Chapter 11:

Chapter 11

Waking Up as a Gyaru in a New World

And waited. Most of the patrons had cleared out or gone back to their rooms by the time Ravaz showed up. I came all the way awake with a jump when I saw him, embarrassed that I’d been nodding off. Kriv, of course, had never relaxed. He didn’t seem to need to sleep that much. Bookmark here

“Sorry,” Revaz said, seating himself next to Kriv. “I didn’t think it would take that long.”Bookmark here

“Where is Aliya?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Still at the sept house. I can’t get into it but she might be there a while. The Clan isn’t happy with her right now.” My heart clenched. I hoped Aliya would be alright. Bookmark here

“So, the little brat has finally decided to show up,” Yana said, coming up to the table with a glass in one hand and a rag in the other.Bookmark here

“Sorry, Mother,” Revaz said. “Clan business took longer than I expected.” Bookmark here

I glanced from one to the other of them. I had thought they’d looked alike but not that much alike. “Yana is your mother?” I asked.Bookmark here

Revaz looked back at me. “Yes, one of my sept mothers.” ‘One of.’ So child-rearing in Pekel really was a group activity. Strange. Bookmark here

Yana began polishing her glass. “And just because I raised you from a squalling little brat, you think you can stay here for free whenever you want? I am trying to earn a living here. You think I can afford to feed and house let every little sept-child I ever had?”Bookmark here

Revaz smiled. “But I’m not every little sept-child you ever had. I’m your favorite.” I realized it was the first time I’d ever really seen him smile. He smirked a lot but this was the first true smile I’d ever seen. It was dazzling. I felt all warm and gooey inside. Even a small voice screaming in my head that it was wrong to feel that way couldn’t chase away the feeling. Maybe Revaz had his own ‘doki-doki?’ But more likely it was just the easy charm that only the gorgeous are blessed with. Bookmark here

The smile melted Yana, too. “Who says you’re my favorite?” she asked, but her voice lacked any heat or harshness. “You can stay tonight,” she said. “But only tonight mind! You’ll have to pay if you want to stay any longer.” She tried to look stern but undercut herself when she asked. “Are you hungry? I could make you something.” Bookmark here

Revaz popped to his feet and kissed Yana on the cheek. “Thank you, Mother. I already ate at the sept house and I’m exhausted. Is the room from last time free?” Bookmark here

“That’ll be fine.” Revaz beamed at her and Yana’s stern facade began to tremble. She quickly turned around. “Off with you. I need to clean up.” She walked back toward the kitchen, muttering under her breath. I only caught the words ‘little brat.’ It was really sweet how much she cared about him. I guess even if their family structure was different, there was still a lot of love. Bookmark here

Revaz led me and Kriv up to a room and as we entered it, I realized that it was going to be just me and the boys. No Dorsa and no Aliya. That was a little disconcerting. Of course, Revaz had never made any kind of advances on me and Kriv was too young, so I thought I was in the clear. Bookmark here

The room was small, taken almost entirely up by a decent-sized bed and a little end table. I sat down on the bed and was a little dismayed to find it a little lumpy and firm for my tastes. Of course, I couldn’t complain too much. A bed was a bed and I had slept out on the ground more times than on a mattress since coming to this world. Bookmark here

Revaz sat down next to me, so close that our legs were touching. Uh oh. I made a wordless noise as I tried to think of something to say. He gently took face with one hand and turned it so I was looking up at him. Our faces were so close that our noses almost touched. “Would you like to have sex?” he asked. Bookmark here

“W-w-w-what?” I stammered. “What are you talking about?” Bookmark here

He frowned. “Do you not know the word? It’s like--” Bookmark here

I didn’t want to hear him describe it so I quickly said, “I know what the word means but I can’t believe you just asked me like that!” Bookmark here

“Asked you like what?” I could feel his warm breath. Bookmark here

“So bluntly. You didn’t even try to seduce me or sweet talk me or anything.” Bookmark here

He laughed. It was a warm, rolling sound. “Seduce you? I am not trying to seduce you? I just want to know if you want to or not.” Bookmark here

I was having trouble thinking and, worse, I was having trouble drawing away from him. “You never seemed interested in me before. Why now?” Bookmark here

He moved his hand lower on my face and gently traced my bottom lip with his thumb. Tingles ran all the way down my body. “I don’t find too many humans attractive but there is something about you. You’re different. Beautiful, yes, but different from any other girl I’ve ever met. I wanted you almost instantly but...I think Aliya does as well and she is the worst about sharing.” He smirked. “When we were children, she would throw these unbelievable tantrums if anybody played with anything she considered hers.”Bookmark here

I knew I should have had some reaction to the revelation that Aliya might like me but it was hard to think about anything when Revaz seemed like he was half a second from kissing me. I cast about for some excuse to stop this, unsure why I couldn’t just pull away. Revaz didn’t seem like he was going to force the issue. “What about Kriv?” I breathed. Even as I said it, I knew it was the wrong thing to say. It made it seem like Kriv was the only reason I was hesitating. Bookmark here

“What about him?” Revaz asked. “It’ll do the boy good to see how a real man takes a woman.” Bookmark here

There we go. That did it. I hadn’t realized just quite how beast-like the zverdi really were. I pulled away from Revaz and scrambled to the other side of the bed. “No, thank you,” I said, my voice pitched high. “I’m going to go to sleep now.” I slithered under the covers and turned my back on Revaz, squeezing my eyes shut. Bookmark here

I heard Revaz grunt in either surprise or disappointment. I stayed where I was as I felt him get up and heard him start to undress. While he did, I kept my eyes shut and curled into a little ball. He blew out the lantern that had been lighting the room. He climbed into bed next to me but didn’t try to touch me. The tension in my body eased a bit. Kriv didn’t get into bed but that wasn’t unusual for him. He often slept on the floor and only occasionally would crawl in next to me. Bookmark here

Soon I could hear the deep, steady rhythm of sleep from Revaz and I let myself relax a little. I laid flat on my back and stared into the darkness above. That had been close. Why hadn’t I shut him down quicker? Was I that desperate for attention or was I just that much of a coward? I knew both of those had factored into it but I knew there was another reason as well. To myself, if nobody else, I could admit that I wasn’t a hundred percent hetrosexual. Bookmark here

Most people weren’t, though the culture in the world I came from made that difficult to acknowledge. I wasn’t worried about my sexuality. Every person I’d ever been seriously sexually attracted to had been female. But maybe as a consequence of all the smutty manga and adult games I’d played, I’d had fantasies about men before. Always with me in the submissive role, which hadn’t done wonders for my self-esteem. Sometimes I’d even fantasized about being a girl.Bookmark here

I put the heels of my hands to my eyes and pressed until it hurt. But I couldn’t let that happen. This was Mina’s body, not mine. I didn’t have any right to let somebody violate it like that. It was getting harder, though. In a way, it was lucky Revaz had come on to me. I wasn’t ready to cross that line yet. If it had been Aliya, would I have done it? I hoped not but I had never been an iron-willed resister of temptation. I really hoped we could find Mina in High Rock. It needed to be soon. Bookmark here

The room was hot and I was uncomfortable. I glanced over at the sleeping Revaz. He’d seen me in my underwear plenty of times now but that was before I had known he’d wanted to sex me. On the other hand, he hadn’t pressed the issue at all and just left me alone when I turned him down. I wiggled out of my skirt and his vest, dumping them on the floor next to me. I was still uncomfortable because my panties were damp with sweat--or so I told myself--but there was no way in hell I was taking them off. Bookmark here

Still, I couldn’t fall asleep. This had been something of a problem for me back home but in this world I was usually so tired at the end of the day that I just passed out. Thoughts whirled through my head and they were all bad thoughts. I clasped my hands together to keep them from touching anywhere else and did my best to count sheep. The sleep I eventually fell into was restless and rife with half remembered dreams. Kriv never got into bed with us. When he got up just a little after dawn, I got up with him. I was still very sleepy but was tired of trying to sleep. Bookmark here

Yana was nice enough to give us bread, milk and cheese for breakfast. I ate mine with little enthusiasm as we waited for Revaz. The tiger man came down a couple hours later, gave his mother a kiss on the cheek and sat down across from me. He seemed fresh as a daisy and completely at ease. Maybe sex was just like asking someone to play cards or watch a movie for the zverdi. Of course, if someone turned me down for literally anything at all, I would’ve died inside. So I never asked. Revaz had too much easy going confidence to be hurt by my rejection. Bookmark here

As he ate the same breakfast as we had--only with beer replacing milk--he said, “I’ve been giving some thought to how we might be able to track down this friend of yours.” That made me perk up. “There is a slave market in High Rock and the Bronze Tigers confirmed that every slave must be sold through the market. They take a cut of the sale and the Cobra Clan takes a percentage of the profit. Even Cobra Clan members have to sell to the market, though they get a better deal than others.”Bookmark here

“So we don’t actually have to find the cobras that took him,” I said, feeling excited. “They’ll have sold him to the market.” Bookmark here

Revaz smiled and took a swig of his beer. “Exactly.” Bookmark here

I grinned. “Aliya will be sad she doesn’t get to find some snakes.” Bookmark here

Revaz shook his head. “Going after cobras in High Rock. There is reckless and there is suicidal. I know she hates the snakes but I hope she isn’t really stupid enough to try and do something like that.” Bookmark here

I thought that she probably was but didn’t say anything. “So we go to the market and see if we can dig something up. Maybe he won’t even have been sold yet.” Bookmark here

Revaz nodded. “The easiest solution would be to buy him. If he hasn’t been sold yet, then maybe we can get him for a bargain since nobody seems to want him.”Bookmark here

I dearly hoped so. I eagerly waited for Revaz to finish and got to my feet the moment he did so. “Let’s go.” Bookmark here

The three of us headed out into the throngs. It was just as unpleasant as yesterday but I had a new sense of purpose. The slave market was an open area with a raised platform for displaying the slaves. Children spread through the crowd, calling out the information about the next slave up for auction. The bidding was incredibly chaotic, with a mob of people pressing in and calling out bids while the auctioneer kept track. Though maybe the reason the current crowd was so enthusiastic was the fact that the current slave was a huge, musclebound young man. He was nude and I averted my eyes. It wasn’t sexual. He was being treated as a piece of meat and it made me ill. Bookmark here

Revaz led me to a different part of the market where three little shacks stood. There was a long line in front of each one of the shacks. It didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on. Besides us, each of the groups in line consisted of captives and their captors. This was where people came to sell. “Why are we in this line?” I asked. Bookmark here

“So we can ask if two cobras sold a male foreigner here,” Revaz said. “It’s better than just waiting around to see if they bring him out one of these times.” Bookmark here

I couldn’t argue with that. The line seemed to take forever to move and I wished we had brought some food and water. At about noon, though, we finally made it in. A cobra waved us into the shack and we went in. It was hot inside but at least it was out of the sun. Another cobra zverdi sat behind a little desk with sheafs of parchment, a pot of ink and a quill set before him. “Selling the girl?” he asked in a bored voice. Bookmark here

Revaz shook his head. “I just have a couple questions.” Bookmark here

The cobra man sighed. “Warrior, this is the place to sell your slave. If you aren’t here to do that, you are wasting my time.”Bookmark here

“Please,” I said, “we just need to know if two cobras came here with a young man to sell in the last week or so.” Bookmark here

The cobra smiled condescendingly. “That happened, I don’t know, a few dozen times in the last week.” Bookmark here

“This human would have been a foreigner,” I said. Bookmark here

His bored expression didn’t change a bit. “Listen, I don’t know and I don’t care. I also don’t have time for it. Leave. If you aren’t gone in ten seconds, I am calling the guards to remove you.” His voice wasn’t panicky or angry, just matter of fact. That scared me the most. He wasn’t threatening or bluffing. He would do as he said. I considered using ‘doki-doki’ but was scared to. Before I could make up my mind, Revaz pulled me back and we left the shack. Bookmark here

“Well, that really was a waste of time,” he muttered. “Sorry about that. I’ll buy you lunch as an apology.” The lunch he bought us from a little stand was essentially a shish kebab, meat and vegetables on a skewer. He also bought a skin of wine, which I drank some of because I was too thirsty not to. Bookmark here

“Can you think of anything else we could try?” I asked as we ate. Bookmark here

“Well, I know that they have to keep records of all sales,” Revaz said, “in case the seller was lying about the slave’s skills or failed to disclose an illness or something. If we could see them, we could figure out if he was sold there and who he was sold to.” Bookmark here

An idea came to me. An idea that told me I had been watching too much anime. But no matter how much I thought about it, I couldn’t come up with anything else. “What if I…” I took a breath. “What if I let myself get sold as a slave? I could figure out some way to see the records and then you two could break me out.” Bookmark here

Revaz looked at me like I was crazy. “Break you out? I’d be banished from my clan and likely sold as a slave myself. The cobras are not forgiving.” So that was what he had a problem with? Not selling me? He rubbed his chin. “But infiltrating as a slave. That is creative. We couldn’t break you out but…” He grinned. Whatever he’d thought of, he was very proud of himself. “I’ve got an idea.” I gestured for him to continue. “I used to have a friend that would do this...trick. He would sell a slave to the market for more than it was worth and then buy it later for less than he sold it.” Bookmark here

“How did he get away with that?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Well the one time that I saw him do it, he brought in a strong-looking man and had him act real impressive during the sale. Then when the same slave came up for bid, he slumped his shoulders and limped around like he had been broken in the mines or something. A third person bought him for half the price they sold him for and the three of them split the profits. The slave has to be in on it.” Revaz pulled a piece of meat from his skewer and chewed with relish. I guess he was excited. Bookmark here

Truthfully, it seemed like a good idea to me. At least, I couldn’t come up with anything better. “Is your friend still in High Rock?” It would be good to have someone experienced with the scam helping us. Bookmark here

“No, the cobras figured out what he was doing and murdered him. I need to get some stuff, hang here for a bit.” Revaz took off. Apparently the fact that his friend had been killed for doing exactly what they planned to do didn’t phase him. My stomach tried to reject the food I’d just put in but I managed to settle it with some deep breathing. I still couldn’t come up with anything better. Bookmark here

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