Mutually Assured by GTS33, Melanie
Summary:

The war between Lilliputia and Brobdingnag rages on with no end in sight. Decades of bloodshed have made violence a part of life. Perhaps the two races will never be able to coexist? When a ceasefire is called, both nations are given the first and last chance to discuss peace. This is a story told from both of their perspectives.


Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


Categories: Giantess, Adult 30-39, Destruction, Fantasy, Humiliation, Sci-Fi, Violent Characters: None
Growth: Giga (1 mi. to 100 mi.)
Shrink: Nano (1/2 in. to 2.5 nanometers)
Size Roles: F/m, FF/m
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: Yes Word count: 7520 Read: 12670 Published: January 02 2023 Updated: January 23 2023
Story Notes:

This story is set in a similar world to Magna Gratia. It is part of a group of short stories I am writing that involve Lillis and Brobs. I was looking to write something darker to contrast MG's wholesomeness. The entire four chapter story is complete and I am releasing chapters early on my Patreon. I will be uploading a chapter a week on here until all chapters are out. Enjoy!

1. Chapter 1 by GTS33

2. Chapter 2 by GTS33

3. Chapter 3 by GTS33

4. Chapter 4 by GTS33

Chapter 1 by GTS33
Author's Notes:

Chapter 1/4

POV: Leon

----------

The wine in my glass would ripple with each distant boom. Over and over, to the rhythm of each footfall. As I hold the glass in my hand, I find myself transfixed. I do my best to hold it still, using it to compare each step from the last. It is not particularly interesting, but it serves as a welcome distraction. These are dark times, I am afraid. There is much to worry about and little that can be done. Though, I suppose that is precisely why I am here now.


I place my glass down in its holder by my armrest. This is no time for distractions. I must keep my wits about me.


Looking out from the jet's window, I cannot see much. The skin of the giantess' palm stretches out far and wide. The world beyond it is blurred as she walks down the hallway. After having flown for hours, and into enemy territory no less, I had hoped to be greeted by their leader. Instead, my transport is in the hand of some nameless servant.


"I suppose this is the best I will get, seeing as I am the 'face of evil', on this side of the world."


This war has been raging for years. It began before I was born and continues to this day. Like many others, I've never known peace. Such concepts exists only in history books. No one is quite sure who dealt the first blow. It simply does not matter anymore. What began with a small territory conflict, has escalated into a full blown war of attrition. Where once we each sought land, now we thirst for blood.


When I came into power, the situation was dire. Though we outnumber our enemies many thousand to one, it matters not when they are so much more powerful. Without the advantages of technology, we would have been wiped out in a matter of weeks. Our warplanes would take to the skies, focusing their attacks on their weak spots. The eyes, mouth, and neck are difficult to defend. Enough focus on a single spot would often be enough to fell even a titan. But for every one that we took down, we would lose hundreds of our own. It soon became clear that we were losing. They continued to advance, trampling more of our cities. 


I would lay awake at night, desperate for a solution. It was clear that we could never win by force. There had to be another way. And then it dawned on me. In all of the time we have been fighting, we had never attempted discourse. I had never spoken to their leader. I did not know who they were. If only I could meet with them, perhaps we could end the bloodshed once and for all? But that was easier said than done. I would need to give them a reason. 


And so an idea was born. We produced an artifical virus, a contagion unlike any found in nature. It was designed specifically to target their DNA, while being harmless to us. It would be perfect, or so we thought. Within a month, thirty-five percent of their population had been infected. The disease was indiscriminate and it spread like wildfire. Whether they were young or old, man or woman, soldier or civilian, it rapidly destroyed their health.


I am not proud of what I have done. 


I do not believe in harming those who are not on the battlefield. As for those who are slaughtering my people, I have no sympathy. This had to be done. If not for the virus, they would not have called for a ceasefire, nor would I have been invited here, to the Royal Palace in their capitol.


"We are entering my Lady's office now." I hear our courier's voice announce. "Once I enter, I will set the plane down. Please exit it alone. Anything else will be considered a breach of the agreement."


It sounds to me like she is speaking through grit teeth. The resentment in her voice is unmistakable. I cannot say I am surprised. She is currently holding her worst enemy in the palm of her hand. My army had surely hurt or killed one of her family members at some point. The urge to end me right here and now must be overwhelming. Oh, how torturous. I wonder what sort of expression she is wearing right now.


A moment later I feel the aircraft lurch. We descend, only to feel a disorienting thud as we are placed down. We appear to be on a desk. It is a wooden one, elegant and befitting of a fellow leader, and vast enough to fit a city. My attendants rush to check on me, but I brush them off. I can handle a little roughness. It will take more than that to affect me. I brush myself off and move down the walkway to the door. I notice that the stairway has already been laid out for me. Before I step out, I turn to them and give a serious look.


"You have my deepest gratitude for accompanying me here. I hope to return with good news. In the case that I do not, move forward without me. I trust you know what to do."


I see two of the female attendants tearing up as I descend the steps. I understand their concerns. By agreeing to meet here, alone and defenseless, I voluntarily entered the lion's den. There is a very real possibility that I will not survive this. Regardless, I am willing to put my life on the line for the cause. Should the worst come to pass, the arrangements I have made will protect my people in my absence. 


Upon stepping onto the desk, the stairway begins to retract into the plane. My gaze follows the servant as she then places it back into her palm and promptly takes it away as she exits the room. She closes the door behind her, leaving me alone with the most dangerous woman in the world. I can feel her eyes on my back, piercing me. I take a moment to compose myself. Though I am nervous, I must act in a way befitting of a leader. I cannot show weakness, even before her.


And so I turn around to face her. 


Before me is a colossus. This towering being is a woman; one larger than all of our women combined, clad in the traditional dress of her culture. It is an outfit akin to a toga, adorned with gemstones around the shoulders, and a golden belt around her waist. Her size is incredible, not unlike the rest of her wretched kind. Where our people are measured in meters, she would be measured in kilometers. She stands over me expectantly, with her arms crossed over her chest. I meet her gaze, unafraid, despite our stark difference in size. Despite my hatred, I cannot deny her beauty. Even for one of her stature, she is quite well endowed. Her figure would make any woman jealous, be they Lilli or Brob. It is a shame she was born so big. The only feeling I have for her is contempt.


"I was wondering when we would finally meet. I assume this device is working? I am told you should be hearing my voice."


Silence. The titaness remains silent and unmoving as she continues to gaze at me. There is no clear expression on her face. I have a feeling she can hear me, though. Rather than wait for her to respond, I decide to introduce myself.


"I am the Sovereign Leader of Lilliputia, Leonardo Fredrick. My people call me Chancellor, President, or simply, Leader. In the interest of diplomacy, please call me Leon."


Another silence follows. Now I begin to question whether my earpiece is working at all.


"You are in the presence of Alyssania Rhiannon II, Queen of Brobdingnag. My people call me Lady, the Exalted, or simply, Her Majesty. To a speck like you, I will accept nothing other than Her Majesty."


End Notes:

Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know what you think. 

Chapter 2 by GTS33
Author's Notes:

Chapter 2/4

POV: Alyssa

----------

With my arms crossed and a scowl on my face, I watched the puny creature step out of his jet. I could barely make him out on my desk, he was so tiny. When Maria left with his aircraft, it almost felt as if I were alone in the room. Even with our naturally sharp sight, it was a little difficult to distinguish this certain speck from the dust I carelessly wipe off of my desk. Once my eyes adjusted themselves a little more, I could clearly see the disgustingly confident look on its, or rather, his face. 


We both know it would not take an ounce of effort for me to obliterate him right here and now, but I need him alive, unless I wanted to doom my population along with him. I cannot believe he drove me to such a difficult position. Speaking with a Lilliputian is unheard of, let alone on equal terms. It brings shame to my family and our legacy.


I add this to the growing list of affronts this man is directly responsible for.


Now I speak through grit teeth, struggling to contain my anger towards the speck. I stand at my full height by my desk's edge. I have no doubt he can see the difference between us. It is more important that he knows it. It will set a precedent for how we move forward. I do my best to seem as imposing as possible. If I seem monstrous, that is all the better. Whatever unsettles him can only be a boon.


"Now, now. I am here at your request. Today, we speak as equals. These were the terms of our agreement, were they not? If I am to use your title, you will do the same for me. That is, unless you are unable to put aside your pride for the sake of your people?"


I glare down at the tiny man, hardly able to believe he is the leader of an entire nation. I suppose he had to be, given his confidence while in such a position. Whether he is brave or foolhardy will become clear soon. 


"So what will it be, Your Majesty? Shall we drop the formalities after all?"


This speck forgets himself. Perhaps I was not as intimidating as I had thought? Never before have I been spoken to in such a way, let alone by a mere Lilliputian. It is an unwelcome feeling, to say the least. He tries my patience.


"You may call me Alyssa."


"Alyssa. What a splendid name. I am pleased to finally meet you."


I roll my eyes as I take my seat. We both know how untrue that line is. Neither of us would be here if the situation had no grown so desperate. I would rather not waste time with empty words or pleasantries.


"I would say it is nice to finally speak face to face, but to be blunt, it is not. I assume you feel the same way." 


I pull my seat forward, until my stomach is nearly touching the desk. Placing my hands in my lap, I lean forward in my chair. My actions are deliberate. Now he stands just a few centimeters in front of my chest, which must loom over him like mountains. Mountains, which could rise into the air and crush him at any moment if I simply wanted to.


"Now then, Leon, I suppose I do have to congratulate you. I underestimated you; thought there was no way we could lose against a nation of bugs, but now here I am, forced into negotiations. If you were not my enemy I would have promoted you to my right-hand man for that brilliance. But enough of the hypotheticals, let us focus on reality. I want you to give me the cure to this virus. What do you want in return?"


I watch his smirk slowly fade into a scowl. My words may be disagreeable, but they are straightforward. Any juvenile attempt at banter will not work with me. He knows this, I can see it in his eyes as he glares at me. I return his glare with one of my own as I await his answer.


"You are looking down on me."


"I am, both literally and figuratively. Though, that does not breach the terms of our agreement."


"I wonder how many of my people met their end before a giant looking down on them with that exact look? The thought both infuriates me and breaks my heart."


"I am not responsible for how you feel. Nor do I care, for that matter."


As I say this, I lean forward slightly, getting dangerously close. It must be getting to him by now. I know it would for me, if our positions were swapped.


"Hmph. Is that really how you should be speaking to the one who holds the fate of some many of your people in his 'bug' hands?"


The speck speaks as confidently as ever. There is no fear in his voice that I can hear.


"The way I see it, I have no reason to compromise. Should I decide to leave now, the virus will undoubtably spread until it infects each and every last one of your people. As I speak, the epidemic continues to ravage your cities. Who knows how many more will die? Women? Elderly? Perhaps even some innocent, little children?"


He pauses, letting his threats sink in. It seems he is willing to become a monster to defeat a monster. I admit, my soldiers never hesitated to wipe out entire cities underfoot. He must not feel the need to hold back. He wants to see me break. He wants to see me beg. I will not give him that.


"I would like for you to move back. You behemoths find such sick enjoyment in using your size to intimidate us. Such uncouth behavior from a monarch! Know that I am not afraid, Alyssa. I know that you will not hurt me. Continue these antics, and this meeting will end prematurely."


My face remains unchanging as I listen to his tirade; about how he is in control at the moment, and how much he despises me and my people. I cannot blame him; none of what he said was wrong after all, but I will not just submit quite so easily. Once he has finished speaking, my expression turns to one of annoyance, and instead of listening to his demands, I lean in even closer. It is enough to where my face looms above and my chest almost rolls over him.


"Listen here, Leon. Just because you have the upper hand does not mean you can afford to become careless. You speak of ending the negotiations early and leaving, but how, pray tell, do you suppose you will do that? Your aircraft is in the care of my assistant, and you are completely helpless on my very own desk. Perhaps I cannot kill you, but I can definitely keep you here until I get a satisfactory outcome."


As I begin my sentence, I begin to lean back again, my expression becoming more relaxed as well. I grant him the space he requested, but only after showing him that I do not have to. It is a show of kindness to someone so beneath me, born purely of pity.


"So you would have me become your hostage?"


"Yes. No different that my subjects you have made your own hostages."


He goes silent for a time. 


"Well played, Alyssa. It seems you are more formidable than I previously thought. I am willing to admit that, at least. Fine, then. I am prepared to wait, but time is not your ally. The sick will not last much longer. To think, Her Majesty could not manage to break one, measely Lilli. Better for them to die in ignorance than to know the sad truth."


He shrugs his shoulders and gives me a dirty look, going so far as to point his finger at me.


"How dare you!"


I jolt up from my seat, slamming my hands down on either side of him. Listening to this piece of lint talk back to me has been irritating. I have remained calm thus far, but I can do that no longer. He needs to be reminded just who he is dealing with. 


"My soldiers may be infected, but they will fight to their last breath. Once they learn they have nothing to lose, they will dedicate their final days to eradicating your people off the face of the earth. They will not die until their enemies are completely annihilated, I assure you of that..." 


I raise my right hand from the table and form a tight fist. I bring it to hover over his location. I am not sure where he is standing exactly, but I am confident I will not miss.


"Or better yet, maybe I will kill you, right here and now. All it would take is for me to smash my fist down on you. Its weight alone would suffice, but this will feel far more satisfying!"


"Do what you must! I cannot stop you."


I remain still in that position, in disbelief. He is not bluffing. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that he means what he says. He knows that he is powerless before me, should I choose to go make good on my threats. He is prepared to be destroyed, if it will destroy me in turn. I admire his resolve.


Slowly, I pull hands away and return to my seat. I lean back, adopting my previous position once more. Clearly, intimidation will get us nowhere. I will need to approach this from a different angle. I must not lose sight of what is important.


"Let us perhaps start fresh. There is no reason to let things escalate? After all, this is bigger than us and our egos. We are here to protect our subjects."


My expression becomes visibly more relaxed. I continue to hold eye contact as I comfortably lean back in my chair, curious to see how this conversation will continue.


"For once, we agree on something. There is too much at stake for us to be bickering."


"How about you start us off then, since you seem so confident in your negotiation skills, hmm?"

End Notes:

Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know what you think. 

You can read the next chapter early on my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=79288680

Chapter 3 by GTS33
Author's Notes:

Chapter 3/4

POV: Leon

----------

I wipe the sweat from my brow with a shaky hand. My body is trembling. Her burst of anger was unexpected. My verbal prodding had more of an effect than I had anticipated, and I was not expecting such a reaction. I could not stand to be looked down on, and so I sought to get a rise out of her. The force of her hands sent me flying backward. Her voice thundered from above, causing my entire body to vibrate. She had such a powerful presence. It was terrifying. She is terrifying.


I feel myself calming down. The anger and fear begin to subside as I focus on my true goal, ending this war.


"Before we discuss anything, I feel it necessary for us to better understand each other. This is the first time we are meeting, and I believe we got off on the wrong foot. For us to truly start over, let us begin by reintroducing ourselves."


"Go ahead. This should be interesting."


"Despite my current position, I was once a nobody. The fifth son of twelve siblings, child of two humble farmers in the countryside. I was always taught to hate your kind, but I refused to believe as I was told. One should develop their own views through experience, no? That was until one of your kind went on a killing spree through my village. It happened in the early days of the war."


I begin to pace back and forth as I speak, unable to stand still. The story is too painful, and I know I will succumb to anger again if I do not vent it somehow.


"We refer to it as 'The Massacre of Orandale', but I doubt you would find it in your history books. Why would it be there, since we are merely 'bugs'? Well, those 'bugs' were my family and friends. What happened to me was just a taste of the cruelty those bigger than us casually subject us to. Many in my position would have sworn revenge, but all I wanted was an answer. I wanted to know why it had happened, and how it could be prevented in the future. That feeling guided me as I attained power. Until I became a leader."


I notice the titaness shifting in her seat. She seems serious, for lack of better words. I can only hope that my story has made her feel at least a little empathetic. It may be easier for her to view me as a bug, but hearing my story should make it impossible for her not to feel something. Even so, she shows none of this. A leader should not easily show their emotions, after all. 


"First of all, I am sorry to hear about what happened to your village. I know it is incredibly hypocritical of me, but I am sincere."


She stands up, pushing her chair back. She turns and begins to walk around the desk as she speaks. Her steps are slow, but land with force that it felt all the way up here on her desk. Rhythmic rumbling shakes the ground I stand on, more intensely than when her servant had been carrying me.


"As for my story, I am afraid it is not nearly as dramatic as yours. Unlike you, I was essentially born into this position; my mother being the previous ruler of this nation, and my father being unknown to me. Admittedly, I am relatively 'fresh' in the seat of power, having been a ruler for just under a decade. I remember when I was young my mother sat down with me to explain the war. She told me about the little people we were in conflict with; beings so beneath us that they did not garner personhood. That is how it has always been, really. I never had a reason to question it. It was natural for you to be at our mercy."


She stops once she has compeleted a full circle around her desk, returning to where she started. Her gaze falls on me once more and she holds out her hands, palms aimed at me.


"There is blood on my hands, enough to stain them entirely red many times over. You might not believe me, but I have no interest in spilling more blood. I do not enjoy violence, but it continues to be necessary. What will I say to the fallen when I meet again in the next life?"


"I understand that feeling all too well. A responsibility to continue the fighting in the name of justice. Such a responsibility often feels more like a curse. When I was elected into office, there was pressure to turn the tides of war. It did not matter how, it just needed to be effective. It was the righteous thing to do. That took the form of a cruel weapon."


I watch her body lower into her seat. Seeing someone so enormous moving so quickly is unsettling. I become tense, anticipating another phyisical threat. She does leans forward, but maintains a comfortable distance this time.


"Perhaps we inherited this war? In my case, my mother had me swear to take care of our nation. I know for a fact that she wanted your kind wiped out. She was never shy about expressing that. As for me, well, I simply continue her will. I kill those who kill us."


The two of us share a moment of silence. I suppose it could also be called a moment of understanding. It is clear that we both assumed too much about the other. Despite her arrogance, she is a fellow leader. One that cares for her people, as I do mine.


"Perhaps we are more similar than either of us realized?"


As soon as I utter the words, her expression becomes bothered. She glares at me like before, and I fear I might have set back our progress. I should have realized that would offend her. Thankfully, she does not express her feelings through action. Instead, she cocks her head to one side and replies with a question.


"And what makes you think that? I have nothing in common with a Lilliputian. Nor a commoner, for that matter."


I consider my next words carefully. I could bring her attention to our biology; how Lillis and Brobs possess virtually identical DNA. Apart from their heightened senses and...the obvious size difference...we are the same. This is a scientific fact. No, I feel that would do nothing to convince a royal, let alone one so proud. There must be something more basic.


"I believe you do. You and I are leaders. We shoulder burdens very few outside this room could ever understand. Would you disagree?"


I recoil as one of her hands emerges from somewhere beneath the desk. It flies in my direction, changing course at the last second. It comes to rest to the right of me, landing with a boom. It is easily the size of my estate. She taps a finger against the surface, causing light tremors beneath my feet. She is growing impatient with me as I try to explain my reasoning. I should make haste.


"You have been Queen longer than I have been President. In all likelihood, you will continue to be Queen long after my term has ended. Though, that period may not be long, given the state of war. I estimate that both sides will wipe each other out by the end of the year. I have already lost many friends to this war. I would not like to lose any more. Tell me. Alyssa, has this endless conflict taken anyone dear to you?"


Her finger then stops tapping. She looks away for a moment, then back at me.


"It has not, Leon. At least, not yet. My friends and family have never been on the battlefield. However, some of them have fallen ill with your virus. They are fighting for their lives as we speak."


"That is all the more reason to resolve this as quickly as possible. You asked me what it is I want in return for the cure. What I want from you is not something that can be 'given', in the literal sense. I would gladly hand the cure over if it were not the only leverage I have. If I did that, what guarantee would I have that you would not kill me where I stand? It would be so easy for you, as you so clearly demonstrated for me. Furthermore, what would stop you from wiping out the rest of my people?"


She leans back, sitting up in her chair. I can tell by the look on her face that she understands where I am coming from, on some level. Judging by her calm demeanor, I do not think she is going to be hostile anymore.


"I see. What you are asking for is trust. I had expected a long list of ridiculous demands."


"That would be pointless. Nothing is as valuable as trust."


She pauses briefly to contemplate what I am saying.


"You are looking beyond this war. You wish to build a relationship with us."


"Is that so wrong?"


A smirk begins to form at the corner of her mouth. Her eyeslids droop as she looks me over.


"I must admit that I find you interesting. Perhaps we would have been friends, in another life? That is, assuming your body was a tad larger."


"Perhaps. While it is far too late to become friends, that is no reason for us to remain enemies. All I ask is that you convince me. I want to believe that the war truly will end once I relinquish this cure."


I pull out a small storage device from my pocket and hold it up for her.


"It is indeed the real cure. I know better than to try to decieve you. All other copies were destroyed. Several virologists manufactured it, so no one person could reproduce it on their own."


She stares at me with furrowed brows. I can tell she wants nothing more than to snatch it from me. I am sure she could, but I have a feeling she will not. She purses her lips, lost in thought. She appears to be contemplating. I grant her all the time she needs. I am aware that my request is not an easy one to fulfill. I only hope that she can think of something that will satisfy both of us.


"I wonder if our people can peacefully coexist? Your race is so small; so small that you are little more than dust to us. A careless sigh on my part would send you off the desk, into oblivion. The power of a careless action, lacking any malicious intent, would be so harmful."


The hand on the desk lifts up and she extends a finger. She brings it down in front of me, with her fingernail touching down just a few meters away.


"I am interested in finding out together. Climb onto my finger. Let us talk face to face."


My every instinct screams at me to remain on the ground. The only time our races have ever come into physical contact is in the instant before their boots hit the ground. This cannot be safe. I know this, and yet, I find myself taking a step forward. I take a deep breath to calm my nerves and approach. My eyes are fixed on her finger. It is easily as tall as a tower. I follow it to her hand, and then her arm, and to her shoulder, where it connects to the rest of her massive form. I cannot help but wonder how many hours it would take to hike up its length.


I step onto her nail, a wide, manicured plain of red polish that stretches out in every direction. There are no imperfections or chips, a clear sign of meticulous care. I hike up to the middle of it, which I believe will be safest. All the while, her eyes track me from on high. Once she confirms that I am in place, she begins to raise me up. I find myself unable to remain standing as I ascend, finding stability in a kneeling position, bracing myself with my hands. This only lasts for a few seconds, after which I am able to stand upright again. 


Looking out into the distance, I see her face. It is impossibly big from this position. I had not paid much attention to her face, perhaps because I could not see it so well from far away. Her features are striking. Such is the majesty of a Queen. 


Her face continues to grow as she brings her finger closer, before finally stopping. Her finger hovers there, level with her nose. I feel the intensity of her gaze, which is somehow different than before. I do not dare approach any edge, as I know a fall from this height would be deadly. I only hope that she can keep her finger still.


"There we are. You cannot say I am looking down on you now. I appreciate your willingness to cooperate with this. Now then, shall we continue?"

End Notes:

Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know what you think. 

You can read the next chapter early on my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=79288680

Chapter 4 by GTS33
Author's Notes:

Chapter 4/4

POV: Alyssa

----------

I watched as Leon climbed up my fingernail. It took him some time, which is sort of cute in its own right. To think, he is so tiny that my fingernail alone is something to be climbed. It really does put things in perspective. I tried my best not to make any abrupt movements for his sake. Once he was in place, I lifted my finger from the desk. 


Keeping myself calm and steady required a conscious effort. I raised him up slowly, bending my finger ever so slightly in the process to maintain a level ground for him to stand on. I was careful not to jostle the tiny man around. Any shaking or tilting could have caused him to fall. Thankfully, as my hand got closer to my face, the less dangerous a potential fall became, since my body is a much safer place to fall onto than my desk. That being said, I prefer to avoid having to search for him on my person.


Eventually, my finger reaches its destination, hovering in from of my face, level with my nose. 


"I am willing to entertain your whims, in the interest of peace. Being carried is not something I have ever done, at least while exposed like this. I cannot say I am very fond of it. Though, now I have the benefit of being able to look you in the eye."


I let out a small chuckle, leaning to rest my chin on my free hand. 


"This is a first for me as well. I have never held one of your kind before. You are lighter than I expected. I mean, you are not even as big as a crumb, but it is still surprising. But I digress. I believe it is only fair for you to be at eye-level with me. You are the only Lilli I have ever acknowledged."


"The first of many, I would hope."


"We will see."


He chuckles. It surprises me that he would laugh in a situation like this, being literally in the hand of his greatest enemy. His focus remains on the conversation, unconcerned with what I could do to him. I had assumed the cure was something locked away in his memory. Rather, it is an item; one that could be taken by force, and quite easily at that. If I were in his position, I could never act so lax. 


"Do you find something amusing?"


I ask with a look of slight annoyance.


"I suppose I do. When I had agreed to meet with my mortal enemy, I had expected someone very different."


"Oh? And what exactly did you expect?"


"Someone bloodthirsty, bent on destruction. A true enemy of peace. In other words, a monster. I was shocked when I encountered a person."


"I could have you imprisoned for a comment like that."


"You asked me a question. I am only responding honestly."


I feel my smirk return at hearing his words. He is forthright, even in my presence. The vast majority of my subjects are incapable of that, and none of them are tiny enough to fit atop my fingernail. I like it. Dare I say, I might even respect him for it.


"While we are being honest, I should tell you that you are not what I expected either. You are strong. That is not a quality I ever dreamed I would associate with one of your kind."


"That is high praise, coming from you."


"Indeed."


I look away for a moment, thinking. Upon looking back at him, I find myself eager to ask him a question.


"Tell me. Leon, do you really think that our nations could coexist? That we are fundamentally compatible?"


He takes a moment to think. He is usually so quick to respond that I find it surprising. My question must have caught him off guard.


"I cannot claim to know what is within the realm of possibility between nations, but I can speak for us two. Despite our differences, we have managed to avoid violence after spending this time together. I would go as far as to say we have gained an understanding."


"I find that to be an apt description."


"I believe we can lead by example. Surely your subjects will want to follow in your lead. As will my citizens, in all likelihood."


"We will not know until we try. I am willing, if it will benefit my people."


"With your strength and our knowledge, I do not imagine a single force that could stop us."


"Such big words from someone so small."


"And such little faith from someone so big."


The two of us are silent for a time. I feel what was left of my hostility leaving me. To think that this man, this barely-noticeable Lilliputian, was able to bring my kingdom to its knees. And then to find common ground with its Queen. I am still in disbelief. I had previously been concerned with the inconvenience of letting him fall. Now I am worried for his wellbeing. I dare not drop this one.


To that end, I twist my hand around. I bend my finger, watching the tiny dot slip from my nail. He falls a short distance into my palm, safe from any edges. I see that he is unharmed, apart from having experienced a great shock.


"Why did you do that?"


"A test, nothing more. Are you well?"


"I am, yes. I hope you will tell me before you go ahead with your next test."


"That will be all for now. I have learned much from this. I hope the same is true for you."


I move my hand away from my face and lower it down to the table. I lay it flat, keeping it still so that he may return to the desk.


"It was an interesting experience. One of many things I did not expect when I departed from Lilliputia."


Leon makes his way across my palm, to my fingers. It takes him some time, but I am a patient woman. Again, I remain perfectly still for his sake. Eventually, he steps off my finger and I pull my hand away.


Just after, I hear a knock on my office door, even though I thought I told everyone I was not to be interrupted? It cannot be anyone but Maria. She is the only one I allow to interrupt me during meetings.


"Is that you, Maria? You may enter."


The door opens and in walks Maria, carrying a tray. There is a cup of tea atop it, which she brings over to me. It is a special blend, one that I tend to soothe my throat after a lot of talking.


"My Lady, I thought you might be thirsty."


"I am. Thank you, Maria."


She nods and begins to move the cup to the desk. She does not notice where Leon is standing, and it occurs to me that she might place it on top of him.


"Maria, be careful!"


My sudden outburst startles her, causing her to drop the cup. It falls onto the desk, spilling its contents all over it. Without thinking, I reach out and cup my right hand over Leon. I wince in pain as the piping hot liquid scalds my skin. This sends Maria into a panic.


"Your Majesty, I am so sorry! Forgive me! I will bring you ice water right away!"


She darts out of the room in a hurry, leaving me alone with Leon once more. I slowly remove my hand, making sure not to let any of the tea flow toward him as I do. I squint my eyes, confirming that he is unharmed. As relief washes over me, I feel the pain in my hand double. I try to flex my fingers, but that only make it hurt more.


"Alyssa, you...protected me."


"Think nothing of it."


Maria returns with a bucket of ice water and three of the royal doctors. Tears are pouring down her face as she sobs. I have her give me the bucket and wave the four of them away.


"I am alright. Your Queen is not as frail as you would think. Go on, now."


They leave without a word. Maria looks especially guilty, even though I know it was an accident. I do not blame her. We will have a talk after this meeting is over. There are bigger things to worry about than some silly burns. I turn my attention back to Leon, who has been silent throughout the ordeal. 


"I apologize for my servant's carelessness. She should have seen you."


I notice that Leon is staring at my hand. His expression is grim. I worry that I might have upset him. He asked me to make him trust me, and I nearly drowned him in a sea of near-boiling water. This will surely set us back. I place my hand into the bucket and groan in relief as well as frustration.


I close my eyes and curse my luck. We were so close. 


"Alyssa, I would like you to have the cure."


Upon hearing him say that, my eyes snap open. I look at him in disbelief. His arm is extended toward me, the cure in his hand. I reach with my uninjured hand toward him, extending a finger to collect it. To my surprise, he takes the tiny object and presses it into my skin. It occurs to me that it is not a storage device, but rather a syringe.


"I have administered the cure. As we speak, it proliferates through your bloodstream. There is no way that anyone can ever take it from you now. Should you provide your doctors with a blood sample, they will be able to replicate it for all of your sick."


As he explains this, I listen on with rapt attention. I cannot believe what I am hearing. I am so confused.


"You just surrendered your only leverage. Does this mean that you trust me? I could kill you and have my soldiers resume their attack without consequence."


"You could. However, I trust that you will not."


"Why? Because I shielded you from the spill? Surely that was not enough to convince you?"


"It was more than enough."


I scowl at him, partially because I am growing irritated with his vagueness, but mostly from the pain.


"Explain yourself."


"You willingly harmed yourself to protect my life. In your own words, a 'speck' and a 'bug'. I have never known anyone to do that for a being so beneath them. Your actions proved to me that you see me as a person, perhaps even an equal. You, the Queen of Brobdingnag."


Though I know it is irrelevant now that I have the cure, I cannot abandon the topic just yet.


"My actions could have been motivated by selfish reasons. Perhaps I was protecting the cure? Or better yet, perhaps it was a charade that Maria was privy to?"


"I considered that. Though, I recognize sincerity when I hear it. The concern in your tone was not something that could be faked."


I huff in frustration. I am not sure why. Something about the situation does not sit right with me.


"How am I to know that what you injected me with is indeed the cure?"


"I suppose you cannot know for certain until your doctors confirm it. Now I would like to ask you to trust me."


My eyes remain fixed on the tiny man. I raise my finger, looking for the spot where he poked me. I cannot see it, unsurprisingly. His request of me is fair. It will take me some time to come to terms with acknowledging him as an 'equal', but I will have to get used to that. 


"I do."


"I suppose there is only one thing left to do now. Shall we finally end this war?"


I nod with a warm smile. I begin to lift my hand to shake his, but put it down again once I remember it would be impossible. 


"It is past time. Never again will a Brobdingnagian harm a Lilliputian. Not while I live."


"Nor will a Lilliputian ever harm a Brobdingnagian. I have no doubt the next President will be eager to avoid conflict too. I am pleased to have come to an agreement that satisfies us both."


"As am I."


"Then this meeting has come to an end. Thank you, Alyssa."


"The pleasure is all mine, Leon. I will have Maria bring your transport back here. I am certain she will be extra careful with it."


I press a button under my desk to call for her. A minute later, she returns with a tiny jet in hand. With shaky fingers, she places it on my desk. I see a tiny stairway extend from it, allowing Leon to board. Maria wait patiently for it to retract, signaling that it he is inside. On a whim, I gesture for her to leave.


"I will take care of the rest, Maria. You may go. Oh, and my hand is feeling much better now. Thank you for acting so quickly."


"Anything for you, My lady."


She bows to me before promptly exiting the room.


I take my hand out of the ice water and dry it with a towel she left. I use that same hand to pick up the aircraft, placing it into my other. 


"I will see you out. It is the least I can do."


I carry him and his attendants through the halls of the palace, passing several of my servants along the way. I hear their quiet gasps when they see what I am holding. Perhaps the smirk on my face has spoiled the good news? If not, I am sure they will be elated when they learn that the fighting is finally over.


I make my way to the entrance, descending the steps until I am about halfway down. I stop, bringing the plane up to my face. I turn my hand so that I can look through the little windows until I locate Leon.


"Have a safe journey, Mr. President. I expect we will speak again soon."


"I look forward to it. Until then, Your Majesty."


I crouch down and place the aircraft on the ground. Stepping back to give them space, I watch it begin moving, picking up speed until it takes off. It soars higher and higher, ascending until it is roughly eye level with me again, before going even higher. I give them a wave as they fly away, finally disappearing from my view.


The future is looking bright.

End Notes:

I hope you enjoyed this short story. The concept of Lilli vs Brob is always so one-sided that I wanted to explore what would happen if it wasn't. I'm very satisfied with the result. What did you think? Please leave me a review with your thoughts!


Mutually Assured is the second of many short stories I plan to write this year. Every so often I provide my patrons with story prompts and have them vote on which they like the most. The winner gets turned into a complete story. If you'd like to have a say in what I write next, or just support me in general, check out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=79288680

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