What is it about her that has me so enamored? It must be her beauty. As I stare down at her sleeping form, I can't help but wonder if that's it. Nothing about her is spectacular. She's a human. A talentless, weak, and filthy breed that exists at our reluctance. Yet, I find myself drawn to her. Her raven hair and amber eyes call to me like a siren. The innocence that pours from her begs for me to steal it away... to claim it as mine.
I thought last night would sate me of that desire. Each time I watched her stare in utter horror at the sights in front of her every night, it only made me want her more. It made me want to show her what the pleasure of sex can be. To give her the same sensation I give each woman, at my expense. And each time she would admit to her fantasies of giving herself to that human that Felix fucks mercilessly, it made me want her even more. She's an obsession. Plain and simple.
Last night did nothing but burn my desire even brighter. She stirs lightly in her sleep, her cheeks still holding a small blush on them from the amount of liquor she consumed. Those servants could have killed her by forcing her to drink that wine. I make a mental note to have them executed for doing something so careless. Though I should thank them. I never would have taken her virginity otherwise.
I only wanted to toy with her as I usually do, but as I watched her speak, her eyes wide and innocent, her lips and cheeks red, just calling to be touched. I couldn't help myself. I couldn't stop myself. Not even after three times. Not even when she was begging for me to stop due to her exhaustion. Not even when she was still beneath me. I ravaged her until I was sated. And now, the sun is slowly making its way up in the sky, and she still lies naked in my bed, her blood staining my sheets.
I laugh softly to myself. It was a fun night. But it's something that can never happen again. I am the King. If anyone caught wind that I was messing around with a human, there would be hell to pay. But she won't remember it, and I won't speak of it.
I get out of bed, gently picking her up with me as not to jostle her. I have to sneak her back to the slave's quarters before she awakens.
I'm in pain.
And I don't know why.
I slowly lace up the corset of my dress, trying not to tie it too tight in fear of it squeezing parts of me that are hurting. The King has returned, and in honor of his victory a ball will be thrown by the end of the week. This means that all of the slaves and servants will be busy preparing the palace for the arrival of nobles from all around.
For me, it only signifies the worst. The war we are fighting is a losing battle. We are laughably outmatched. There is no one coming to save any of us, and I will die in this palace.
"You there," I look up as one of the Guards enters the slaves quarters. His dead eyes fall on me with disdain as he turns his nose up in disgust.
"The King has summoned you." He says. He doesn't wait for me to respond as he immediately exits the chambers. I hear the whispers from the other slaves as I leave.
"The King's slave."
Something I never listened to before but now I can hear it as clear as day. My palms are beginning to sweat as I think of what he could possibly want with me this early. I don't remember much from last night after the servants forced that awful wine down my throat. But somehow I ended up back in my bed with a screaming headache.
I can only assume we weren't caught, and I somehow made it out with my life. I've had wine before. My father used to let me drink it on special occasions. I've even had some drunken nights with Dimitri. But this wine was nothing like what I had grown used to over the years. This wine was powerful. I can remember nothing past sitting in the chair.
I make my way silently through the halls designed for slaves to maneuver until I reach the King's chambers. The Guards eye me silently but don't say a word as they knock twice before pushing open the doors.
The first thing I notice is Cyrus standing by the window, his naked back to me. His hair is down as well, the strange color catching my attention instantly. He turns upon my entrance, his eyes roaming over my body... lingering. It's almost as if he's undressing me with those eyes. My body awakens in the way it did with Dimitri. I can feel myself growing warm with need. I feel horror at my reaction but he notices. I know he does.
The corner of his mouth twitches slightly before he raises a brow at me. I suddenly realize I haven't greeted him, and that I've been staring. So I immediately lower my gaze, bowing.
"Goodmorning, your majesty. I'm glad you've returned victorious from your battle." I murmur. He chuckles softly walking past me to his chair. He takes a seat and I can still feel his eyes on me.
"Are you?" He asks. I look up at him and he's watching me with a strange expression.
"Are you glad that I've returned?" He asks.
"Yes." I answer without hesitation. I look over his shoulder to the bed I spent hours making. I pause, staring at the rumpled sheets. There's blood in his sheets.
"Annalise." His voice pulls me out of my wanderings.
"What are you staring at?" He asks tilting his head. It's a curious thing to see him do something so human even though I know he is far from it. The soldiers that came through our village told stories of the Beasts. Of their true nature. It's something I hope I will never have to see.
"I... I was summoned here, your majesty. I was just trying to figure out what needed to be cleaned." I whisper. He scoffs at me.
"Nothing needs your attention. Though I am curious..." He reaches towards the edge of the table, grabbing ahold of something. My heart drops into my stomach when he pulls the half empty crystal decanter forward, placing it perfectly in my view.
I don't know how to react. I don't even know if I should respond. But my body has already betrayed me. I know it, and he knows it. I can see his smile the moment he hears my heartbeat increase. The moment the scent of my fear reaches him. Because he smiles. And it's the most terrifying thing I've ever seen.
"Your Majesty-" I take a small step back, flinching as the soreness between my legs flares up from my movement. He notices the action and raises a brow at me.
"Are you in pain, Anna?" He asks. He's toying with me, and I have no idea why. I shake my head unable to find any words. He stands quickly, making his way over to me. The closer he gets, the more terrified I become. I keep my eyes trained on his chest as he stands over me. He reaches for me, pushing a stray curl behind my ear. He leans in close to me, his lips inches away from my ear.
"I asked you a question." He purrs into my ear. I breathe a sigh of relief when a knock sounds at the door interrupting his teasing. Though he doesn't at all seem annoyed at the interruption. If anything, he seems more excited.
"Enter." He says. The doors open just as he steps away from me and my eyes widen in horror. It's the servants. The servants from last night. Their arms are tied in front of them, their faces beaten and bloodied.
Their eyes fall on me, and I see the hatred they hold as they take in my unscathed form. A loud crack ripples through the room followed by a loud scream. It takes me a moment to register that Cyrus has begun his torture. He broke her arm.
"Have you forgotten your manners in the hours from last night to now?" He asks. Immediately the blonde drops to her knees, bowing in greeting. The other whimpers but bows nonetheless. I flinch from his tone. It's a tone I haven't heard since the night he anchored me to the floor of the dining hall.
"It would seem manners aren't the only thing you have forgotten." He hisses. The women still whimper and my eyes widen as I take them in. We didn't get away with it. We got caught. Why else would they be here? Better yet, why am I not being beaten along with them?
My heart sputters in my chest as the biggest question hits me.
Who discovered us?
"Rejoice. You will be examples for your fellow servant. They shall be reminded of the punishment that befalls them should they disobey me. You are in no better position than the slaves. I will kill anyone that so much as irritates me." He hisses. The women cry and beg, but it all falls on deaf ears.
"It was all her, your majesty. The slave! She stole the wine, and we tried to-" She's cut off as Cyrus places his hand on her shoulder. It's gentle.
"Rise." He says softly. My eyes widen as she stands and he moves behind her. His eyes meet mine as he leans forward where her neck and her shoulder meet. He places a soft kiss on the skin. Something I've seen him do several times to other women before he ravishes them.
Only he doesn't begin to strip her. He bites down. Hard. His eyes never leave mine as his teeth penetrates the flesh, blood spills from the wound and her screams fill the chamber. But he doesn't stop. Even when she begins to struggle. He only clamps down harder until his teeth rips the flesh from her throat. Blood spills everywhere until she begins to convulse and choke on her own blood.
I watch in horror as she dies, Cyrus glaring down at her lifeless body in disgust. The woman next to her is already sobbing, accepting her fate. I suddenly realize I am crying as I watch. I know that if I look away, a horrible punishment will befall me. I know that. So I watch as he moves to the servant left, his hands closing around her neck.
I have to swallow my sickness as he continues to squeeze. His fingers penetrate her flesh easily, and more blood spills. I can't stop myself. I look away as the cracking and tearing sound of her body severing echoes throughout the room. I hear the sickening thud of her body as it hits the ground.
The only sound left in the room is the sound of my soft sobs. I hear him walking towards me. The closer he gets, the harder I shake. I'm next I know I am. I don't know how he found out, but I'm next. I keep my eyes focused on his chest, my body shaking uncontrollably.
"Annalise. Look at me." He growls. I try to. I really do, but my body is paralyzed. He roughly grabs my cheeks, blood oozing between his fingers and my face. I whimper in fear as he forces my gaze to meet his.
His eyes are murderous. His face is covered in the blood of his victims.
"You will be flogged. Fifteen lashes. Do not push your luck." He smiles.
"Clean up the blood." He walks away from me, leaving me shaking. He nears his bed, pausing and I notice the smirk on his lips as he takes in the sheets. He looks at me, his eyes holding something I do not understand.
"All of the blood."