PSA: a sexual assault takes place in this chapter. It's not detailed really, but it's there and the reaction to it is a little unorthodox. If that's not something you want to read about, skip the wedding night scene.
Innya had to get herself together before she headed back to the village. She silently cursed herself for forgetting her sword, but she was pleased she had also. She would have fought the transcendent if she had remembered her weapon, she would have murdered him with that weapon, and then she would have continued running with no destination in mind. Instead, he was still alive and she was going home.
Running away would not have helped matters, anyway. Her parents would have had to take the blame for her leaving. Who knew what the King might have done to them for such a thing. She had no right to run that risk.
When Innya got home, she saw her parents sitting on the sofa. They were waiting for her to come back no doubt. They did not say anything and neither did she. She approached her parents and kneeled before them, submitting to their decision. Her mother took Innya's head into her lap and cradled her as an apology for everything. It's ironic that the very woman who taught me to never apologize has apologized twice to me in one day.
"It's all right," Innya said. It was not. It would never be, but it also was. She understood why they did what they did and she had to assume they understood why she did what she did.
Innya never explained to her parents why she had returned home. Her parents were like the rest of the Wolf tribe, including herself, sworn enemies of all transcendents. It had not always been so, but it was the law now. If they knew she had run into the transcendent and he was the one who convinced her to go back, she did not know how they would react, but she suspected they would disown her… not that they actually owned her at all anymore.
Innya now belonged to the King. Never in her life had she planned on belonging to any male, even if he was the King. She never had those feelings for any male, for anyone. She did not see the point.
If by some weird chance, she ever had to get married, she had wanted it to at least be a marriage of equal status, like her parents. Her mother did not belong to her father and her father did not belong to her mother. But, she belonged to the King. Well, she was not going to make ownership easy on him. After all, she was ill-gotten goods.
She got to spend a day with her parents, most of it in silence while staring at the floor, before Royal Guards showed up to escort her to the palace. She and her parents stood at the same time. They looked at each other before her mother let loose an agonizing sob.
"Innya!" Her mother grabbed her into a tight hug. Her father fell in without having to be told and they just held each other.
"We have to go. The King expects us at a certain time," one of the Guards said, but he wisely kept tone respectful and kept his hands to himself. He must have known about her or her parents, which was more than she could say about the other five with him.
Their family took a breath together before stepping apart. Her mother was a mess, fat tears pouring down her face. Her father looked stricken, deep lines under his eyes. She doubted she appeared any better.
"No matter what happens, we're still a family. You're still our daughter," her father said.
Innya nodded. "You've always been the best parents anyone could ask for. I know you'll continue to be."
Her mother sniffled loudly and nodded. Her father clapped her on the shoulder and then she turned to the Royal Guards. She walked out, right past the Guards. She ignored them as they talked about her neighbors, who were all out in the street, wanting to know what was going on. But, then one insulted her neighborhood. She grabbed him by the throat, her claws in digging into his flesh.
"This place has more honor and charm than that dirt mound of a hill the nobles live on," she growled before she ripped his throat out. He fell to the ground and several blades were pointed at her. "Let's be serious, I could kill all of you before you even realize it." It was not a lie.
"Innya," her mother said from the front steps.
Innya curled her lip. She needed to stop. While the King might not harm her, he could hurt her parents or their neighbors. She had to stop being a brat. What was done was done. Innya sighed and held up her hands in surrender.
"Let's go," she said to the Guards. They hustled to a palanquin with the Royal Insignia of two, silver tails on a golden patch painted on the polished wooden door. The litter probably cost more money than the neighborhood had seen in its entire existence.
Innya stepped inside, seated on the softest cushion she ever felt, but it might as well be a million knives. A black curtain blocked her view of the world and the world's view of her. The ride seemed to take forever, but no time at all as well. The moment they made it to the Hill, she could smell the change in the air without having to look outside. She could hear the running water they had to pass over, a small river that separated the Hill from the rest of the village. It went around the Hill like a moat.
They had more grass, cleaner streets, and everything was more organized. If the village was seen as a state, it was clear the Hill was the capital. Two story villas of glinting white stone hidden behind smooth walls. The roads were paved and sloped so water washed away. And small waterways cut through the wide streets, taking garbage away, to be cleaned when it got down to the river.
She could hear people mulling about outside. Sweeping the streets, pushing carts, and running by. Birds sang, like it was a happy day, but there were no livestock sounds like in the main village. The market smelled of perfumes and spices, an odd mix that tickled her nose. They passed through a row of restaurants where she could smell the cooking meat and sweet wines.
And then sounds fell away. They were entering the palace. Whenever she passed through the palace arches, it always struck her as strange that it was so silent. The palace was not a place she would like to live out her days, even though she had never seen the full sight. But, the white walls decorated with glinting gems never interested her.
She did not get to see too much of anything as always, delivered directly to a room in the palace. It was a basic room, bed, table, a few chairs, trunks for clothing. She assumed it was where she would stay until the wedding. Food was brought to her, but she refused to eat. None of the servants talked to her, which was fine by her. She did not want to engage them. They tried to bathe her, but a well-placed growl got them to leave and she had the hot water to herself.
The room did not have any windows, so she could not see the village or a means of escape. There were Guards at the door. All that was left to her was to slip into a nightshirt and get some sleep. She could think of something tomorrow.
Innya married the King the next day. He was not into the long engagement, apparently. Of course, the marriage was for show. She was his, regardless. The nobles of the Wolf Tribe were there to bear witness to the King showing off his newest possession. She wanted to tear them apart as much as she wanted to tear into him.
They stood in one of the palace's many gardens with dozens of nobles around. There were so many colorful flowers and lush bushes along with a few trees, but it was harder to appreciate how vivid the garden could be in the middle of the night, which was always the ideal time for Wolf celebrations. It was a moonless night to further irritate Innya.
Innya never liked a moonless sky and it had nothing to do with her being a Moon Thief and drawing power from the moon. A moonless sky seemed very empty to her, as if the sky lacked a soul and it made her uneasy ever since she was a little cub. In ancient tales, it was considered a bad omen. So, apparently, the universe agreed with her on this marriage.
Her wedding was the first one she had ever been to and she realized a Wolf wedding ceremony was not much of anything, or the King did not want this to be much of anything. He was the one who joined them, rather than getting an elder to perform whatever ritual went with a marriage. She had not even dressed up for it, wearing her usual outfit, pants, a sleeveless shirt, and a vest, after badly injuring a number of servants who tried to approach her with a wedding dress. She wished she had her sword, but the King himself had confiscated her weapon. It was easier to make her sign the acknowledgment of their union, or his ownership of her, if she could not fight him over it. It was kind of pathetic and this was a royal wedding.
Taeyrin told her about human weddings and they seemed grand with music, dancing, cheering. That sounded like something Wolves would do as well, but not for this. This wedding barely fell into the ceremony category. It was barely even a celebration, especially when it was not a marriage of equals. Hell, she felt like mourning herself.
Innya's parents were in attendance for what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, but the long looks on their faces told her they mourned as much as she did. Innya was angry the King had robbed her parents of the happiness they were supposed to experience when their little girl got married. The King had made her parents ashamed of themselves, so much so that they could not even look at her during the ceremony, which made her ashamed of herself.
Innya felt so weak. If only she had killed that transcendent and retrieved the King's book as she had been ordered. Then, life would have gone on as always. Instead she had failed, got ridiculed because of her failure, killed those that made fun of her, thus gaining the attention of the King and screwing herself royally. He had never cared about her the hundreds of times she had been successful. One slip up and she ended up living a nightmare. It was a nightmare that had only just begun and was definitely going to get way worse before it ever got better.
As soon as they were done signing the papers and the King declared them bound, he waved over some servants. "Take her to my room." He then turned his attention to their small audience, nobles who had come to give the King their blessings. "You may all leave now."
Servants began ushering everyone out, including her parents while moving Innya toward the inside of the palace. In the shuffle, she did not get to bid her parents farewell. She heard her mother sobbing as she left and the sound gutted her. She wanted to assure her mother she would be fine, but that would have been a lie anyway. Still, Innya twisted and tried to make it to her parents. The King stepped into her path.
"Follow her. I'll be there in a moment," the King said to Innya as he motioned to a servant.
Innya glanced at the girl, who bowed to her, and decided not to make the girl's life difficult. This was not her fault, after all. The servant led Innya to the King's master bedroom and she knew what was expected to happen next. Well, she would be damned if she was going to go through with that! She had enough being forced to marry the King; she was definitely not going to sleep with him.
She searched for a means of escape and spotted a window at the end of the massive room. She bolted over to the window and saw that it was only a two-story drop to a stone walkway. She could not believe something was about to go her way as she stuck her leg out the window ready to jump, just when the King entered the room.
"Oh, hell," Innya muttered.
"Where do you think you are going?" he inquired almost as if he was amused by what he was seeing.
"For a walk. I'll be back like never," she replied and she was about to jump, but he managed to grab her by the shirt. He was fast for a guy his size. He flung her onto the bed, which was the last place she wanted to be.
Etayay stopped Innya right there. "Whoa, whoa, whoa." She held up her hands.
"What now?" Innya asked, shaking her head.
"You certainly cannot tell her that part of the tale. I didn't even want to know that part," Etayay replied.
"She's grown!" Innya pointed to Eryna, whose face was scrunched up. She had no idea where the story was going. She was so sheltered.
"No, you can't tell her that part," Etayay insisted and then she sucked her teeth as she turned her attention to the front of the garden where the entrance was.
Innya smirked. "Go get my grandson." It was nice to see the bond Etayay had with Chinto and she could sense his emotions. It helped Etayay be a great mother. The boy had good timing.
Etayay held up her finger. "Do not tell her that part." She exited to the garden to go check on her son.
"What doesn't she want you to tell me?" Eryna asked.
"Well, let me tell you," Innya answered with a smirk. Oh, how she liked to bother Eryna.
The King growled as Innya bounced slightly on the huge mattress of the bed. She rolled off as he came over. She stood up and got into a fighting stance. What a fucking time to be without my sword! The King chuckled.
"So, you want to put up a fight?" he asked in an amused tone.
"I'll kill you," she replied. She would. No man had ever touched her and she was not going to let him break that trend, whether she had a sword or not. She was just as deadly without a weapon as she was with one, after all.
"Feel free to try." He waved her on with a teasing smile.
Innya eyed him, trying to size him up. She could not find a weakness. He was just a big mountain. Well, she could go through a damned mountain.
She charged him with reckless abandon, just craving to tear into him so badly. She threw a punch at his stomach, but he moved. He was fast, not just for his size, but in general. He grabbed her wrist and tossed her back to the bed. She snarled as he stepped closer. She rolled off of the bed and got back into her fighting stance.
He smirked at her. "Here's what you wanted, Innya. Don't hold back. Give this fight your all and it won't even cost you your left arm. I just hope you have energy left."
"Bastard," she spat. How dare he throw her words back at her like that!
Innya charged him again only to end up on the bed a third time. Fury boiled in every inch of her. How was he so strong? So fast? So infuriating!
He stepped closer to her yet again and she growled even more menacing than the last time. He was not afraid of her like most people. He was not easily downed like most people either. It would be a better idea to just escape. She could kill him later on when she got her sword back, they had a bit more space, and she was nowhere near his bed. She tried to jump over the King, but he grabbed her and threw her back onto the bed. He chuckled again and there was an amused light in his eyes.
"That's it! I'm done playing around," Innya said and she charged him again, but she seemed to vanish as soon as she got to him. She was fast, too.
The King laughed and grabbed her as she was prepared to step out of the room through the front door. She never knew how he saw her in time to catch her and throw her back to the bed. He pressed her into the mattress with his giant hand.
"You're good, but you must understand I am the king," he pointed out.
"I could crush you!" she screamed. She could crush everyone! She was Innya. The greatest assassin in the village!
"Not on a night with no moon."
"I don't need the power of the moon!"
"Then try to get up," he dared her.
She snapped at him as she attempted to get off of the bed. She could not even move. She had never experienced such a force as the King of the Wolf tribe. She had never faced such an opponent. It was like he leagues above her.
She now understood her mother had not betrayed her. The King could kill her if he so desired, just as he promised her mother. She would not be able to stop him if he decided to murder her right now. He was such a challenge. Suddenly, her blood burned in a different way. What a rush!
It had been so long since there was a true obstacle in her path beyond that damned transcendent. She had gotten complacent. She never had to dig deep anymore. Now, she had to reach within herself and see what she was made of. Come on! You can do this!
"So?" the King grinned at her, urging her to continue her struggle as if seeing how pitiful she was compared to him was a turn on.
Innya grabbed his hand and began to give it her all. Gritting her teeth, she stared him in the eye and she could spot the moment he realized the energy changed, a light in his eyes went out. She forced him back and he gasped. He growled and snatched both of her hands into his own. He held her off of the ground and ripped her vest off. Well, apparently, the foreplay was over.
"Let me go!" Innya kicked him, but it did not seem to bother him. It was hard to get a good angle with the way he had her, so she could not hit him full force.
The King pinned Innya to the bed with her back to him. She was not ready to give up yet. She swung her body upward to get a better kick in. He grunted and then held her hands tighter. She snarled and kicked him again.
"Do it again, so I can shatter both your hands and you never hold your sword again," he said.
"To hell with you!" She spat at him and hit him right in the eye.
He crushed her hands, not enough to break them but close. "Behave."
She tried to kick him once again, but he swung her without letting her go before she could hit him. He waved her around like a doll and clutched her hands to the point that she had to scream in pain. He laughed and twirled her more, until she was dizzy. He never once lost his grip on her hands. He had a good hold on her. She hated being short! He slammed her into the bed.
"I won't let you do this," she said, even as the room continued to spin for her. She would not be able to stand up if he let her go.
He leaned down to her level, right next to her ear. "You don't have much of a choice, Innya. Sit back and enjoy it," he commanded her in a whispered tone.
Enjoy it? She would enjoy ripping his throat out, and his tongue she added as she felt him run the muscle along her ear. If she ever got the chance, she would castrate him with her own claws!
She could not stop him as he explored her body with his hands and his tongue, always making sure to keep a tight grip on her with one hand. She was powerless against him, and she hated it, but there was something else. Like if the King was not a complete and total horse's ass, she might have actually enjoyed being helpless against him. And that pissed her off more. What the hell is wrong with me? I'd never like anything this pig does!
She fought him until she was exhausted, but he did not seem to notice. He easily adjusted her however he wanted her without letting go of her hands. He mounted her from behind and she froze. She just laid there as he tore her body asunder, taking bits of her soul with each movement of his damned hips. She hated herself for being submissive to a man who took the last innocence she had while pushing her face into the mattress of the bed to muffle her cries as he grunted in her ear.
"You told her, didn't you?" Etayay said as she made her way back into the garden and found her poor sheltered sister with wide eyes and her mouth hanging open.
Innya nodded and smirked. "How could I resist?" That was cruel. The younger you never would've done that. The odd thing was, she found the more people she told about it, the easier it was to bear. But, you still shouldn't have done that.
"By the stars, you've scarred her for life," Etayay said. Etayay sat down next to Eryna and tried to comfort her, rubbing her head and resting the girl against her shoulder. Eryna did not even move.
Innya scoffed. "Oh, I didn't even go into detail as I did with you and you're not scarred for life."
Etayay's face, always the stone, twitched just a little. "You must've told her enough obviously. She and I are two different people."
Innya waved the matter off. "Yes, she's the more nervous one. I merely told her had the King been a different person, I would've enjoyed being raped." It was not something she would ever understand. When she told Etayay, her ever-rational daughter-in-law reasoned it was her way of coping with her new life. Etayay knew trauma and abuse well enough that she was probably right. It was still disturbing.
"Enough." Etayay stopped her right there. "I should've known you'd do this. Only you could tear my sister's mind apart in such a short amount of time." She kissed the side of Eryna's head.
Innya sighed. Etayay was possibly the only person beyond Etayay's damn father to make her feel like an ass. "Fine, I won't tell her anymore about my sex life, as if there's more to tell." Honestly, her sex life consisted of too many rapes by the King and a lack of desire to do this act even without force being involved.
"You're better than this," Etayay said. She pulled Eryna close and gently rocked her out of her dazzled state for Innya to continue on.
Innya had never been sorer in her life than the morning after her night with the King. She was shocked she had not been seriously injured in that rut. Although, there had been too many moments she was certain he split her in half.
She got up despite her body begging for rest. Her husband was gone, which proved there was a divine being of some kind with some mercy. She wrapped the sheet around her body and searched for her clothes. She found her vest first and saw that it was impossible to wear ever again. She growled and tossed the vest violently to the floor. She did not even bother to locate her pants because she remembered that he pulled those from her with more force than the vest.
"Damn it," Innya said.
She did not know what she was going to do about clothes. She was now officially pissed off and somebody was going to have to suffer her wrath. She grabbed the first servant that she came across and threatened to rip her ribcage out if he did not get her some clothes, quickly. She complied rapidly, which was good because if she had not, she would have slain the servant with her bare hands. Once she was dressed, in royal silks of all things, she decided she was going to get out of the royal estate and nobody was going to stop her… except the King.
"Going somewhere?" the King inquired as Innya came to the front gates. He just had to be there because she did not have any type of good luck.
"Home," she answered. She was not going to be humiliated anymore. She was going home, back to her parents, back to her life.
"You are home."
"No!" She roared and glared at him. "I'm going to my home and back to my parents!"
"You belong to me, Innya."
"No, I don't! I don't belong to anybody, least of all you! I'm taking control of my life right now!" She hit herself in the chest. She would not have a repeat of last night.
He tilted his chin as a grin spread across his face. "So, we have to go through this again?" It was like the idea of fighting her was amusing. "Can I have your left arm this time? No, I really don't require it as I do own the whole package, right?"
"I don't belong to you!"
He gave her a wicked smirk. "It didn't appear that way last night."
Innya's upper lip curled as she planned on tearing his throat out with her bare teeth. She put her fists up, ready to rumble, even if she was not quite dressed for it. The shirt she wore was short sleeved, but her pants were a little too long. She needed to be careful to avoid tripping.
She attacked him with a vicious kick to the face that caused his head to snap to the side. She should have a better chance now, having seen him work last night. She would take him down a peg now.
"You're so dangerous," the King commented as he righted himself.
"Tip of the iceberg," she replied as she got back into a fighting stance. She was going to scrap until she did not have anything left. It would be better to die of exhaustion at the gate than to suffer him one more night.
He just smiled that damn smile. "You've got to be kidding. You're just too much."
Innya continued on hitting him, even though she did not seem to be hurting him. If she did not kill him, then he would have to kill her to get her to stop. Both of those situations sat well with her. Really? What about the third option? A thrill went down her spine and she paused, almost ready to vomit. Are you sick? She sort of liked being overpowered. A loss was much more exciting than a swift win. Too bad it came with the penalty she went through the night before. She would rather go home than be overpowered every night. Let's go home!
Innya punched the King in the gut several times at a rapid pace and he coughed in pain. He did not like experiencing agony and it angered him that such a tiny female could hurt him. He grabbed her by the shirt and slammed her to the ground. Her skull hit the stone with a sickening crack as he pressed his palm into her chest. She wrapped her hands around his wrist to attempt to pry him off of her. Her claws dug into his flesh enough to draw blood, but he ignored that.
"You're remarkable. Just a beautiful, remarkable bitch," he whispered as he brushed his lips against hers.
"Go to Hell!" she hollered as she ripped into his skin. He did not even flinch as his blood dripped down her fingers.
He looked up, back to the inside of the palace. "I think it would be best if I left you in the bedroom."
She tore a chunk from his arm, but it did nothing. "NO!"
"Oh, yes. It's where you belong."
The King lifted Innya up by her shirt. Just when she thought that life could not get anymore degrading, here she was a trained assassin being carried by her shirt back to the King's bedroom. He flung her rather roughly to the bed and watched her bounce on the mattress.
And that became their daily ritual. Innya would try to escape, he would prove it was impossible and drag her back to the one place she had no desire to be, his bedroom. It seemed like no matter how much she learned about him, figured out how to counter him, he could and would still beat her on brute strength alone. No matter how much she managed to hurt him, he eventually laughed it off as he claimed victory by taking her to bed. Neither of them seemed to tire of the exercise.
After a few months of being slightly entertained from being manhandled while itching to go home, Innya found one day that she was too sick to even think about leaving. She could hardly move. The King rushed a healer to her and she delivered the worst news to Innya. If Innya could have lifted her arm to punch the woman, she would have.
She was pregnant. Most females would have been happy to hear such news, but this was Innya. She wanted to tear the world apart for this added insult that was her life. Now, she had to carry the cub of a dolt she thoroughly despised to the very core of his existence.
Innya went on a rampage as soon as she stopped throwing up. She trashed almost an entire whole wing of the palace and injured a number of servants before the King had enough of her "little temper tantrum," as he called it. He pulled his favorite move, grabbing her hands and holding her off of the floor a full arm's length from him.
"Stop acting like a spoiled cub," the King to Innya.
"Spoiled? Spoiled!" Innya hollered as she tried to hit her husband, but her legs could not reach him. She did not know what it meant to be spoiled and she was not about to let anyone say otherwise, especially the man responsible for her current mood and condition. She growled at him, bearing her sharp fangs in a threatening manner.
"Do not," he warned her, holding up his free index finger.
"I'm going home!" she screamed. He would not stop her. Nothing would stop her. She was going home. She would see her mother. Her mother could fix all of this!
"Don't be foolish, Innya. It doesn't become you at all."
"I'll go through you if necessary." She was dead serious, but he did not seem to believe her.
"Innya," he sighed as he let go of her. "I am not going to fight you. You're carrying my cub for goodness sake."
"Then get out of my way," she said because he happened to be blocking the only exit to the room. I'm going to my mom!
"I can't allow you to leave either."
Innya smirked. "I'd like to see you try to stop me."
The King growled at her, but he was serious about not fighting her. He would not allow her to leave either. He wanted her to get it drilled into her head that she belonged to him. She was supposed to be his property to do whatever he desired, which was why when he reduced her to begging for him to stop a few times during their "intimate" sessions, he did not. Her pride, her upbringing, and who she was did not allow her to belong to him, though. She might have begged him a few times, but that did not take away years of training. They were both out to prove opposite views as true.
Innya charged her husband in the narrow room. She expected him to grab her, which he did. He held her up like she was prize fish by her shirt. She shook her head. He was so predictable now. She surprised him, sliding out of the shirt with ease and then she slid between his legs to get to the door. She made sure to give him a powerful punch to the crotch on her way out. He groaned as she took off. When he turned around, his little wife was gone.
Next time: Innya tries to figure out what to do with her freedom.