Maidens and Drakels Ch. 02bymagicsplash©
Thanks to all the great feedback on my first chapter (35 favorites on my first submission!) I'll be finishing this story! I'll count myself lucky if this chapter gets even half as much praise. Anyways, hope you're all having a good summer. Please enjoy!
(Also sorry this chapter took so long to write. I just went through the process of buying a new computer, and I had nothing I could use to write for about two weeks.)
Maidens and Drakels Chapter 2
Even as her new owner had entered into conversation with the young Taglight man, May schemed, listening closely to their conversation for any useful information she could gather. She was pleased to finally learn her owner's name -'Conrad Faulkner'- despite his earlier attempts to hide it from her, but she did not for a second believe that Taglight had purchased innocent little Sophia for her own sake, like he brashly claimed. It just couldn't be true. There was nothing he could say to convince her he was any different from every other man and woman in the room.
About halfway through, she realized that standing up was making her tired. With Conrad's attention focused entirely on Taglight, she was able to sneak around behind him, and sit down out of his gaze. She was certain he wouldn't have let her sit if he had been watching her.
She sat on the ground, and stared at her legs. Then she heard a wicked, seductive little voice whispering in the back of her head. Why didn't she take a stretch?
She glanced up at Conrad. He was still talking. Something about a fire and a printing press.
Slowly, she pushed her shackled legs out from under her, until they rested by his side, just inches from touching his legs. She glanced up again. He hadn't noticed.
May was breathing hard now, sliding her gaze between Conrad and her feet, unsure where best to focus her attention. Then, she heard him bid farewell, and she shut her eyes.
Two seconds later, Conrad tripped hard over her feet, crashing into the ground.
May's eyes flicked open, and a weak grin split across her face. If the gag in her mouth hadn't been tied so tight, She would have shouted 'yes'!
Every conversation in the lobby stopped, and a hush fell over the assembled guests. Curious attendees turned away from their friends to stare at Conrad's crumpled body, pure astonishment plastered across their faces. May felt her heart pounding wildly under her breasts.
For a very brief moment, Conrad lay still. Then abruptly, he flipped over, and stood up. But to a small twist of fear in her belly, May could see that something about him had changed. His eyes now shone with the same predatory gleam that May had caught sight of for just an instant earlier, when he had tried to undress her and she had spat all over his face. It was lust.
Conrad cast a dark look at the crowd, and before May could even blink, it was almost as if nothing had happened at all. They returned to their conversations with twice and much enthusiasm as before, some of them almost shouting their words, and painfully avoided looking back Conrad's way.
"Let's go. Now." He hissed. His rigid stomps echoed across the room as he dragged May towards the exist, holding the end of her leash bundled in his fist. He threw the door open with a thud, and they stepped outside into the dim evening, which was illuminated only by the tall, shaky gas street lamps that lined the edge of the road.
The cold air brushed against May's bare skin, causing her to shiver. She wished that she was wearing anything but the whorish red underwear given to her by the Hounds. Above her, she could just barely make out the queer yellow lights of passing Airships, blinking weakly as they made their way across the night sky. For some reason, they made her feel very, very alone. Perhaps humiliating Conrad in front of his peers had been a bad idea.
Conrad waived down a passing motorized carriage (it had recently become very fashionable to replace horses with the new miniaturized Taglight steam engines), and it pulled up by the side of the road- sleek, black, and with a single glass window on the left side of the passenger's section.
The driver poked his bald head out of the front to inspect them, making sure they were worth his time.
"Faulkner Manor, 23 Lux Lane." Conrad told him, reaching deep into his coat pocket and pulling out a small wad of green paper bills. May didn't know the currency well enough to be sure, but it looked like Conrad was seriously overpaying him. "You will ignore any noises you hear in the back." The driver blinked twice when he realized who his customer was, then accepted the bills without saying a word, mouth twisted in a funny little grin.
There was something about the way he smiled that May found unsettling.
Gripping her shoulders, Conrad shoved May into the carriage. There was nothing she could do to prevent herself from falling straight forward and smacking her chin against the hard steel floor. Poetic justice, she supposed. Except that if justice like that were real, every Arcadian soldier would have died the day they set foot on Leyland's shores.
Conrad calmly stepped insider after her, and situated himself on the single black leather seat, looking down at her with a sneer. Then he wrapped a hand through her hair, and tugged hard, painfully pulling her up to her knees, forcing her to look straight at him.
The engine coughed quietly as the carriage rolled in to motion, and the view from the window began to blur. Following her gaze, Conrad stiffly reached over and pulled the blind all the way down, blocking May's view of the night.
"I am this close to killing you right now," he said, holding his fingers less than an inch apart in the air. His voice was smouldering. "Does that bother you?"
His grey eyes bore into May's, transfixing her. Suddenly it felt like she was standing on the edge of a cliff, looking over into the sheer drop ahead, her stomach lurching in fear. She swallowed, and realized that her throat was dry. If she did the wrong thing now, she knew he wasn't joking- he was going to kill her. Despite her misgivings, she nodded.
Conrad smiled widely, revealing rows of straight white teeth. "That's very good," he said, patting her head, "There might be hope for you yet." He released his fistful of her hair, and the spell was broken. Reaching down, he untied the gag her mouth, and let it fall to the ground.
The carriage thumped along the quiet city streets, soft trails of smoke billowing out from either side. The rays from the street lamps flashed bars over the interior of the carriage, making it hard for May to focus on Conrad's face and guess what he was thinking.
"I was going to wait until we reached my Manor to punish you for spitting all over my face earlier, but after that little fiasco in the lobby, I've changed my mind." He said, and snapped his fingers. "Stand up."
"Why?" asked May, looking up at him from the ground.
Conrad lifted the side of his dark coat, and May caught the glint of a silver revolver. "Because I have a gun, and I just threatened to kill you."
Grudgingly, May stood up, gritting her teeth. "What, so you're going to rape me now?" She said, furiously meeting his gaze. It made her angry that his threats were really getting to her head.
Conrad chuckled dryly, "No sweetheart. That wouldn't be much of a punishment, would it?" He stood up to meet her, and May made the unpleasant discover that he was a good several inches taller than she was.
May blinked at he laughed at her, feigning incomprehension. Then her face lit up in understanding, "Oh I get it! Because your cock is so wonderful that I should just be dying to get it in me! That's right. So true!" She said, oozing sarcasm, "Shall I fall to my knees and worship you now?"
"There's no need for the theatrics," Conrad said, with a dry smile, "But yes, I dare say that you will quite enjoy your first time with me. But that won't be happening just yet."
May snorted. "So what are you going to do to me then, Conrad?"
"No," Conrad frowned. "-what are you going to do to me, master." He corrected.
May couldn't help herself. "There's no need to call me master, Conrad." She replied.
There was a pause. Conrad regarded her coolly for a moment, appraisingly. Then in a smooth motion, he gripped her slender still tied arms, and pulled them above her head, pinning May against the back of the carriage.
"I thought we just went over this," he whispered roughly, "All these childish displays of are really pushing your luck a little too far." His hot breath brushed softly over her mouth as he spoke. May bit her lip and looked away. Conrad put his hand on her chin, and firmly tilted her face back towards his. She felt herself break out in a cold sweat.
"Before we do anything else, I want to hear you call me master." Conrad whispered, lazily dragging a finger across her chest, and down her breasts. His eyes roamed over her scantily clad body, and suddenly May felt very naked- more naked than she was.
He ran a hand along the underside of her leg. Her lips trembled.
"Stop touching me, Conrad." May insisted, closing her eyes, breathing hard. She was paralyzed with fear. For this reason, her mind didn't even register when the carriage began to slow down. Neither did Conrad's, for that matter.
"One last chance." Conrad whispered, hand slowly edging closer to that sweet spot between her legs, "Go on. It's just one little word."
Before May could say a thing, the soft scent of mangoes drifted by- elusive, sweet and tantalizing. It filled her nostrils up, and she wondered where it had come from.
Desperate to escape her predicament, May seized on it. "What lovely cologne you're wearing, master." She said, sarcastically, spitting out the vile word at the end with as much venom as she could muster.
Conrad coldly raised an eyebrow, "Cologne?" He asked, cocking his head. "What are you talking about?" A strange look came over his face. He sniffed loudly, and his tongue flicked out, tasting the air. There was a short pause. Then his eyes widened in horror.
"Fuck!" He yelped, releasing May's arms and leaping back. He unceremoniously sank his hand into her collar -not even bothering with the leash- and smashed the carriage door open with a kick, pulling a very confused May behind him as he leapt out into the street.
Less than a second later, the night exploded in bright orange as they carriage they had been riding in only moments before crumpled like a sheet of paper under the flames that erupted all over its body, and a wave of heat rushed over May, carrying with it the sting of smoke and the awful stench of rotting mangoes, making her want to double-up and vomit all over the street. The driver was nowhere to be, but May could hear the sound of feet running against the road several yards away from the burning carriage, and guessed that it must have been him.
For a moment, May just stood there, stunned into silence, staring at the wreckage in disbelief. Then before she could even start to think again, she felt something cold and hard pressed up against the back of her neck. Twisting her head around, she realized with dismay that it was the but of Conrad's silver revolver. Oh good.
"Don't even think about running," he whispered, "I'm an excellent shot, and this gun holds six rounds. Understand?"
May nodded quietly. It occurred to her that with her legs tied together the way they were, she couldn't have run even if she had tried. But she was too shocked to care.
"What... what just happened?" May asked, slipping her gaze between Conrad and the carriage, unsure where best to put her eyes.
Conrad put a hand over his brow, and surveyed the wreckage. "Citrium gas" He said, grimly.
"And what the fuck is that?"
Conrad looked at her in surprise, more bemused than annoyed by her outburst. "It's sometimes called mango gas, because of the smell. Don't tell me you've never seen one before? I know for sure they used it when the navy was bombing Kingsbury."
"I wasn't in the capital during the raids," said May muttered, shaking her head. She stared at the wreckage again, giving her addled mind and a chance to calm down and digest what had just happened to her. It was a hard thing to do, but slowly, she felt her sanity return.
"S-so what do we do now?" She asked, nervously. "Go to the police and report this?" For the first time, she began to take in her surroundings. There was an old wine bottle lying open on the street, alongside discarded tobbaco pipes and ripped handkerchiefs, dusted with white powder. The road looked like it hadn't been maintained for over a decade, and the street lamp above her head wasn't even working. What was this place?
Conrad snorted. "A Faulkner going to the police," he said, ruefully, "those pompous bastards would love that, wouldn't they?" He patted May's head, teasingly, "No girl, we won't be going to the police. What we're going to do is walk until we reach my Manor, and then I'm going to find out who is responsible for this, and kill him."
"Do you know where we are?"
Conrad looked around distastefully, "Yes, it's called Gullside, and I recognize this street. Luckily my home isn't too far from here." He took his coat, and drapped it over May's shivering body.
"You're probably going to need this," he said.
Gullside, as the southern slums of Arcadia were known, was the dark and dirty underbelly of the city. Rusted pipes ran straight through its streets, carrying the waste of Arcadian factories to the massive, sprawling garbage dump known as the Pit, which held years of accumulated trash in its depths, from broken machinery, to toxic waste, and even to dead human beings- land was tight on the island, and most people just couldn't afford a burial. The air was rank with pollution, and the farther they got from the burning carriage, the worse the smell became. May, whose stomach was still weak from the horrible mango explosion, felt quite sick.
May glanced at Conrad, who was walking beside her, dressed in his dark shirt and pants, right hand holding her leash, back straight and face calm. For a man who had almost died, he seemed extraordinarily cool and composed. How exactly he did it, she didn't know.
The only buildings in Gullside appeared to be run down shacks and small houses made of crumbling black brick. Navigating its poorly defined streets was difficult, and Conrad stopped every few yards to check their progress. As all slums, Gullside was a hotbed of criminal activity, but there were honest families here too, living six or seven to room, so poor that they could afford nothing else. Once or twice, May caught sight of several big-eyed, dark little waifs peering out at her from behind doors. These were the children of the slum dwellers, and May's heart went out to them for surviving in such an abominable place. She hoped their parents loved them how they should.
Surprisingly, nobody even tried to come out and rob them, but it occurred to her that in the dark, Conrad looked the same as any man, and anyone living in a place like this obviously had nothing worse stealing- although secretly she was hoping that somehow would leap and kill him.
The road was broken in places where hardy weeds and grasses had somehow dislodged the thick concrete, and sprouted out into the starry night. May gingerly tried to avoid stepping on the jagged pebbles that surrounded these intrusions, wincing when the rocks dug into her feet. "Places like this are what's wrong with your country." She said in a hushed voice, as they passed a legless man stirring a pot over a fire. There was black chunks of what looked like meat floating sordidly on the surface of his thin, watery broth. She tried not to imagine how sour it must have tasted.
"Pardon?" Conrad asked. absent-mindedly, "What do you mean?"
"What do you think I mean?" May said. "Half your city is a paradise, but the other half looks like this. It's disgusting. You have so much wealth, but you hoard it all away."
Conrad looked at her, puzzled. "Is it really that bad? It's just a few old slums filled with human trash. Nothing to worry yourself over. Most of Arcadia is rich and happy, just as you say."
May glared back. Had he really just said that? "Can't you see how wrong things are?" She demanded, "Or do you really think this is all okay?"
Conrad chuckled, "This is just the way things are, darling. Worthless people like these deserve to be the milked, and the rent generated from this place lines the pockets of many lordlings. I own quite a sizeable chunk of it myself, and I make very good profits.^
"Y-you're responsible for this?" May gasped. "What is wrong with you?" She felt her cheeks grow hot, "Y-you and your friends are just a bunch of thieves!" She shouted.
Conrad's laughter faded, and he stopped walking. Without warning, he slapped her across the face with his hand, sending her reeling back with a red palm mark on her cheek. May yelped in surprise, and tumbled to the ground, clutching the lower half of her face.
Conrad loomed over her, "Never speak to me in that tone again, little girl." He said, "You're wild and emotional, and I really don't care what you think about my business practices. But suffice to say, they're not my friends. So shut your mouth, and get up. Understand?"
May found herself blinking back tears of rage. He was a monster. She slowly climbed to her feet, not looking up at him, "How close are we to your Manor?" She asked quietly.
"About ten minutes."
And indeed, it was only after a long walk through the dark alleys and thinly populated slums of the Gullside that May and Conrad finally emerged on the other side. At the first respectable street they saw, Conrad pointed out straight ahead.
"There's it is. Your master's lovely home, May."
May strained her neck as they approached, struggling to see what she could of her new prison, only to find herself taken aback when she finally did catch sight of it. It was tall, dark, and very old. Its peaked roof cut the sky above it, and its two black turreted towers cast their imposing shadows over the street, even in the dark. It was covered with lancet windows, and drab green vines crept down its grey walls. It looked wholly out of place among the other, more modern houses that surrounded it on either side. It reminded May a little of its owner. The veranda was lit up by a man in a black butler's suit holding a lantern, glancing around nervously. May thought he looked very worried. The moment he saw Conrad, his face brightened. He rushed over to his employer's side, and started to babble, his almost incomprehensibly panicked voice piercing May's delicate ears.
"Sir, thank God you're back. I just received terrible news. It's awful! It's a complete disaster! I was just in the back garden, checking up on the flowers, when one of your operatives came stumbling down the street with fresh burns all over his body- I couldn't believe my eyes! I rushed him into the house, and he told me a truly horrific story! An tragic story! He says his ship -one of ours- was destroyed by an explosion at the docks. Four of his friends dead! And they used-"
"-citrium gas?" Conrad interrupted, holding up a hand to stop his butler mid rant. The butler's eyes widened in surprise. Conrad smiled coldly, and went on, "I was also attacked. I assure you Edward, whoever is responsible for this is going to pay dearly. Where is this survivor?"
Edward swallowed, and then gestured to the Manor behind him. "He's in the house, sir."
Conrad nodded, making his decision, "I'll see to him myself, then. Meanwhile, I would like you to please escort my slave into the Manor and find her a place to stay. Don't let her innocent charade fool you. She's a viper. Keep a sharp eye on her at all times."