I came around to an empty room, facing a mirrored wall that was reflecting pitch black. I was my knees with heavy clamps weighing my arms down behind my back, towards the floor, so my joints felt like they were going to pop out from their sockets at any given movement.
Some of my green satin dress had been torn near my waist and my wired corset had been removed, so the skirt flowed around my lower body. Material close to my deep cleavage was also torn. An image of Leinard's face surfaced to mind.
I glanced around for him and saw he was sitting on his knees next to me; iron clamps keeping his arms behind his back like mine. His head was bowed low, so I was only able to make out the top of his head; fine brown fringed hung over his downcast eyes.
"My father is adamant scions of the kingdom need an example to appreciate their status." Miles's uncaring voice broke through the silence.
"A man of wisdom. We've seen this kingdom almost to ruins and rise again. It was because our High King appreciated his status."
He stood before us with a stance meaning business, sporting the stiff peak cap and official tanned uniform of a low-ranking Illuminate Officer. His white-gloved hand unsheathed the longsword from his hip. He thrusted it at Leinard's neck, leaving an inch of space away from going through with the cut.
"You were in line to being Sire's apparent heir, but you defied your status." The blade's tip made contact with Leinard's skin.
Leinard kept his head bowed low.
"Pathetic. I suppose it's due to your blood from your mother's side."
He pulled his sword away and sheathed it with a flourish of disgust.
I glanced to Leinard, noting a quiet calmness from him like a snake ready to strike.
"The one who disgusts me the most is you, Lady Charlese. To make love with your younger step-brother." Miles scrunched up his face and spat a gob of spit to my forehead.
"Don't." I whispered an order to Leinard when I saw his shoulders lowered for an attack. I shook off as much of the spittle.
"Get your rocks off spitting on a woman?" I coolly responded.
Miles's expression gave away his true attitude of a smug prick. "I see a filthy whore. I'll spit on you as many times as I want."
"Enough Corporal," said a voice I didn't recognize.
It belonged to a slender woman, donning the tanned uniform and black lace-up boots. Her auburn hair was bundled in a stiff peak cap sporting the ensigns of a colonel. Her image was flawless olive skin, perfectly applied red lipstick on thin lips and precise brown eyeliner and shadow to lend intimation to her stern green eyes. She fitted the profile image of a high ranking officer.
Her white gloved hands loitered around the gun holsters hanging off her double belt. I noted the slight elongation of an experienced trigger finger.
"Charlese De Borno Arlingdon. You trouble our High King by associating with these Aueralius boys."
She stood before me with a strange expression in her eyes. It wasn't one of contempt, as Miles, yet it wasn't welcoming either. Her next comments were for Leinard, who was quietly observing the situation.
"Leinard Aueralius. If you had taken oath to support your father..."
"He's not my father." Leinard interrupted her spiel.
He yelped at the brutal punch Miles gave his cheek. The woman acknowledged the abuse with a sigh.
"Don't you dare spit blood to this floor boy." She warned Leinard. "As I was saying. Since you declined his rule, corrupted his only other true scion, you must pay the price."
She faced us with a sober expression on her pretty face. The colonel woman could probably switch on the glamorous charm well and successfully beguile a string of men if she wanted to. Well, she switched on something different instead.
Lights turned on to reveal a room behind the mirror wall. It revealed a granite stone slab at the center. The slab had leather belts dangling down each end. Behind it was a wall of iron clamps, spiked chains, crude pokes and sticks that were caked with dark red and brown stains. Pots of pokes and leather batons protruded from a freestanding cauldron at the foot of the stone slab.
My heart skipped a beat. I almost stopped breathing when I saw a younger Trix dragged into the room by a pair of bowler-hat goons.
"What have you done to him?" I gasped, receiving no answer.
I tried to look away, but Miles came up behind me and pulled my head back around. I was forced to watch the horrific scene unfolding.
The goons dumped Trix onto the stone slab like he was a sack of potatoes.
I felt my anger boiling, watching them strip him naked. He was as responsive as a rag doll. Too weak to move from all the blood running down his legs, arms and torso from where he had been cut, punched and lashed at his back countless times.
"Why?" I swallowed down a bitter breath.
"Please, don't do this. Why?" Leinard whimpered. "I've done what that man had asked of me."
The colonel woman smirked. "You slept with this woman. Therefore, you violated the rules. Anyway, no one really gives a shit about what you boys do. Sire has already forfeited your rights as his heir. You have no more status than a lowly slave."
I wanted to shout, scream and rip my hands out of the iron clamps that kept me down. I couldn't move. Miles kept my head pointed at the scene. The colonel woman slapped my eyes to keep them open. I dared a sideways glance to Leinard and saw him with his head raised; watching and taking note. No doubt to be able to avenge.
The goons left the room. A group of unclad, ugly fat-arsed men entered. Leinard and I were forced to watch an atrocity being performed on an already battered Trix. It made my blood seething with rage and disgust for these people. For what they were doing to Trix. I understood his attitude as a captain a lot keenly now.
"You'll pay for this! I don't know when." I poured my burning hatred into the colonel woman's eyes. "I see you now. I will not forget. Woman. One day you'll beg me to revert you to null!"
"Charlese." Leinard whispered with a tone to stop talking.
They made us watch Trix's disgusting violation to the end, and afterwards as he bled out on the stone slab unconscious. The lights went out. The wall was a black mirror again.
A sick breath escaped my mouth when I felt a hard mound to my lower back.
"Got your kicks watching the boy being sex fodder for those ugly beasts?" I randomly threw out at the baby-face prick.
"What?!" Miles roared into my ears.
Bang on target. He pulled me around to face him. I chortled at his flushed cheeks showing signs of arousal.
"Say one more word Charlese. I'll make sure you get the same treatment."
"So, it comes down to animal instinct." I calmed my emotions. "Miles, one day you'll find your precious status meaningless. What are you going to do then?"
Bowler-hat goons hauled us to our feet to drag us out. No doubt they had some more fun installed for us.
"Silence the bitch!" He shouted to the goons.
Neither did at the orders of the colonel woman. She was calm. However, I noticed the slight twitch to her trigger finger.
"Place them in the tanks of Triuta. Now that they have seen how it's done, they're ready for their own initiations."
"I'll be seeing you again." I mouthed to the woman as the goons pushed us out of the room.
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