Where did the pain end and I begin…? I asked myself as blood dripped from my face, chest, back, and thighs. I watched as he chose a different knife to use on me. I wanted to scream, but I could not. I did not want to give him the satisfaction of making me cry.
“You are stronger than before, meaning you will be more to break.” He tossed over his shoulder.
I was tied up, my arms outstretched to the side, my legs slightly spread apart. I was completely naked, allowing his knives access to every part of my body. Shallow cuts mixed with deep bleeding wounds all over my body. He was careful not to get near anything that would cause me to bleed out.
My eyes widened as he grabbed his favorite cat-of-nine-tails, each tail was a long piece of leather with silver spikes at the end. He moved to behind me, using the leather to send shivers up my spine. He liked to play with way, using your body against you before sending it to hell with pain. He ran his hand around my backside, feeling the firmness of the muscles I built being the Queen’s Guard.
He called over my shoulder to another slave, “Bring her in.” I looked up to see Silvia standing there, her hand covering her mouth. He reached around, grasping at my breasts, one hand still carrying the cat-of-nine-tails, the metal glancing off the skin of my stomach. “Bring her around here.” He commanded the second slave, who dragged Silvia to my backside. I heard her gasp when she saw the cuts and scars combined.
I heard him speak to her softly, “Now, hit her with the whip. Every time you hesitate, every time you miss, I will hit her with my spiked tail.”
I heard him crack the whip behind me before rustling of forcing it onto her. “Silvia…” I groaned. “Just like with the horses… Crack it just as you would to the air to get horses to move. You just have to hit my skin with the tip of it for him to be satisfied.”
I cried out when I felt the bite of the metal spikes in my back, “Do not coach her. Now snap the whip!” He yelled at her. I heard her cry as she snapped it just like I suggested. The tip of the leather hit my should, a deep cut bleeding down my back. “Again!” The tip hit my lower back. “Again!” This time just above my tailbone. “Again!” I heard the whoosh as she missed.
“Forgive me! I did not mean to miss!” She cried out before I heard the tails whistle through the air. The spikes dug into my skin, forced me to scream out in absolute pain. Knives I could push myself away from in terms of pain, but the tails were a different story.
“Finally! I get to hear your pain! You have been holding out on me!” He pressed the spikes into my back, before ripping them out. The cold air hit the bloody trails and holes to cause more pain. I knew I would only be able to take another hit from the tails before I threw up in pain, then a third hit for unconsciousness to take me.
“Whip her again!” Silvia was careful and placed her hit away from the tails holes. “No!” I heard him slap her and her fall to the ground. “You are useless! Worthless! You are doing this wrong! I should send you to the Games!”
The tails whistled through the air, catching me lower on the back than before. This was precisely placed so that the pain would not overlap. I screamed out again, then, unable to stop myself, I threw up bile from the pain emanating from my back. I waited for the whistle of the third time for the sweet release of unconsciousness, but it never came. I opened my eyes a little to see the Merchant undressing a shaking Silvia.
“No!” I screamed out to him. “She does not deserve this!”
He smiled at me as his hands roamed over her body, “Are you talking about talking her place?”
I knew this game he played and knew what he really wanted. “Yes.” I exhaled through the pain. “I am willing to take her place. Just let her go…” I begged, hoping that if there was any shred of humanity in him that he would leave her alone.
He flung her away from him, “Take her away.” He told the slave who was watching.
He walked over to me, untying my wrists from his torture contraption, “If you wanted me, I could have avoided all of this.” He pulled me into him, holding my weakened body up. He walked me over to his bed, flinging me, chest down,onto the blood red sheets.
He started to undress himself, as another slave burst through the doors, “Master, the King is here!”
The Merchant groaned in annoyance. He slapped my backside hard enough to leave a pink handprint. “What does he want?” He asked the slave nonchalantly, as he hit me with his other hand. I gripped the sheets to block the stinging pain from forcing me to call out.
“He says that he was told that you killed his son. He has the Queen here too!” The slave told him quickly.
“Who could have told him?!” He leaned forward onto my back and grabbed my throat. I felt him out pressure on my arteries as he took his anger out on me.
“It was that slave you sent to the Games. The male one you caught with her.” The slave pointed to me.
Garrett…? I do not know how much time has passed since my days, weeks, months bled together, almost literally some days.
“Why would he believe him?” The Merchant used my neck to pull me up, keeping a tight grip on my throat.
“I do not know, Master. But the King is impatiently waiting.” The slave urged as I started to feel my body go limp.
The Merchant dropped me onto the bed, and I coughed with the rush of air hitting my lungs. “Get her some clothes.” The slave bowed out, before the Merchant leaned in close to me, “You are about to earn your Queen’s life. Kill the King and I will release your Queen and the girl.”
I knew I could not trust him, but I nodded in agreement. “How?” I asked through burning vocal cords.
The slave returned with a long see through red dress and black boots. I recognized my boots and knew what he wanted. The slave left immediately after dropping the pile of cloth and shoes on the bed and ground. “If you fail me, I WILL kill your Queen and your little girl. A slave will come collect you, so you better be ready.”
He flounced out of the room, leaving me alone. I wanted to escape, but I could not without Silvia and my Queen. I put on the dress and boots. My dagger was stuffed into the side of the shoe. The dress showed every bleeding cut, every scar, and every bit of my flesh. I sent another prayer to Kitarr, hoping this one would finally be answered.
I waited for the door to knock, before answering it. The slave stared at me, wondering how I was still on my feet. I was curious as well, but I pushed everything inside, the pain, the hatred, and the hope to see my Queen again. I followed the slave to the ‘throne’ room, where the Merchant liked to play royalty. The King sat uncomfortably in front of the Merchant. The Merchant waved me over, pulling me into his lap. The King was close enough to see the blood and flesh but did not know how to react to it.
“So, this beauty is the Queen’s Guard.” The King smiled once he gathered himself. “Too bad her face is scarred. She would have made a beautiful mistress, with her hips, she could even carry an heir.”
“That she could, your Highness. She is actually my most trusted slave, and she knows how to take care of my guests. Her face might be scarred, but in the dark, women all look the same.” He pet my stomach through the cloth,
I could see the envy from the King as plain as day. Why would the King care about a mistress if he is here because his son is dead? I wanted to ask, but knew better.
“How about we trade for the night? My beautiful Guard for the Queen? I mean, the Queen is prim and proper, I could take her into my special room to help her ease up.” He laughed, the the King joined in. The look of terror was painted on my face at the thought of my Queen being in the Merchant’s torture chamber. He dug his nails into my thigh, warning me against doing anything. Even though he was laughing, the smile did not reach his eyes, meaning this was a game to him.
“If his majesty approves,” He dug his nails in harder, breaking the skin on my thighs through the sheer dress, “I could show him how a proper slave works.” The Merchant smiled, it actually reaching his eyes this time. He pat me on the thigh where his nails dug in.
“I would certainly approve.” He snapped his fingers and two slaves brought in a bound woman. Without her finery, I would still recognize my Queen, her blue eyes were dull with pain, but not the same pain as what the Merchant has her in for. She saw me, and I saw the shock shake through her. Good thing she was being held up, or she would have fallen to the ground.
She wore a black dress much like mine, but hers was not sheer. “You should not be rude to our hosts.” The King told her sternly.
She winced at the harshness of his voice, and I wondered he had done to her. She walked over to us, her bare feet stepping lightly on the floor. She curtsied to the Merchant, her blue eyes flaming with hatred. “My Lord…”
“Nice to see a bitch taken down a peg by their rightful Masters.” The King smiled to us all.
“Take him to our guest quarters and show him what a good slave can do.” The Merchant pushed me into the King. I stumbled into him, but he caught me, his eyes lighting up with interest.
“Please follow me, your majesty.” I spoke softly to him, grabbing his hand and leading him towards a room. I had to believe my Queen would be safe, that the Merchant would not hurt her, that the sun would never rise the next day with wounds on her skin.
I closed the door behind us, as the King stepped into the room. “Your majesty, why are you here? He killed your son, and the only thing I see in your eyes is lust.”
The King grabbed my hands and sat me on the bed with him, “The Merchant has already told me that you are the one who killed him. So, as your punishment, instead of killing you or sending you to the Games, the Merchant has agreed for me to use you as my mistress to get a new heir.”
I took my hands from his and stood up, “I did NOT kill your son. I tried to leave him with the Dragons, who under the command of the Merchant had him killed in front of me.”
The King grabbed my wrist and used the momentum of him getting up to whip me into the bed. “Why should I believe the words of a slave, when the man I trust says that you did it? You and that male slave in the Games killed my son, and I WILL have retribution!” He slapped me down across the face. He put his hands around my throat, choking me. “I wanted your death, or at least for you to be put into the Games, but the Merchant says you are his pet.” His hands squeezed harder around my neck. I tried to pry his hands away, but his grip was too strong.
I remembered the dagger in my shoe as his grip threatened to crush my windpipe. I grabbed it from the side of my shoe and stabbed him in the neck. He let me go, blood spurting from the wound. I grabbed the dagger and pulled it from his neck. I wiped the blade on his clothes as I watched him die. The man that started a war by killing my Queen’s parents, who wanted to destroy my kingdom.
I could not stop myself from plunging the dagger into his chest, ripping it out, then attacking him again. I did not hear the door open, as the Merchant stepped into the room with Silvia and my Queen. The looks on their faces stopped me from plunging the dagger into him again. I held onto the hilt and stepped over the body of the King. I sprinted to stab the Merchant in the chest, but the King’s guards surrounded me, stopping me.
“She killed the King!” The Merchant smiled, as his trap was sprung. He pushed Silvia and my Queen into the circle of guards. “Take them all to the Games as punishment!” He shouted, as I looked to my Queen and Silvia. They looked terrified, but I was the Guard.
“These two women had nothing to do with this! Let them leave safely.” The guards smiled evilly around us, as it dawned on me that they knew the truth. They were paid by the Merchant, so none would go against his word.
“Samarra, what are we going to do?” Silvia asked quietly.
“We are going to let them take us, and I will find a way to get you guys out of here.” I mumbled under my breath, just loud enough for them to hear.
“What about you?” My Queen asked.
I looked over to the Merchant, “I am going to kill him, even if it kills me too.”