The Rebellious Slave Ch. 13byHisPet21©
Author's Note: Enjoy! For those of you waiting for the plot to move along, I hope you enjoy this and the next two chapters. Thank you, as always, for your fabulous comments and suggestions. Happy New Year!
Kara didn't like sleeping in Lord Arlington's room. It wasn't that the experience was painful or humiliating. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Kara was provided with a small, but comfortable mattress on the floor alongside Arlington's bed, complete with luxurious covers and an exceptionally fluffy pillow. And even though Kara was bound, she was not restrained too uncomfortably. There was a short chain embedded in the wall, very close to the ground, which was locked onto Kara's collar. Since it was situated toward the floor, Kara couldn't stand up with the wretched thing binding her, but when she was lying down on her mattress, the chain didn't bother Kara too much. Furthermore, if she really needed to, Kara could sit up, so long as she bent her head forward and kept it close to the wall.
Of course, that wasn't the extent of Kara's bondage. There were wrist cuffs as well, to ensure that Kara wouldn't murder her Master in his sleep. But the leather cuffs she wore at night were lined in sheep's wool, to reduce irritation. And, thankfully, they were bound in front of Kara, so that she could lie on her back to sleep. Indeed, there was nothing cruel or unusual about sleeping beside Lord Arlington. If anything, Kara's accommodations were rather luxurious for a lowly conquest slave.
Even so, Kara disliked the arrangement, and preferred to sleep in her own windowless room. Primarily, this was because she found the situation extremely awkward. After all, Kara and Lord Arlington were enemies, involved in a battle of the wills. Given this, Kara could rationalize being tied up in front of Lord Arlington or being forced to kneel by his feet. Those activities were degrading. Those activities were acts of war, and they belonged to the battlefield. But sleeping on the floor beside Arlington's bed? Drifting off into dreamland together? That was just weird, and Kara didn't like it.
Furthermore, she had treasured her evenings over the past week, precisely because they had been free of Lord Arlington. Now, even those precious moments of solitude were lost to Kara, and Arlington's company would be ever present, which was worrisome. Even after Kara had been bathed and dressed for the evening, she had been unable to fall asleep, simply because Arlington had remained awake, bustling about his room. For this reason, Kara hadn't felt comfortable closing her eyes. From the comfort of her little mattress, she'd watched her lord suspiciously, in case he had a sneak attack planned. But Arlington's evening activities had been rather mundane. He'd finished up a few emails, taken a shower, ordered a cup of tea, and crawled into bed.
Now, it had been hours since the lights had gone out, and even though Arlington was no longer a threat, Kara couldn't sleep. Not with the night's events still fresh in her mind. She turned to a small, digital clock on Arlington's night stand and read the rime: 2:13am. The little red digits were blinking, and it bothered Kara. Worse still, Arlington was snoring ever so slightly. And the sound wasn't just annoying, but out of place, too. How could it be that Arlington, one of the Four Lords of Isleydor, was snoring? Was it really Lord Arlington, Kara's tormentor, who was making those awful noises? Kara thought it bizarre and unsettling that Arlington should snore. Perhaps because, to her, the man still wasn't a full human being, and it was hard to imagine that Arlington had bodily functions or physical needs.
Using the moonlight from a nearby window, Kara scanned her surroundings and tried to make the most of the evening, since sleep was out of the question. Without any distractions to disturb her observation, Kara soon noticed quite a few interesting knick-knacks around Arlington's room. She hoped they would give her some insight into Arlington's mind, but as she peered into the darkness, Kara found herself growing disappointed.
Most of the items she saw were typical of a rich man's home, and therefore, of little interest. There were a few elaborate paintings, a glass paper weight, a coat hanger, and a miniature stone garden on Arlington's desk, but those were the most interesting pieces. And even the more atypical ornaments, scattered about Arlington's room, weren't very insightful. It was a little odd, but there was a framed picture of a cat on Arlington's desk, dressed in a tiny sweater and not looking happy about it. And, to accompany the photo, there were a few decorative, porcelain cats lovingly placed on bookshelves, a night stand, a dresser, and other such places.
Suddenly, Kara remembered a comment Alyssa had made, back at the Martkorp Auction Hall. The Weapons Specialist had spoken of a pair of kitten slippers, which supposedly belonged to Lord Arlington. But did they exist? Arching her neck a little, Kara turned her eyes toward the dark space under Arlington's bed and, sure enough, there they were. Was the man obsessed with cats? And if so, then why hadn't Kara seen a live one?
Then, amidst the darkness beneath Arlington's bed, Kara thought she saw a shoe box. It seemed to be covered in dust, unopened in ages, and Kara scooted on her stomach towards the cardboard container. She was fairly certain it would posses nothing but an old pair of sneakers, perhaps used for yard work. But Kara was bored and wanted to explore. Carefully, so as not to disturb Arlington, Kara inched ever further towards her prize, until the chain around her neck was fully extended and Kara could go no farther. But when she reached out her arms, Kara was able to brush the box with her fingertips and, with a little fenangling, managed to pull it forward and into her hands.
To her immense fascination, it was filled to the brim with old photographs. And moving into a ray of moonlight, Kara got to work. Most of the photos, Kara noticed, were of an older man, who strongly resembled Lord Arlington. He had the same cold, blue eyes and the same wide, intimidating stance. But the older man had a much shorter haircut, which was graying in several places, and an ugly scar across half of his face, as if he'd been trapped in a fire. Arlington was embracing the man in nearly every photograph, forcing Kara to conclude that he was Arlington Senior. Kara knew very little about him, of course, since he'd been far less important than his son, the Fourth Lord of Isleydor.
There were other photographs in the box, of course, depicting various events and well dressed people. In one photograph, Arlington was wearing a party hat and smiling for the camera, as an important looking man blew out the candles on a birthday cake. At first, Kara didn't even realize that Arlington was in the photo, for he seemed so out of character, with a colorful cone atop his head and blue icing smeared over his cheek. Kara didn't like the Lord Arlington in the picture. She didn't recognize him and, for some strange reason, that frightened her.
Quickly, Kara set the photograph aside and continued to dig through the shoe box. But, as the minutes wore on, she became bored with the venture. Some of the photographs were interesting, certainly, but none of them were particularly helpful, either. None of them spoke of Lord Arlington's weaknesses, nor of his fears and desires. There was nothing in the shoe box that Kara could rightfully use against her cruel Master. She was just about to put her find away when, scraping the bottom of the box, Kara decided to skim through one last handful of images.
Among them, Kara found a picture of a girl. Or, rather, she found a half of a picture. A large portion of the image had been burnt away, leaving only the girl's face and her upper torso. Clearly, someone had intended to destroy the image and had been unable to finish the job. It appeared as if the fire of a candle had been applied to a corner of the photograph and flames had worked their way up from the bottom of the picture toward the young woman's face, before being put out with a sprinkling of water. For, indeed, there were water stains on the image as well, which distorted the girl's face, ever so slightly.
Kara thought the woman in the picture was beautiful, with incredibly strange, green eyes. There was something off about those eyes, and Kara couldn't quite put her finger on why. At least, that is, until she remembered her last trip to the ocean. The girl's eyes were an odd shade of green, Kara realized. They were a soft sea-green, and the girl had probably dyed them that way. The woman in the photograph had blond hair, too, and was wearing a backless sundress and a wide brimmed hat. Perhaps the photograph was taken at a local park, or at a public beach.
But then, Kara noticed something that made her heart skip, and she wished she could understand the sight before her. For, upon the girl's back, there appeared to be an unfinished dragon tattoo. And it was identical to Lord Arlington's. Or, at least, it was as similar to Lord Arlington's as an unfinished tattoo could be. There were, really, only two major differences between the two designs. The girl's dragon, first of all, had an empty, flesh colored eye socket, whereas Lord Arlington's dragon had piercing, yellow eyes. And, secondly, the lower half of the girl's dragon was missing, replaced by a trail of disembodied scales. Kara stared at the image for several minutes, trying to figure out why the girl depicted and Lord Arlington had similar tattoos, but she came up empty handed and finally put the picture away. And, as the evening wore on, Kara finally drifted off to sleep.
When Kara finally woke up, it was because Arlington had the shower running, and the noise startled her. Looking at a nearby clock, Kara noted that it was precisely ten minutes after six, and groaned into her pillow. She hadn't fallen asleep until three in the morning, and her eyes were lidded heavily with sleep. Mumbling silent curses to herself, Kara began to pull a blanket over her eyes, so as to shield them from the florescent lights above, and paused.
There was something new in Kara's field of view, and her heart very nearly stopped. Not three feet away, beside Lord Arlington's desk, there was a metallic briefcase with a coded lock on its side. There was also a pair of handcuffs attached to the briefcase, with one cuff locked over its handle and another dangling to the side. Thus, the bearer could literally attach himself to the briefcase, making it impossible for a thief to suddenly run off with it.
Kara realized, almost immediately, that the briefcase was her one chance at escape, her ticket out of Arlington's hell hole. Kara's lord would not, of course, keep top secret information at his home office. To suppose so had been hopeful fantasy. But if, for some reason, Lord Arlington needed to transport confidential documents, he would certainly use a briefcase like the one in front of Kara. And with that, the rebellious slave sprang into action.
Lord Arlington was currently in the shower, so Kara had time, but she didn't know how much time. Worse still, the briefcase was locked with a code, and Kara could only guess at the password. She tried "Lord Arlington" first, then "password," and finally "123456." None of them worked, and Kara cursed, perhaps a little too loudly. There were an infinite number of passwords possible, and Kara had no idea where to start. She was a fucking medic, not a computer specialist. It would be impossible to get the damned thing open before Arlington had finished washing up, and Kara knew it.
But luck seemed to be with Kara, for she'd found the briefcase in the first place, and she decided to test the limits of her good fortune a little more. Wracking her brains for some inspiration, Kara quickly went to the shoe box under Arlington's bed and shuffled through the photographs, until she found one depicting Arlington Senior and a birthday cake. There was a date on the back and she tried it. Miraculously, it worked. Kara thought she could hear an angel choir above her then, singing songs of joyous success and impossible, but glorious coincidence. And with that, she opened the briefcase tentatively, glancing at the bathroom door every few seconds, listening for the turning of a tap.
There was a stack of papers inside the briefcase, several of them containing blacked out words and numbers. Quickly, the panic in her veins making her break out in a cold sweat, Kara skimmed through the leaflets, looking for key words like "confidential" and "parallel." Most of the files were useless to Kara, but she did find one sheet with the words "parallel project" written across it and studiously looked over the document. She didn't have time to read the entire page, let alone memorize it, but she could burn a few key terms into her memory. There were four locations listed, which were in Scorce, Nardia, Calihistra, and Terall. Kara tried to picture the places in her mind's eye, branding the words into her brain as best she could.
Kara had just finished up and was closing the briefcase---making sure to put it back in its original location---when the sound of running water stopped, leaving only silence. The bathroom door knob was turning now, and Kara rushed back to her little mattress, trying to look as if she'd just woken up. But Kara's face was flushed and her forehead was shiny with sweat, from the stress of her recent ploy. Lord Arlington would surely notice. Kara was sure of it. He would see the fear in her eyes, her nervous trembling, and her flushed features. And then, Arlington would become suspicious.
But, Kara realized, not if he caught her doing something disobedient or crude, something to explain away the redness in her cheeks and the pallor in her eyes. And with that, Kara had pulled a dress shoe from under Arlington's bed. As he exited the bathroom, she spit into it, her eyes never leaving Arlington's beautiful blue ones. It was a full bodied loogie too, complete with snot.
His bare chest dripping with water and a towel wrapped about his waist, Arlington stared at Kara with a look of incredulity. "Did you just spit in my shoe?" he asked, his voice more surprised than angry. "I mean, seriously?"
Kara could only nod, dumbfounded. She'd been acting purely on instinct and wondered if, perhaps, she had over done it just a little bit. But Arlington wasn't upset, just a little annoyed and even, perhaps, amused. It appeared as if he had somewhere to be, and couldn't afford the luxury of anger.
"You aren't very bright, are you?" Arlington continued, as he crossed the room and reached for some cologne. Kara only narrowed her eyes at him, insulted. "I'm serious," Arlington told her, hanging up his towel and stepping into a newly pressed suit. "What, exactly, do you think that's going to accomplish? You think I only own one pair of shoes, or will miss owning that particular pair? Or do you think that, just maybe, I'll have Bremmel go out and replace the shoes? And then have your disgusting mouth gagged every night for the rest of the week?" And he finished dressing in silence, before cuffing the metallic suitcase to his wrist and leaving Kara alone.
As she suspected, Mister Karp came in a few moments later to fetch Kara and guide her through the usual morning routine. The entire time, Kara could feel herself trembling in the warm afterglow of success. She kept running the information she'd gathered through her mind, over and over again, in an endless loop, to ensure that she wouldn't forget it. But Kara found that, though freedom was close at hand, the realization had yet to fully sink in.
There was happiness, sure, but it wasn't full bodied. It seemed vaguely thin, and even distant. For it was hard to believe that so many coincidences had aligned themselves in her favor, giving Kara exactly what she needed to claim her freedom. And it had all happened so fast, that the memory of Kara's lucky break was foggy and dreamlike. Kara kept wondering if she were missing something--if she had made some sort of mistake--because the whole affair had been so anticlimactic.
Still, Kara told herself, tomorrow there would be another meeting of the War Time Operations board, and though she had been disobedient, Kara expected to be dragged along. Arlington had softened a little over the past few days, probably because Kara had submitted to him so readily after her torturous phone call with Uncle Florence. He must think the sudden resurgence in rebellion, since it was a minor, a mere aftershock of total submission, to be dealt with gently. Either way, Kara knew that she would soon be free, and the world seemed a little more colorful as a result.
But shortly after lunch, Kara was returned to Lord Arlington and the world around her darkened once more. Initially, Kara was merely anxious and disappointed. Arlington usually worked during the day, and Kara had hoped to be free of his presence until evening. But in all honesty, it wasn't the loss of solitude that most disturbed Kara. Instead, it was the layout of Arlington's bed, which had been altered sometime during the late morning hours. The sheets had been changed, of course, but there were also some additions to the four poster bed. Most notably, there were now leather restraints at each of its four corners.
A small part of Kara had hoped that, since escape was so close, she would be able to leave Isleydor without ever going to bed with Lord Arlington. And in all fairness, her hope hadn't been entirely unreasonable. After all, Arlington had indicated on several occasions that Kara's sexual training was to be taken slowly, and intercourse had appeared to be a far off, future endeavor. But as Mister Karp pushed Kara into the bedroom and left, Kara realized that she had been a little too optimistic.
Arlington must have only recently arrived home, for he was putting away his autumn jacket as Kara stepped into the room. He didn't turn to look at Kara, or even bother to acknowledge her presence, so Kara knelt next to her little mattress and waited for further instruction. Now that she had information on the Parallel Project stored in her mind, Kara was a lot less rebellious, and the reasons for this were two fold. First of all, feigned submission was a lot easier to bear with the certainty of escape warming Kara's heart. And, secondly, the risks associated with disobedience had markedly increased ever since Kara had opened that metal briefcase. Before, Kara had only risked the possibility of escape when she disobeyed. Now, she risked certain freedom. And the joy of obstinance was, quite frankly, no longer worth that risk.
"Strip," Lord Arlington ordered, still not looking toward Kara.
Reminding herself that any price was worth freedom, Kara took a deep breath and willed herself to obey. She removed her clothes as quickly as possible, so as to take advantage of Arlington's turned back and diminish the humiliating impact of the activity. And then, without being told, she assumed the classic slave position, legs spread and hands behind her head, fingers interlocking. Oddly enough, the gesture came with ease. Kara wasn't sure exactly why, either. Perhaps, with freedom so close at hand, Arlington's demands no longer seemed threatening. Perhaps, to some extent, Kara suspected that Arlington wouldn't break pattern and bed her. Either way, Kara felt calm and at peace.
Finally, Arlington turned toward Kara, as gorgeous as ever. He was still wearing a suit and, along with it, a blood red tie. Sinister colors always complimented his imposing air, and "blood red" was a more than appropriate choice for attire. Furthermore, Arlington's dark hair was expertly parted, so that his dark locks framed a predatory face, and his eyes were as cool and blue as ever.