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Chapter 10

The servants were from the Sun Tower, looking after the children that were left behind. I noticed by their light chit chat about the kids.

“Salt?” I call out to them before they leave.

“...Chyronex,” one of the slaves turns to me before they leave, “We are not able to speak of it...”

“What, speak of what?” I ask, gently, “Any information that is well enough known should not be withheld from me as a secret.”

The three slaves that had been filling the bath obediently now share all-knowing glances. They are about to leave before one coughs abruptly and turns back.

“I forgot my bucket,” the oldest female turns and heads back into the chamber while her comrades leave. She slides up to me and holds out her hand. We clasp palms and I raise my brow curiously.

“Yes?” I ask, hope in my eyes.

“Five of the womanly Sun Priestesses still live – disguised as mortal slaves,” she whispers to me, “Salt is taken care of by them but she is being groomed for marriage to an invader when her first blood comes. She will be a wife of a man who can control her magic. She is furious. She is only 12, Chyronex. We are all hoping her blood is a far, far way off. Good night to you, priestess...”

“Kendra?” I blurt the name, a lump in my throat.

“Alive,” the slave nods at me while tears bubble up in the corners of my eyes.

“Thank you...?” I whisper.

“Ina,” Ina smiles and I nod to her in thanks as she leaves.

But as Ina turns to the door, a shadow appears in her path – and then a tall figure steps forward in the doorway still wearing his fancy purple suit that I chose for him.

I still have tears in my eyes and Zarcar first takes note of my state, before he notices the slow leaving slave.

“What-” Zarcar begins to question but I jump to my feet, my breasts free and exposed to him but not that I cared as I push Ina on the small of her back, hurrying her out of the room as I blurt in a rush, “Ina, you always spoil me with such compliments when you see me,” I murmur nonsense, “Your welcome company is not needed now, I am well...” I falter in my speech and glance up at Zarcar as I usher her past him, “...looked after,” I breeze the last two words out of my mouth as she scurries off and Zarcar narrows his eyes.

He is suspicious. Not good.

“What was said?” Zarcar is stern as he asks this. I turn from him and make a very quick, impulsive decision.

I grab the top of my purple skirt, I pull it down and bend over.

A blush creeps up my neck but my choice is well made and my hands are steady.

I would not allow Zarcar to punish Ina if he decided to find out what information she passed onto me.

He would never know.

I would not allow him to question me further.

Besides, I’m sure my exposed naked backside would be distraction enough.

“Oh, the air is so smooth,” I whisper as I feel the hair on the nape of my neck, rise as his eyes boldly run over my naked body, as my back is still turned to him. I lean up and take a step for the bath, grabbing the rim of it as I sigh at the water, “The water... always so warm and inviting. I love bathing so much, Zarcar. If you want to know me better, just take me swimming or something alike,” I ramble as the dead silence from Zarcar becomes thick in the air. I lift one leg and slip my toe, my ankle and then my calf into the water.

As my leg is hitched up, I slowly look over my shoulder to see Zarcar has taken a quiet step forward. That is all. He leaves a few feet between us... but he was still too close for comfort.

Now that I have successfully distracted Zarcar’s thoughts, I quickly realise the distraction was a little too well done on my part. I feel vulnerable as his eyes rake over me with such lust, such boldness... so I let some other specific words pass my lips.

“So, were you taking a piss while they prepared this for me?” I ask him, raising a brow, “Oh, you even stare like a pig, don’t you? Just like you stink and act like one... hungry... and dirty... and loud – do you always yell and squawk when you don’t get your own way?” I hope my words are provocative and challenging enough as I finally step my way into the bath, turning to him and lowering myself down in slow motion. I slip beneath the water while my silver eyes hold his black orbs, like empty pits... hungry for something.

Zarcar’s lip curls and he almost takes a step toward me, but he hesitates – catching himself. He shuts his lips and tilts his head, reading my smug little smile too well.

“...what did Ina say to you?” Zarcar drawls and my heart drops into my stomach.

I lose my brief smirk and Zarcar’s eyes brighten with victory.

“You know her well?” I ask, a dead feeling in my soul.

Please do not ask the right questions. Please. I beg him and fate silently.

“I take it upon me to learn names and remember them, slave or otherwise,” Zarcar looks pointedly at me, especially with that straight focus as he says the word slave.

“What we spoke of is none of your moon forsaken business,” I almost snarl it but remember to keep my tone petite at the end. I lift my chin and nod to the bed, “Sit and enjoy while I entertain you, sir.”

“I can only assume your defiance is caused by a mention of your Sun Priestesses burning. I can already tell that is what Ina must have brought up in the conversation,” Zarcar is gentle, despite his opportunity to rip me to shreds for being so plainly sarcastic about me entertaining him.

But he was cunning, also, so...

“Mmm,” I make an indiscernible noise, a mere mumble. Then I make the mistake of glancing at the flames from my fire place. In the moment it seemed like a good idea. I raise a hand out of the water, I place my palm down and twist my wrist, curling my fingers. The simple movement has the flames burning brighter, “Much better...” I sigh in quiet relief as the flames build. The water was losing warmth fast, you see, and my habit was unrelentingly second nature, it not first nature.

Yet, it was too late.

For a second time, a magic based habit slips out around the usurper who was occupying my tower.

And Zarcar had already given me 2 chances.

I freeze when I realise what I’ve done. As soon as I accept it’s too late, I shut my lips. I gaze up at Zarcar pleadingly as he swiftly closes the distance, but my eyes truly do plead my innocence.

“Zarcar, please, it’s a part of who I am... my very soul,” I whisper my truth as he stops by the tub, right next to my face, and then he squats, his hand reaches out until two of his fingers brush over my jaw, making sure I face him without resistance.

“I understand,” Zarcar breathes the words and I almost smile, until he adds, “But it is forbidden now. You do as I say or I’ll have to punish you, sweetheart.”

His words are so gentle, yet cruel and therefore I’m struck with confusion. I simply narrow my eyes at one of his chosen words.

“...punish...?” I say the word carefully, internally glad that we had strayed from the conversation about my dead friends... luckily not all of them.

“You began to cry as Ina left,” Zarcar speaks to me with his arm now around the back of the rim of the bath tub, near my shoulders, “...if I make you cry, it’ll be different kind of tears, Chyronex. The kind that pairs well with defeat. Submission. To me. Your Master.”

I say nothing, knowing better than to push him as he speaks clearly and without amusement.

In fact, I take it a step further and nod – hoping he backs off.

He does.

I lean back into the bath tub and Zarcar stands back up – he starts to undress.

“The bed,” Zarcar speaks, when I expect him to just watch and gloat in out-speaking me, “You will sleep it in with me tonight.”

“That was not the bargain,” I snap my head to his and my eyes wonder from his face, to his hands as he pops out his buttons along his torso.

“By harnessing magic, you disrespected our conditions,” Zarcar likes to keep his explanations short and concise. I knew this but it still infuriated me.

“I don’t care,” I whisper, looking away from him as he strips down.

“Shuffle forward –”

"No,” I snap and I’m aware of exactly what he wants now.

“It’s a big bath, Chyronex, and you so incessantly call me a pig – you’ve tempted this,” Zarcar finally sounds amused, especially by the creeping blush spreading back to my cheeks.

If I freaked out he would think he was winning yet again. I try to calm my racing heartbeat.

“I suppose so,” I murmur instead, glancing at him as he removes his tops... and then he pulls off his pants. His boots were already off from before. I slowly look away and bite my cheek. Do not say anything you will regret, Chyronex. I chant this in my head, hoping the moon guides my thoughts to places of superior wit – so I could out do him in this next unfolding conversation.

Once Zaracr is clearly naked, I shuffle forward, letting out an uncontrollable sigh of irritation.

“...thank you, sweetheart,” Zarcar approves in a drawl that is both deep and victorious.

I hate him for it.

“Get in... pig,” I whisper the insult and hold myself forward, while I feel his presence come closer. The water splashes, his foot rubs against one of my ass cheeks and then his other foot goes around my front, next to my thigh, so that his calf is next to my head.

“I’ll need a bit more room than that,” Zarcar speaks without irritation... but simple indifference.

I smirk as I get an idea. Before I shuffle forward, I slip one of my arms under his knee and hold his leg to me – then I shuffle forward and jerk him forward with me.

Zarcar manages to slow his decent but still growls as he splashes into the water. Strong hands grab my waist and hold me close. As his knees come up either side of my body, he wraps an arm around my stomach and pulls me right back into his iron hard torso.

I huff in complaint as the water splashes and his masculine scent wraps around my skin, infiltrating my womanly attuned senses.

Zarcar says nothing as he holds me back against him and I say not a word as I feel his privates... warming up against the small of my back. Just as I think he is comfortable, Zarcar slips his arm around my waist, up a bit further, until his forearm rubs against the bottom of my breasts.

“Swine,” I spit again and Zarcar’s only response is a deep chuckle of quick humour. His hand rests on my rib cage, his fingers splayed across my skin. His other hand comes forward to roughly push any stray hairs off my cheeks. The quick gesture is strangely affectionate and it irks my core... especially when he rests that hand on the top of my head... and trails his palm down my curls... as if petting me... like a dog.

Still, I try to keep my mouth shut as I feel his intent right now is to provoke more words out of me. What nervous and confused rambling could I blurt out, that may give him unexpectedly quick answers to questions I didn’t even know he wanted answers to?

Since Zarcar also chooses to remain silent as he holds me captive in our ‘large bath’ – large bath my ass – I decide to be cunning.

“I want to know about Andoll,” I drawl her name, “Did she become your snivelling little run around slave witch after you defiled her – or was she always your eager lap dog?”

"Who told you she was a witch?” Zarcar asks, his tone dropping.

“Moon guide,” I correct my term, “Same thing. I heard from passer-bys on the street,” – a while lie.

“Moon guides and witches are... similar, that is correct,” Zarcar’s only answer, at least I think it is, until he adds, “And I did not defile her. She is an old friend,” his protective tone clearly suggests I should not dwell on the topic of his ‘friend’ Andoll.

So, I continue to prod him about her.

“A friend, not a slave,” I continue, “How surprising that any female would befriend a pig like you.”

“I think likewise about you.”

“I beg the moon for your pardon,” I whisper, “What are you trying to say?”

“Truly, Chyronex?” Zarcar first sounds relaxed, but it is forced as his tone drops and his voice drawls from his lips straight to my ear, “I wish for you to be quiet now. You talk too much.”

I snap my lips shut.

What a bastard!

I hold my tongue and nestle back against him, hoping it surprises him. I lean my head all the way back, I cross my arms over my stomach, I spread out my bent legs and close my eyes.

Strangely enough, being cocooned in his male warmth was quite comfortable.

I don’t do it to please him – I used his presence to please me. At least that’s what I tell myself.

I was not accustomed to human contact at all, but now I bask in the opportunity to gain his trust.

The moment he realised I was actually being quite obedient – I would be able to kill him without him preparing for an attack.

I was still deciding if I should murder him tonight. Or if I should murder him at all.

First, I needed an answer to a very particular question.

Unfortunately, he wouldn’t allow me to talk.

But, rather fortunately... he lets some words slip – the very words I wish to hear, “Since you are so hell bent on knowing my greater intentions, Chyronex. I will tell you plainly my plan for you as my personal slave priestess,” I say nothing so Zarcar will continue, and he does, “After I have convinced you to be my lover, I will not abandon you.”

Huh. So bold. I frown even as my heart flutters in my chest.

Zarcar does not explain further.

I think he awaits my answer.

I open my eyes and look up, feeling his eyes on me. Indeed, Zarcar is leaning down, his eyes capturing every line of my face, every freckle, any faint scarring and my still, anticipating lips...

My look is answer enough – I wanted to know more. Zarcar brushes a finger down my cheek, as if tracing an invisible tear.

“I have an interest,” Zarcar’s tone has lost all common decency as the animal comes out to play, “In treating women like you... to a world of strict teaching. In how to obey. In how to please. How to kneel quietly and ask what their Master requires of them...” something about those disgusting abhorrent confessions, uttered so true and without a glamour of falsity... depraved truth... it felt almost gifted to me in this moment. The secret he had been keeping. This was it. Surely.

Some strange part of me didn’t want to call him a pig after all that left his mouth.

“Interesting,” I use his word against him as I murmur it, but I say nothing else.

I simply lower my chin to avoid his delicious but also starving bottomless gaze. Like a night sky without stars. Just an eternity of blackness to hide his passion beneath it.

It heightens my senses.

It excites me.

But most of all, his words confuse me again.

“You’re not scared,” Zarcar murmurs out of the blue, “...good.”

With that one word, uttered with such clarity, I watch the moonlight stroke one of my toes that I’ve lifted casually out of the water.

I pull on that power and I use it to extend my instincts – my core feelings.

My mind calculates what Zarcar meant by being so honest. So feral and base in his desires. But his confidence is what the moon guides me to focus on.

Strength and confidence.

He will shatter you completely, the moon seemed to say.

Not a promise, just a pre-warning.

I steady my breathing as I have my answer.

I would have to kill Zarcar... as soon as possible.

Before he destroyed me.

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