Vil settled himself on one of his sister’s luxurious upholstered couches and tossed three richly embroidered cushions on the floor at his feet for Dionay, Miki and Alixy to sit on. He couldn’t hold back his delighted smile when all three sank gracefully onto their cushions as if they’d been trained to do so from birth. He couldn’t be more pleased with his new slaves and he’d have to remember to let Jai know she’d been right. That would make her happy, he was sure.
He was curious, now, to hear what Dionay was going to say. Knowing, now, that Jora always argued with Dionay, he wasn’t going to hold out much hope his slave could help. He looked up when Chi brought her two slaves into the room. Jora’s face was set in mutinous lines and he noted Chi was using the leashes to direct both Jora and Shai. Jora glared when Chi pushed him onto a cushion, but Shai seemed to be in some world all his own. Jai entered the room and sat in one of the overstuffed arm chairs off to the side.
“Let’s get this over with, shall we? If I need to make a run back to the slave markets, I don’t want to be out too late. I’ve got more important things to do.” Jai frowned at Shai. “Are you sure he’s not drugged, Chi?”
“My scanner says no.” Chi shrugged. “Unless it’s a substance the scanner doesn’t recognize.”
Dionay glanced up at him, as if asking permission to speak. Vil breathed a sigh of relief that he was willing to act like a proper slave. He’d been worried he was being too lenient.
“Go ahead, Dionay. You can speak.”
“Thank you, Master. He’s not drugged, Mistress. Shai has always been like this. He believes this is how the Goddess wants him to be.”
“How incredibly bizarre.” Jai scratched her chin. “Well, go ahead then. Let’s see if they’ll listen to you.”
Dionay ducked his head, but suddenly looked back up at Jora.
“What are you doing, Jora? Why are you and Shai acting like this?”
“Don’t be stupid, Dionay!” Jora snarled, glaring at Chi when she jerked his leash.
“I don’t get it.” Dionay sighed and shook his head. “The Goddess granted us continued life, brought us to a place where we’re treated better than we’ve ever been, and you guys are sulking.”
Shai jerked out of his foggy state and focused on Dionay. “What?”
“You know, Shai, Miki and I both prayed so hard before we were to be put on the altar. We prayed for the Goddess to spare us. To really come down this time and take us. And our prayers were answered.”
“Answered?” Jora looked incredulous. “Answered! We were attacked by those hairy beasts! The High Priestess was killed and the temple was destroyed! You call that an answered prayer?”
“It was like the sacred books said” Miki whispered. “Just like it.”
He shot a look up at Vil and bit his lip.
“Go ahead, Miki. It’s okay to talk to the other slaves.
“It was just like the old writings, you know? The bright lights and everything. And we were taken away into the sky and now we’re living in a paradise.”
“You can’t be serious!”
Jora jumped off the cushion as if he were about to attack Miki, but Chi pulled on his leash until he sat down. Dionay frowned and glanced up at Vil before turning back to Jora.
“He is and so am I. We have nice clothes, plenty of food to eat, a beautiful home to live in, and a kind master. It was an answer to our prayers.”
“But they killed our High Priestess!” Jora screamed, outraged.
“I think I’ve heard enough,” Jai stood up. “I’ll call down for the driver.”
“Who wasn’t following what the old sacred texts said!” Dionay cried out, looking desperately at Vil.
“Let Dionay finish. Please, Jai?” Vil interceded.
Jai glared, pointing a stern finger at Jora. “You will sit quietly and listen.”
Vil nodded at Dionay to continue.
“The Dark Goddess never asked for dead sacrifices. She asked for live ones. I read the texts, too, you know. I remember what the old texts said. She asked for five innocent, ALIVE, young males. She promised to return every four years when the moons aligned and our world went dark. She never asked for anyone to be killed.”
“But she stopped coming,” Shai said. “That’s why they built the altar.”
“The Goddess never asked for any deaths, though, did she, Shai?” Alixy joined the conversation. “Dionay is right. Everything that happened was just like the old texts stated. The only reason the High Priestess was killed and the temple was destroyed was because they’d profaned the Goddess’ words.”
“The way I see it,” Dionay continued to speak. “You two are sitting here telling the Goddess that because this wasn’t what you expected, you’re not going to accept it. Did you ever happen to think if you throw a goddess’s gifts back in her face, she’ll just take them away and give them to someone else? Your mistress is ready to send you back to the slave markets. You’re of no use to her if you’re unwilling to accept her.”
“Do you really think so, Dionay?” Shai interrupted Jora’s sputtering. “This is what Goddess Ojadiola wants for us?”
“This is what happened, isn’t it, Shai? Did they come in a blaze of lights and take us up to the heavens? Are we not living in splendor?”
Shai looked at Jora who seemed ready to explode. He surprised Vil, when he crawled closer to Chi and grabbed her hand, kneeling before her.
“I’m so sorry, Mistress. I’ll do what you want. I didn’t realize I was ignoring the Goddess’ gifts to me. Please don’t send me away.”
“Shai! What are you doing?” Jora hissed.
“I’m not going to throw my gift away, Jora! I’m not! You can be mad if you want, but I’m going to be thankful for the gifts the goddess has bestowed on me.”
Jora seemed to shrink in on himself. He looked from Shai to Miki to Alixy and finally to Dionay. Dionay nodded at him.
“You don’t want to go back to the slave markets, Jora. Truly. What if you’re sold to someone who beats you and hurts you or even kills you? All because you didn’t accept what can only be a gift from our Goddess.”
“You don’t even believe in her, Dionay.”
Jora sounded unsure, though. At least he was no longer ready to explode in anger.
“I don’t, no. I don’t believe Ojadiola was a goddess, but I never said there weren’t any goddesses or gods. Look. Even I can see how everything that happened was a good thing. Do you think any future priestesses will kill other sacrifices?”
“Probably not.” Jora shrugged and bit his lip before looking over to Chi. “I don’t want to go back to the slave market. I’ll do what you want.”
“Are we good here, then?” Jai stood up. “Am I making a trip to the slave markets or not?”
“I think I’ll give them another chance, Jai,” Chi said. “But if you two don’t do as I say, I’ll send you back without a second thought. I have no need of sex slaves who won’t perform and constantly ignore me.”
“That’s settled then and I have things to do.” Jai nodded briskly and headed for the door.
“If you’ll excuse me, Chi, I’m going to take my slaves back to my rooms.”
Chi offered an indifferent wave, disappearing into her inner rooms with both Shai and Jora in tow. Vil snorted in amusement and directed his slaves to follow him. He hoped Shai and Jora enjoyed what his sister had in store for them. Then he shuddered at the images popping into his head. That was… ugh. No, he didn’t want to think about either of his siblings and sex.