The King

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Chapter 7

I jolt awake as the doors slam open and the sounds of screaming slaves assaults my ears.

"Shut up all of you!" The Overseer shouts at us in irritation. I immediately jump out of my bed, trying to reach for my clothes when I'm roughly yanked away by a guard.

"What's happening?" I ask. I get no response as I'm dragged roughly through the filthy chamber that is the slaves quarters. I look around to see other slaves as well being dragged along. Even the men.

None of us have the time or luxury to pull our clothes on. I'm clad in the filthy nightgown that was given to me upon arrival. It belonged to several slaves before me. Slaves whose deaths still stain the dingy material.

We're dragged out of the slaves quarters in chains. Each chain interconnected so that we're all attached to one another in a straight line. There are ten of us total. The rest were left to return to sleep I assume. I can't help but wonder why we've been awakened and dragged through the palace this late at night.

I shiver violently as the chill of the secret passageways nips at my skin. Since this passage is used for slaves to move in and out of unseen, there are no torches or fireplaces to keep it warm. And the chill of autumn is growing colder by the day. Meaning winter is coming very soon.

I look ahead at the front of the line to see the guard pushing open the secret door, leading us into the warmly lit hall. I almost breathe a sigh of relief from the warmth enveloping me. Almost.

We continue to walk up the palace halls until I begin to hear noises. It's the sound of people. I can hear light conversation and music. And the closer we get to the archway cascading light, the more I can smell food and wine. My stomach constricts in pain at the scent.

The guard roughly pulls us along and I feel actual fear for what awaits. The King is entertaining, and he's ordered his slaves be present, not even fully dressed. I can say with confidence we are all about to die.

We round the corner and my eyes widen as I take in the sight before me. The room is grand. In each corner there are beasts both men and women standing on their own platforms, dressed explicitly as they touch themselves sensually, their dark eyes filled with lust as they gaze at the nobles in attendance.

The nobles are seated in the center of the room. There are four men and six women. And at the center of them is the King. He's talking to a stern looking man that is seated next to him. He says something that makes the King laugh. My eyes widen as a genuine smile appears on his lips. One that isn't filled with malice.

His hair is free of its usual restraints, his shirt open as a woman rubs her hands over his body intimately. I take note that the man next to him is stunning as well. His hair isn't as long as the King's but it's curly and falls slightly in his eyes. He has a look of indifference on his face as he gazes over the room of people. His eyes hold a darkness that I don't want to understand.

My eyes widen and my heart stops when I see Dimitri behind him. He doesn't look as awful as the palace slaves. In fact, his build is more lean. Physically he looks healthy. But looking at his eyes I can only see a haunted expression. One that means whatever he has gone through, he will never be able to recover from.

Tears spring into my vision and my body is moving before my mind is. I open my mouth whispering his name, my fingers itching to touch him. To know that he's ok.

"Ah!" I cry out in pain as a guard slaps me across the face. Hard. I collapse onto the ground, blood spilling from my lips as the world spins around me.

I'm jerked up roughly by my chains and I immediately try and focus my vision.

"Guard." The entire room falls silent as the King's voice carries across the room with ease. The guard drops me, turning to bow to the King.

"Your majesty." I hear the sounds of footsteps as the King comes across the room.

"Do not ruin the entertainment before we've had a chance," the King growls. The guard remains hunched over as the King passes him.

"My apologies, your majesty."

"Entertainment? Cyrus, you call this entertainment?" A new voice enters the room. It's the man that the King was speaking to earlier. The man Dimitri was standing behind. Not only has he spoken to the King on a familiar level, but he's finally given me a name. The name of the King. Cyrus.

Cyrus smiles, looking over all of us and I immediately remember to drop my gaze.

"Yes. I find them very entertaining," Cyrus muses. I hear a girl scream followed by the jangle of the chains as he yanks her out of the lineup.

"I find that if you beat them long enough, they make for very entertaining subjects."

My body shakes as fear sets in from his words.

"Strip her. And tie her up." He says before moving on to the rest of us. I may not have been here long, but you don't have to be to learn the tendencies of the King. No one survives his beatings. No one.

He whips you long and hard enough to strip the meat from your flesh. Only then will he let you bleed out and feed your body to the birds. And that's if your lucky. He has been known to break bones with the strength of his whip. The strength of the beasts are unimaginable. Combine that with the concentrated point of a whip, and you can shatter someone's bones instantly.

The King continues to pick slaves out of the lineup. Some men, and some women. All of them whimpering as the reality of what's about to happen sets in. I keep my gaze focused on the ground, but that doesn't stop me from shaking the closer he gets.

His feet stop in front of me, and I can't help the tears that pour down my face. He places his hand under my chin, lifting my gaze to meet his. I feel like the pit of my stomach is going to fall out. His dark, soulless gaze pours into my soul and makes me want to die on the spot.

He scoffs lightly, pointing to the man next to me.

"And you."

He turns away from us as the guard unlocks the man next to me.

"The rest of you are to serve." He calls over his shoulder. I look up to see if Dimitri has noticed me yet, and the ache only grows when I see that he has. He has a look of horror etched onto his face as his gaze roams over my battered and broken body.

My sniffles only grow as he looks at me. Or whats left at this point. I feel pathetic and small.





I flinch as another scream echoes through the chamber. I don't want to look. I can't. But I do. And the sight that greets me is horrendous. I can see the bones of the man that is being beat. The woman next to him is laying in a pool of her own blood, already dead. This is torture at its most blatant.
The King finally turns away from him, a wicked smile on his lips as he looks over the room.
"Felix, would you like a go?" He asks. The man that called Cyrus by his name in the first place shakes his head.
"I've actually had my fill for the night, my friend." He laughs. Cyrus only shrugs but another noble steps up eagerly taking the whip from Cyrus to finish what he started. I flinch, looking away when the whip connects with the back of the poor slave.
Cyrus makes his way over to where I am standing, holding a tray of fruits. His eyes roam over me, lingering on my face as he approaches. He reaches towards me and I flinch, causing him to laugh. He reaches for a grape, popping it into his mouth but keeping eye contact with me.
"Come this way slave. I don't want to have to reach to eat," He says as he takes a seat next to Felix. Felix eyes me curiously and then looks back to Cyrus.
"Where did you pick this one up?" He asks. I take note that Dimitri is still standing silently behind the Beast named Felix. His eyes are still screaming in horror but his lips refuse to move.
"She was in a village harboring weapons." Cyrus says. He leans back in the seat, propping his feet up.
"She came from the same village as your slave." He adds. This catches Felix's attention. He sits up straighter in his seat, eyeing me with interest.
"Oh?" He asks. A wicked smile graces his lips as well.
"Dimitri, do you know this slave?" He asks. Dimitri tenses even more if that were even possible, as he opens his mouth shakily replying.
"No, sir." He says. Cyrus's smile widens as he looks between the two of us. Something sinister is going on here and he's playing with the both of us for his sick and twisted amusement.
"You dare to lie in my presence, slave?" Cyrus asks, standing. Felix stands as well looking at Dimitri in irritation. I always thought Dimitri was tall, but standing next to this Beast he looks small. Not just height wise, but body wise as well.
"Do you want to be punished? Answer the King." He growls. Dimitri looks between all of us, and I can feel his fear as he looks back to Felix. Something about that man terrifies him to the point of lying to the King. He's basically hyperventilating.
"Dimitri!"
"Yes... I know her, sir..." He whispers. Felix seems more interested by the moment. A smile forms on his lips and he laughs.
"How?" He asks.
"Please, sir she is just a girl from my village and now she is a slave, she is of no importance to me," he says desperately.
I don't refute his words either. I know he's lying for a good reason. Especially from the fear evident on his face. But Cyrus isn't happy with his response.
"Annalise." He growls my name and I feel my heart pounding in my chest. I think for sure he is going to ask me the same question, or even hurt me to prove a point to Dimitri. But he doesn't.
He looks beyond me.
"Theresa." He calls. The woman immediately stands, making her way towards me and the King.
"I am going to retire for the night, would you like to join me in my chambers?" He asks. Her face lights up as she nods her head, a seductive giggle leaving her lips.
Cyrus looks at me, his amusement replaced with disgust.
"You shall come with us. I will be hungry after the nights events." He growls. He doesn't wait for a response as he turns to exit the ballroom with Theresa.
I move, but hesitate looking back to Dimitri who is already focused on his master. I can see his body shaking as Felix glowers at him. I begin to turn away when I notice something. The way Felix looks at Dimitri. Not only with anger but with... lust? He reaches out, grabbing Dimitri's chin as he leans in and whispers something into his ear.
"Slave!" I jump, turning to follow Cyrus and his bedmate for the night into the hall of the King. There's nothing I can do. I can't see Dimitri, I can't ask him if he's ok, I can't even give him words of encouragement. I'm here at the mercy of the King. I feel my heart shattering in my chest as I slowly come to terms with my new life.
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