As days passed by I felt like I was seeing a completely different man, one who was kind and merciful rather than a Satanic King who hungered for people’s misery. Lord Bancroft treated me as if he were an angel sent down from heaven to take away my pain and replace it with peace.
He was there every morning. He was the first person I saw when I woke up, which felt strange to the heart and mind as I never expected a King to be present in my bed every morning. It stirred the cauldron of gossip amongst the women of the harem which made it even more difficult for me to endure his presence. King Bancroft was a ruler, he had no business lying in bed with a lowly whore; a whore he’d claimed for himself. But I had no right to tell him not to visit me, I had no rights at all when it came to him.
“Your health is improving significantly every day,” Lord Bancroft remarked as soon as I opened my eyes to yet another day. I blinked a few times to get rid of the residual sleep before I ran my gaze over him. He was dressed in blue robes today with a trim of intricately spun gold. He wasn’t wearing a crown, as usual; it was strange how he never wore his crown—the symbol of his rule. Did he even need a symbol?
“Good morning, my Lord,” I greeted, attempting to sit up only for him to push me back down.
“No, don’t get up. Let me see you.” He removed the sheet covering my body and placed his hand right under my breasts. “Beautiful. Nine years of patience. Completely worth it.” I blushed upon seeing the appreciation sparkling in his green eyes. How could he make me—a lowly whore—feel like the most beautiful woman in the world one day and utterly worthless the next?
“M—My Lord…” Why did I lose the ability to think and speak every time he looked at me like that? Why did the intensity in those viridian gems made me feel like I was on fire?
“I will take you out today. You need to spend time in the sun.” He paused as if thinking about something important, then nodded. “Yes, I believe some time in the sun will benefit your health immensely.”
The thought of spending time in the gardens had my heart soaring, but the crushing reality of who I was prevented my hopes from rising. King Bancroft might be thinking about taking me out to the gardens but as I whore I was prohibited from stepping outside the boundaries of this room. The last time I dared to cross this threshold was when I tried to escape.
“My Lord, as much as your decision pleases me, please allow me to bring forth the fact that I, as a mere whore, cannot step foot outside the walls of this harem. If someone sees me then Lord Aboloft will be alerted and I will be punished,” I said. I’d never really cursed my position as much as I was cursing it right now. I loved the gardens and always wished to visit them.
King Bancroft chuckled before placing his head on top of my bare breasts. “No one will punish you because that right solely rests in my hands.”
“But my position cannot be ignored, my Lord,” I argued, my hands itching to run through the golden locks that was Lord Bancroft’s hair.
“Your position does not matter when I am with you. Put your faith in me, my fiery nymph, I will take you to the gardens and I am sure you will be happy when the sun’s rays wash over you.” He kissed and suckled my breasts for a few minutes causing me to moan as pleasure trickled down my thighs.
What he was asking of me was impossible because I did not trust him. This was the man who destroyed me in every possible way he could. He broke me and spilled my blood. How could I ever put my faith in him? Yes, he was a King but I couldn’t trust him to keep me safe, to keep me happy. I knew there was a monster lurking underneath this façade and I knew it wouldn’t take long for that monster to appear and destroy me once again.
But he won’t tolerate defiance. It is wise to give him what he desires from you.
I understood the fact that by disobeying him I would only be inviting trouble, however, putting my trust in him was not something I could do. I couldn’t forget the pain he’d caused me. It might be easier for him to forget but I couldn’t; the scars on my body and soul would never let me forget.
“Wh—When will you take me to visit the gardens, my Lord?” Mayhap it was best to change the subject, otherwise Lord Bancroft would be furious.
He smiled while looking at me and it took everything in me not to bask in its warmth. “After lunch. We will stay for a couple of hours, or perhaps we can stay until sunset. Have you ever watched the sunset?”
I shook my head. “No, my Lord, I never had the privilege,” I replied, eager to see the setting of the sun. I’ve heard people talk about how magical and beautiful the sunset was but all I could do was dream.
“Well, today you will.” He kissed me long and deep, almost stealing my consciousness along with my hatred. His dual nature was going to kill me. I had to learn to understand him, it was the only way I would be able to escape him. But a man who was an angel one day and the Devil the next was not one I could understand.
“Thank you, my Lord,” I said. King Bancroft maybe a monster but he was going to take me out to the gardens and for that I was grateful. There was no one else who could take me, so I was happy to be getting a chance to go.
In response Lord Bancroft kissed me once again, making me forget all my worries and sorrows as his lips molded over mine, taking control of my being as his tongue slid inside, claiming me once more. My heart opened to Lord Bancroft’s ministration and I fought with all my might to prevent my heart from being captured by the cruel King. No, I would never let him have my heart; he already owned my body, I could not let him take anything else from me.
“Let’s have some food now, I’m fairly certain you are hungry,” he said after breaking the kiss.
“My Lord, if I may say so, you should not eat with me,” I stated, looking away as soon as the words left my mouth. Did I go too far? Would he hit me for daring to tell him what to do?
I bit my lip when Lord Bancroft cupped my face and turned it so I had no choice but to look him in the eyes. “And pray, tell me why shouldn’t I eat with you?”
“You know the answer to that, my Lord,” I answered, regretting my decision to tell him not to eat with me.
“I want to hear it from you, Hildred,” he ordered.
I swallowed hard and looked around the harem. Quite a few of the women were awake and I knew they wanted to know why a King was in bed with a whore. It was not uncommon for a King to be in bed with a common whore but a King never stayed long; he would normally come and use the woman as he pleased before leaving. They never stayed. No one stayed.
“Hildred, answer me.” The command had my attention landing on the mysterious King and I briefly contemplated another escape before realizing the futility of it all.
“It is not appropriate for a King to eat with a common whore, my Lord.” I sighed and waited for him to hit me, my body ready to receive the jolt of pain, only it never came.
“How many times do I have to tell you that I do whatever I please?” He asked.
“I know, my Lord, but I have to tell you that your reputation will be tarnished. People hold you in high regards, my Lord and you shouldn’t allow a whore to ruin your position,” I argued.
King Bancroft sighed and I knew I’d made a mistake and speaking too much. Why couldn’t I keep my words to myself? Why did I always have to argue with the one who shouldn’t be argued with? I was daft to even consider such an audacious act and yet I seemed to be repeating my mistakes.
“I will eat with you if I wish to do so. You will not tell me otherwise, is that clear?” The hardness of his green eyes told me to keep my mouth shut even though a hundred words wanted to spill out, but for once I decided to do the right thing and not argue with him.
I nodded. “Yes, my Lord. Forgive me.” I wondered how Lady Sabina would feel when talking to Lord Bancroft. I was certain that she would never apologize for arguing with him. Lord Bancroft seemed to hold Lady Sabina in high regard. Mayhap because she was going to be the Queen of this Kingdom. I wished to spend time with Lady Sabina. I wished to be like her.
“Stay, while I go and order the servants to bring us food.” With one final caress, Lord Bancroft walked out of the harem, his robes flowing around him like water. Why was this man of power willing to eat with me? Yes, he claimed me and therefore had the right to do whatever he pleased but still, I couldn’t help but question his actions even though I had no right to do that.
“So, Lord Bancroft, huh? What is he going to do with you?” I jumped at the sound of Leela’s voice and looked up at see her standing in front of me, a soft smile on her beautiful face. Why did she want to know something I didn’t even know?
“Hello Leela, how are you?” I asked instead of answering her question.
“I’m all right, Hildred. I should be asking you this question. Your health seems to be improving. Mayhap Lord Bancroft realizes that injuring you will be of no benefit to him,” she said. I failed to understand this woman. Did she like me or did she not? What was she thinking? Why did she bother talking to me? I hardly knew her but I wished to know her. There was something about Leela that made me curious.
“I doubt I will be of any benefit to him at all, injured or otherwise,” I replied with a shrug.
“He will take you away from us. He will take you away from your home,” she stated, painting my fears in front of me as if I hadn’t bothered painting them myself in a hundred different ways.
“I know, Leela.” There was nothing else to say; it was inevitable. Was Leela happy that I would be leaving Quopia soon?
“I would be utterly distraught to see you go,” she remarked which left me puzzled.
“Why? I don’t know you that well. Why would you be distraught?” I questioned, finally saying what my heart and mind were thinking.
Leela looked at me like I’d slapped her and I instantly felt guilty. “You are a part of us, Hildred, we do not wish for you to leave us. We are all a family,” she answered, causing my heart to twist with guilt. Why did I have to doubt everybody? Leela was not a bad person. She was one of the few people who bothered talking to me since Lord Bancroft had claimed me.
“Right, forgive me, Leela, for misunderstanding you. It’s just that not many women like me or wish to spend time with me since Lord Bancroft claimed me as his.” I told her, not sure if I could trust her but wanting to give her something in return for her kindness.
“I understand. You can see the envy bristling in their eyes. I mean, a King claimed you, all these women would be green with envy,” she responded, sitting down on my bed.
“There is nothing to be envious about. Everybody has seen what he’s done to me,” I said, wondering how much more I would have to endure at the hands of Lord Bancroft.
“Yes and now they fear for their lives. They do not wish to associate with you any longer because they fear that Lord Bancroft will punish them.” She told me.
“And do you not fear the same?” This woman was strange. Mayhap she was talking to me out of pity. Or she wanted Lord Bancroft to claim her.
“I learned from a young age not to fear.” Her cryptic response had the next question spilling from my mouth before I could think too much about it.
“What do you mean? What happened to you?” I enquired.
“Nothing that hasn’t happened to all of us.” Would she ever give me a clear answer?
“Leela, I do not understand.”
“There is nothing to understand, pray, just worry about Lord Bancroft. Do not fret over me or anybody else in this harem once you leave. You have a King to please now; everything else is just trivial,” she stated, covering my hand with hers.
“But Lord Bancroft is not here right now and I am not leaving yet, so please tell me.” Curiosity had me begging.
Leela smiled a smile so filled with secret I yearned to know all of them. “There is a man…a man who…” Before Leela could finish her sentence, the doors of the harem burst open and Lord Bancroft returned. Why did he have to come right now? Couldn’t he wait for a few more minutes? “I have to go. I will talk later.” Leela hurried away before I could reply.
“I have given orders to the servants, our food will arrive shortly,” King Bancroft announced before sitting down beside me. “I have also asked a few maids to come and help you with dressing.”
“Why so, my Lord?” I frowned. I could dress myself.
“I would like you to get used to servants around you.” How could he expect me to order anyone when I had taken orders from people all my life? No, I couldn’t do this. I would never order anyone to do anything for me.
“I do not think there is a need for that, my Lord. I have been doing things all my life, I do not expect anyone else to do what I am capable of doing,” I replied.
“The only thing I would like for you to do, my little nymph, is to think about me and only do what I tell you to do,” he stated.
“My Lord—“ he cut me off before I could argue.
“No, little nymph, you will not argue. The only thing you need to worry about is pleasing me. The only one you need to worry about is me. And if you fail to do this then the consequences will be dire.” His orders only had one thought running in my mind like a shrill echo…
He wished to change me.