Chapter XXV: Dum Spiro Spero (7/12)Mature

Taking his chances at seeing the Evil Eye, Will hurried to the front of the cell, whilst Carmen moved to stir a drowsy Karn'el. Guards and men had awoken at the man's entrance, and knowing who it was, hurried from their bunks, threw up their hoods and assembled into ranks. The man faced them, his face was eclipsed by his hood, all Will could make out was a mouth as thin and straight as a sword's blade. It was clear he was dissatisfied, standing impatiently waiting.

Voices erupted from within Sapphire's quarters, a man spoke apologetically whilst she snapped in outrage. The curtain was swept away and she stepped out, she wore a sheer, white nightdress, the fabric transparent and showing her toned curves to anybody who dared look. She rebuked the guard who had entered her quarters, unaware of the Master's presence. She glanced across the cavern and froze, her body jolting.

'You...you are here,' she said disbelieving. She fell to the ground, kneeling and bowing her head. 'Forgive me, Master, I did not see you.'

The Master turned to her, his back to the cells, and slowly pulled down his hood. Beneath was a head of long, black hair, receding and turning to grey. 'Sapphire,' he said, his tone deductive. 'I expected a better welcome than the one I have been given. Or have I not been missed?'

Sapphire's head remained down, her eyes on the floor, choosing her words nervously. 'Would I have been given forewarning, preparations could have been made -,'

'Do I answer to you, Sapphire? Am I to ask your permission to stand before my own men?' he asked smoothly,

'N - no,' she replied, her head and voice shaking.

'No...?'

'No, Master. Please, forgive my insolence.'

He watched her for a moment, glorifying how she hung off of his words, and how she would remain on the floor indefinitely without his command. Eventually, he gestured upwards, 'rise, Sapphire.' She did so immediately, her gaze fearfully meeting his. Will was glued to her movements, he saw the hard, commanding exterior she had possessed earlier crumble into fear and subjugation. 'I have stood here for barely a minute, and already I am displeased. This place stinks of failure and wasted resources, it is enough to sicken.'

'Master?' Sapphire asked, 'I misunderstand what you say. Nothing has gone wrong, there has been no failure -,'

'And yet,' he interrupted curtly, 'neither has there been progress or success, has there?' He gestured behind him to the men in formation, bidding them away and back to sleep. They herded away like frightened cattle at the wolf's mercy, leaving only Sapphire and her Master in the cavern. 

The End

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