The Rebellious Slave Ch. 12


The traffic in Capital City, on a Saturday night, was atrocious and it took Arlington's driver a full hour to get him to the West Shopping District and Candato's Slave Market. It was a tall, grey building beside the famous Manbeive Fountain, which constituted a series of statues, mostly mythical creatures, holding flowers from which streams of water flowed. Children were playing nearby, tossing small coins into the water, hoping to make a wish worthy of realization and enjoying the warm summer air. A few of the older ones even stopped to look and point at Lord Arlington who, ever since the election, had been a favorite topic on the evening news.

The lobby of Candato's Slave Market was smallish and, like the outside of the building, a pale grey color. A gentlemen in a tan cloak was sitting just beyond a panel of glass, flipping through a magazine, wearing a bronze badge with the words "Sales Manager" written across it. The only color in the lobby came from a few fake ferns in plastic pots, the colors of which had faded with time, so that the vases were now a nice, purplish shade reminiscent of vomit. Other than that, there were only a few lights embedded in the ceiling and, Arlington noticed, several of them had died out.

With a sneer of disapproval, Arlington shook his head. Surely, the resulting darkness was bad for business and the idiot in charge of ambiance clearly needed to fired. The gloomy shadows were down right intimidating and would frighten away those customers who were already apprehensive at the prospect of buying a human being. And since Candato's Slave Market was state owned and operated, the poor upkeep of facilities would reduce the state's revenue. Arlington's revenue. He would have to talk to the Facilities Manager before he left.

"Ah hem," Arlington coughed, as he approached the front counter, his body guards following close behind him, like bulky shadows. And suddenly, the little man behind the counter jumped, surprised by the sudden intrusion, although he shouldn't have been. These were prime shopping hours, after all. Guiltily, the Sales Manger hid his magazine below the counter, and as he did so, Arlington could make out a large pair of tits. A porn magazine? How unprofessional.

"My lord," the little man gasped, and he bowed in such a ridiculous fashion that it took all of Arlington's will power not to laugh out loud. The fact that the Sales Manager bounced a little as he talked didn't make the situation any easier on his lordship. Quickly, Arlington swallowed a hearty chuckle, before it could escape into the open air. "Can I interest you in anything particular?" the man continued, his voice eager. The salesman probably worked on a commission. "We have a catalog available, if you would like to see the current line up of processed slaves. We can even ship an item in from another market, if you want."

But Arlington shook his head. He had no interest in ordering from another outlet. He wanted a slave tonight, before he grew cold feet and changed his mind. There was a reason he'd been avoiding the market for the past few years, and he didn't want that reason sneaking up on him and making its usual attack. Arlington wanted to get in and then get out. Or, at least, that was the plan. "I am only interested in what you currently have in stock," Arlington told the man. "Is the Observation Hallway, for new acquisitions, still open this evening?"

And the Sales Manager nodded his head profusely, gesturing toward a set of double doors beyond the lobby. "Right this way, my lord," he exclaimed, clamoring towards the entryway. He had to swipe his badge before the doors would open, and when they did, Arlington's eyes were assaulted with a dark, dank hallway. This was the reason Arlington hated this place so much. It was the reason he'd avoided trips to the slave market on many occasions, even when he'd been invited by fellow politicians and lobbyists. For although Lord Arlington had been to the slave market on several occasions, each and every time, he found himself surprised by the dreariness of the place. Would a splash of color or a window be too much to ask for? Maybe a decorative painting or two? Perhaps a bit of carpeting? The place was down right depressing and that bothered Arlington. It reminded him a little too much of Master Greyson's Dungeon and Arlington despised that god forsaken place.

Unbidden, an image flashed before Lord Arlington's eyes. There were torches lining stone walls, illuminating metal bars, which had rusted over with time. And there was a green, wet mold crawling up from the floor and growing into the crevices of the dungeon's stone walls. As Arlington pressed his fingers to his forehead, willing the image to fade away, he wondered if, perhaps, he shouldn't have come to Candato's Slave Market after all. Maybe, just maybe, Arlington still wasn't ready for a slave girl. But quickly, Arlington pushed the doubts in his mind aside. He was tired, so very tired, of letting the past weigh him down. Candato's Slave Market was nothing like Master Greyson's Dungeon, Arlington told himself firmly, anchoring himself to the present. And, more importantly, the slaves on display were nothing like Arilyn. There would be absolutely no resemblance between her and the miserable creatures Arlington was about to peruse.

So, why did Arlington still see Arilyn when he closed his eyes? Why did her face come into view, malevolent and yet, so soft beneath all the anger? Why couldn't Arlington erase Arilyn's hate-filled, sea green eyes from his memory? And suddenly, there they were, piercing and ugly. And beautiful. God, they were so stunningly beautiful. Then, there was her voice, so soft and sensual, like a bird's. But when she screeched, dear lord, the sound was like steel wool on a wire.

And with that, another unwanted memory wormed its way into the forefront of Arlington's mind, and he could see Arilyn in front of him, her eyes blazing, her right arm in a cast. Arlington wanted to apologize for the injury, even though he knew that it wasn't his fault. But the way that Arilyn looked at him made Arlington feel guilty, and the way she spoke even more so. "If you were a real man, then you would kill me!" she had screamed. "But you don't have the balls, do you? Coward! Coward!"

But as suddenly as it had appeared, the flash back was over, leaving Arlington in peace once more. He was getting a lot better at controlling those memories, and had all but stamped out his feelings for Arilyn, both the affection and the hatred, which had held him back for so long. He suspected that taking care of Marko had done a great deal to lighten his load, and was grateful for that, though he occasionally regretted doing away with the man. Marko had, after all, been something of a friend and a brother.

But Arlington was done with the past. He wanted to enjoy his new life as Isleydor's Fourth Lord. And so, Arlington reminded himself that he was in a different time, and that he existed in a different place. Most importantly, Arlington was a different man. He was no longer easy to manipulate, nor was he a slave to his emotions. Arlington had worked very, very hard to rid himself of both weaknesses. He had even subjected himself, voluntarily, to Master Greyson's retraining regimen. And very few men did that, given the intensity of the experience. As far as Arlington was concerned, he was ready for the future and all that entailed. But was the future ready for Lord Arlington?

The Observation Hallway resembled a prison in many respects, which seemed reasonable, since the slaves on display were convicted Class "B" Criminals, only recently stripped of their rights. There were concrete cells lining either side of the long hallway, steel bars solidly interlocking across the openings to each tiny room, where the condemned awaited inspection and then purchase. For the most part, the cells were utterly bare, with the exception of a single sink, toilet, and straw mattress per room. Furthermore, almost all of the cells were occupied, and some were even filled beyond capacity. These contained three or more slaves, chained together at the ankles or about the neck, most likely as punishment for being loud or troublesome. But none of them were of particular interest to Lord Arlington, so he moved onward, his footsteps echoing eerily off of the stone walls and metal bars of each successive holding pen. The sound of his own footfalls, amid the silence of the Observation Hall, was strangely hypnotizing, and Arlington almost passed by the girl he would eventually decide to purchase.

It was, after all, easy to miss her. She was a small creature, barely five feet tall, and as thin as a pole. Her skin was pale too, milky white, so that she blended in with her grey surroundings, much like a chameleon would. And she had dark, raven black hair, which melted into the shadows of her cell. The girl was reading a thick book, entitled "The Tale of the Miser," so when Arlington peered into her cell, she did not notice him or bother to look up. The slave was one of the lucky ones, with an entire room all to herself, and the girl had made the most of it. Her cell was among the most colorful, for the walls were decorated with construction paper and a few crude, but creative illustrations.

Arlington liked her, perhaps because she was everything Arilyn hadn't been: quiet, subdued, and intellectual. If Arlington wished to buy a slave, he would have to start off slowly and work his way up to the more rebellious types. He wasn't sure he had the heart to break in a slave, not yet. Though he was certain the activity would become bearable and even pleasurable, a few years down the road. After all, Lord Arlington thought, breaking in a slave couldn't be unlike breaking in a spy. And Arlington enjoyed a good interrogation. He especially liked the challenge his most intelligent enemies brought to the table, who were smart enough to resist his mind games. In fact, a good interrogation was a lot like a game of chess. But Arlington was not yet ready to play chess with a slave. It was different, and he needed some time still. Time to forget Arilyn, and her terrible green eyes.

"This one," Arlington told the Sales Manager, pointing toward the pale slave. "Can you get her into an Inspection Room for me, so that I can take a closer look?" And with that, the bouncy little man was off to fetch the Slave Master, who would be in charge of organizing all up-close slave examinations.

Meanwhile, upon hearing Arlington's voice, the pale slave looked up from her book. At first, she did not seemed frightened, only curious. But when she saw that the only customer in sight happened to be standing before her cell---and that he also happened to be the Fourth Lord of Isleydor---the pale slave's face twisted suddenly with worry. Quickly, she stood up from her cot and marched toward the bars of her little room, determination etched into her features. Averting her eyes from Lord Arlington, the slave opened her book as wide as was possible, in order to hide behind it and away from her prospective buyer. And with a small bounce, the girl made her way to the end of the cell that was farthest from Lord Arlington.

"Bjorn!" she cried out into the hallway, apprehensive. "Bjorn, I want to call my lawyer! I get one free phone call every week, and I'd like to call my lawyer now!" But Bjorn was, apparently, nowhere in site. No one came when the little slave called. No one seemed to care that she had spoken. But the pale creature did not give up, and when Arlington moved toward her, his shadow falling across her form, the girl ran to the other end of her cell and continued to call out. "Bjorn, I know my rights! I want my phone call, and I want it now!" But still, no one answered back, and Arlington dutifully followed the girl as she tried to escape his domineering presence, trailing behind her as she raced from one end of her cell to the other. Arlington knew that he was being mean, but he couldn't help it. The slave's attempts to run from him were irresistibly cute.

But the slave was not stupid. She knew she was being teased. And so, reluctantly, the girl finally turned to face Lord Arlington. Resignation settling into her features, the poor girl realized that she was trapped and that Arlington wouldn't leave her alone. And so, with a sigh, the slave finally peeked out from behind her book and made her way toward the center of her cell. There, her eyes still and serious, the little slave stood up on her tippy tip-toes, squared her shoulders, and widened her stance. Arlington was vaguely reminded of a puffer fish before a predator, filling itself with air so as to frighten off much larger fish. It was positively adorable.

"Excuse me, sir," the slave told him firmly, but she was very polite, none-the-less. "I'm very sorry, but I am not for sale yet. I'm not even supposed to be out in the Observation Hallway. I don't know why they put me here, and I am sorry for the inconvenience, but my third appeal is still going through." And she waited a moment, to see if Lord Arlington would apologize and walk away, like he was supposed to. But he didn't, and the little slave's lips became pouty.

"They're supposed to make a decision on my case by the end of the week," the slave continued, taking Arlington step-by-step through the explanation. "And when they do, I'll most likely be going home. So, you'll want to come back another day, or look into someone else." And the adorable creature pointed across the hall and down quite a ways, to another cell with a single occupant. "Susanna's been looking to get out of here a long time," the pale slave offered, trying to be helpful. "I'm sure she'd love to be taken home."

And indeed, from down the hallway, Arlington could hear a deep, throaty holler. "I've got your sweet ass right here, your lordship," Susanna called and, against his better judgement, Arlington looked towards the voice. The woman was mooning him, and Arlington wasn't sure if Susanna was trying to be sexy or insulting. Either way, the gesture was crude. "Come on, your lordship! I got your sweet cheeks right here! Just what mama gave me! Home made and everything!" And Arlington turned away, disgusted. Women like her must be the reason pants had been invented. The warmth they provided was, surely, just an added benefit, secondary to a much nobler cause.

"I think I'll pass," he told the pale slave and, though it seemed impossible, the girl turned even paler.

"My lord, I apologize for the wait!" a male voiced called, echoing down the hallway. And Arlington turned to see a tall man, in a tan cloak identical to that of the Sales Manager's, but with the words "Slave Master" written across his badge. He was out of breath, probably rushed back from his dinner break, and his footfalls echoed obnoxiously throughout the Observation Hallway. Quickly, he took out a ring of keys from inside his cloak, and they jingled merrily as he searched for the appropriate one. "Here it is, your lordship," the Slave Master proclaimed, and he opened the pale slave's cell, so that the girl backed away into a corner.

"What are you doing?" the girl asked, her voice betraying intense concern. She hadn't expected the Slave Master to take her to an Inspection Room, but to save her from Lord Arlington and his hungry gaze. The fact that he was helping Lord Arlington upset her, and she opened her mouth to protest. "Mister Nimbus, I'm sorry about this, but I would like to call my lawyer now." And as Nimbus entered into the cell, she backed away still further. "You can't sell me until the appeal has gone through, and they've made a decision. That's the rules."

"Quiet, Alice," the Slave Master hissed, withdrawing a set of metal cuffs from about his waist. "I'm in charge here, and there will be no calls after eight in the evening. Now, give me your wrists." And though there was terror in her eyes, Alice obeyed.

Defeated, she followed the Slave Master out of her cell, keeping her head down and her eyes trained on the floor, more out of fear than anything else. As an unowned slave, Alice wouldn't be expected to follow typical eye contact restrictions. And as they traveled down the Observation Hallway, toward a newer set of doors, the little slave took a deep breath, willing herself to stay calm. But when they left the Observation Hallway, and entered into a much narrower corridor with numbered doorways on either end, panic returned. "I haven't had my phone call this week," Alice insisted, her voice starting to falter, to tremble. "And I got a really good lawyer this time." The tremor in her voice turned sad then, and there was a tiny little sob. "You can't sell me yet..."

"Is that true, by the way?" Arlington asked the Slave Master, who was unlocking one of the many numbered doors, humming a little as he worked. "You know it's illegal to sell a Class "B" Criminal until all appeals have been taken care of, don't you?" Arlington made sure his voice held just the right amount of threat.

"Of course, my lord," the Slave Master insisted, holding up his hands in a gesture that was supposed to suggest sincerity. And with that, he pointed toward the interior of the Inspection Cell. "Right this way, my lord," he called, and he pushed Alice into the room ahead of the men.

Inside, the room looked an awful lot like an interrogation unit, the kind one might find at a typical police station. It resembled a box in shape, and wasn't bigger than seven feet wide by seven feet long. The only furniture present was a metallic table, with chairs situated at each end, and an overhead lamp that gave off unbearably white light. There was also a camera in a corner, directed toward the table, to record the interactions between buyer and slave, in case a criminal admitted to anything prior to being purchased. And, not surprisingly, that happened quite a lot. Prisoners often cracked under the pressure of a slave inspection. And as the Slave Master situated the pale girl in one of the chairs, he motioned for Arlington to sit in the other.

"So, have her appeals been handled, or not?" Arlington pressed, as he tried to get comfortable in his seat. But he soon gave up on the endeavor, for the chair was a tad too small for Arlington and far too rigid. Grumbling, Arlington managed as best he could, and draped his jacket over the back of the chair. "Is there, indeed, an appeal still in progress?" he hissed at the Slave Master, growing impatient.

"Technically?" the Slave Master asked, wincing just a little bit. And Arlington nodded, his eyes serious. "Well, technically, my lord, there is an appeal in progress," Nimbus admitted, with a nervous little sigh. Pacing the room, he tossed a manila folder on the table in front of Lord Arlington, which held the pale slave's file. The words "Alice Leighton" were written across the top in bold, bright letters and Arlington thought the name was rather pretty. "But, my lord, I must protest the look in your eye. We aren't running an illegal operation here. Alice isn't going to win her appeal. There's just no way in hell."

"What!?!" And with that, Alice stood from her seat, her face sincere and worried. "Why would you say that?" she whispered, her cuffed hands shaking. "Mister Nimbus, why would you say that? Did my lawyer call? What about my mother? I thought I was going to be told the decision directly." And she moved as if to the cross the room and embrace the Slave Master for some semblance of comfort, tears forming in her eyes.

"Sit down, Alice," the Slave Master barked and, her head bowed, Alice obeyed. Then, ignoring Alice's pleas completely, Nimbus turned toward Lord Arlington and his questing look. Leaning against the table, the Slave Master sighed, realizing that he had to explain the situation, or else lose his sale. "She's got a public defender," he said, his voice knowing, but unsympathetic. "And the prosecutor is James Montrey, the legislator. He's got an entire team of lawyers on his side. As I said, there is no way the girl will win her appeal. I've even got a bet riding on it. Winner takes all."

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