Author's note: If you have any comments and impressions, please feel free to write them, I love hearing from my readers :) This story features a female submissive, focuses on humiliation and degradation, and features a strong female protagonist who also enjoys being sexually submissive. The plot explores the theme of being both a BDSM submissive and a strong woman, and the complex, sometimes seemingly contradictory nature of this dynamic, and how that dynamic operates in a 19th century setting. If that is not your thing or if you're offended by such elements, it might be better to read another story. Thanks for your understanding.

Kate woke up, a warm bed below her and a warmer even blanket covering her. Behind the large glass wall separating the room from the balcony, she saw the estate still engulfed in night, but some golden light was starting to appear. Morning was near. She looked right next to her. 001 was still sleeping. 001, or James, as she had started calling him since yesterday. And what a strange day it had been.

The British Empire had sent them to this vacation estate as diplomats to discuss the creation of a Siberian trading post. Their real motives were far more secret: they were agents of the Secret Intelligence Services, and their mission was to spy on Aleksander Sokolov, the diplomat sent by the Russian Empire to discuss said trading post. Previous investigations showed that Sokolov was likely selling weapons to enemies of Britain. 001 and 002 would use the opportunity of these trade negotiations, disguised as diplomats, to extract information concerning Sokolov.

But then, the day before, things had taken an unexpected turn. The SIS's intelligence branch had missed an important element concerning the vacation estate 001 and 002 had been sent to: that estate was a Masonic Lodge. Most people conjured all sorts of fantasies and tales about the Freemasons—how they secretly controlled the world and had a hand in every government around the world. As spies of the world's most powerful state, 001 and 002 well knew that Freemasons were nothing more than a glorified male social club, only one with a peculiar emphasis on mysticism and symbolism.

This specific Masonic Lodge, however, was peculiar in its rules concerning women. All other lodges across the world simply refused women's entry. This one handled things differently: women were allowed, but only when accepting a status of submission. Total nudity was compulsory, and so was an obedient attitude centered on discipline, submission, hierarchy-based language... and some rope thrown into the mix.

In other words... all the things that had made Kate fantasize for years in the depths of her privacy. For years, she would close her eyes and play out scenes of her kneeling, of being given orders, of being disciplined and humiliated... And now it had all appeared in front of her—a wish she never knew she had come true. Being able to take part in the mission was one of the reasons for her accepting these demeaning rules, of course, but she couldn't lie to herself about the main reason. Had she not harbored this sexual liking for submission, she would have never said yes. The lodge's rules were sexist, there was no question about that. They were sexist, chauvinistic rules conjured up by chauvinistic men who would look down on her—one of which HAD looked down on her, literally and figuratively, when she had knelt, nude, before that Vladimir fellow. But they also matched her most intense sexual desires.

The dilemma was more than bothersome, it was maddening. Was it wrong to accept these rules? Did she have to feel ashamed? For the next days, she would be enjoying her fantasies come true—wallowing in the bliss of that which gave her excitement and enjoyment. But that which gave her excitement and enjoyment came from rules that contradicted everything she stood for. The lodge's rules were the way they were because these Freemasons looked down on women. Was it wrong to give in to those rules because her fetishes matched them? Her view of the world didn't match that of these men: she knew she was at least their equal as a woman, and as Kate Arundel the secret agent, she was smarter, more cunning, stronger and more able than most of them, even that hunter Vladimir.

Her principles did not match the lodge's view of women, but her fetishes matched its tangible rules. She knew she was not inferior to the men, but she enjoyed the thought of ropes around her wrists, of her bare body exposed to clothed men, of them dominating her and humiliating her. Bloody hell, why did she have to possess THESE sexual inclinations? Why was her sexual self the direct opposite of who she was in everyday life? Still... for now, she would go along with those rules. For now, she wanted to experience their fun and excitement. Pondering on whether doing so was problematic could come later.

She looked at James, sleeping next to her. His reddish-brown curls fell all over his face, messy and wild. The sight of him made her sigh. Bloody hell, he was beautiful... Her sigh woke him up, and he opened his pale gray eyes to look at her. Gray was a sad, lifeless color, but not when it came to James' eyes. They had seen the entire world together. At his side, Kate had seen the buildings of Budapest, the night life of Paris, the landscapes of Latin America and the blue water of the Mediterranean. And at each of these beautiful sights, she would always end up looking at James and his eyes instead.

"Good morning," he whispered in that rugged Scottish accent and rugged voice.

"Good morning," she whispered too.

It was surreal... They had slept in the same bed. During their missions, they would often sleep in the same room, often on the same floor, but never like that. Never in the same bed. Kate took off the blanket from over her, baring her naked body. She stretched her arms and arched her back, but it wasn't a morning stretch; it was her putting on a show for him, turning her body beautiful and sensual for him to look at. She saw how his eyes leered at her breasts, and she giggled.

"You're just gonna look?" she said teasingly. "Not very gentlemanly."

"Don't blame a mortal for looking at Venus."

Oh, the way he said that... all suave and smooth, like his smile... it almost sent a shiver trough her body. She took on a sensual pose, her back arched, gently running her fingers across her breasts. He didn't need to touch her: his grey eyes did. They caressed her body like hands would. Everywhere his eyes went, they caused a shiver on her bare flesh; on her legs, on her breasts, on her neck and on her arms. Most men needed to touch in order to caress. James could do it just with his eyes. She turned to lie on her belly with her feet up. With a mischievous smile, she gestured with her eyes towards her arse.

"You're perfect," he said, looking at her shapely bottom.

She giggled, all girly and half-embarrassed. Kate was still not used to this. They had been teammates for three years. Now she was showing off her bare body to him. James had always been virile, and she had always been feminine, but never delicate. She did have a delicate side, but spying around the world in the name of Queen Victoria gave little opportunity for expressing this side of her.

"It's funny seeing you like this," James said, verbalizing these very thoughts she was having. "I'm used to 002 Kate, the one who can slaughter an entire warehouse of mercenaries."

"People have layers, James. I've seen you bash men's heads into a pulp, and then yesterday, you looked all scared and shy about spanking me. I can be a bloody ruthless agent in the morning and a girly girl in the afternoon. One doesn't take away from the other." A long and deep yawn emerged from her throat. "Blimey, this bed is good. I think I overslept. The bags under my eyes must he horrible, mustn't they?"

It was one thing she hated about James: he could wake up in the morning and look fresh as a ripe fruit, whilst she always looked like an Egyptian mummy.

"They are, to be honest," he murmured with a teasing smile. "You look a little dead."

"Oh, you bastard!" she laughed embarrassingly. Now she couldn't help but hide her face with her hands.

"You asked me..."

"I didn't need you to be THAT honest."

He tried taking her wrists gently and putting them away from her face, but when she resisted, he pulled hard and held them forcefully. "Forcefully." While not as physically strong as him, she could still hold her own for a minute or two when they arm wrestled. Kate was letting James hold her wrists like that. A warm feeling washed over her body as James held her hands dominantly. He had only been doing this manhandling stuff for a day, and she was already in love with it.

"You're beautiful when you look tired," he whispered. Kate scoffed at that, but internally, she couldn't help but believe him, for his tone seemed sincere.

She did a little gasp. "Speaking of that..."

Kate rose from the bed and walked to her suitcase. She opened it and produced her makeup pouch. "You asked me yesterday how I'd look with makeup. I want to show you," she said, all sparky.

She was still groggy from sleep, so a full face wasn't the most enticing option, as grogginess made her lazy—not that she could be blamed, given how comfortable the bed was. She forwent the contouring and settled on some eyeliner and purple-matte lipstick. She considered adding a little eye shadow, but the only one she had left was of a pink hue, and it often made her eyes look sickly, given her pale tone.

When it came to makeup, Kate always lamented living in her time. In her mother and grandmothers' times, cosmetics were perfectly acceptable for women to wear, even copiously so—one only needed look at Queen Elizabeth to see how makeup had been treated by British women in times past. Ever since the 1840's, however, moods had shifted towards a condemnation of it, and Queen Victoria and the Church prominently spoke out against it. It was a reality Kate lamented greatly. Perhaps it was improper for a secret agent to wear it; perhaps it did not fit a trained assassin to make herself pretty and enjoy it... But Kate enjoyed it nonetheless.

"This is taking some time," James complained jokingly.

"Of course it does, I don't want to botch it."

"I won't care, you're putting it on to show me."

Kate turned to him with a stern look. "Uh-uh, mister Scotsman," she said, shaking her finger at him, "I'm putting it on for ME, because I enjoy it. It's the same reason why I'm naked. I'm not naked to make YOU happy, I'm naked because men looking at my body arouses ME."

He chuckled. "And here I thought you were so selfless."

"Hah! Trust me, you're not enjoying looking at me half as much as I enjoy showing off to you." She rose up on her toes and arched her back to enhance the shape for her arse. "I'm overjoyed you like my arse. But I'm not doing this for you; I'm doing this because I enjoy it."

"Yes Ma'am, sorry Ma'am."

She giggled, but when she turned around to look at him, she found him staring at the hypnotic fireplace. "Hey! Keep looking," she said with a childish pout that barely masked her smile.

He obeyed with an amused smile, turning towards her and feasting his eyes on her bared back. She topped off her look with some mascara—a necessity for her, having been cursed with annoyingly unpronounced eyelashes—and finally walked over to James proudly. He sat on the side of the bed and looked up at her with his mouth half-open. His perfect grey eyes were gleaming next to his messy curls.

"I never told you how beautiful you are," he said.

"I didn't either," she answered, losing herself in his grey gaze. "Why don't I have eyes like yours? It's unfair, mine are just plain brown."

"Nonsense, I love your eyes."

She got closer to him until she stood between his legs. He looked up at her, sitting on the bed, like a king on his throne, all strong powerful. "What about my lips?" she asked, sitting on his lap by straddling him as her arms wrapped around his neck.

James took hold of her hips and brought her close. Now her breasts were pressed against his clothed chest, and she could feel his hardness against her cunt as the texture of his pants rubbed against it. He answered her question silently, tasting her lips with a gentle kiss.

"So you DO like me like that," she whispered.

"Of course I do."

"Well I don't know? Yesterday, you were so reluctant at seeing me naked and slapping me..."

"I didn't want to disrespect you."

"And that's why I want you to slap me." She eyed him leisurely, enjoying the utter beauty of him. Bloody hell, she was lucky.

He held her with his hands on her hips, all strong and masculine, yet at the same time so gentle and sweet. James always exuded something noble, something good and pure. It made her trust him—that and the three years they had spent fighting together. His virile presence, that manly, beast-like energy of his, it made her want to submit to his touch and to his presence, and the sweetness of him and all that innocence he sometimes had, it let her know she could submit all of her without having to fear anything.

Her stomach groaned with hunger. It was about time they had breakfast, and luckily, it was now almost 8—the hour at which the breakfast service started in one of the estate's reception rooms. Vladimir the hunter had knocked on their door the evening prior to check if they needed anything, and had informed them about the breakfast, lunch, tea and supper hours.

"Shall we go eat something?" she said, getting up.

"You're coming too? Vladimir said there's about twenty men in the estate right now..."

"Hm hm..." Her mischievous smile appeared as a shiver went through her body. "Twenty men in suits. And I'll be the only girl, completely naked, having to act obedient. Oh, how terrible..."

He chuckled and slapped her ass. "Never thought you to be such a slut."

Kate looked at his hand, wishing it would strike again. "Thank you, Sir." She put her wrists together behind her back. "Tie me up before we go downstairs. Show those Freemasons you keep your girl in her place."

James tied her hands behind her back and walked her, nude, out of their room and down to the ground floor. There was a reception room near the lobby, and from there, Kate could hear two dozen men chatting. She took a deep breath. In a moment, she would enter a room full of men in suits, completely naked and totally submissive. Twenty men would be leering at, ogling and eying her totally nude body. She felt a rush go through her.

"Ready?" James asked.

"Ready." She had to stop herself from giggling maniacally.

"And Kate..." His tone sounded solemn and gentle. She turned to him and saw how pure his gray eyes looked. "I know you don't need me to protect you. You can still break all their necks just by fighting with your legs, but... for what it's worth, if something makes you uncomfortable, if anything happens... I'm here."

Oh, she could have lost herself in those eyes of his... Kate brought her lips to his cheek and gave him a gentle peck. "Thank you, James."

Alright, the moment had come. With one hand on her arm, James walked her into the breakfast room. It was akin to a large coffeehouse, albeit twice the size of a regular one, with more than forty small round tables, each with four chairs. The place was decorated in the Parisian style, and its French influences were evident. This was no rustic, classically Russian place, but rather a stylish, classy, and modern rendition of Paris's best coffeehouses: the floor was wooden and so were the walls, all with a rich dark brown hue, and there were paintings and other decorations to be seen all around.

And in front of her, Kate could see twenty or more men, sitting around the small tables, most wearing suits, others wearing classy vests and shirts. One of them wasn't wearing a suit, but worker's clothing. It was Vladimir. The bald, rugged man rose with a smile on his face.

"Ah, Mister Cromwell," he said, "there you are! My friends," he turned to everyone, "let me introduce you to Mister Cromwell, a diplomat from the British Empire. And this beautiful creature in the nude is his colleague, Miss Urquhart."

Kate's stomach lurched with excitement as every single gaze in the room turned towards her. It overwhelmed her like a tsunami—twenty or more male eyes eying her completely naked body. She wasn't just bare, she was bare in the company of twenty clothed men, most wearing suits, and her hands were tied behind her back as James kept walking her towards Vladimir. They stopped when they reached him, and the bald, rough-looking hunter ogled Kate's naked body up and down with a satisfied smile.

"What a perfect creature, Mr. Cromwell," he commented, still using James' undercover name. "These are the most perfect breasts I've seen in a while. Say, I haven't had a good look at her arse."

Smiling, Kate turned around and lifted her wrists behind her back. She arched her back and proudly presented her bare backside to him. Her lipstick highlighted her smile and the makeup around her eyes made her eyes gleam. Vladimir sighed contently, complimenting the perfection of her beauty. It made Kate blush and look down, embarrassed both by the humiliation and Vladimir's admiration. She noticed him doing a slapping gesture.

"May I?" he asked James.

"It's her body. Ask her."

Vladimir looked at Kate. Without a moment's hesitation, she arched her back again, brought her ass out, and nodded eagerly. Vladimir gave her a good spank that echoed through the entire room. She turned back around and gave him a thankful look, since she wasn't allowed to speak unless given permission. Her stomach lurched again when she saw all the men behind him looking her up and down. Blimey... Who would have ever thought that Kate Arundel; 002; the most fearless agent in Her Majesty's service, would one day stand fully nude and tied before twenty men in a sexist males' social club? She felt an incredible rush of excitement, humiliation and arousal washing over her endlessly. It was a feeling she had never felt before, and good Lord, she loved it.

"Got an idea," Vladimir said, sitting on his table. "Usually, I take the orders and bring them to the tables, but since we've got a good girl among us... Why not let her do it?"

Kate nodded with an eager smile. James untied her hands, seeing as she would need them, and Vladimir gently whisked her hair aside with the tip of his fingers, revealing her breasts fully.

"Alright, go do your job, girl," he said, and he sent her towards the other tables with a spank.

She took a deep breath, controlling the surge of arousal and excitement through her body. As she walked towards the closest table, she made sure not to slouch or keep her hands awkwardly at her sides. Kate wanted to look sensual and beautiful—she wanted all these men to worship her as a Venus, just like James had said. As a secret agent whose craft dealt with diplomacy and interrogation, she knew all about body language, and so she used it to captivate her audience.

She threw back her shoulders, bringing all the attention to her breasts, she walked with a sensual and feminine stride, something catlike, she slowly rocked her hips left and right with every step, all the while maintaining an attitude that still exuded obedience and submission, with a shy smile on her lips and her head still mostly held downwards—not that she had to force it, as being surrounded by twenty clothed men while she was completely nude naturally brought her gestures to a submissive state.

She stopped at the first table. Four Russians sat around it; men in suits and in their forties, all classy, cigar in hand—the intellectual type. They didn't even try to render their leering of her body subtle, not that she wanted them to. Their eyes ogled every inch of her bare skin, and their clothed, powerful presences made her humiliation and degradation feel even stronger.