Chapter 12:

Chapter 12

Waking Up as a Gyaru in a New World

Revaz returned with a bundle of cloth and waved for me to follow him. We ended up in a relatively isolated alley. “Here,” he said, “change into these.” The bundle turned out to include a top and breeches of tan, rough cloth. I guess they did make me seem more like a slave than my current garments.Bookmark here

“You want me to change here?” I asked. Bookmark here

“Do you want to wait until tomorrow? We need to hurry up if we want to get through the line before sundown.” Bookmark here

That was a good point. Damn it. “Fine, you watch that way. Kriv, watch the other end of the alley.” Once they had both done what they said, I quickly changed. Since I didn’t know what would happen to me while I was a slave, I took off everything and stuffed it in the backpack. Only the shoes wouldn’t fit. When I was changed and had called the boys back, I pressed the backpack into Kriv’s hands. “Keep that safe, please. It is everything I own in the world.” The wolfboy nodded solemnly. Revaz sent him back to the Tiger Lily Inn. We hoped Aliya would be able to be the one to purchase me but Kriv might have to do in a pinch so it would be bad if he was associated with us. Bookmark here

We returned to the slave market and got in a different line from the one we’d been in before. The wait was even more miserable this time, since I was in scratchy clothes and bare feet. The ground was hot. The line seemed to take even longer this time, partially because I was clock-watching. Well, sun-watching, but the principle was the same. We made it in before sundown, though. Bookmark here

The snake-man waiting behind the table in the shack looked so much like the other that for a moment that I thought we must have messed up and gotten in the same line. But Revaz wasn’t concerned and I noticed that the vest of this cobra was yellow rather than green. They had to be brothers or something, though. “Selling the girl?” he asked. Even though the words were the exact same, he seemed less bored and more chipper than the other had been. I took that as a good sign. Bookmark here

“Yes, indeed,” Revaz said, swagger in his voice. “She’s quite the catch.” Bookmark here

“She is indeed beautiful,” the cobra said, peering at me. Like the other cobras I’d seen, he had a weirdly triangular head and almost no nose. His eyes were black. “Are you Althean, girl?” Bookmark here

I froze for a moment, not sure if I should speak. Should I pretend I didn’t understand him? Would I be worth more if I spoke Pekelnik? Damn it, we should have talked about this more. Revaz slapped me hard on the ass and I jumped. “Answer him!” he snarled. Bookmark here

“Y-yes,” I said. Bookmark here

The cobra turned to Revaz. “She understands Pekelnik?” Bookmark here

“Oh, yes. She’s been living in a little town in Bear Clan country,” Revaz said. I did my best to keep my features blank. I hadn’t realized he was going to come up with a whole new fake history for me. “Selling herself down there. I captured her on a raid.” Bookmark here

The cobra smiled. “I hope that’s not all you did.”Bookmark here

Revaz smiled, all dangerous and cocksure. It made my belly flutter. “You really think a tiger goes on any raid without getting his claws bloody?” The two of them laughed together. Bookmark here

The cobra’s laughter wound down. “Well, as much as I’d like to hear your story, I need to get this moving. It was very busy today.” He turned his gaze to me. “Undress now.”Bookmark here

I froze again, even though I should have expected this. Revaz spanked me again, hard enough to hurt. “Undress, slave!” he hissed. I appreciated him getting into the role but we were absolutely going to talk about this when everything was over.Bookmark here

I didn’t bother to hide my reluctance and shame at taking my clothes off. A real slave wouldn’t have, I don’t think. The cobra came around the desk and examined me. I squirmed under his gaze even though it really was like a person studying a piece of livestock rather than a nude woman. “Not bad. Especially since you said she’d been selling herself. Yes, very good. Smooth skin. A small burn here.” He touched where the burn from the hellhound had left a small scar. I flinched but he didn’t seem to care. His hand moved up, lightly touching my belly button piercing and then my two nipples. “I haven’t seen these kinds of piercings before.” He straightened and brushed my hair back. “A pretty color. Eyes, too. Wow, look at all those ear piercings. Never seen that many on an Althean before.” Bookmark here

He went back around the desk and sat, writing something. He didn’t tell me to put my clothes on so I just stood there, hugging myself and shivering even though the shack was sweltering. “Hmm. All told, I think I can offer you one hundred and seventy-five gold pieces for her.”Bookmark here

Revaz choked and I wasn’t sure if it was because it was lower or higher than he expected. It seemed like a lot to me. Revaz got control of himself quickly. “Is that all?” he asked. But there was a slight quaver in his voice that told me that the offer was more than he expected.Bookmark here

The cobra slaver raised an eyebrow. “It is the most I’ve offered for a slave in several months. It is more than generous, I assure you.” Bookmark here

Revaz put a hand on my shoulder. I could feel it trembling a little. Get a hold of yourself already! “I once saw a girl of her calibur sell for six hundred gold!”Bookmark here

The cobra leaned back. “Maybe so but was likely an aberration based on a bidding war. It might happen with her but I need guarantees. Sex slaves only go to a select clientele and they can be picky and mercurial. The piercings that she has may entice a few of them or entice none of them. I am taking a gamble.”Bookmark here

“But do you know what these piercings mean?” Revaz asked. He seemed to be back to himself. I guess because he’d been prepared for this topic. Revaz grabbed one of my breasts, lifting it and squeezing it. I gasped but managed to swallow my angry demand for him to let go. “The only Althean women that are pierced through the nipples like this are those from the pleasure houses in Aisa!”Bookmark here

“I’ve heard of Aisa but I’ve never heard of that,” the cobra said with narrowed eyes. He leaned forward, tough. “We’ve had Althean women claiming to be prostitutes from Aisa come through before.” Bookmark here

“Those women were liars,” Revaz said, shaking my boob for emphasis. I was going to kick him in the freaking balls after this was over. “Those damn Altheans never let real Aisan courtesans come so far as Pekel. The only reason she is here is because she was supposed to be a gift for the Emperor of Ma’at! Until her ship wrecked.” Bookmark here

The cobra cocked his head. “And how do you know all this?” Bookmark here

Revaz blinked and let go of me. I guess he hadn’t thought of that. Son of a bitch. “S-she told me all.” Bookmark here

The cobra nodded as if that was what he’d been expecting. “And I suppose she had no reason to lie?” he asked mockingly. Bookmark here

Revaz’s hands curled into fists. “I’ve had a lot of women but never one like her. She knows secrets of pleasure that will drive a man mad.” Bookmark here

“Mmm,” the snake said doubtfully. “Yet you’re willing to sell her. You must have a great deal of willpower.” Revaz trembled. I think he was actually angry for real now. “Still, for giving us that story to sell with her, I suppose I can bump up the price to a hundred and eighty gold. Take it or leave it. I have no more time to discuss it.” Bookmark here

Revaz opened and closed his mouth a few times but eventually just said. “I’ll take it.” Bookmark here

“Excellent. I’ll draw up the paperwork.” He began and then glanced up at me. “And you, put your clothes on already.” My face blazing, I hurried to clothe myself. When the snake was finished, he gave Revaz a few pieces of parchment and said, “Present that to the guardsmen at the east gate of High Rock and you will get your money.” Bookmark here

Revaz turned and gave me a last look. I think he was trying to tell me something with his eyes. Probably to cooperate up until I was on stage and then do something to drive down the price like we’d discussed. Then he was gone and I was left alone with the cobra. Sold as a slave. Was this really a good idea? Bookmark here

The slaver called a different cobra in and said, “Take this one to an isolated cell. I won’t have the rest of the slaves pawing at her before she sells.” The cobra lackey grabbed me by the shoulder and steered me out of the shack. They didn’t put any shackles on me like I’d seen on some of the other slaves. I guess they weren’t worried that I might escape. I was glad of that, at least. Bookmark here

The cell I was put in was made all of hardwood, not metal. That was surprising, though it wasn’t like I was going to bust through it. Only the latch and the lock were metal. The cobra pushed me inside. It was so small that I could touch the roof and all the sides no matter where I stood. I could straighten up to my full height just barely but I wouldn’t be stretching out on the floor. The only thing in the cell with me was a bucket. I sat as far away from it as I could, my knees drawn up to my chest. Bookmark here

They brought me a bowl of gruel and some water later. I drank the water but my stomach was way too tight to try the gruel. It smelled bad anyway. They came around again to collect the cup and bowl. There was no comment on the uneaten gruel. I guess it wasn’t that uncommon for slaves not to eat. After that I just waited. I had no fear that I would fall asleep and I wanted to wait until the middle of the night to make my move.Bookmark here

Once I thought it had been long enough, I waited until the lone guardsman got up to stretch his legs. He was a cobra, like all the other zverdi I’d seen in the slave market. When he walked past my cell I said, “Sir, sir, please, I need to speak to you.” Bookmark here

He came close but only to kick my cell and say, “Shut up!” It was close enough for what I needed, however. I thought ‘Lullaby!’ in my head and almost instantly the words began to stream out of my mouth. Strangely, it was a lullaby I’d never heard before but it was soft and sweet.Bookmark here

The guardsmen stumbled and then grabbed his head. “What are you doing? Shut up!” He tried to grab me through the slats of the cell but I scrambled back, pressing myself against the far wall. I continued to sing. Luckily my skills were on autopilot once I activated them. “Shut up, shut up!” the guardsman yelled. I hoped no one else could hear him. He pulled his hands back and fumbled for the key ring on his belt. My eyes widened as he found a key and unlocked my cell. If he attacked me, would I be able to keep singing? Bookmark here

It turned out to be a moot point. The guardsman opened the door but fell to his knees as soon as he did so. Then he slumped forward and began to snore softly. I stopped singing and put a hand to my chest. My heart was beating so hard that it hurt. But I knew I needed to hurry. No telling how long this would last. Bookmark here

I stepped over the guardsman and dragged him away so that he wasn’t directly in front of my cell. He was heavy and my back and arms were burning by the time I’d moved him just a little distance. Too bad I didn’t have a skill to boost my own strength. I wondered if ‘cheer up’ would work on me. Bookmark here

When that was done, I took his keyring and lantern and went searching. The longhouse was mostly dark but a few hanging lanterns kept me from getting completely lost. The lone guardsman seemed to be the only cobra in the place. I guess the rest went home at the end of the day. I saw other slaves, either in cells like mine or packed into rooms where they were chained to the wall or floor. It was horrible. If I was a hero, I would have torn the place apart and freed them all. But I was having enough trouble keeping myself alive. And I wasn’t naive enough to think I could free them all and they’d live happily ever after.Bookmark here

I found the record room after a while. It was just a small storage room with several baskets full of pieces of parchment. There didn’t seem to be a lot of organization but I assumed that the basket closest to the door contained the most recent parchments. I examined one and found that it contained multiple transaction records. They were barebones, with a short description of the slave, the price and the name of the person who bought it. Bookmark here

I scanned through the parchments, looking for some kind of description of myself. It took a while and I was starting to grow desperate when I finally found it. The description was of an ‘unknown foriegn male, black hair, dark eyes, short and weak, no known skills, unable to speak Pekelnik.’ Harsh. So was the price I’d been sold for. Thirty gold. Was I really worth that much less than Mina? Seriously? On the other hand, why was I getting upset about my value as a slave? Bookmark here

The last, most important bit, said that Mina had been sold to a person named Sviato. I’d seen that name come up a lot before so I quickly scanned some of the other parchments as I put them back how I had found them. Sviato came up a lot, always buying males and never spending more than forty gold on any of them. So he was buying cheap males. He had to have been using them for labor. I hoped it wasn’t a mine. I had no illusions about how long my body would last in a mine. Bookmark here

I hurried back to my cell and was glad to see the guardsman was still asleep. I went into my cell and with some painful contortions, managed to lock it again. Then I realized I had a key ring in my hand and had no idea what to do with it. After I couldn’t think of anything better, I just tossed it at the guardsman. It landed near his hand and I congratulated myself on a pretty good throw. Then I hunkered down and hoped that I would get away with everything somehow. Bookmark here

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