The clock on the wall was ticking, and her heart was fighting hard to keep its rhythm. She was struggling in her mind with her fears. And her struggle was a sweet melody to his ears. He wanted her to voice her fears, and she didn’t take long to gather herself.
Olivia took a deep breath and looked right in his eyes. She observed him and his pale smile.
“Have you decided?” He asked her.
“You are asking me to name the price for my body,” She said as she lowered her head. “Isn’t that rude?”
“I want your body, your heart, your mind, and your soul. So name your price accordingly.”
“And what would I be to you, once I have named my price?” Her eyes turned misty, despite her stubborn attempt to stay calm. “A slave that you would discard when you are bored?”
Her words amused him. She feared that she would be nothing more than a slave to him. How was it any different than the fate the Arabian Prince had in mind for her? She didn’t say it like that, fearing that her words might enrage him, but what she said implied the same thing.
“Once you are mine, you are forever mine. I am a selfish man, Miss Olivia. I am very possessive about the things that I like. And I am not the kind of person who shies away from his responsibilities.” He said to her politely. “I won’t lie to you. You won’t have the same status as my wives. I can’t marry you officially. What I have planned for you is to become one of the maids of Silverstein Palace. You will be attending Asaya. And you will be my woman, my property, and my responsibility. I won’t abandon you, or make you do anything against your will.”
The room stayed silent after he had spoken his words. Olivia kept her head lowered and kept wiping away her tears as soon as they poured out of her eyes. She had no idea what she should do. She knew that she had no choice but to accept his offer, and she had to believe in his words. And she wanted to believe in his words, but her fears whispered doubts in her mind.
“Stop teasing her, Shazan!” Ilsa said irritatedly. “You are expecting too much from her! She’s just a normal girl, and she is too young to play your game.”
He sighed at her words and took his eyes off the little girl.
“She has to make a choice, and she has to be strong. Otherwise, there’s no place for her among my women.”
Shazan knew that Ilsa had only spoken so that he could give Olivia the last push. His words were clear, that if she didn’t make a choice now, she would never get another chance in her life. If she wanted to be among his women, she needed to make this choice.
“I accept.” She whispered.
“Good.” He smiled at her. “And do you know what accepting my offer means?” He questioned her.
“I understand that I will never be Olivia Angelo again. I will have no relation with my father or brother or any other member of the Angelo family. I know that you would kill my father, and I know that my brother may not live past today. I will be your property, and I have no other choice in that matter.” She said her words looking him right in his eyes.
Shazan observed her expressions. Her words contained her helplessness, and her eyes showed him that she had made up her mind. He knew that she had no urge to exact revenge on him later on. He had played this game to make it certain that she won’t be a danger to the Family. He liked this girl, but if she had shown any hint of resentment in her voice, he would have thrown her in a worse fate than she could have imagined. And now remained her last test.
“And what will your price be?”
“Think carefully,” Ilsa interjected her words.
Olivia was taken aback by Ilsa’s sudden interjection, but when she looked in Ilsa’s eyes, she understood that it was a chance for her, and she must not waste it.
Shazan was not disappointed that Ilsa had helped Olivia. The little girl was going to show her sincerity by not naming any price, and that was nothing more than her naivety. Everything in the world has a price, a cost. Whether it is love, affection, hate, happiness, success, everything has a price. And every price is a choice. A man must choose and must have the strength to choose if he wants to stand his ground in this world. To give up your choice is just as stupid as believing that things don’t have a cost. Nothing is free.
“I have decided,” Olivia said after a few minutes. “I want you to promise me that you would never abandon me. Asaya told me that you never break your promises. I want a promise.”
Shazan couldn’t help but smile at her decision. She was naive. She had made a clever decision, but in his eyes, it was but nothing more than a girl’s silly expectation, and fear.
“That’s not something you need to ask as a price. I told you that my woman is my responsibility. I never shy away from my responsibilities. I won’t be abandoning you.” He gently said to her and drew his hand to her. “Come here.”
Olivia’s heart thumped hard when she saw the smile on his face. Despite her fears, her cheeks reddened in her blush, and she stood up to accept his hand. He squeezed her hand and pulled her to come close to him. He spun her around and pulled her in his lap, wrapping his arms around her waist. He squeezed her against his chest and inhaled her aroma as he planted a kiss on her head. And then he whispered in her ear from behind.
“Name something that you always desired, as your price. A dream.” He said as his fingers lightly traced her abdomen. The movement was subtle, but its effect was immense. Her nerves relaxed, and her fears were forced shut. He knew perfectly well, to how to spark lust in a girls body. And her deep blush told him that the fire had been ignited.
“Don’t tell me that a lovelorn girl like you never had a dream.” He teased her and chuckled near her ear.
“I… I always wanted a wooden house on an island,” Olivia spoke embarrassedly. She was glad that he could not see her face from behind. She was so embarrassed that she wanted to hide her face in her hands. “A nest away from the rest of the world, where I would spend my vacations… with my husband. With no one around to disturb us.”
“Oh… And what would you do on an Island all alone with your husband?”
“We will swim, cook together, explore the place,…”
“We will also ride on a yacht when the clouds cover the sky.”
“When the clouds cover the sky? That’s a sign of a storm when you are in the sea, silly girl.”
“That… But we will not go too far off the shore, so we will make it back in time.”
“Then… you will hold me… take me to bed.”
Her voice trembled under the caresses of his hand.
“On the bed? Not on the shore, under the rain?”
“We can do that” She whispered, and her heart raced like a rabbit on run for its life.
Olivia rushed out of his embrace when he playfully licked her ear all of sudden. And when her eyes met him, she immediately lowered her head and stood there with her hands fidgeting in nervousness. Her cheeks were burning in her embarrassment.
“Now that is a fitting price.” He chuckled and shook his head. “I will find a suitable island for that. Your dream will be yours, and you will be mine.”
“Mhm,” Olivia meekly nodded her head.
She was apprehensive of his actions, but she went forward and let him place her on his lap. However, when she felt him unzip her blouse from behind, she panicked and tried to get up.
“Calm down.” His voice penetrated her ears and she felt her fears fading. “It’s not today.”
Shazan stroked her naked back and leaned in to plant a kiss on her spine. He then traced the tip of his forefinger, and soon it dripped of blood. He drew an Image of a wolf with a butterfly resting on its head. He drew a heart, and then he wrote his name inside it.
“That’s pretty,” Ilsa commented from behind him. She had at some point came to stand behind him, as he immersed himself in the mark he was giving Olivia.
Olivia had sat there obediently. She felt his finger trace her back and the warm liquid on his touch. She knew he was drawing something, she was curious, but she didn’t express her curiosity in fear that it would distract him. And now that Ilsa had commented on it, she could no longer contain her curiosity.
“What did you draw?” She politely asked.
“A mark for you. It is the symbol of you belonging to me.” He then picked out his cell phone and took a picture for her to see.
Olivia froze when she saw the art he had drawn on her. It was beautiful. She was lost in her appreciation when a realization hit her. The mark was deep red, it was the color of blood. It was blood. She hurriedly looked back at his hands, and to her relief found that there was just a minor cut on the tip of his finger, and it was not bleeding anymore.
“Now I will wipe it off.” He said and smiled at her.
“No!” Olivia panicked, but soon gathered herself and lowered her head. “I want it. It’s pretty!”
“This is a Spirit mark. It will stay on you forever, though you will not be able to see it on your own, it will always be there.” He said as he started to erase the traces of blood with his aura.
“But I want to see it.” She expressed her sadness. She didn’t know what a Spirit mark was, and it was not her concern. She wanted this mark to always stay on her. It was that beautiful.
“That’s not a problem. Whenever you feel like seeing it again, just ask someone who can show it to you. Like this.” He channeled his aura on the mark in her back.
Olivia’s eyes widened in amazement, as in her mind the picture appeared again. It was the same as she recalled. However, this time, it was not covered in blood, but a mystical violet shade.
“So, do you like it?” He asked her.
“Yes!” Olivia cried out loud. “It’s beautiful! How did you do it?” She curiously turned around to look at him.
“You will understand these things during your stay at The House of the Scarlet Letters.” He said to her and observed her expressions.
Olivia’s curiosity soon paled, as fears rose in her heart. “You are sending me away?” She asked as she lowered her head.
“Yes, for a period of time. You will go and live at The house of the Scarlet Letters until you have learned certain skills. That place is an academy that teaches girls various skills, ranging from basic etiquettes to the art of lovemaking if one chooses it. That’s the place where the worlds best maids, slaves, spies, and fighters are trained. However, there are some princesses too, who join the academy to learn various skills, and to gain the necessary education. Don’t worry, that place doesn’t force you to take up any course against your will. You are free to pursue whatever path you want to. Usually, they take in orphans or people that have been sold of. These people are then offered various paths and the choices they have. And then these girls would choose the path they want to step onto.”
Olivia calmly listened to what he had told her, but then she couldn’t contain her fears. “What did you mean by learning the art of lovemaking?”
“You see. When a person is recruited by The House of the Scarlet Letters, she owes them a debt in return for the education, and care they provide her to raise her up. These girls can then repay this debt by using the skills they have learned. For example, a girl may choose to become a maid. She will be trained to become a perfect maid and will be taught the skills that she wants to learn. When she’s ready, she will be asked if she wants to become a temporary maid or a permanent maid. A temporary maid will work for a period of time at the houses of the lords or those that can afford her services. After that period she will be paid her wage, and then she can return part of it to The House of the Scarlet letters to write off her debt. The debts are enormous since the resources spent on each girl are rich. So it takes time for the girls to pay off these debts. On the other hand, a permanent maid is the one that is auctioned by The House of Scarlet Letters. These girls are the property of the person that wins the bid. The amount is then used to write off the debt she owed to The house of the Scarlet letters, and anything above it is her wealth. She will be a maid for a lifetime to her master. Yes, they can never marry other men, as they are the property of their masters. However, there are ground rules that each master must follow. He cannot mistreat his property and force her to do things against her will, or against the criteria she had opted for. Meaning, a master cannot sell off the maid again or throw her under other men. She is his responsibility. And if a master is found to have broken the rules set by the Secret Order. He will be punished, sometimes, punished by death. This was for the maids, but there are Sex Slaves and Spies as well. These girls are again given a choice to become a temporary or a permanent Sex Slave, or Spy. Permanent ones are auctioned off to a single master. Their prices are high. Spies do have the choice to decide who they can sleep with. However, a sex slave will have to obey the order of her master, and sleep with whichever man she is asked to sleep with. For a permanent sex slave, the master has a choice if he wants to personally train her, or if The house of the Scarlet Letters will train her in the art of lovemaking. Temporary sex slaves, on the other hand, are trained by The House of the Scarlet Letters. They then offer their services to various masters, from time to time, until they have paid off their debt. Yes, they are prostitutes. Highly extravagant and expensive prostitutes.”
“Why would anyone choose to become a sex slave?” Olivia asked as she couldn’t wrap her head around the reasons for these girls.
“Why? The wage is better than the rest, though it depends on the master. On the other hand, they can gain favors with the people they sleep with. It’s Greed and Lust. Once their debts are paid, these temporary occupants are then free agents. They can continue to provide their services for an even higher price.”
The little girl was still not content with his explanation. For her, it was not a pleasant idea to be servicing various men. And he appreciated her personality.
“What about the spies then?” She asked as she tried to keep off the unpleasant thoughts.
“Spies are complex. They are assassins as well. Adept fighters, and experts in various languages. Their training is the hardest. The sex part that you are asking about, well, some spies choose to learn the art of the lovemaking to have a better arsenal at their hands. They can seduce their targets to complete their missions. Of course, they have the choice to accept the missions or not accept them if they don’t see them fit. Sometimes, a master can give an absolute order for the completion of the mission, as long as it doesn’t contain the elements the spy had not mentioned in the contract. Permanent spies are hired as bodyguards by their masters. And Permanent means that they are the absolute property of their masters. Of course, there are rules that a master must abide by as well. By the way, permanent slaves, spies, and maids have the choice to deny or accept the highest bidder. It’s their choice to choose which master they want to serve.”
He patiently explained the necessary information to her. He didn’t want her to have any doubts in her mind. Her expressions told him that she had understood the concept. And so he decided to bring the main subject to her.
“You will be attending the academy. You are my property, and so you will have the privilege and access to any kind of course that you wish to pick up. However, you will be majoring in your role as a maid. And as a maid of the Silverstein Palace, you will have to learn more things than the conventional maids. You will be learning many different languages, some fighting arts, as well as the skills to shoot and handle different weapons. It’s always better to have several skills in your arsenal. You never know when one could come in handy.”
Olivia nodded her head but looked depressed.
“What is it?” He asked her.
“How long will I have to stay there?” She asked dispiritedly.
“Depends on your progress. If I were to guess then you should be able to acquire the necessary skills and education in one and a half year.”
He could have chosen to let her stay in the Silverstein Palace and learn everything there, but he didn’t. He was about to destroy her family. It was clear to him that she had no respect or love for her brother and father. But they were still her family. She would require time to get mentally strong enough, and he couldn’t just allow her to stay close to the family during this period. She would lose her personality if he were to do so. The influence of his women would be overwhelming for her. And he didn’t wish for her to have any resentment in her heart.
“Time is a mystical thing. When you want something, it’s not enough, and when you don’t desire a thing, it seems to never pass. Focus on what you have to learn.”
“You won’t come to see me? Or Asaya?” She asked.
“No.” He shook his head. “We will come to see you at your graduation.” He patted her head and looked at the dog sitting by her side. “He can go with you. The academy doesn’t restrict people from keeping their pets. But you will have to take care of him all by yourself.”
“I will.” She firmly nodded and then looked up at him. “You have to come to my graduation.”
“So you are ordering your Master now?” He chuckled as he saw the seriousness in her eyes.
Olivia apologetically lowered her head and didn’t say anything more. She had almost forgotten the kind of relationship they have.
“If it’s a request from my woman, then I will definitely fulfill it.” He assured her and saw a smile bloom on her face.
“No worries.” He nudged her nose. “There’s one more thing that you must do. It’s an order.”
Olivia was surprised to see the sudden seriousness in his voice.
“What is it?”
Shazan nodded to her and took out an envelope from the inside pocket of his jacket.
“You have to deliver this letter to someone.”
Olivia took hold of the letter and inspected it.
“You will personally hand this over to Lyla Silverstein. And you will show the mark on your back to her. When you reach the academy, just ask the reception that you wish to see Miss Lyla Silverstein and that you have come on behalf of me.” He told her.
“I will do as you have ordered. When will I be leaving for the academy?”
“In two hours.” Shazan smiled at her. “Call the reception of this hotel and tell them that you need a car to take you back home. Pack your stuff that you wish to take with you. And you will find a driver assigned by me outside your home. He will be wearing the symbol of Silverstein Empire on his uniform. And he will be escorting you to The house of the Scarlet Letters.”
“And where is this House of the Scarlet Letters?”
The little girl looked at him one last time before leaving the room after making her call at the reception.
“What is it?” He looked at Ilsa. Her Aura had been covering him since a while back. It was as if she was teasing him and threatening him at the same time.
Ilsa got up from the couch and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“On the shore, under the rain… Hubby, we will be trying that.” She threateningly whispered in his ear.
‘Women’ He thought to himself.
“Of course!” He replied as he engaged her in a deep kiss.