Chapter Four: The Belly Dancer
I look at the two dozen bloody corpses scattered around at our feet.
“Such troublemakers...” Asad says panting as he puts his sword back into its sheath.
Sef does the same and shrugs. “Well, we can’t say we didn’t warn them.”
I stand up, wiping the blood off my sword. “Exactly. They only have themselves to blame.”
Asad turns to Sef. “And you brother. I have to admit, I had my doubts about taking you on this mission. But you did extremely well.”
A satisfied smile appears on his face. Sef has every reason to be proud of himself. Asad and I have been quite busy these past six months, completing about twenty-nine missions while taking Sef under our wings. He came with us to most of our operations to watch and learn. Back home we subjected him to heavy training. According to him, it was brutal, but we never pushed him further than what we knew he could handle. And now, all of his hard work has paid off. This mission was his final test, one he passed with flying colors.
The regional army commander abused his power for exploiting people and took up a side job as a black market slave trader. His merchandise mainly consisted of children coming from poor families, which he took as debt repayment for arrears. While Asad and I took care of the soldiers, Sef single-handedly defeated the commander. In doing so, he provided us with the ultimate proof that he’s a great asset to our Brotherhood.
After superficially cleaning up our mess we pack up and make way for Alamut where we report back to Al Beri. Asad does the talking but I agree with him one-hundred percent.
“We are truly proud of Sef’s achievement Master. He’s brave, invisible, fierce, and fast. Just as a Master Assassin should be. Diran and I both agree he’d make a great addition to our cause.”
Al Beri smiles and turns to Sef. “You have made remarkable progress. It’s very rare that someone works up to be a Master Assassin within the year. The last one to do so was Diran.”
Sef glances at me and I nod. I started training when I was just a boy, but as soon as I was old enough to become a real Assassin, I worked my way up within six months’ time. Most Assassins need at least a year or more to do so.
Al Beri takes a silver dagger out of a drawer from his desk.
“After careful considerations, based on your recent progress, I believe you have earned this,” he says and holds the dagger up above Sef’s head.
“Do you pledge your allegiance to the Assassins Brotherhood, and promise to be loyal to our cause, your brothers and Master?”
“I do Master.”
Al Beri takes the dagger and makes a cut into the palm of his hand, drawing blood. He dribbles some of it into a cup of red wine and hands it to Sef, who empties it with one gulp. Satisfied, Al Beri puts a hand on his shoulder.
“Be worthy my boy. And make us proud.”
Al Beri then hands the silver dagger over to him.
“I don’t plan on letting anyone down Master. And thank you, my brothers, I could not have done this without you.”
I kindly nod while Asad slaps him firmly on the shoulder.
“It pleases me to see that the essence of the brotherhood is still maintained. Friendship and loyalty are important values. You three set an example to us all.”
While our Master is clearly satisfied and Sef being upgraded, Asad proposes we head straight to the garden to celebrate.
It’s well after sunset when we arrive. Asad hands Sef a golden cup containing the intoxicating drink and has one as well. I, as always, refuse.
The Garden seems more crowded than usual tonight. There are fire pits set up all around. Musicians playing upbeat music with lots of rhythm for the extensive amount of girls dancing everywhere. The scantily clad girls stir up the horde of men surrounding them, as they move in sensual and provocative manners.
Sef and Asad stare in awe at all this feminine beauty, as they are a real feast for the eyes. Thankfully, unlike some of my brothers, I am perfectly capable of keeping my hormones under control.
An attractive young lady, dressed in a red sheer dress, offers us a plateau with cups of red wine. Asad takes one for each of us, then whispers something in her ear. The girl giggles and kisses him on the cheek before continuing to serve others. His gaze stays upon her until she is out of sight.
“You couldn’t have picked out a better night to upgrade. The higher the rank, the more beautiful the women. Am I right brother?” he says to me, raising his cup.
I raise mine. “Whatever you say, brother.”
Asad slaps himself on the head. “Ah yes I keep forgetting, your women need substance and class. That makes you practically a virgin you know.”
“Well, unlike others I don’t have the urge to hump everything that moves.”
Sef laughs at the offended look on Asad’s face before suddenly, staring motionless at a girl dancing beside us. He looks at her as if he’s never seen a woman before in his life. The intoxicating drink is starting to kick in. Asad notices also.
“Time to go find you a date for tonight. Without inhibitions it’s WAY more fun, I promise you, brother,” he says grinning.
Sef slowly nods as Asad puts his arm around him, pulling him towards the centered dance floor where a few girls are performing a synchronized routine. I consciously let them go without me. After four days of constantly being around them, I need a little break.
It doesn’t take long before two hands slide around my waist.
I turn around facing Lorena, who looks gorgeous, dressed in a blue sheer skirt and a minuscule gold top pushing up her cleavage making it hard to ignore her prominent breasts.
“If I knew you’d be back already, I would’ve planned something special.”
“I haven’t been back long, but Sef just got promoted and Asad decided we should celebrate.”
I look around to see where my brothers went. Both of them are standing right in front of the central dance floor. Asad addresses some girls while trying to keep Sef afloat. The intoxicating drink can really take its toll when you are not used to it. Asad however has built up some kind of tolerance for it and doesn’t crash as hard as a first-timer.
Lorena faintly brushes her lips against mine.“Well, that’s disappointing, I hoped you came here for me…”
Grinning, she strokes both hands down my chest, grabs my hands, and places them on her hips.
“Dance with me.”
Just as she’s said it, the music slows down making her snuggle up closer. She turns her back to me and presses herself up against my crotch while sensually swaying her hips. I let go of her and pull away. Here, in the midst of all my brothers, I don’t exactly feel like being put in the mood.
“You know I don’t dance.”
She opens her mouth to respond, but her words get lost as the crowd erupts into loud cheers and whistles. As I look up to see what all the ruckus is about, my gaze falls on a golden-clad woman approaching the dance floor. Seeing my brothers run towards her in large numbers, makes me wonder what it is that gets them so excited.
The woman starts dancing as soon as she hits the floor. Like the music, soft and slow, she lifts her arms up and down in a graceful manner, mimicking a snake that moves across the desert sand. Gradually she adds movement by swaying her hips gently from side to side, while her hands look like they’re stroking waves.
As the surrounding crowd grows even bigger I lose sight of her and turn to Lorena.
“Who is she?”
I glance at her and see annoyance brewing on her face.
“Oh, her… She’s this ‘mystery’ girl who joined us about a week or two ago. Her name is Lusia.”
My breath catches when she mentions her name.
“Lusia? Are you sure?”
“Pretty sure, why?”
Without answering I leave Lorena dazed as I quickly make my way towards the dance floor.
I push through the crowd and end up front and center, abide Sef and Asad who seem astonished by my presence, but welcome me heartily.
My eye catches the golden Goddess dancing with her back turned towards me. I gaze upon her voluptuous figure and feel my heart start to race as she turns around, curious to see her face. Sadly, she has it partially covered with a gold veil, but that doesn’t stop me from me looking.
Instead, I am fixated on her, mesmerized by the way she moves on the accelerating music making it look like she’s the one determining the rhythm. I wet my dry lips with my tongue and stare at her in awe, watching as she twists and turns every curve of her body.
Her elegance is a given that shows even now as she lowers herself onto her knees. Leaning back slowly, she lets her arms lead the way until her bare back touches the ground. I can feel the heat rising inside me when she arches her back and starts rolling her hips in a provocative manner. My mind suddenly wanders and I imagine what it would be like having her body writhed beneath mine.
A sudden push stumbles me forward and I find myself standing right by Lusia on the dance floor. I glance over my shoulder and see Asad grinning wide. Before I get a chance to react, a hand grasps my ankle and I look down at Lusia slowly raising herself from the ground. She looks up at me and I swallow hard as she gracefully pulls herself back onto her knees and places both hands on my hips. My body freezes while bursting with heat when she dances her way up, sliding her body against mine.
As we are standing eye to eye I notice something extremely familiar about her. The emerald eyes haunting my dreams, are hers.
While still dancing on me, she pulls a gold flower from her hair and hands it to me with a suggestive wink. Curious I accept the gift and see a sly smile appear behind the sheer veil covering her face.
As the drums kick-off, she pulls away from me and takes her place on to the center of the dance floor. I step back blending in with the crowd and watch Lusia go all out. Her energy is infectious and I catch myself smiling at her enthusiasm before this horde of men who feel honored being allowed to behold her beauty. As soon as the music stops the crowd erupts into loud cheers and whistles. Lusia bows and gracefully leaves the dance floor.
“You lucky bastard.”
I turn to Asad and look at him confused. “Why?”
He points to the golden flower. “Because she gave you that. According to the men here she hands this flower out to lucky guys who get to exchange it for a most pleasant experience, with her.”
I look around and catch a few envious looks from some of my brothers. This makes me believe that what he says is true, but I have no intention of spending the night with her.
“Where can I find her?”
Asad looks at me surprised. “Wait…so you mean there actually ARE other women you are attracted to? I honestly thought the day would never come…”
“It’s not like that. I know her, and I just want to see her face.”
Confusion brews over his. “What do you mean you ‘know’ her?
“I am the one who brought her here. She’s the girl from Bagdad.”
Asad looks stunned at first, then embraces me tightly. “I knew you’d be useful to me someday…”
I push him off me and he laughs. “Great job brother, I applaud you. She’s quite the addition…”
“Give me that flower, I will go and show her a good time…” says Sef who seems to feel a little better.
Asad looks at him incredulously. “Uhm…one minor tip brother. Start low, and leave girls like that up to the experts okay?” he says and pats Sef on the head. I wisely choose to stay out of the discussion and glance back to the dance floor where Lusia just stood. Could she have recognized me? Impossible… I never showed her my face.
After asking around I find out that Lusia has her own place set up on a nice quiet spot in the garden, where she meets up with the men she’s chosen. I walk over there and stand in front of a white tent set up with lights surrounding it. The smell of incense calms the nerves I didn’t even know I had.
I have no idea what I’m about to walk in to, but I do know that I have a desperate urge, to see her face.