Chapter 5

The three men merely watched as the woman dropped to the floor with a dull thud. The bands at her wrists pulsed for a few moments before the glow diminished. A few moments passed when they came to a realization that she wasn't going to move anytime too soon.

Lord Dmariti sighed heavily before turning away from the scene. He glided towards his regal chair and sat upon it as daintily as a porcelain doll. Clearing his throat, Lord Dmariti nodded towards the unconscious woman, "Take her to one of the elder servants. They possess more patience than the young ones. Remember, I wish for her to learn the language. When that happens we can extract information from her."

"Sir?" Honticus said.

"The woman is odd, very odd," Lord Dmariti murmured, staring at the woman suspiciously. "I wish to learn of her when the time is right. Qualz, I am assigning you to be constantly, and I mean constantly, following up with her health and speech."

Qualz bowed low to his lord.

"Soldier, you will be watching over her."

Honticus thinned his lips in order to prevent himself from screaming. He was a soldier, a man of war! And now his Lord wished to assign him the duty of a caretaker? Qualz was more than qualified to take care of the strange woman. Honticus had no wants to watch over the wretched woman!

But with all the very much controlled anger roiling through him, Honticus grunted before nodding.

"You're both dismissed." Lord Dmariti waved his hand, turning to look out the window as the soldier threw the woman over his shoulder.

Things did not make sense to the Lord. The elf leaned back in his chair, excusing all other documents and necessary items that needed his attention in order to muse over the interesting woman and her very odd breed. This woman was like no other in the world. It was peculiar, and it made him thirst for the answer of her oddity. Knowledge and him went hand in hand, much like the sun and clouds.

"You've called for me, my lord?" Roiginar swept inside of the room, her luscious hips swaying from one side to the other.

Dmariti studied her voluptuous figure as she approached him.

If the case were to be true, that is her false claims for the numerous spies she had brought in, Dmariti would be very unhappy. The trust he had in her places him in a very bad place, especially amongst his people.

"Roiginar," Dmariti greeted, leaning back in his seat as she sat upon his lap. He ignored her soft rear as it rotated over a very happy appendage. "I am to assume that you've captured that spy a few days ago, am I correct?"

She paused in her seductive ministrations and stared at Dmariti with confusion. "Y-yes, I have, my lord."

"You are my loyal, attractive, beautiful," Dmariti said, nuzzling her neck. "…woman."

It had already been shown how she was truly betraying him. With that moment's hesitation and the air of nervousness, Dmariti can only continue to coddle the woman until she revealed her true colors. He was aware that most of his men, and perhaps a few women, were attached to Roiginar, and because of that he couldn't do anything until evidence came about.

Roiginar hummed in pleasure at her lord's words of claim upon her.

Yes, everything was going according to plan, wasn't it?

"What are you to do with the spy?"

"Honticus had become rather fond of the woman and find amusement in her challenging self. I have given her to him and had also placed her within the palace to work."

"What?" she screamed.

Dmariti pulled himself away from her hair and blinked. "The soldier wishes for the spy for his private pleasures. And because I cannot have anyone doing nothing under the roof of my palace, I have placed her to work amongst the other women in the cleaning services."

"That's unwise, my lord! You should execute the assassin!"

"Are you questioning my decision?"

Roiginar shuffled in his lap, frowning. "But, but what about the safety of the other servants?"

"I'm sure the servants will be safe. Honticus will shadow the woman and surveillance her. His training will continue during the afternoon and another will take his place for a passing moment."

"Are you sure it's safe?"

"Yes, the woman cannot bring herself any trouble."

"I hope not."

The sun rose and fell several times, as did the moon. Many, many times the light glittered the land, and many, many times did the moon cool the hard-working people of the land.

It had been quite a while since Colleen had been here.

Long enough for her to grasp the schedule of the people.

"Come on, rise and shine!"

A hand shook Colleen's shoulder harshly, forcing the woman to snap her eyes open and snarl at the old woman. "Goddammit, stop it!"

The old crone shook her finger. "Ah, ah! What did I say about language?"

"Sleep! Me want!" Colleen said in her broken, hideously accented voice. She smothered her face back into the pillow and screamed in it when the hag continued to shake Colleen from her sleep.

For the love of all holy, it's five in the morning!

Colleen groaned heavily (much like a frustrated teenager) and rolled out of bed, ignoring the hag's croak of her unladylike move. She trudged towards the water basin and wet her face, cleaning the sleepiness away. And as she did so, she thought about her past life, as she always did.

She swears she's been here for more than a year, which was most likely not. She couldn't tally her days anymore. When she had, it had been more than two months, and then that bitch that magically gave her these black bands around her wrists viciously took it away and punished her for it. Now, she couldn't do anything but assume. It's been long enough for Colleen to become aware that she was picking up on their language, as slow as she was.

Their culture, language and traditions weren't similar to anything Colleen knew of. They were completely different.

But she was aware of one thing: she was a servant.

Colleen finished cleaning her face and dried it off with a clean mini-rag. She sighed and turned away to dress into the disgusting brown skirt and beige shirt well-fitting shirt for the female servants. Collen glanced down and tried to tie the small loops on the front of her shirt tighter, but it didn't close, allowing a small amount of cleavage show.

Throwing up her hands in surrender, she walked out of her shared room and sought for the old crone.

"Thelia!" Colleen called out, ignoring the other young women who were already starting their duties. "Ugh, where is that old woman?"

And as soon as she had spoken in English, the elderly woman swiftly slapped the back of Colleen's head with a bamboo stick. "What did I say about talking in that language?" she cackled.

Colleen glared at Thelia while rubbing the back of her head. "Okay, okay."

Thelia sighed, cracking her neck and knuckles before assessing Colleen's wrinkled clothes. "Useless! Useless, you are!" she crowed, smacking Colleen with her iron-like hand, trying to fix her clothes to modify her a bit more humanely. "Three months and you still haven't been able to dress yourself! Are you a woman or a man?"

Colleen rolled her eyes and was rewarded with another smack of the cane.

The old woman clucked her tongue, shaking her head as she wobbled away from Colleen, silently asking the girl to follow her, as she muttered aloud at the foolishness and ignorant young woman she was forced to watch over.

Thelia had been assigned to Colleen immediately when she had awoken up. When Colleen had no idea what was going on, Thelia merely whacked Colleen with her infamous cane and ordered her to start chores by gesturing towards them. When it came to learning the language, Thelia merely repeated each word, pointing to several objects and soon enough Colleen was learning little by little.

But that didn't mean the woman had patience.

Oh, no, this woman went against all traditional images of the elderly grandmother's kind face offering cookies to their grandchildren.

Thelia was close to a general.

Colleen followed Thelia, rubbing the back of her head gingerly as it throbbed. She hissed when she noticed a small bump growing along the hairline of her head and groaned. Thelia had no other way of showing discouraged without the end of her cane. She had also noticed when Thelia neared other young women who were serving the household they immediately straightened their backs and bowed low to her.

It spoke in high volumes how the woman was highly respected around here.

Thelia knocked on the door of her lord and waited for his voice to enter the room. "My lord," she said humbly, bowing her head (for her back complained against the formal bow she was required to do) before moving inside the office of Dmariti.

Dmariti watched as the young woman followed Thelia's movements, though with no grace, and fell behind Thelia.

The old woman, who donned a yellow band, cleared her throat, thumping her cane against the carpeted floor before acknowledging her lord. "The young woman has been improving, though slowly. She managed to understand the schedule of her duties and attend to them as commanded. Despite the fact that she struggles in understanding, she is able to comprehend enough to know what to do with enough and repetitive gestures. You have asked me to keep a close eye on the woman and make judgment, and I have." She stealthily swatted Colleen's bottom when her formal straight form slouched, earning an undignified yelp. "She has no evil intent, I sense. She's dimwitted, a little slow, but not evil."

"They've said she can run like a man," Dmariti commented.

"Yes, she has a gift of running, but she doesn't use that gift for anything other than pleasure, which I have discouraged her greatly from."

Dmariti leaned forward, clasping his fingers and pondered. "Does she understand what we're saying?"

Thelia glanced at Colleen from her peripheral vision and sighed. "Sadly, she does not grasp the language quickly enough. She still struggles with it."

"Hm," he hummed, leaning back against his chair. "I suppose it is time."

"My lord?"

"Call Honticus and Qualz," he ordered. When Thelia bowed and went to leave the room, he noticed Colleen robotically following the old woman's movements. "Ask the young woman to stay."

Colleen watched with confused eyes as the old woman hissed for her to stay. She frowned, never realizing that she was clenching her brown skirt with white-knuckled fists until she heard a distinct clearing of the throat. Turning towards the man who she hadn't seen in months, she gulped audibly and shuffled to the farthest wall of the office.

The fluidity of his tongue made it hard for her to understand the man.

"…Calm down…"

Like an anxious colt, Colleen stiffened when the Dmariti had stood from his desk. She watched him with wide eyes unnerved with the distance he was closing until the door opened.

Glancing at it in hopes that it was Thelia, her heart dropped when it was the two men she also had not seen since months ago.

And the only memories of them three in the same room were of pain.

"What's going on?" Colleen snapped, walking into the corner of the room. "Why…why me here?"

Honticus rolled his eyes, fearing that bad luck managed to find him everywhere. He had no wishes to be in the same room of this horrid woman, and he had no wants of even hearing her awkward, ungraceful name! Ever since his lord had spread the rumor of Honticus and the wild woman pairing together in the night, he has been humiliated and made fun of by his comrades.

He absolutely detested her. "My lord, what is it you will have of us?" he saluted properly.

Dmariti frowned at Colleen's sudden panic-mode and stepped away from her, fearing that her small heart would out beat itself and die. Perhaps it was best if he assigned another servant onto the mission to make things more comfortable, a female that is.

"You both, including the woman, are to do a simple mission," Dmariti started, clearing his throat as he walked towards the window of the office. "I want you to deliver a message and gift to the leader of Azusa with my words of congratulatory of his marriage, which I have not offered as of yet due to a hectic schedule."

Honticus' face dropped. "My lord-"

"I know this mission isn't the sort for you to deal with, soldier; including yourself, healer. But it's a double mission." At those words the two men blinked and gave their full attention to their lord. "I want you to use the good of your judgment and see whether or not if the woman is of any malevolent intent. Thelia has deemed her safe, but I want a militant perspective on it. If she is of ill will, she is immediately deemed a spy. If not, she will continue to work within the palace with peace and citizenship of Dmariti. This case has been going on for much too long and needs to be dealt with."

His deadpanned, monotone voice made the two take his words more seriously than usual.

"Yes, milord!" They bowed.

"Good." Dmariti sat back upon his seat and motioned to the woman. "You will be taking another servant from the castle for the woman's comfort. I want you gone when the sun is at its highest peak. Thelia will deliver the items you will be delivering to Asuza. Take care of them."

"Yes, milord."

"You are dismissed."

Colleen had recognized that word. She followed the two men from a distance, eager to escape from the office when suddenly the elf-man called out for her.

"Colleen,"

She turned her head in his direction, mauling her lip with nervousness. "…Yes?" she asked, heavily accented.

"Bring in Thelia," he said.

Without responding to him, Colleen peeked her head to see Thelia conversing with the two men who had been inside previously. "Thelia!" she called out.

The old woman whipped towards Colleen with an angry face that only meant she was going to receive a beating of the cane. "What did I say about raising your voice like a little hellion?" Thelia snapped, hobbling towards Colleen with her little old legs, shocking the two men she had been talking to. "I'm going smack your mouth if that's what it'll take to prevent you from screaming like a whore!"

Colleen watched with wide eyes as the little old lady snarled viciously, much like a rabid pit bull. She squeaked, excusing herself and ran for her life, ignoring Thelia's words.

It wasn't until the afternoon did Colleen wonder what the hell was going on.

Thelia had interfered with her usual chores and handed her a funky-looking duffle bag. The crone patted the bag and continued to repeat the words: road, trees, and people.

It made Colleen think about going to the marketplace and purchasing food or items for the other girls. But why would she do that when the bag was completely stuffed?

When Thelia lead Colleen to the outside of the palace, her jaw dropped.

The two men from before were there, with their own bags. Another servant girl was there, too, with her own bag.

"Am I traveling?" Colleen blurted.

She managed to swiftly dodge the blow to her bottom and turn to Thelia with watery eyes. "I no go!" she said, walking closer to Thelia with the need of protection.

As much as Thelia wanted to reassure the girl, she was an old woman of tough love. She shoved Colleen away and pointed at her with her liver-spotted hand. "You are going with them for three," she flashed three knobby fingers. "It's just three days, okay?" In some gesture of reassurance, Thelia patted Colleen's shoulder and ushered her towards the men, swatting her backside quickly and handing her another bagged object before turning away. "Go and make your lord proud, Colleen!"

Though Collen couldn't see Thelia's face (as she turned towards her traveling group), Thelia's lip was quivering.

Colleen slowly approached the three, frightened when they just stared at her as if she was a different specimen. She supposed…she was in a sense. "H…hello," she said awkwardly.

Honticus grunted and ignored her. His pride was deflated and he hated her for the fact that others had witnessed the woman success in outrunning him.

Qualz greeted Colleen politely.

"What's your name?" The other servant girl, who couldn't possibly be passed the age of seventeen, chirped. "I'm Mandora! Pleased to meet you! I've never seen you before! You look different! Where are you from? Why do you speak funny? Hey, why aren't you talking? Come on, tell me your name!"

Oh, dear.

This was definitely going to be a travel in the making.

I am so sorry! It's been hell of a long time since I've last updated. I've been busy with life and work, including family. Erk! It's a hassle to juggle all three including writing. But here, I am! FYI, if I haven't updated ANY of my stories in two years, most likely I'm dead, lol!

I've also been busy with fanfictions. I've started some stories recently (against my good knowledge) and have been hooked on it ;_; IT'S ADDICTING.

I want to thank you all for your patience and support! Now that I've gotten over the writer's block for "The Princess and the Dragon" (trust me, it was the ugliest writer's block), I will be able to update it faster, if allowed. This chapter was a bit short, to my displeasure, but it's what I have to offer D:

I will now be concentrating to finish "Dead Like Me". It only has two or three more chapters till finished!

Again, sorry for the long wait!

THANK YOU MY REVIEWERS! ;D

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Misshhh – You are welcome. It's a pleasure of mine to share my ideas and stories to the world, and it's just as much as a pleasure to share them with others who cherish and love them equally (:

Envy Royals – Oi! How are you doing? :DDD Long time no seeee! Dohohoh! Is that prediction, eyyy? We'll just have to see!

Elle – Thank you for the advice! Goodness, it's been a long time since I've updated! My fish passed quite a long time ago, haha!