Equally, care had been taken not to alter the elegant form of her nose so that from the outside, the presence of the interior sleeves was barely detectable; at most a slight flaring of her nostrils, as if she was taking a deeper than usual breath, could be discerned.

Satisfied, he gave Lisa the go-ahead for the next stage, namely making the cones a permanent fixture of her nose. With a delicate pair of pliers, she slipped the male half of yet another, bigger and thicker variant of the versatile grommets up into one nostril and deftly manipulated its tube through the matching holes in Elena's septum and the interior sleeves until its flange rested in the recess provided for it there.

When she had also mounted its female counterpart on the other side, she was relieved by Alex, who now wielded a specialized variant of the grommet setting tool. He inserted its business ends into Elena's nostrils and when its jaws engaged the grommet’s halves, he smoothly squeezed the handles. With a subdued click, the halves were joined as one, making the whole ensemble irremovable. Elena whimpered and tears shot to her eyes when the up to now merely irritating pressure on her sensitive septum suddenly spiked. This was not the end of her woes however, for next, a grommet was set into the hole in the right wing of her nose, anchoring the respective sleeve on that side as well, then the process was repeated with the left nostril wing.

By this time, the whole lower half of Elena’s nose had become intimately and inseparably joined to its new, metal inner core and perforce as rigid as its bony, upper part. Although the pressure exerted on her flesh was not painful, it was nevertheless unpleasant, constantly reminding her of the intruders' presence. Unfazed by the silent tears streaming down her temples, Alex and Lisa continued with the installation of the command and control portion of her nasal jewellery.

This consisted basically of an appropriately scaled copy of the assembly for Elena's nipples, i.e. a sturdy post with a conical cap on one end, a corresponding, conical locknut for its other, threaded end, and a substantial U-shackle. Again, the locknut’s outer shell hid a ceramic compound that would shatter when the necessary amount of torque was applied and to this end both cones sported specialized slots in their heads that matched Alex’s custom Allen keys. The only difference in this instance was that the eyelets at the tips of the U-shackle’s arms were more pronounced so that when Alex slowly and carefully pushed the shackle up into Elena’s nostrils, they engaged complementary raised shoulders around her septum grommet's central hole.

As soon as the U-shackle was properly seated, the anchoring post was pushed sideways through and into her nose until its threaded end emerged through the lateral grommet on the opposite side. Alex loosely screwed on the locknut, then used his set of specialized Allen wrenches to tighten it further. In order to prevent a recurrence of the earlier mishap that had resulted in the accidental blow to Elena's sternum, he asked Lisa to keep one of the wrenches steady while he concentrated on turning the other one. He had chosen their angle of attack carefully, so when after much grunting and swearing the ceramic within the end cap finally did shatter, suddenly leaving them bereft of a counteracting force, both his and Lisa's hands slid harmlessly past Elena's face.

“It would have been a lot easier if you’d made these handles a little longer,” Lisa complained, rubbing the spot where the wrench had abraded her palm.

“True, but spoken with the benefit of hindsight. All in all, for a version 1.0 it went pretty well so far, I’d say. I already have some minor improvements in mind; you’ll see, next time everything will work a lot smoother,” Alex defended himself.

“You seriously think there’ll be a next time?”

“Why not? Victor might start a new trend with this. If I ever found a girl as brave as Elena here…” He sighed and then added with a teasing smile, “Or what if you and Greg ever got serious?”

“I certainly don’t think so!” Lisa protested. Belatedly, she amended, “I mean, not the Greg finally getting serious part, I hope, but this other scary stuff, you know.”

She blushed and had to look away. Alex laughed good-naturedly and took her in his arms, where she relaxed for a few moments.

Elena barely took notice of this byplay because her mind was still busy catching up with the fact that the post and therefore the shackle it anchored had just become a permanent feature of her face. Leading her around by a leash to her nose ring had always been an item on Victor's agenda, but now she wondered what more he had in mind that warranted a design as sophisticated as this. Then again, maybe it was just the deplorable outcome of combining his obsessive-compulsive quest for perfection with Alex’ mechanical genius to actually make it happen. Either way, the end result ensured that she did not need to worry about accidentally ripping out her jewellery; it was there to stay and presumably rated for substantial loads.

Alex glanced at his wristwatch, the cheap digital model at odds with his elegant clothing. “We’re running late.”

“OK, what's left?” Lisa asked.

“At this stage, only her manacles.” He turned to Elena. “Please come with us!”

He helped her up from the sweat-slick table and led her the few paces to the nearby workbench. The sensations produced by the additions to Elena’s body were impossible for her to ignore and rather disconcerting. She felt that the sensations from her breasts were the most appalling, for now, their familiar patterns of motion were completely upset by their new inner scaffolding. The hard clitoral shell enfolded by and simultaneously spreading her labia made her feel exposed, although intellectually she knew the opposite to be true. Her tongue felt stiff and unwieldy and the tightness around her mouth reminded her of the eyelets that stretched her lips and cheeks. Her nose sat like a foreign body on her face and its blatant shackle’s noticeable weight rested with evil portent on her upper lip. None of her adornments yet limited her freedom of motion in any way, but Elena already felt more deeply restrained than she had ever thought possible. Even more alarming, her real bonds were to be applied only now!

On the workbench, next to a large, vertically mounted vice, the still separated halves of four gleaming metal cuffs waited to be permanently clasped around her limbs. Alex picked up the first manacle’s lower part and positioned it between the jaws of the vice.

“Sit down and put your right wrist into the cuff, please!”

Elena gingerly lowered herself onto the low stool Lisa had brought along and raised her arm, unable to control its shaking. Lisa had to help her guide it into the waiting half-cuff and then kept it steady while Alex made sure that her wrist was properly positioned within the broad metal band’s oval shape. After some minute adjustments, he was satisfied at last and emplaced the cuff’s upper half, taking great care her flesh would not get pinched between the interlocking, slanted teeth that made up the halves’ end profiles. On either side, three stout locking pins engaged corresponding slots in the manacle’s other half, sliding in easily at first, until the space separating both halves had shrunk to three millimetres. Alex then resorted to the help of the vice to overcome the resistance that kept him from closing the remaining gap and spun its handle until the cuff’s halves met in a staccato of sharp clicks that sent a shiver down Elena’s spine. She did not need to be told that the manacle’s halves had been joined for good. Short of cutting through the metal band with a laser (a rather impractical proposition, considering it enclosed her much less impervious flesh), she was stuck with it for the rest of her life.

Once her hand was released from the vice, Elena drew it back to inspect the completed cuff. The metal seemed to flow around her wrist forming an apparently unbroken band. Either of the serrated seams where its parts met was barely discernible: a perfect fit down to the slight indentation that accommodated her delicate wrist bones. On both lateral sides, parallel to the seams, the cuff provided attachment points wide enough to accept a padlock or other fastening devices, essentially cut-outs in the metal where it bulged into wide fins that rose a centimetre or so above the surrounding surface.

All in all, Elena guessed the manacle to be about seven centimetres wide, with a thickness of about half a centimetre; anyway, on her slender arm, it appeared massive, an impression that was only marginally alleviated by its elegant, organic lines and rounded edges. Experimentally, she turned her hand and flexed her fingers, only to be awed by the severity with which the cuff made its presence felt whenever she moved her hand or arm. Lisa looked on with manifest fascination.

“How does it feel?” she asked.

“It’th very tight,” Elena answered, musing for a moment before continuing haltingly, “Though not painfully tho. It’th like thomeone ith grawwing me wy the writht, firmly, thecurely, with no intention of ever letting me go again. Maketh me think of Victor’th throng handth, actually.” She blushed, suddenly embarrassed by more than her inability to enunciate her words clearly.

“Oh!” Lisa sighed breathlessly.

“Allow me to check the fit,” Alex chimed in and took hold of the cuff. When he tried to turn it, Elena’s arm was made to turn as well. There was no slack whatsoever. Despite herself, Elena cried out. Alex, on the other hand, was pleased.

“Excellent! Let’s do the rest of the cuffs!”

In short order, her other wrist bore its manacle as well. Then it was time for her ankle cuffs to be fastened. Except for being proportionally larger, they resembled her manacles to a tee. Once again, Elena’s years of practice in Yoga proved their worth when she was asked to raise her legs one after the other to the level of the vice. It was an awkward posture to be sure, but positively harmless compared to some of the bondage positions she had learned to endure at Victor’s hands. Lisa held each limb steady while Alex assembled the cuff’s halves around it and then operated the vice to join them permanently. As before, everything went without a hitch and soon both her ankles were fettered with broad bands of seemingly seamless metal. Elena rotated her legs, mesmerized by the play of light over the fetters’ gleaming surface and the stark contrast between her supple skin and the unyielding metal. Meanwhile, Lisa and Alex busied themselves cleaning up the workshop and putting their tools away.

Alex took another glance at his watch.

“Just in time. I suggest we proceed.”

“Affirmative. Go ahead, I'll finish here and catch up with you later,” Lisa agreed.

Please come with me!” Alex grasped Elena’s left arm above the elbow and pulled her after him.

Elena followed in a daze, acutely aware of the weight of her cuffs and the interference of all her other accoutrements. With every step she took, Elena felt the ankle cuffs mercilessly constricting the muscles and tendons of her calves. She could probably ease their bite by walking on tiptoe, an almost irresistible incentive to wear the kind of severe, high-heeled shoes Victor preferred exclusively hence. Not that she considered it likely he would leave her much choice regarding her footwear, or any other article of her apparel for that matter. Alas, naked and barefooted as she was trailing Alex at present, she would have to do without the support of stilettos for now.

Meanwhile, they had arrived at the door that led from the workshop to the foyer.

“Where are you taking me? What about my clotheth?” Elena asked belatedly when her thoughts caught up with the here and now.

“Don’t worry, we’ll stay inside,” Alex reassured her.

He pushed the heavy door open and quickly pulled her through. Unexpectedly, she found herself at the centre of attention of a sizeable crowd.