Gratitute Is The Closest Thing To Delusion 16+

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
As a vicious war for resources raged, the demons existence was made public knowledge and so a radical change to the human order was formed.

Now at the bottom of the food chain, humans had two choices, try to survive by scavenging what little resources were left or become a Slave to the demon Masters and find a place in the new world order.

Submitted: April 19, 2019

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Submitted: April 19, 2019

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Gratitude Is The Closest Thing To Delusion

As a vicious war for resources raged, the demons existence was made public knowledge and so a radical change to the human order was formed.

Humans were bought and sold like cattle, treated like nothing more than livestock, they could be slaughtered or beaten at a glimmer of disobedience on their part. Now at the bottom of the food chain, humans had two choices, try to survive by scavenging what little resources were left or become a Slave to the demon Masters and find a place in the new world order.

As human civilizations fell into ruin they submitted to the demons rule and allowed themselves to slide into slavery, hoping for a better life, a dream very few realized. As promises where proven to be no more than fantasy, small pockets of rebellion and resistance sprung up all over.

But under the crushing weight and power of the enemy they were easily stomped out before they grew too large to be a threat. Executions of runaways and rebels were common place, the Masters made an example of them and only loyal bloodlines were allowed to live.

Slaves had three categories: Domestic, Labor or Bed. Domestic Slaves were used as chefs and or cleaning staff. Labor Slaves were used on concentration farms to provide resources to the Masters castles. Bed Slaves were usually the most attractive humans in both males and females, they were used as the name suggests in bed, women were used primarily for breeding and men for enjoyment, but it was more than that, Bed Slaves became a status symbol.

Humans sold other humans to the demon invaders in order to survive in their new harsh environment, but soon even they offered themselves up as it got harder to survive on their own. Training camps were set up to help humans establish their new place in the world.

This was all nine years ago, now humanity felt comfortable in the chains and welcomed it as security and stability, as a chance to escape the chaos raging around them.

The demon Masters looked like humans but in truth they were phantom beasts, far stronger than humans with terrifying animalistic characteristics. Their true nature disguised until they were angered, which invoked a shocking physical change.

Slaves accepted their lot in life because it was better then what they had known before. Many chose to delude themselves because their reality was too much to bear while others fought back, however, many failed. They were either killed or gave up after realizing how fruitless their efforts were.

Thrown on the floor in front of the court was a beaten and bloody Slave, who was caught while trying to escape his Master’s clutches.

Every Slave in the room had a collar and wrist cuffs that identified both who they were and whom they belonged to. But none of them could bear to look as his Master walked up to him, knowing full well what he was going to do.

‘Do you think this is a game?!’ he kicked him into the wall, every other Slave flinched knowing just how much that hurt, ‘How dare you try to escape!? I warned you what would happen!’ he went to hit him again when Master Kane raised his hand.

‘That’s enough!’ he said, his voice deep and commanding, everything calmed. He gestured and the guards picked the runaway Slave up, ‘Explain your actions! If acceptable circumstances are met I will show you leniency.’ his yellow eyes were cold and unfeeling, only interested in the facts, not caring for the reasons. His black hair tied back only served to make his gaze more striking.

The runaway smiled and started chuckling, ‘Acceptable circumstances!? Like what?! My Master has been kicking the crap out of me since he bought me! He’s been raping me every night since he bought me! I’m a Slave just kill me and buy another! I don’t want your leniency. I’d prefer death!’

‘You refuse to offer a defense for your actions, therefore I have no choice but to grant you your wish and sentence you to death.’ he stood up and turned to his own Slave, a skinny, unassuming timid man. His black hair purposefully tied with a red sash, as red was his Master’s favorite color, ‘Stay there Mihara.’ his Slave nodded, ‘Oh and don’t look away.’ a chill went down Mihara’s spine as he walked down picking up a sword, ‘Restrain him!’

His arms were stretched and head lowered exposing his neck, Master Kane took his head with one swing, his body was removed from the room and Master Kane returned to his seat, where he noticed his Slave shaking still looking at where the body was.

‘Mihara. You can look away now.’ he said resting his head on his hand.

‘Thank you Master.’ he whimpered looking away, he was noticeably shaken.

‘Come here.’ he smiled. Mihara knelt down next to him, his head lowered in submission, Master Kane gently lifted his head, ‘I’d never do that to you because I know you’d never try to escape.’

‘Yes Master.’ he replied forcing himself to calm, ‘Only a fool would try to run from here.’

Master Kane kissed him, ‘You’re only saying what I want to hear.’ Mihara started shaking again, ‘Stop trembling.’ Mihara managed to control himself, ‘You’re wearing a red sash? You know that’s my favorite color, don’t you?’

Mihara faked a smile, ‘Yes Master, I thought you’d like it.’

‘Go to my quarters, I’ll join you in a bit.’ Mihara nodded and went to his quarters as ordered.

Mihara sat on his Masters bed, he exhaled and said to himself, ‘Calm down. He isn’t going to punish you, you did what he ordered you to.’ he heard footsteps approach and flinched as he entered.

Master Kane smiled, ‘Good boy.’ he knelt on the bed pushing Mihara down slightly, ‘Kiss me.’ Mihara wrapped his fragile arms round his broad shoulders and kissed him. He pulled away, ‘That was a little timid.’

‘Sorry Master. I’ll try harder.’ he whimpered.

Master Kane pushed him completely onto his back, ‘No need to be so formal.’ he took off his shirt and smirked, ‘You’ve been so good recently I want to reward you, that’s why I told you to come here. If I was going to punish you I’d have told you to go to your room.’

Mihara nodded, ‘I understand, can I try again?’ Master Kane nodded and Mihara leaned up and gave him a passionate kiss this time inviting his Master to kiss back which he obliged.

Master Kane pulled away, ‘That’s better.’ he undressed his Slave and saw the marks from last night, he chuckled, ‘You bruise so easily.’

Master Kane seductively pulled the sash off, letting his hair cascade onto his shoulders, ‘Should I be gentler with you?’ he tied his hands together, ‘But then again red is my favorite color.’ he smirked.

He thrust into him, ‘You wouldn’t wear red unless you were trying to excite me!’ Mihara was so used to the pain was almost numbing now, but he still reacted. He clutched hold of his Master as if he was trying to push him off, as his voice spilled out his mouth, ‘Did that hurt?’

Mihara caught his breath as tears filled his eyes, he nodded. Master Kane smiled, ‘I’m sorry, but I couldn’t wait any longer.’ he stroked his face, wiping away a tear, ‘I’ll make you feel better just hold on.’ his hand lowered between his legs teasing him as his thrusts became more forceful.

Mihara thought, ‘Again! He didn’t prepare me at all!’ unable to catch his breath, lust filled moans broken up by quivering breaths were all he could muster as Master Kane’s attentions continued.

Master Kane pinned his hands above his head and kissed him, ‘Keep your hands there. If you dare move them, you’ll be punished.’ he smirked at Mihara’s reaction as he thrust even stronger than before, weakened and defenseless Mihara’s body wanted to curl. Master Kane huffed, ‘You can’t do it can you?’

‘Master….Please….!’ begged Mihara through bated breath. Master Kane turned him over and continued thrusting. Mihara’s voice rang out louder than before, Master Kane smirked, he sucked and bit his neck, merging pleasure and pain yet again.

Mihara was treated better than most, after all he was allowed to roam the castle without his Masters supervision, he was given better food than the other Slaves were and dressed in higher status clothing at the peak of Slave fashion. He wasn’t covered in obvious visible scars, wounds or bruises all the time like the others and his Master seemed to care for him in his own way.

With his Master being a highly respected and rare wolf demon General, it was expected that his Slave would be treated this way in public, in private however, it didn’t matter how he was treated.

Mihara woke up with his Masters heavy, muscular arms wrapped around him, he thought, ‘No matter how terrifying he is to everyone else, no matter how strong he gets, I’m sure he’d never use these hands to hurt me, not without good reason. Since he bought me six months ago, he’s had moments where he’s been almost kind to me! I know I’m just a Slave, but he looks after me despite that!’ he moved to get up and felt Master Kane’s arm move, ‘Are you awake Master?'

‘Yeah but stay here.’ he ordered.

‘I need to get your breakfast Master.’ Mihara smiled trying to get up, when he noticed his wrists were still tied.

‘No.’ Master Kane increased his grip, ‘You stay here.’ he ordered.

Mihara relaxed his body, ‘Of course Master.’ he nestled into his embrace, ‘Anything you want.’

Mihara remembered the runaway Slave yesterday, ‘I can never refuse a single order of his. Or that will be me.’ he remembered the first time Master Kane punished him and the first time he ever saw his true form, ‘I never want to go through that again.’ his body shivered.

Master Kane pulled the covers over him some more, ‘I’d of thought my fur would keep you warm but clearly not. You should tell me if you’re cold. Don’t keep secrets from me.’ he wrapped his leg around his, ‘No matter how small.’

‘Sorry Master.’ he pushed down his rising fear noticing he was in his true form right now. His head had become that of a wolf and fur covered his entire body, ‘I promise, I’ll tell you next time. And thank you for the covers.’

‘It’s ok.’ Master Kane kissed the back of his head, ‘I can’t have you getting cold now can I?’

‘It’s been two whole months since he’s punished me. He has scolded me and told me off but he hasn’t really hurt me. He’s just rescinded my travel rights for a while, kind of like being grounded. He has hit me but I can tell he was really holding back.’ Mihara thought, he saw bruising on his arm from being held down, ‘He doesn’t seem to know his own strength too well when we’re in bed together though, but if I do as I’m told he doesn’t need to use his strength with me. And I’m happy that despite our massive different in statue that their hasn’t been much if any damage back there.’

Eventually, Master Kane let Mihara go and he went to the kitchen to get breakfast, down there he was surrounded by friends and people of the same standing, there were no guards or Masters to order them around or oppress them. They could talk openly to one another.

Every item of food is checked for poison before it is given to the Masters, but as the cooks were so well cared for, they don’t try to kill the Masters. And it would be a miracle if a Slave got hold of poison, besides with daily random checks carried out on Slaves meagre possessions even if they had some it was found quick enough. But with the penalty so high for possession of poison no Slave was brave enough to have it with them.

Mihara smiled, ‘Hey, can I have Master Kane’s breakfast please?’

The head chef nodded, ‘One second Mihara, I got to sort out Master Raiken’s first, the order was sent down by messenger a few minutes ago. First come first serve!’

‘Alright. I’ll wait Master’s still sleeping right now so it’s ok.’ Mihara replied.

Master Raiken’s Slave, Sota, limped in, terrified, beaten and trembling he whimpered, ‘I’m… here to… pick up Master Raiken’s breakfast…please…’ his eye blackened by a bruise and his blonde hair roughly cut, his Slave status was low and so he wasn’t treated well by his Master, despite him being Master Kane’s brothers Slave.

The chef gently passed him the tray, ‘Are you going to be ok?’

Sota nodded, ‘Thank you.’ he smiled and left.

Everyone in that room felt the same level of sympathy and compassion for him, but ultimately knew there was nothing they could do, Mihara sighed, the chef asked trying to lighten the mood by changing the subject, ‘So, how is it going with Master Kane? Six months huh?’

Mihara blushed, ‘He’s sweet!’ he realized what he said, ‘But don’t tell him I said that!’

The chef chuckled, ‘Your secret is safe with me.’ the head chef came over.

‘Order up!’ he smiled. He placed a red flower in a vase on the tray, ‘You can say it was your idea.’ he winked at him and Mihara blushed violently, ‘Come on you’d have to be blind not to see your level of devotion and attraction towards him.’

‘Am I that obvious?’ he brushed his hair behind his ear. They nodded and Mihara walked out stopping at the checking station.

‘Clean.’ the tester replied and he was sent off on his way.

Mihara got back to his Master, ‘Good Morning Master I have your breakfast.’ he placed the tray on his lap and knelt at the bedside to serve him breakfast.

‘No.’ said his Master. Mihara looked up to him, ‘That’s the way the Slavers taught you to serve breakfast? Have you forgotten how I taught you?’

Mihara shook his head and got up, ‘Sorry Master.’ he knelt on the bed and continued serving him breakfast.

‘That’s better.’ Master Kane replied. He noticed the flower, ‘When did you get so sensitive?’ he picked it up, ‘Getting me flowers?’

Mihara blushed, ‘I just thought you’d be happy to receive it Master.’

Master Kane smirked and ruffled his hair, ‘You know what your blushing face does to me.’ he knocked the tray out the way and pinned him, he saw Mihara was scared, he placed the flower behind Mihara’s ear, ‘Relax.’ he lowered his hand between his legs, smirking, ‘You’ll still be able to walk after I’m done with you. I promise.’ his other hand slipped behind him, Mihara’s body jerked he felt Master Kane insert his finger, ‘And I’ll prepare you this time too!’

With the level of attention Master Kane was giving him, pleasure and passion grew higher within him, his breaths, harmonized with his moans, while his hands searched for support. Suddenly, Master Kane stopped, ‘Can’t let you have all the fun.’

Master Kane forced him on all fours and thrust into him, forcing his voice to ring out, ‘Ah! Master!?’ he leaned into him and bit his neck, ‘No…please…don’t bite me! Uh!…..Ah!….’ his arms buckled and he rested on the bed, ‘Please Master…not so rough…!’ he clutched the sheets as his Master didn’t comply.

Instead his thrusts grew even more powerful, forcing Mihara’s body to shiver with both pain and pleasure, the line between the two had become so blurred, since he was bought, that Mihara could barely tell the difference anymore. And for two hours his Master barely gave him pause for breath.

Afterwards, Mihara asked while getting dressed, ‘Master, can I ask you something?’ Master Kane nodded, ‘I saw Master Raiken’s Slave this morning. He was covered in bruises again and he was limping quite badly. Can’t you do some…...’ he was stopped.

‘Say one more word on the subject and I’ll be forced to punish you.’ Master Kane warned.

Mihara was torn between his desire to help a fellow Slave and not wanting to be punished, in the end self-preservation proved the better option, Mihara hung his head low, ‘I’m sorry Master, please forgive me. It was not my place.’

Master Kane sighed, ‘Come here.’ Mihara exhaled scared of what he’d do next but moved closer, barely raising his head, ‘I don’t want to punish you, you know that, but if you keep saying things like this, I’m not going to have a choice.’ he held his chin, Mihara flinched and whimpered, ‘I’ll let you off with a warning this time, but do something like this again and I will do what I have to. Understand?’ he let go.

Mihara bowed low, ‘Yes. Thank you Master.’

Master Kane stroked the back of his head, ‘Raise your head.’ he sat on his knees, ‘You’re a good Slave with a privileged position, don’t throw it away on something so trivial. You know not everyone is as lucky as you.’ Mihara nodded and Master Kane kissed his forehead, ‘Go on, have a good day.’ Mihara nodded and left.

Walking away Mihara thought, ‘Even though I have this privileged position, I’m still not allowed to speak my mind.’ he sighed, ‘I feel so sorry for Sota but if I try to help him, I’ll be punished. We are like two creatures locked in the same cage but aren’t allowed to lick one another’s wounds.’ he clenched his fists, ‘No matter how much freedom my Master allows me, I’m still just a Slave.’ Mihara shook his head, ‘No! Stop thinking like that! Master has been kind to you, don’t cause him any trouble! You heard him, he doesn’t want to hurt you so don’t make him!’

They went through the day as they often did now, separate but with regular communications passing between them as Mihara would bring Master Kane his drinks and snacks as requested, in between that he’d be cleaning, exploring the castle or talking to friends in the kitchen. His Master allowed it, he had restrictions and places he wasn’t allowed to go but otherwise he had more freedom than most.

He was allowed to do so by his Master however, it was much to the disapproval and annoyance of his younger brother, Master Raiken. Master Kane was the senior Master of the castle, so Master Raiken’s opinion held little influence with him. However, Mihara would try to avoid him as much as possible but would run into him from time to time.

Mihara was walking back to the kitchen when he saw Master Raiken coming down the corridor, he stepped aside to clear the way for him and bowed his head. He remained still and silent until he heard his footsteps stop.

Mihara looked up, ‘Is something the matter Master Raiken?’

Master Raiken was similar in appearance to his brother but he was much crueler and colder than his brother, his presence alone was evidence of this, the fearful chill Mihara felt around him was not without good cause, the first time they met he beat him half to death for apparently looking at him funny. Master Raiken received a scar across his face that day from his brother for hurting his Slave.

Master Raiken held his throat and pushed him against the wall, ‘I don’t like you! You’re an eyesore!’

Mihara felt his grip soften so he could speak, ‘You aren’t going to leave a mark are you Master Raiken? Master Kane would be upset if I were to be bruised.’ he said reminding Master Raiken about what happened to him the last time he’d hit him.

Master Raiken let him go, ‘One day you will slip up and your privileged position by my brothers side will come to an end. On that day, I will personally see to your punishment.’ he left and Mihara exhaled in relief as his legs gave out he sat on the floor.

Mihara tried to calm himself, ‘He’s as terrifying as ever!’ he felt his neck, ‘I hope it doesn’t mark, because then I’ll have to explain it to Master. Even if he’s mad at someone else he’s scary when he’s mad!’

They all met for dinner, Mihara was the only Slave to be sitting at the same level as his Master. Mihara glanced over to Master Raiken and saw his Slave had even more bruises than before, he was behaving far more submissive than earlier too. His head barely raised and his pain was obvious to see, Mihara looked at Master Kane briefly before remembering what he’d said to him, so bit his tongue.

‘Don’t do it!’ he looked over at Sota, ‘I’m sorry Sota, but I can’t help you.’ Mihara was focusing so much on Master Raiken and Sota that he didn’t notice Master Kane was signaling for him to refill his wine. Master Kane cleared his throat to get Mihara’s attention, Mihara looked at him, ‘Is there a problem?’

Mihara shook his head, ‘No Master.’ he freshened his drink for him, ‘I’m sorry.’

‘I’ve told you before, you can eat and drink whatever you like. You don’t have to wait for my permission.’ Master Kane explained, Mihara smiled nodding.

Master Raiken knocked his Slave to the floor for spilling a drop of his wine, ‘You idiot!’ Mihara flinched too knowing exactly how much that hurt.

‘I’m sorry Master…forgive me…’ Sota cowered.

Mihara clenched his fists and looked away, closing his eyes tight, ‘Don’t do it!’

Anger bubbled up inside of him as he heard Sota being hit again and again, Mihara looked over and stood up, closed his eyes and yelled, ‘Stop it! Leave him alone!’

Mihara opened his eyes as he realized what he had just done, everyone was shocked to see a Slave ordering a Master. Fear sunk in and his body froze as he heard Master Kane stand up, ‘Did I just do that?’

‘Mihara!’ Mihara flinched, ‘Kneel!’ shakily Mihara obeyed his Masters orders, ‘Apologize.’

Mihara placed his arms flat on the ground and rested his head on the floor, ‘I’m sorry Master Raiken, please forgive me.’

Master Raiken looked at Master Kane, ‘I’ll leave his discipline to you brother.’ Master Kane nodded and Master Raiken dragged his Slave away.

Master Kane ordered, ‘Mihara! Go to your room and wait for me.’ he ordered. Mihara did as he was ordered.

Mihara thought, ‘No, I don’t want him to hurt me! Why the hell did I do that? He warned me not to do it and yet I did! Now, he has to punish me!’ Mihara curled up, ‘Just take the punishment and apologize, he’ll forgive me quicker if I do that! This isn’t that bad! He won’t punish me that harshly for this if I show remorse.’

Meanwhile, Master Raiken and Master Kane were talking, ‘You cannot be serious?!’ exclaimed Master Raiken, ‘He questioned a Master in front of the entire court! You can’t go easy on him!’

‘He was trying to help someone just like him.’ replied Master Kane, ‘I will discipline him but not severely.’

Master Raiken yelled, ‘Slaves only understand punishment, you’re too soft on him, you need to be tougher with him, if you were he wouldn’t have dared speak out like that in the first place!’

Master Kane replied, ‘Brother, that’s not me. I promise you, he will be punished for this, as well as losing his privileges for a month! But, I am not going to cage, beat and rape him!’

Master Raiken scoffed, ‘You are too soft on him. If he doesn’t fear you he doesn’t respect you.’ he left.

‘Showing some mercy isn’t a bad thing either.’ Master Kane sighed.

Master Raiken went to Mihara’s room, hearing someone the other side of the door Mihara flinched, but even more so when he saw it was Master Raiken, ‘Come here!’ he yelled grabbing the back of Mihara’s shirt.

‘Master Raiken!?’ Mihara struggled to break free, ‘What are you doing? Please let me go!’

Master Raiken opened the door and threw Mihara out, Mihara crashed on to the ground cutting himself on the gravel, ‘Goodnight!’

‘Master Raiken! Why are you doing this to me?’ Mihara asked.

‘You’re nothing more than a Slave, I owe you no explanation!’ Master Raiken slammed the door.

‘Master Raiken!?’ he started banging on the door, ‘Please, open the door, I’ll never survive out here on my own!’ realizing he wasn’t joking he went to walk through the front when his arm was grabbed by a man with chestnut brown hair and tanned complexion.

‘Don’t do it!’ the man whispered.

‘Why not?’ Mihara asked, ‘I’m Master Kane’s Slave, they’ll let me pass!’

‘Not now!’ he exclaimed, ‘You are labelled a deserter now, you’re outside the castle grounds, if you go back now they will throw you in an execution cell and your Master will be the one who signs off on it!’

‘He wouldn’t do that!’ Mihara turned to walk off only to be grabbed again.

‘I’m Tarvan, I can help you survive out here. I can’t help you if you go back!’ he explained.

‘Please! Let me go!’ Mihara pleaded.

‘Why did you escape if you didn’t want to be free?’ Tarvan asked.

‘I didn’t escape I was thrown out! If I tell the guards that, my Master will at least look into it before my punishment is decided.’ Mihara explained, ‘If I give myself up now and explain it my Master will forgive me and let me live! He’s kind like that.’

‘You’re deluded!’ Tarvan exclaimed.

‘Gratitude is not delusion!’ Mihara said.

‘It’s close enough!’ snapped Tarvan.

Mihara explained, ‘No! It’s not! My Master takes care of me, he gives me food, clothes, shelter, a bed and he doesn’t hit me.’

Tarvan looked at his arms, ‘Then what are these?’

Mihara blushed, ‘They’re nothing, he can just be a little heavy handed when we’re spending the night together, that’s all, but he doesn’t hurt me without reason.’

Tarvan couldn’t understand, ‘You like being his Slave?’ Mihara looked away, ‘How the hell can you like it? He rapes you, he orders you around and leaves bruises all over you! How can you like that?’

‘Because it’s better than begging for scraps, running for my life and being betrayed by my own kind out here!’ Mihara explained.

They both heard the alarm sounding, ‘Oh no, that’s the escape alarm! He thinks I ran away! I have to go back and set this straight before it gets any worse!’

Tarvan stopped him, ‘It’s already as bad as it gets!’ he pulled him out of sight, ‘I don’t care how understanding you think your Master is but if you get caught or give yourself up, he will kill you. It’s too late now! You go back there, you’re dead!’

He looked back and forth from Tarvan and the castle, he remembered the Slave his Master killed the other day for escaping and remembered that he was already awaiting a punishment, fearing it would be worse now to go back like Tarvan said he sighed, ‘You’re right.’

‘Come on.’ Tarvan said. Mihara reluctantly followed him.

They eventually came to a clearing where a campsite was situated, ‘What is this place?’ asked Mihara.

‘This is a rescue site for all runaway Slaves that managed to get away from their Masters.’ Tarvan explained showing him around, he sat with him by the campfire, ‘So, what happened? I’ve never had to talk someone into escaping before!’

Mihara explained, ‘Like I said, I’m Master Kane’s Slave, he’s been very kind to me, since he bought me six months ago, he’s protected me, fed me, clothed me and he wouldn’t hurt me without reason.’ he blushed continuing, ‘He’s not always the gentlest partner but he never did anything maliciously.’

‘If you were so happy with him how did you end up outside?’ asked Tarvan.

‘Master Kane’s brother Master Raiken…um…I did something…no Slave is allowed to do…I openly questioned a Master’s actions.’ Mihara started shaking, ‘Master had no choice. He had to punish me, I was waiting for my Master. I was prepared to take my punishment, I know what I did was wrong so I was prepared to face the consequences. But, then Master Raiken arrived.’

Mihara explained, ‘I was scared because I thought Master Kane had decided to leave my punishment to his brother. And I knew how much Master Raiken liked to hurt his Slaves, but then he threw me out the door, I don’t know why. I thought if I went to the front door, allowed them to capture and restrain me I could beg to speak to Master and I could explain everything, but then I heard the alarm.’

‘And you thought it was safer to come with me after that?’ asked Tarvan.

Mihara nodded, ‘Yeah. If I went back after that alarm sounded, even if I begged him to listen he wouldn’t. His brother who is head of security would have whispered in his ear by then and it would have been my word against his. Even though my Master isn’t like the others, he would still believe a Master over a Slave.

Tarvan smiled, ‘I know how scary this must be for you, but I promise we will look after you here and in time you can do the same for someone else.’

‘Thank you.’ Mihara smiled, ‘For letting me stay.’

‘Don’t worry.’ he smiled.

‘Now, I have a question for you!’ said Mihara, ‘If you are who you say you are, why were you outside a Master’s castle!?’

Tarvan pulled out medical supplies, ‘Stealing these. We have wounded that need these, you can only get these things from Master’s castles.’ he stood up, ‘Come on I’ll show you to your tent.’ he showed him to a tent, ‘You’ll have to share with another newcomer is that ok?’ Mihara nodded and was introduced to Kohaka a recent run away from the same castle.

They recognized one another, Mihara smiled, ‘Hello again.’

Kohaka looked up, ‘It’s you!’

Tarvan asked, ‘So, you two have already met?’

Mihara nodded and looked at Tarvan, ‘Kohaka was Master Roga’s Slave. Master Roga is Master Kane’s cousin. We met once when they came to stay at the castle for Masters birthday. We got pretty close while we were thrown in conversation together by our Masters, I was always forced into socializing with other Slaves by my Master, I never really enjoyed it until I spoke to him.’ Mihara turned back to Kohaka, ‘How have you been Kohaka? How’d you end up here?’

Kohaka answered, ‘Master Roga.’ he started shaking, ‘He started getting aggressive. Especially when we were……’ he curled up shaking, ‘I begged him to stop! But he wouldn’t!’ he held his still bruised wrists, ‘He wouldn’t!’

Tarvan placed a blanket over him, ‘You’re safe here remember. Master Roga can’t find you.’ Kohaka nodded. Tarvan went too leave, ‘Well have a good night.’ he left.

Mihara lay down thinking, ‘Master is probably furious with me by now. Even though it is all just one big misunderstanding, it’ll still always be my word against his brothers! And no matter what I say his brother will be believed every time!’ he closed his eyes, ‘I’m so sorry Master. But I am just a Slave after all.’ a tear rolled down his face as he drifted off into sleep.

Back at the castle, Master Raiken was talking to Master Kane, ‘Brother I warned you.’

‘We don’t know anything as of yet.’ replied Master Kane.

‘Open your eyes!’ said Master Raiken, ‘He left you! I warned you to be stricter with him!’

Master Kane threw his glass at him, ‘Leave me!’ he was left alone and he started laughing, ‘This is just too perfect.’ he looked out the window, ‘Enjoy it Mihara. While you can! Because when I find you, you will be lucky to see daylight ever again! Thank you for making this so much more fun!!’

The morning came and Mihara stepped out the tent to see preparations for breakfast being made he walked over to Tarvan, ‘What can I do to help?’

Tarvan smiled, ‘Thank you for the offer but we have it covered.’

‘Please.’ asked Mihara, ‘I can’t stand doing nothing.’

Tarvan sighed, ‘Follow me to the river then we’ll see if they need help catching fish.’ Mihara followed him to the river bank to see five men spear fishing, flawless techniques meant there was plenty to eat.

Women sat on the bank gutting, de-boning, de-scaling and beheading the fish in preparation to be eaten back at the campsite. Tarvan grabbed a spear, ‘How’s your aim?’

‘Terrible.’ smiled Mihara, ‘But, I can gut.’

Tarvan nodded and Mihara went over to the gutters, ‘Would you like some help?’

She smiled and placed several fish in a separate basket for him to do, a quick lesson was all Mihara needed to get the hang of even the finer points of prep work.

Tarvan smiled, ‘He’s weird but he’s a fast learner.’

A whole week rolled by like that, every day a new skill was picked up or perfected. Every other day they moved the whole campsite to help avoid detection. Even though Mihara mainly kept to himself, he was happy helping the other runaways, but still strangely longed to see Master Kane again, he used the workload as a distraction which worked until there wasn’t any more work to do.

He sat with everyone round the campfire eating a boar he’d helped catch. Tarvan pulled out a flute, everyone listened while he played and some women started singing. Mihara watched as some men asked the women to dance and they seemed to pair off content with one another’s company.

He was happily saddened to see people so full of joy, he had never known any other way to live other than under a Masters rule since they arrived, he was so lost in thought when a young girl went up to him, he was even more shocked, ‘Can you teach me how to dance?’ she asked innocently.

Mihara blushed, ‘Sorry but I don’t know how to do this dance either.’ he remembered his Master taught him a little and smiled, ‘How about we try a different dance to what they are doing?’ she nodded excited and he stood up, ‘Hold my hands and get on my feet.’

Mihara and the little girl happily danced with one another until she grew tired, he stopped and picked her up. He handed her back to her mother, ‘Thank you for dancing with her it was very sweet of you!

‘No problem.’ Mihara smiled. He sat back with Kohaka, ‘I think that’s the first child I’ve seen in this group?’

Kohaka smiled, ‘That’s because she is the only child. She is a Masters child; her mother was used as part of a breeding programme. Her Master threatened to kill her child if she gave birth to a girl and so when she did, she ran away shortly after giving birth, before her Master killed his daughter.’

‘It’s impressive that she did that so soon after giving birth!’ said Mihara. He looked on at everyone.

‘Everyone here has a story like that.’ explained Kohaka, ‘Some are more heartbreaking than others.’ he pointed to another man, ‘His lover was beaten, raped and killed by his Master in front of him when he found out about them. I hear him crying at night sometimes, I went to see him the first time I heard it, that’s how I know what happened.’

‘That’s horrible!’ said Mihara.

Kohaka pointed to the youngest boy in the group, ‘He was sold by his mother when he was just thirteen and was used as a male prostitute by his Master, the scars on his wrists are because he was chained up pretty much all day every day for three years. On a bathroom break he killed his escort and jumped from the balcony breaking one of his legs but he still escaped.’

‘I never knew any of this was happening.’ replied Mihara, ‘I know Masters hit and abused their Slaves but this is on a whole new level!

‘I know but here, we’re all family. We look out for one another, no one is forced to do what they don’t want to and no one is scared to say what they truly think. Living out here with these guys is a hundred times better than living under a Masters rule.’ Kohaka explained.

Mihara smiled, ‘Yeah. I think it is too!’ with such a little taste of freedom from his Masters dominating ways, everything became much clearer to him, the realization he was just as much a prisoner as all the other Slaves he’d met cut him deep.

He saw Tarvan and Kohaka looking at one another, he cleared his throat, ‘Should I leave you two alone for a moment?’

Kohaka blushed, ‘Sorry, he’s just so dreamy.’ Mihara chuckled, ‘You don’t have to laugh!’

‘Why don’t you two…’ he clicked his tongue, ‘You know…?’

Kohaka looked at the ground blushing even more, ‘He wouldn’t be interested in me!’

Mihara scoffed, ‘And I suppose he stares at you longingly because he is hoping you’ll make him a nice cup of tea?’

Kohaka chuckled, ‘I’ve never asked anyone out before.’

Mihara replied, ‘Neither have I. But, then again, I also didn’t know how to hunt three days ago.’ he looked at him, ‘Just go over there and ask him, what’s the worst that can happen?’

‘He could hear me!’ joked Kohaka. Mihara chuckled.

‘Go on.’ he nudged him.

Kohaka stood up and exhaled, ‘Wish me luck!’ he walked off.

Mihara watched as he bashfully asked Tarvan out, then looked away as Tarvan said yes kissing him passionately. He looked back to see they had gone, he turned to see them going into Tarvan’s tent.

‘Tarvan doesn’t waste time does he?’ he exclaimed to himself, ‘Guess I have the tent to myself tonight!'

Two weeks later, just before dawn, the entire camp was awoken by screams and shouts from the look outs, ‘Masters are coming! RUN!’

Mihara stepped out his tent to see everyone running he reluctantly joined them. They were cut off and captured. Like many others, Mihara still had his wrist cuffs and collar on which revealed his status and who owned him, but luckily no one checked their identities as of yet, but now with everyone captured the Masters arrived.

Mihara saw Master Kane, he was happy at first then recalled how they came to be in this situation and his joy turned to panic. Even more to see Master Raiken follow on shortly behind, he shrunk into himself hiding his face as much as possible.

Master Kane announced, ‘I am looking for one Slave in particular. Give him up and I will overlook this campsite. Once we have him, we will leave!’ Master Kane scanned the crowd, he saw but didn’t recognize Mihara, as his body condition had improved so much since he last saw him, Master Kane looked away, ‘Mihara?’ Mihara flinched, ‘Come here.’

Mihara didn’t know if he should reply or hide. He watched as Master Kane pulled another Slave to his side and got a sword, ‘I’ll give you to the count of three, Mihara. I know you’re here. Come out now and give yourself up, or this one dies.’ Mihara’s heart sank knowing he wasn’t kidding, ‘One……….. …Two……Three……’ he was about to kill his hostage when Mihara stood up.

‘Master! Please stop!’ Mihara hid his eyes with his hair, ‘If I come with you……you’ll leave them alone, right?’

Master Kane nodded, ‘You have my word Mihara.’

Mihara took a step and Tarvan said, ‘No Mihara! He’s lying! He’ll put chains back on everyone here!’

‘Tarvan. I trust Master to keep his word.’ he looked at him and smiled, ‘He’s never broken it before.’

‘Mihara! No!’ said Tarvan, ‘RUN!’

‘Gag him.’ ordered Master Kane, Tarvan was about to speak again when he was gagged, ‘Mihara, come here.’

Mihara walked up to him seemingly without an ounce of fear and knelt at his feet, he exhaled, placed his wrists together and offered them to his Master, who chained them together throwing his hostage to the floor having gained his prize, he led him away returning to his own campsite, he threw Mihara on his bed, ‘Mihara, tell me, why did you leave?’

‘Master! Please listen to me! It wasn’t my intension to leave! I swear!’ said Mihara, ‘I was going to accept my punishment, I know what I did was wrong. But, please believe me when I tell you this. I know you won’t want to hear this but your brother, Master Raiken, he came into my room and dragged me out.’

Master Kane slapped him in the face with the back of his hand, knocking him to the bed, ‘Take care how you speak to me Mihara, you are on the thinnest ice you’ve ever been on. And you! A Slave is accusing my brother! A Master of treason!’

Mihara’s face hurt, he was disorientated as the hit had knocked his center of balance off, he pushed himself off the bed, ‘Master, I’m sorry I left. But Master Raiken was the one who pushed me out. I thought if I went to the front door and allowed them to capture me, I could beg to speak to you and I could explain it all, but then I heard the alarm and I was scared of what you’d do to me Master. I feared you would believe your brother over me!’

‘So, you actually ran off instead!?’ Master Kane yelled, ‘That’s not very smart!’

‘I was scared, I wasn’t thinking!’ explained Mihara, ‘I’m sorry Master.’

Master Kane stepped closer and Mihara flinched, shielding himself, ‘Know that if you are lying to me, your life isn’t going to be worth living.’

Mihara looked his Master in the eye, ‘I swear to you. That’s what happened, I am so sorry I left you like that. I swear it wasn’t my intension, I went to my room, you can check I have witnesses. I went in and we both know I can’t let myself out.’

Master Kane pinned Mihara’s chained hands above his head after forcing him onto his back, ‘I already did, the day you left. Yes, you went in but because the lock didn’t work properly, you could have also gotten yourself out.’

‘Master, I don’t know anything about the locks. Please believe me, I am not lying to you. I wouldn’t dare!’ Mihara answered, ‘Please! Master!’ Master Kane stripped him, Mihara blushed and squirmed to get free, ‘Master? No, wait!’ Master Kane’s hand slipped between Mihara’s legs, ‘No, don’t! Please!’ his Masters hand forced his body to respond.

‘I’ll get the truth out of you, even if I have to keep you awake all night.’ he licked his neck. He thrust his sword into the ground in-between Mihara’s arms pinning them above his head.

Mihara was scared, he’d never seen this side of his Master before, ‘Master…? Ah! Please…stop!’ his moans grew louder as his Master teased his body to the brink then denied him satisfaction over and over.

‘Tell me the truth.’ he ordered.

Mihara through tears replied, ‘I…have……Master…Raiken…threw me out…’ Master Kane’s hand resumed his torturous play with Mihara, ‘No! Pl…ease…Master…! St…op…!’

This went on until four the next morning, ‘One last chance Mihara. I want the truth.’

Exhausted both physically and mentally, Mihara’s body was broken by Master Kane’s torture, ‘I…have told you…the truth…Master…please…stop this…I’m sorry…I ran…away…forgive me….please!’ he pleaded.

Master Kane smirked, ‘I’ve never punished you for this long before. And considering you’ve had no one to help relieve yourself for a while, you’re at your absolute limit.’

‘Please….Master…let me……please…I want to……’ he begged, ‘I’ll…do…whatever you…want…’ he looked at his Master, ‘So, please…! I’ve…learnt…my lesson…I swear…please…don’t do this to me… anymore.’

Master Kane sucked on his neck, ‘If you want me to stop, tell me the truth.’

Mihara sighed, ‘Please…I haven’t lied to you…I swear…’ in the pitiful state he was in it was hard to believe he was lying.

Master Kane thought, ‘There is no way, anyone could be lying to me after what I’ve just put him through. Two days! And I haven’t allowed him to release once.’ he lowered his hand between his legs.

Mihara gasped and his body shivered, ‘No…please…stop!’

‘It’s ok Mihara. I believe you.’ he kissed him, ‘Go ahead.’ his movements quickened as Mihara’s voice echoed, ‘I’m going to let you finish this time.’ Mihara was finally released from his torture, Master Kane pulled the sword out the ground so Mihara could curl up, he was struggling to catch his breath.

Master Kane touched his shoulder, Mihara flinched, ‘No! Please…no more……Master…I beg of you…’ Master Kane sighed.

‘You know why I did this to you, don’t you?’ he asked. Mihara nodded.

‘I’m…sorry…I swear…I won’t…leave your side ever…again…! I… won’t… disobey you… ever again.’ answered Mihara, ‘Please…let me sleep…’

Master Kane smiled and pulled a blanket over him, ‘Be a good boy and get some rest.’

Mihara thought, ‘He’s never done that to me for this long before. My body’s exhausted! But at least he believes me now.’ he closed his eyes in extreme fatigue.

He woke in the morning, his body aching and head spinning. He tried to get up and noticed his hands were still chained together, he thought, ‘Master left me chained up!? I thought he believed me!’ he remembered the red sash, ‘I guess leaving me tied up isn’t something new for him!’ he managed to sit up through the pain and saw another length of chain attached to his wrists.

Mihara followed it with his eyes to see it attached to a loop Master Kane had hammered into the ground, he felt the cold breeze on his skin and looked down to see the only thing covering him was the thin blanket his Master had placed over him last night.

Mihara heard a lot of talking outside and even though it hurt, he crawled to look out the gap in the tent, the chain wasn’t quite long enough so he leaned his head to look. He saw all the Slaves from the campsite, rounded up and chained together. Mihara gasped, ‘What?! He said he’d leave them.’

He heard footsteps near him, ‘Who said you could get out of bed?’

Mihara flinched and turned to look, ‘Master?’ with the chain at full stretch there was nowhere for him to go, ‘What happened? Why are they here? I thought you said if I came back you’d leave them be.’

Master Kane smiled, ‘You always were gullible. You should know runaway Slaves can’t be allowed to live like this. The ones who still have their collars will be taken back to their Masters for punishment and the others will be interrogated to see where they came from, if they are unwilling to cooperate they will be put to death or sold on to the highest bidder. All thanks to you.’

Mihara’s breathing grew more erratic, he thought, ‘Master’s a monster!’

Master Kane knelt down to him, ‘Come. Come now. Don’t be so upset. You should be happy you helped your Master keep order. I’ll reward you for that.’ he placed his hand on his shoulder. Mihara batted his hand away, ‘Mihara?’

‘Why?’ asked Mihara, ‘They did nothing wrong! Please Master let them go. Turn a blind eye, please!’

Master Kane hit him in the face with his riding crop knocking him to the floor, ‘I thought you knew your place.’ he stood up and kicked him in the stomach, ‘You know I prefer not to but I will punish you if I have to.’

Fear and pain shot through his entire body Mihara didn’t know what to do, should he protest or accept his Masters rule, he pushed through his pain to sit up and looked at his Master. With his Masters overpowering strength and overwhelming authority, yet again his own desire for self-preservation won over his desire to help the others, ‘Pl…ease…don’t punish me…’

Master Kane offered him his hand, ‘Apologize and I won’t.’

Mihara exhaled, held his hand and nuzzled it, ‘I’m sorry Master. Please forgive me.’ Master Kane picked him up and placed him on the bed, Mihara grew fearful over what his Master would do.

‘Ok. You’re forgiven Mihara.’ said Master Kane, he put some trousers on him, ‘Continue to be a good boy and you’ll be rewarded.’

Mihara watched as his Master left, he curled into himself and cried, ‘Master is a liar! I’ve never seen him act like this. He’s never been this cruel before!’ he remembered all the times he was, all the little things he did that gave Mihara a glimpse at his true nature, though through his rose covered vision even those moments of cruelty became shrouded in the lie his Master created for him to believe, ‘How couldn’t I have seen this before?’ he curled further into himself, ‘Master has always been cruel! He made me watch as he beheaded another Slave! He’s beaten me! Raped me! Caged me!’ Mihara closed his eyes tight as his body tensed, ‘I chose to believe the lie because the truth was too horrifying to bear! I should have run when I had the chance.’

While everyone was taken back to his castle. Master Kane kept Mihara on a short leash the whole trip back, allowing him barely enough time apart to collect his thoughts. Every stop for water or sleep was an excuse for Master Kane to have his way with Mihara’s body.

Mihara was always chained up naked in his Masters tent if he was ever left alone, otherwise he was forced to stay by his Masters side with barely enough daylight between them. Mihara was finally seeing his Master for the possessive, vindictive, cruel owner that he always was. Even now Mihara hoped there was still something of the kind hearted man he’d come to know left in him.

Mihara looked back at the others and thought, ‘I’m so sorry.’ Master Kane yanked his restraints returning his focus to him.

‘What do you think you’re doing?’ he asked.

‘Forgive me…Master…’ whimpered Mihara.

‘When we get home, you’re being chained to my bed, all your privileges are revoked for two years and you will be obedient.’ raising his head with the riding crop Master Kane asked, ‘Do I make myself clear?’

Mihara nodded, ‘Yes Master.’ he took the crop away.

They arrived back at his castle he handed Mihara to a guard, ‘Chain him to my bed and strip him.’ the guard nodded and dragged him away, Mihara saw the other Slaves entering the court.

Disheartened he submitted and resigned himself to his Masters will. He was chained to his Masters bed and stripped revealing bruises and scratches all over him from being forced to sleep with Master so often.

‘Enjoy your Master.’ mocked one of the guards leaving. Mihara curled up.

Another guard covered him with a blanket, Mihara flinched and looked over at him, ‘If you’re caught helping me you’ll be punished.’

‘I know.’ he smiled, ‘But you need a friend.’ he left.

‘A friend?’ Mihara thought, he remembered Tarvan, Kohaka and the others, ‘All my friends end up getting hurt.’ he curled up.

In the court all the Slaves were forced to their knees. Master Kane looked at the women, ‘Doctor! I want you to determine whether or not the women without restraints are fertile or not.’ all the women whimpered, ‘As for those with restraints. Your Masters have been informed of your capture and will be here within a day.’ he looked to the guards, ‘Take the women away.’

One stood up, ‘Master Kane?’ she went to step but was restrained. Master Kane called them off.

‘Let her speak.’ he said.

She exhaled fighting back tears, ‘Please, Master Kane! Tell me where my daughter is!’

‘Your daughter?’ asked Master Kane.

She bowed, ‘Yes. Please, just let me see her one last time!’ she begged, ‘She’s only six! Please, I beg of you! I’ll co-operate fully if you let me see her! I’ll tell you who my Master is!’

‘Sorry, but we didn’t capture any children.’ explained Master Kane.

The woman broke down screaming, realizing her young daughter was now alone outside. She was taken out with the others.

Master Kane turned to some guards, ‘Go back to the campsite and find her daughter.’

‘Yes, My Lord.’ he bowed and left.

Master Kane turned to the men, ‘Who speaks for you all?’ they all looked at Tarvan. His gag was removed.

Tarvan immediately stood up and asked, ‘Where’s Mihara? What have you done with him you bastard?!’

Master Kane chuckled, ‘My Slave is quite safe. His punishment for running away is almost at an end.’

‘You know, I had to talk him into leaving. I didn’t understand why and after meeting you……’ he huffed, ‘I still don’t see the attraction.’

Master Kane stood up, ‘Mihara is loyal, that’s something none of you will understand.’

Kohaka piped up, ‘Yes we do! We’re loyal to Tarvan!’

‘Kohaka? Isn’t it?’ Master Kane chuckled, ‘Master Roga has been missing you terribly.’ Kohaka shrunk into himself, ‘He will be here within the hour. Which reminds me.’ he turned to the guards and nodded, ‘Take him to the guest room, chain him up and strip him. Like Mihara, he won’t be needing his clothes anymore.’

All the others tried to help but were held back. Tarvan made it to him, he kissed his lips, they were pulled apart, ‘No, don’t let him do this!’ he struggled but couldn’t break free as Kohaka was led out the room, ‘No! Kohaka!’

Master Kane replied, ‘Slave breeding is only permitted by their Master, not that you two could breed!'

Tarvan was crushed, ‘Let him go.’ he started struggling more ferociously, ‘BRING HIM BACK NOW!’

‘No.’ replied Master Kane, ‘And put his gag back on, talking to him will get us nowhere.’ Tarvan fought but was restrained and knocked out, ‘Same as the women, those with restraints. Your Masters have been informed. The ones without restraints, you will be sold off to the highest bidder. Rebellious behavior like that of Tarvan will be met with severe penalties. You will all be taken to the cells until your fates are decided.’

They were dragged out despite their resistance. His brother was brought forwards, ‘You cast out my Slave.’

‘Brother, don’t believe a Slave over your own brother!’ Master Raiken replied, ‘He is lying to save his own skin!’

‘I tortured him myself.’ confessed Master Kane, ‘He wouldn’t be able to lie to me after what I put him through, his story was consistent throughout my torture. You cast him out, believing he’d be captured and put to death before I could speak to him, as his penance for speaking out against you.’

Master Raiken shook his head, ‘Oh brother?!’ he started laughing, ‘That Slave of yours is a sly one. He has wormed his way back into your good books.’

‘No, I’m going to be punishing him tonight, all night and then I may not stop for quite some time.’ he smirked delighting at the prospect.

‘Brother?’ asked Master Raiken, ‘What do you mean?’

‘You thought I was going easy on him all this time, but no. I was waiting for him to become complacent enough that he’d lash out, that’s why I stopped hitting him two months ago. I hadn’t lost my taste for it. Quite the opposite.’ he chuckled, ‘There’s just more flavor if you wait. All your little stunt did was force me to wait a little longer then I had planned and gave me more reason to punish him. So, in a way I should thank you.’

Master Raiken was taken back, ‘You’re sick!’

‘You’re calling me sick!’ mocked Master Kane, ‘That’s rich! You beat and raped your Slave hourly if the rumors are true!’ he walked up to him, ‘Don’t worry your Slave will be well cared for.’ he slit his throat. Master Kane sighed, ‘Now if the present company will excuse me. My Slave needs to be taught a lesson.’ he left.

Mihara heard him approaching and cowered against the head board, ‘Mihara?’ asked Master Kane smiling, ‘How many times do I have to tell you not to cower?’

Mihara reluctantly uncurled himself and moved towards him, ‘S…Sorry Master…’ he saw the riding crop in his hand, ‘Master, please don’t…...’

‘Quiet Mihara.’ Master Kane ordered, Mihara whimpered into silence, ‘Your friends Masters have all been informed, they will be arriving tomorrow for collections.’ Mihara felt sick recalling their different horror stories about their Masters, his body betrayed him and showed his disgust.

‘Master?’ Mihara asked, ‘Why? Why are you doing this? I thought you were……’

‘What?’ asked Master Kane holding his head up with the crop by pushing against his chin.

‘Different…’ Mihara whimpered through tears, ‘But you’re just as bad as Master Raiken.’ Master Kane struck him in the face with the crop. He was about to hit him again when he said, ‘Go ahead.’ Mihara looked at him, ‘Punish me. It’s what you want isn’t it?’ tears flowed down his face, ‘You’ve ruined everything I ever cared about, so go ahead beat me until I’m bloody, hit me until I lose consciousness.’ his head slumped, ‘I don’t care anymore. Congratulations Master. You’ve finally broken me.’

Master Kane stepped back, ‘No! No! You aren’t allowed to break yet! You don’t get to decide that!’

Mihara looked at him, ‘I’ve lost all resistance, just do what you want. I don’t care anymore.’

‘NO!’ Master Kane yelled, he pinned him violently to the bed, ‘YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE THAT!’

Mihara emotionlessly relaxed his body, ‘Do whatever you want Master.’

Master Kane clenched his fists and gritted his teeth, ‘I want to see you struggling for breath writhing in pain underneath me! I want to hear you begging me for mercy! I want you to react!’ he forced him to look at him, ‘Like back in the tent.’

‘I’m sorry Master. I can’t.’ Mihara replied, ‘I wish I could. But you’ve shown me begging only gets me more pain.’

‘Well, do you want to know what ‘this’ gets you?’ asked Master Kane forcing him onto all fours and started violently thrusting into him. Mihara screamed in pain as he continued thrusting. Mihara bit the bed sheets to bear with it.

But with such strong stimulus there was only so much clenching his teeth and eyes could do. His hands clutched the sheets, ‘Don’t give him the satisfaction!’ tears flooded his eyes as he pushed down his screams.

Master Kane pulled out and rolled him onto his back, ‘What’s wrong with you?!’

‘Like I said Master. I have no resistance left.’ he repeated.

Master Kane dressed himself, ‘Guards put him in with the others! I’ll sell him off with them.’ he was dragged away and thrown in the cells with the others.

One of them noticed blood from his tearing caused by his Masters attentions, Tarvan covered him with the sheet the guard threw in, ‘Mihara, are you ok?’

Mihara flickered into life, ‘Tarvan?!’ he smiled, ‘Sorry… I got us trapped… down here…... I shouldn’t have… been with your… group… if it wasn’t for me….you’d still be free…’

‘Mihara? No, don’t think like that!’ said Tarvan.

Mihara saw the guards leave ear shot and smiled, ‘So, you don’t want… the keys then?’ showing him the keys.

Tarvan and the others were shocked, ‘How the hell did you get the keys!?’

‘My Master shouldn’t have allowed me the freedom he did.’ he sat up aching and bleeding, ‘I know exactly where he keeps his spare keys.’ he leaned against the wall, ‘Unlock everyone and take that passage.’ he pointed left, ‘Take your third right, then second left. And then the door at the end.’ fatigue caught up with him and he started drifting in and out of consciousness, ‘I’ll join… you later… I have to get… Kohaka…and….Sota out…’ he slumped against the wall and passed out.

Tarvan smiled, ‘Raka.’ he looked over, ‘Get everyone out.’ he passed him the keys, smiling, ‘I’m going back for Kohaka.’

‘I’ll give you the chain key once we’ve got the women.’ Raka said.

‘Run please. If I don’t get out, please don’t come back for me.’ said Tarvan.

Raka smiled, ‘I promise.’ Raka hugged him, ‘But you better make it too!’ he picked up Mihara and sent another Slave to free the women.

They went down the passage shortly followed by the women, he opened the door a crack and peeked out. There were no guards he passed Mihara to someone else and whispered, ‘I’m going to see if there’s anyone on the roof, stay here.’ he walked out and looked around and signaled them to run.

They made it to the tree line, when Mihara woke up, Raka smiled, ‘Mihara?’ Raka felt Mihara’s temperature, ‘Are you ok? You’re burning up!’

‘I’ll be fine.’ Mihara replied, looking around he asked, ‘What happened?’

‘Tarvan went back for Kohaka, we got out thanks to you.’ explained Raka.

Mihara forced himself to stand, ‘You should… have left me… there...’ he groaned in pain and leaned against the tree, ‘My Master… is more messed up… then I thought……he liked it.’

‘What?’ asked Raka.

‘He pretended to be…kind and gentle… so that I would trust him. All because he wanted me… to lash out… so that he could punish me…….he planned the whole thing…. I was only thrown in the cells… because I acted like… I didn’t care… anymore. Now I’ve escaped again… he’ll never stop looking for me. Which… has put all of you… at risk. Again!’ explained Mihara.

‘Mihara?’ explained Raka, ‘We are not going to let you sacrifice yourself so easily!’

Mihara chuckled, ‘But you let… Tarvan!?’

Raka sighed, ‘Tarvan hasn’t just been beaten and raped! You’re bleeding!’

Mihara scoffed, ‘It’s not the first time… he’s done this… to me.’ Mihara turned to him, ‘I’m going back.’

‘No, Mihara!’ said Raka, ‘If Tarvan doesn’t come back! You’re all we’ve got! Tarvan wanted you to take over this group he saw something in you. And after the stunt you pulled today, we all see it now too. Please we need you.’

Mihara sighed, ‘Alright…first things first…does anyone…have anything I can wear…’ one of the women walked up to him and pinned the sheet around his waist.

‘It’ll do for now.’ she smiled.

‘Thank…you…’ he blushed.

‘And may I just say……’ she looked him up and down, ‘…nice.’ she winked at him.

Mihara blushed more, ‘Thank…you again…I guess! Second…..we need to….set traps…’

Meanwhile, Tarvan was slowly making headway to finding Kohaka. He overheard the Masters talking over dinner.

‘Thank you again cousin for finding my Slave!’ Master Roga smiled, ‘I hadn’t realized how much I missed him.’

Master Kane joked, ‘I’m surprised you came downstairs for dinner! If it were me I’d still be torturing the lad.’ everyone laughed. Tarvan bit his tongue and started searching rooms. He found the right one and went to the bed.

‘Kohaka?’ he was chained and bruised. Tarvan touched his shoulder.

Kohaka flinched, ‘No, please Master no more!’

Tarvan smirked, ‘I’ve never been called Master before.’ Kohaka looked up, ‘But I suppose if you insisted I could get used to it.’ he joked.

‘Tarvan!?’ he tried to hug him but the chains stopped him, ‘Tarvan, you have to run! If my Master sees you here!’

‘He won’t see anything and I’m not leaving you.’ replied Tarvan releasing him from the chains, ‘There you go. Now come on.’ he went to leave when Kohaka hugged him.

‘Thank you!’ Kohaka hugged him tight, ‘I love you.’

Tarvan hugged him back, ‘I love you too!’ he pushed him off, ‘Come on. We have to catch up with the others.’ Kohaka followed him out.

They got to the dining room and heard the Masters, hearing Master Roga’s voice forced Kohaka to freeze, ‘Kohaka? What are you doing? Come on!’ Tarvan whispered.

Kohaka shook his head, ‘I can’t! I’m too scared.’

Tarvan sighed, ‘Forgive me for this.’ he threw him over his shoulder and ran for the exit. He made it to where the others were, ‘I told you not to wait!’

Mihara sighed, ‘Sorry…but we couldn’t leave without you.’

The alarm sounded, Mihara hurried everyone further into the trees when he heard Master Kane calling him, ‘Mihara?’ Mihara looked back to see him holding Sota to ransom, ‘Come back to me now and apologize or……’ he held him over the edge of the castle wall, ‘I drop him! I know you’re out there and I know you can hear me!’

Mihara gritted his teeth, ‘You guys get going Raka knows where to go.’

‘What about Sota?’ asked Tarvan.

‘I have a plan.’ he explained it briefly before he stepped out the tree line where he was visible, ‘Are you lying again Master?’

‘Ah! There you are! Lovely night isn’t it?’ mocked Master Kane, ‘Once I’m through with you. I think I’ll hunt down every single one of your friends, drag them back here and kill them in front of you one by one.’ he smirked, ‘Apart from the women, no I think I’ll just mate with them.’

Knowing the others were running away he held Master Kane’s focus, ‘Don’t you want to know how I did it? Don’t you want to know how I escaped?’

Master Kane’s interest peeked, ‘In truth, yes. But I’ll have time enough to interrogate you about that when you’re chained back up to my bed.’ replied Master Kane.

‘Then I’ll lie. Each time you order me to tell you, I’ll lie a different lie each and every time so, you will never know exactly how I did it.’ said Mihara, ‘Same if you kill Sota right now, I’ll lie.’

Master Kane pulled Sota back in and called his guards that were surrounding him off, ‘Go on then, tell me. How did you do it?’

‘First, come down here, it hurts my throat to yell!’ said Mihara.

Master Kane smirked, ‘You’ve become quite the little chess player haven’t you? Why would I make it easier for you?’

‘Because there is a part of you, no matter how small that truly cares for me!’ replied Mihara.

‘Really?’ mocked Master Kane, ‘You believe that!?’

‘Yes Master.’ replied Mihara.

He walked away and came out holding Sota’s arm tight, ‘Better?’

‘Much. Thank you Master.’ he smiled.

Master Kane chuckled, ‘You still call me that!?’

‘Of course, Master. I used to worship the ground you walk on, I was so grateful to you for helping me survive. You treated me so much better than the Slavers you bought me from did. I never stopped to look at what you were actually doing to me.’ said Mihara.

‘Stop babbling and tell me how you escaped!’ yelled Master Kane.

Mihara smiled, ‘You really hate not being in control don’t you?’ Master Kane scowled at him, ‘Ok, but my babbling did have a point. Do you want to know what it is?’

Master Kane threw his captive to the ground and aimed a cross bow at his head, ‘Get on with it!’

‘I never stopped to look at what you were actually doing to me.’ Mihara repeated, ‘And you never bothered to check what I was doing either.’ he smiled, ‘I watched, I listened, I explored and I learnt.’

Master Kane chuckled, ‘That it!?’

Mihara teased, ‘I really must remember to thank your brother next time I see him as he confirmed my suspicion.’

‘What suspicion?’ asked Master Kane.

‘That door has no alarm on it and it leads to the woods. I had heard conflicting reports.’ Mihara smiled folding his arms, ‘You really shouldn’t have let me walk around the castle without supervision, I learnt the shift patterns of the guards, how quickly they respond to problems and passed information on, which by the way is really slow, you should look into that! I learnt every passage way, every twist and turn of this castle, for no reason other than you let me and it was fun.’

‘GET TO THE POINT!’ yelled Master Kane.

‘You don’t see the point yet?’ asked Mihara, ‘The point is, you let me learn all of this! Because you were so self-assured that I wouldn’t disobey you. And you played your games with me, you had your fun with me. Never worrying where I was going or what I was doing. The fire two months after you bought me, sorry I lied. It was me.’ he smiled, ‘I had to test reaction times in case I needed to know it someday. In truth before I deluded myself into thinking I liked you and you were the best Master I could have ever hoped to be bought by, I was planning my escape.’

Master Kane huffed and shot the arrow into the ground near Sota’s head, ‘I’m getting impatient.’

‘Acting well is always a good skill to have, even better is to be such a good actor you believe your own lies!’ explained Mihara stalling for time, ‘I have despised you since the day you bought me and I never even knew. I suppose you preferred the lie that I was your obedient submissive Slave because that’s what you wanted. The point is: Because I know what I know, escaping was child’s play.’

‘HOW?!’ Master Kane yelled.

‘Temper. Temper.’ mocked Mihara, ‘Always was your weak spot! That and not hiding where you put your keys at night.’ Mihara smiled, ‘Right hand drawer at the top. You really should have given me shorter restraints. Not to mention the sheer number of pillows on your bed! I hid the keys there and while you were raping me, I simply used your temper against you. I knew from past experience you’d throw me in the cells to reflect on what I did and the rest well, you can work it out.’

‘You escaped out the same door my brother threw you out of!’ smiled Master Kane, ‘Impressive.’ Mihara chuckled, ‘What’s so funny?’

‘You haven’t noticed yet?!’ mocked Mihara.

‘Noticed what?!’ asked Master Kane.

‘Don’t you feel the heat?’ asked Mihara. Master Kane turned to see the castle aflame, Mihara grabbed Sota and ran to the trees.

Master Kane turned to see that he was gone, he yelled, ‘Get that fire out and find Mihara!’ he ordered running into the trees.

‘Mihara? We can’t out run him!’ said Sota.

‘We don’t have to!’ he replied laying down traps he’d asked the others to set earlier, each one fatal if triggered. He dived into a nearby cave where everyone else was. He landed breaking his leg, he grimaced but muted himself.

‘Are you ok?’ asked Sota. Mihara grabbed his mouth and shushed him, he let his mouth go, ‘Why?’

Tarvan knocked him out, Mihara looked at him shaking his head. Tarvan looked at his leg and mouthed, ‘You ok?’ Mihara nodded fighting back the pain, he bit his arm and silently screamed.

They heard the traps go off and then footsteps at the entrance of the cave, Master Kane chuckled, ‘I know you’re in there. Mihara.’

Mihara replied while the others quietly moved to the far back of the cave, ‘Do you also know my leg is broken?’

‘Of course!’ Master Kane smiled.

Mihara asked, ‘So, are you going to kill me? Or help me?’

‘Not decided.’ smirked Master Kane.

Mihara joked, ‘That’s reassuring!’

‘You sprayed the entrance with repellent. That’s clever! Considering my sense of smell.’ Master Kane replied, ‘But then again it did alert me to exactly where you were!’ he smelt as far as he dared, ‘Sota in there too?’

‘Yeah.’ said Mihara.

‘Anyone else?’ asked Master Kane.

Mihara joked, ‘Yeah, seven desperate women are tearing my clothes off and fighting over who gets to sleep with me first!’ Master Kane chuckled.

‘Come out and I’ll leave Sota to be free, his Master is dead so there’s no sense in having another mouth to feed especially since you burnt the kitchen down!’ explained Master Kane.

Mihara said, ‘I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the past twenty-four hours but I am trying to run away from you.’

Master Kane replied, ‘And you know that’s not going to happen! I am not going to allow it! Come back with me and I’ll show you leniency.’

Mihara scoffed, ‘I don’t want your leniency.’

‘Ok then, come back and accept your punishment like you always do and I might consider forgiving you.’ replied Master Kane.

Mihara waved goodbye to his friends, ‘Ok, I’m coming up.’ not wanting to be caught his friends stayed still and quiet. Mihara saw a branch, ‘Thank you Master.’ he grabbed it and was pulled up. He was placed on the floor at his Masters feet, ‘So, how much trouble am I in?’ he looked at him and saw he was transformed, he gulped.

‘You’ve fallen through the ice and it’s frozen over.’ explained Master Kane.

Mihara smiled and looked down, ‘Would an apology help?’

‘No.’ Master Kane replied, ‘You remember the tent?’ Mihara nodded shaking, ‘That’s going to feel like a holiday after I do what I have planned.’ he grabbed his arm and dragging him away.

Back in the cave, Tarvan had to be restrained from going after them. Raka said, ‘It’s what he wanted.’

Tarvan gritted his teeth, ‘But! You heard Master Kane! Mihara’s in danger, we have to help him!’

Raka exhaled exhaustedly, ‘I’m sorry. But we can’t risk being caught again! Master Kane said he contacted our old Masters. Which means they are in the area.’ his hands started shaking, ‘I am not going back there alive!’ everyone gave off the same sentiment.

Tarvan sighed, ‘You’re right. But I can’t leave Mihara like this, get everyone else to safety.’

Kohaka said, ‘I’m coming with you.’

‘No Kohaka.’ he stroked his face, ‘I don’t want Master Roga to get his hands on you ever again and we know he’s definitely in the area.’

‘Tarvan….’ he kissed him, ‘I love you.’

Tarvan smiled, ‘I love you too. But, I have to at least try.’ he left the cave. He followed the tracks then heard Mihara screaming. He followed the screams to see him tied to a tree with his back cut up from lashes.

The crack of the whip made him flinch, he knew the pain of it all too well, he couldn’t bear to look. It fell silent and he heard Master Kane say, ‘That’s enough. He’s lost consciousness.’ Tarvan watched as he went up to Mihara and kissed him, ‘You always were good at taking your punishments.'

A guard came over to give a damage report, ‘The fire is out and the damage is minimal, it was mainly contained to the servants quarters. Your quarters are fine to live in.’

‘Thank you.’ he went back to Mihara, ‘Come on then you, time for part two.’ he cut him down and dragged him away.

Tarvan thought, ‘How the hell am I supposed to do this? I only rescued Kohaka by sheer dumb luck!’

Meanwhile, Mihara woke up on his Masters bed. His hands tightly chained above his head this time, he heard Master Kane speaking to the doctor, ‘Thank you doctor.’ he saw he was awake, ‘Hey, look who’s finally awake?’ he sat next to him, Mihara shied away slightly, ‘Thanks for the good advice about your restraints. They have been made much shorter and stronger. And the only key……’ he held it up, ‘Is right here.’ he wore it as a necklace.

Mihara tried to move before he realized: A. Just how restricting his new bonds were and B. Just how much pain his was in from both breaking his leg and getting lashed. He grimaced and Master Kane smirked, ‘And I thought you said you didn’t care anymore?’ he traced his fingernails up his chest, ‘But you’ve been giving me all kinds of cute reactions recently.’ he mocked before licking up his neck, flicking his tongue past his ear.

Mihara whimpered in disgust, ‘Looks like I’m going to have to domesticate you all over again.’ he slipped his hand between his legs.

‘No!’ said Mihara squeezing his legs together. Master Kane smirked and chuckled.

‘So, you do care.’ he got up and picked up some rope, he turned to Mihara, ‘Try not to kick out.’

Mihara’s fear returned him to his senses, ‘Wait please!’ Master Kane stopped, ‘I won’t fight, I’ll let you do it. Please just don’t use rope, it cuts my skin!’

‘That’s an interesting sentence!’ exclaimed Master Kane, ‘You do realize you’re still on punishment for earlier? So, doing things that you don’t like or that hurt you is the done thing.’

‘Master, I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad at me anymore!’ Mihara begged, ‘I’ll behave from now on I swear!’ the chains pulled, ‘I’d bow if I could.’

Master Kane smiled almost as if he felt affection for him, ‘Mihara?’ he sat next to him and stroked his leg causing Mihara to flinch, ‘Your hands will be kept like that. You will never leave this room. In the event you need to go to the bathroom, the chain will be lengthened so you can do what you need to but then it’ll be shortened again.’ Master Kane threw the rope away, ‘In return for this and for not using the ropes, you will be obedient.’

Mihara nodded, ‘Yes Master. Thank you.’ he was genuinely happy.

‘Does your back hurt?’ he asked stroking his face. Mihara nodded, ‘You’re cute when you’re honest.’ he kissed him, pushing him further onto the bed, Mihara grimaced so Master Kane let up, ‘Good boy.’ he turned him onto all fours.

‘Master…?’ his thoughts were cut short as he thrust into him.

‘The doctor said that you had some tearing and I shouldn’t do anything to make it worse.’ he thrust again, Mihara’s painful moans filled the room, ‘But then again, you’re still on punishment.’

Three hours passed before he stopped, Master Kane lay beside Mihara’s broken body, ‘You look tired.’ he smirked stroking his face, ‘Get some sleep.’ he held his chin, ‘What do you say?’

‘T…thank you…Master…’ whimpered Mihara pathetically.

‘Good boy.’ he kissed his forehead, ‘Get some sleep.’

Mihara looked at him thinking, ‘Do you seriously expect me to be able to sleep when I’m chained up like this and when I’m in this much pain?’ Mihara closed his eyes, ‘If I don’t at least pretend to be asleep he’ll force himself on me again.’ he curled up slightly, ‘All because of Master I have nothing left. The only consolation is I know that everyone else is safe.’

They both heard a ruckus outside and Master Kane got up, ‘What’s going on?!’ he walked out.

Mihara wanted to get up to look but being chained so tightly and being in such pain all he could do was turn his head to the door, ‘Master?’ he thought, ‘It might be useless but……’ he started pulling on the chains, ‘Given the choice!’ he tried harder and harder, ‘I choose to try!’ he couldn’t break free and gave up before he injured himself more.

Mihara buried his head on the bed and sobbed into the sheets. Screams of frustration and rage were barely muffled as he screamed into the bed. He heard someone enter the room, fearing it was Master Kane he pretended to be asleep.

Instead, he heard Tarvan, ‘Mihara?’ he looked up to see Tarvan trying to use the key he gave him to free him.

‘Tarvan?!’ he exclaimed, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’

‘Rescuing you!’ he changed the key, ‘Why isn’t this working!?’

‘Master made it with a new lock, he has the only key!’ explained Mihara, ‘Tarvan please! Go!’

Tarvan threw the keys on the bed, ‘Damn it!’

‘Please!’ Mihara replied, ‘Run! Run away and live your life! You have to think about your friends and you have to think about Kohaka, what is he going to do if you get caught?! You can’t save me so leave me!’

Tarvan asked, ‘Where’s the key?’

‘Around Masters neck.’ explained Mihara. Tarvan sighed defeated, ‘Go and live your life! Make my sacrifice worth something!’

‘But what about you?’ asked Tarvan.

Mihara forced a smile, ‘Don’t worry about me.’ he almost choked on his own words, ‘I’ll be fine. Now go! If you get caught, then everything I did was for nothing! Please!’

Tarvan gritted his teeth and clenched his fists, ‘I’m sorry.’ he left and Mihara finally crumbled, shaking uncontrollably he sobbed desperately, stifling his cries with a pillow.

Shortly after, Master Kane came back in, ‘You still awake? I told you to sleep.’

Mihara wiped his eyes on the pillow, ‘I’m sorry Master.’

‘What are you crying for?’ asked Master Kane. He sat beside him, ‘Are you upset because I left you alone?’ Mihara had no idea how to answer that, if he answered yes, he feared Master Kane would force himself on him again. But if he said no, he’d have to explain why he was crying and he didn’t have an explanation he could give him, ‘Mihara? Why aren’t you answering me?’

Mihara sighed, ‘Because I’m worried about how you are going to react.’

‘Why?’ asked Master Kane.

‘Because you said I’m still on punishment.’ Mihara was thinking completely on his feet.

Master Kane placed his hand on his shoulder causing Mihara to flinch, ‘Mihara?’

Mihara thought of something, ‘Please Master. Let me have some pain relief.’ he nuzzled his thigh, ‘I’m sorry I disobeyed you, please! I’ve learnt my lesson.’ acting this way made his skin crawl but he had to do something.

‘You were crying because you’re in pain?’ Master Kane huffed and smirked, ‘Well this is certainly unexpected. You’re serious aren’t you?’

Mihara nodded, ‘Please I promise to behave.’

‘Humph….’ he grabbed his chin and raised his head, ‘Interesting. Kiss me.’ Mihara forced himself to kiss him. Mihara pulled away, ‘That was a little timid.’

‘Sorry Master. I’ll try harder.’ Mihara whimpered as Master Kane chuckled, ‘Can I try again?’ Master Kane nodded and Mihara forced himself to passionately kiss him.

Master Kane pulled away, ‘That’s better.’ he called out to the hallway, ‘Get my Slave some pain relief.’

‘Thank you Master.’ answered Mihara.

Master Kane smiled, ‘You’re still on punishment. But I’ll let you have a brief reprieve.’

Mihara replied, ‘I’m ok with that.’ a guard came in.

‘I have brought the pain relief you asked for.’ he said.

Master Kane took the pain relief off him, he turned to Mihara, ‘You want this?’ he asked.

‘Yes, please Master.’ Mihara replied.

‘How badly?’ taunted Master Kane.

Mihara answered, ‘I’ll do whatever you want. Please Master, let me have the pain relief.’

Master Kane smirked, ‘Say you love me.’

Mihara faked a smile and forced the words to come out of his mouth, ‘I love you Master.’

‘Really?’ asked Master Kane.

Nearly choking on his words, ‘Yes, I love you Master.’ he clenched his fists, hidden by the pillows his hands revealed the truth, ‘I know I haven’t told you this before but I do love you Master, which is why all this hurt so much more.’

‘Are you lying?’ asked Master Kane.

Mihara pushed down his rising panic, ‘No Master. And forgive me, I’m sorry that it took me so long to say it to you.’ the chain lengthened, Mihara was shocked and sat up, ‘Master?’

Master Kane dropped the medicine on the bed, ‘This is not a trick or a punishment.’ he smiled, ‘I actually feel really happy to hear you say that to me! So, I’m rewarding you.’

‘Thank you Master.’ Mihara picked up and took the medicine the whole-time expecting Master Kane to knock it out his hands or suddenly shorten the chains again, but no he let Mihara take the pain relief.

Seemingly caring for his abused Slave, Master Kane had food brought in too, which shocked Mihara, but he was so hungry he didn’t care of it was all one big trick, for the little acts of kindness he was receiving he was happy to set the trap off.

Master Kane touched his shoulder, he flinched, ‘No please!’ every muscle tensed.

‘Are you feeling ok?’ asked Master Kane. Mihara nodded, he looked at his back, ‘Maybe whipping you was a little too harsh.’ Mihara was shocked to hear him say it, ‘I should never decide on punishments when I’m angry.’ he sighed heavily, ‘This is going to leave such hideous scars!’ Mihara sat still and silent waiting for his Master to pin him down again, but no, instead he ruffled his hair, ‘I’m sorry about your back.’

Mihara replied as if he was on autopilot, ‘It’s ok Master, I openly disobeyed you. You couldn’t let that slide by unpunished. I understand.’ he thought, ‘What the hell am I saying!? Fight back! Fight back!’ he felt his Master push him down, ‘No! Don’t let him do this to you again! Hit him! Hit him!’ his body and mind were fighting one another.

As if his mind belonged to him, but his body belonged to his Master. Unable to use his body to fight back anymore, his Master used it however he liked until morning.

He was awoken by some servants, ‘Mihara. Master said you can bathe today. The chains have been lengthened and the bath is being brought up. I’m going to look at the wounds on your back.’ he offered up no resistance fearing his Master wasn’t far away.

The servant peeled the blood-soaked bandages off his back, there was nothing any of them could do to hide their shock at the sight of his back, ‘Mihara, what did Master do to you?’

‘He punished me as he saw fit. Nothing more.’ Mihara replied, still fearing they would either report his answer to Master or he was listening in on their conversation.

Mihara was helped into the bath, his body was limp as he was washed, the water stung his back. With the break in his leg moving was made all the more torturous, he saw Master Kane enter the room and lowered his head, ‘Thank you for letting me wash, Master.’

Master Kane folded his arms, ‘I couldn’t stand the smell coming off you! I didn’t really have much of a choice.’ the doctor came in, ‘Mihara, the doctor is going to tend to your wounds. Do as he tells you.’

Mihara nodded, ‘Yes Master. Thank you.’ Master Kane cleared his throat, Mihara forced the words to come out, ‘I love you.’ Master Kane came over and lifted his head.

‘There’s a good boy.’ he kissed his lips then left.

Mihara thought, ‘Of course I don’t love you! You beat, rape and cage me!’ the doctor treated his wounds and checked him over.

The doctor sighed, ‘I told him to abstain from sexual activities with you.’ he got up, ‘He never listens.’ looking through his bag he asked, ‘Is it painful?’

‘Yeah.’ Mihara blushed.

‘During sex too?’ he asked not looking up from his bag.

‘It feels a lot worse then.’ Mihara replied.

‘Describe it.’ said the doctor. Mihara’s entire body blushed, ‘Come on. I’m a doctor. If you don’t tell me I won’t know that what I’m prescribing you will do any good. So, describe it.’

‘It stings and it hurts. Like it’s tearing all over again. And it feels like it’s burning sometimes.’ Mihara blushed, ‘I don’t know how else to describe it!’

‘Not much I can do I’m afraid.’ he sighed, ‘I’ll tell him again not to do anything to you so if he tries anything try to stop him.’ he listened to his heart.

Mihara huffed, ‘Like my protesting will do any good! He’ll just hit me and do it anyway.’

The doctor stood up, ‘If you want the pain to go away, you need to let it heal. I’ll explain it to him for you but you’re going to need to learn how to say no.’

Mihara chuckled, ‘Don’t you get it?!’ the doctor looked at him, ‘I am saying no.’ tears formed in his eyes, ‘I said no with so much conviction, that I ran away! He dragged me back here, every time we’ve had sex since he brought me back, I have said no! I have begged him to stop but he wouldn’t! I can’t stop him! You don’t understand, Master is a monster!’

The doctor left and went to see Master Kane, ‘How’s Mihara?’

‘He needs rest.’ said the doctor, ‘You cannot mate with him for at least a week.’

Master Kane huffed, ‘I will mate with him whenever I damn well please!’

‘Then be prepared to lose your Slave to an infection.’ he lied, ‘He needs rest, do you want him dead?!’

Master Kane wavered, ‘I’ll give him two days.’

‘Two days?!’ exclaimed the doctor, ‘He’s not going to heal in….’ he was interrupted.

‘Two days!! And that’s only because of his recent obedience!’ explained Master Kane. He stood up and walked towards the door, ‘I’m going to see how he is.’ the doctor tried in vain to stop him.

Mihara looked over as he entered the room, ‘Welcome back Master.’ with the chain now long enough, he bowed.

‘Stand up Mihara.’ he ordered shutting the door. Mihara stood up using a chest of drawers for support and Master Kane hugged him, ‘The doctor told me everything, are you ok? Are you in pain?’

Mihara replied, ‘A little but I think I’m ok. He told me I need a week’s rest from……well you know…’

‘He told me.’ Master Kane replied sitting him on the bed, ‘Are you really in that much pain?’ Mihara nodded, Master Kane huffed, ‘Is that why you’ve been behaving so well recently?’

Mihara replied, ‘It’s one reason. Mainly I’m doing what you say so you won’t hurt me again.’

Master Kane asked, ‘Are you scared of me?’

‘Of course, I am!’ said Mihara.

‘So, you don’t love me, you’re just scared of me!?’ asked Master Kane.

Mihara’s body shuddered as his Master discovered the truth, ‘No. Master it’s not like that.’ he didn’t know what to say next, ‘The only reason Master isn’t hitting me right now is because he thinks I love him. Now he’s discovered that was a lie, what do I say? What do I do?’ he started shaking, ‘I……I do love… you. I swear I do. But I’m scared of you too!'

‘Why?’ he asked obviously irritated.

Mihara replied, ‘Have you seen what you did to my back?’ he saw Master Kane start to believe him so continued with that train of thought, ‘I do love you Master but when you hurt me, I’m scared of you.’

Master Kane sighed, ‘Fine.’ he leant down and held his chin, ‘You’re off punishment.’

Mihara was genuinely delighted to hear those words, he hugged his Master, ‘Thank you! Thank you so much Master!’

‘You’re not completely forgiven and you will remain chained to the bed, but I’m not going to hit you anymore. Not without reason.’ Master Kane pushed him off and sat him on the bed, ‘I really want you right now.’

Scared Mihara replied, ‘The doctor told me…’ he was interrupted.

‘I know what the doctor said he told me too.’ Master Kane smiled, ‘But we can do more than just sex. I agreed to give you a break because the doctor pleaded your case. You should thank him.’

Mihara nodded, ‘I will next time I see him!’ he looked at Master Kane, ‘What do you want to do?’

Master Kane smirked, ‘Lie back.’ Mihara lay back although it hurt. He was scared of what Master Kane was going to do but knew if he fought back it would only cause him more pain, ‘Spread your legs.’

Mihara reluctantly did as he was ordered. Master Kane huffed, ‘Very obedient now aren’t you?’ his hand slipped between his legs causing Mihara to flinch, ‘Don’t be scared. Obedience is good.’ Mihara forced himself to calm and not fight back, letting his Masters hand tempt his voice to harmonize with his breath.

Mihara clenched his fists, clutching the sheets, ‘Ah! Master!?’

‘Relax.’ Master Kane smirked, ‘I’m not going to do anything more than this, not while you’re recovering.’

Having his Master touch him now made him feel disgusted, he felt as though he couldn’t bear the feel of his Master’s skin against his own and backed away. Master Kane asked, ‘Problem?’

With his erratic breathing and panicked eyes, he started shaking, ‘I…I…’ he didn’t know what to say fearing his Masters reaction, ‘Please…don’t…’

‘You not in the mood?’ asked Master Kane.

‘I’m scared…’ knowing that trick worked last time, ‘I’m scared…of what you’re going to do…’

Master Kane sighed, ‘Maybe I was a little too rough with you before.’ he started laughing, ‘Sorry I just couldn’t keep the act going anymore.’ Mihara was confused, ‘Did you really believe that I’d take you off punishment just like that!?

Mihara backed up, ‘Master….? What are you talking about?’

Master Kane grabbed his ankle and pulled him closer, ‘I really thought you would have learnt your lesson by now.’ Master Kane forcefully pinned him down, ‘You are so naïve!’ he smirked, ‘If I’m being nice to you, it’s always an act just to see the look on your face when I snap!’ Mihara face sank in panic, ‘That’s the look!'

Mihara tried to break free but his best efforts produced nothing more than trembles against his Master’s superior strength. Realizing the fruitlessness, he stopped and looked at his Master, ‘Master! Please!’

Master Kane chuckled, ‘Please what?’

‘Please, don’t hurt me!’ begged Mihara, ‘I’ll do anything you want, just please don’t hurt me!’

Master Kane smirked, ‘Anything you say?’ he thrust into him, Mihara’s voice spilled out his mouth in agony, ‘Did that hurt?’

Mihara caught his breath as tears filled his eyes, he nodded. Master Kane smiled, ‘Good.’ his hand lowered between his legs teasing him as his thrusts became more forceful.

Mihara unable to catch his breath, painful moans broken up by quivering breaths were all he could muster as Master Kane’s thrusts continued to grow in intensity.

‘Master….Please….! Stop…..’ begged Mihara failing to push him off. Master Kane shortened the chains pinning Mihara and freeing his own hands while pinning Mihara’s, he continued forcefully thrusting. Mihara’s voice rang out louder than before, Master Kane smirked, he bit his neck, causing more pain than pleasure.

‘Mihara. Look at me.’ Mihara did hoping that if he obeyed Master Kane would stop, ‘You still obey?!’ he chuckled and continued. Mihara grasped hold of the chains holding him down, ‘Just when I think you’ve become boring, you do something like this!’ he licked where he bit, ‘I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of you.’

Mihara passed out as his thrusts started again.

In the morning, he woke up alone. He tried to sit up but with both the pain in his hips and the chains being so short he couldn’t sit up easily. But, he managed to sit up.

Mihara thought, ‘Everything hurts! What is going on? I don’t understand!’ he heard movement behind him and turned to see Master Kane.

‘Who said you could sit up?’ he asked smirking.

‘Master?’ Mihara replied. Master Kane stood up causing Mihara to flinch, ‘God I’m pathetic, all he has to do is move and I shrink away in fear! How the hell did it get like this?!’ his body trembled uncontrollably before his Master.

He smiled, ‘You’re cute when you tremble like that!’ he got closer and Mihara fearing what he’d do next shielded himself the best he could.

‘Please! No more!’ begged Mihara, ‘Leave me alone. I’m begging you!’

Master Kane started laughing, ‘I am so glad it was all just an act before! I should have known you’d think of anything to save someone else! Self-sacrifice! How masochistic of you!’

Mihara thought, ‘If they are safe and happy because I let him capture me again! Then this is worth it!’

‘Oh, that reminds me!’ he smirked as Sota was dragged in bloody and bruised, ‘He was captured shortly after you were. He was abandoned, poor thing! Seems all your efforts to help him escape were in vain.’

Mihara gritted his teeth and tried to lunge at Master Kane, ‘Let him go!’

‘Why should I?’ asked Master Kane. He knelt down and held Sota’s chin, ‘After all he is my dear brother’s Slave! Did you really think I would leave him to fend for himself!?’

‘Master! You have me! He has nothing to do with this?! Why are you doing this?!’ asked Mihara.

‘Nothing to do with this?’ exclaimed Master Kane, ‘On the contrary, he escaped just like you so just like you, he needs to be punished for that.’ Sota flinched hearing that and started shaking. Master Kane saw Mihara get angry and smirked, ‘Something to say?’

‘I’ll take it!’ he whimpered looking away, knowing what he was signing himself up for.

‘What was that?’ asked Master Kane.

Mihara looked at him, ‘I’ll take his punishment for him!’

Sota said, ‘Mihara no!’

‘Be quiet Sota!’ answered Mihara.

Master Kane chuckled, ‘And I’ll let you do this because?’

‘I’m more fun for you to punish aren’t I?’ asked Mihara, 'Besides, I’m the reason he escaped, I dragged him away, it was my idea. His crime was that of convenience and circumstance. Mine was completely premeditated.’

Master Kane let Sota go, ‘That’s true.’ he turned to the guards, ‘Lock him up.’ the guards removed Sota and Master Kane shut the door, ‘Now what to do with you.’ Master Kane grabbed his hair and pulled him close, he saw him grimace in pain and smiled.

Master Kane answered, ‘Maybe I just haven’t been strict enough with you!’ he punched him in the face letting go of his hair. He fell to the bed, Master Kane turned him on his back and wrapped his hands round his throat, ‘I’ll make sure you learn your place Mihara!’

His grip increased and Mihara couldn’t hide his reaction anymore. He choked, ‘Mas….ter…stop! I can’t…breathe! Please….’ Master Kane chuckled and softened his grip, Mihara inhaled hoping to get the oxygen he’d been starved of.

‘That’s better.’ Master Kane let him go, ‘If you dare forget again I will gladly remind you who’s in charge around here.’ he smirked and strangled him again, ‘Say it!’

‘Mas…ter…forgive….m….’ he choked out before he lost consciousness again.

Master Kane let him go and leaned in, ‘Fine. Sleep. This will be your last chance to sleep for a while. I hope you enjoy it.’ he watched as Mihara breathed in and out for hours, he walked out and turned to a guard, ‘Let him sleep for two more hours. Then wake him up. And don’t let him fall back asleep. I won’t be coming back here for a while. Keep him awake until then.’

‘My Lord?’ he asked as Master Kane turned to leave, ‘Don’t you think he’s suffered enough?’

Master Kane grabbed his throat with one hand and lifted him up, ‘I say when it’s enough! Not you!’ he choked him to the point of passing out then dropped him on the floor, ‘Do your job.’

He held his throat on the floor and saw Mihara awake looking at him. He smiled at Mihara, who smiled back, he whispered, ‘Get some sleep. You’ll need it.’

Mihara nodded, ‘Thank you.’

He winked and whispered, ‘Like I said you need a friend.’ Mihara chuckled and settled down, wondering why he was being so nice to him, but he was happy he was. Even if it was just another trap set by Master Kane, he craved little acts of kindness so much he’d spring the trap to receive them.

The guard leaned against the wall, ‘Mihara! I’m sorry, I can’t be of any more help! Especially after what you did for me.’

Soon after Mihara was brought, he got a job as a guard at the castle, he was clumsy and got into trouble a lot. One day he’d broken one of Master Kane’s expensive vases, sure he’d be exiled or worse he tried to cover his tracks and fix it before anyone saw.

Mihara saw him, he panicked, ‘Please don’t tell Master Kane about this! He’ll kill me please!’

‘Ok.’ Mihara smiled, instead of reporting it to Master Kane, he knelt down to him, ‘I won’t tell him.’ he helped him rebuild and fix it, ‘Besides you look like you could do with a friend.’

Over the remaining weeks and months, he would also redirect his Masters attention away from the vase so he didn’t notice it had been broken and repaired at all.

He never forgot Mihara’s kindness and wanted to repay it somehow but with the situation being what it was, he never had the chance. With the circumstances now changed he had his chance. Two hours passed and he gently woke Mihara up fearing he too was being watched.

‘I’m sorry but Master Kane has ordered me to keep you awake from now on.’ he said softly wanting so much to not be the one to have to do this.

‘Sleep deprivation huh?’ Mihara sighed, ‘That sadistic bastard’s going to torture me isn’t he?’ he huffed, ‘No, he’s going to make you guys do it!’

‘Mihara? Do you remember me at all?’ he asked. Mihara studied his face for a while and shook his head, ‘My name is Kara. You helped me fix the vase I broke.’

Mihara smiled, ‘I remember that! You were terrified Master would kill you!’

‘You helped me and continued to help by redirecting him every time he got too close to the vase, I’m grateful for your help Mihara.’ he bowed his head.

Mihara blushed, ‘No need for that! I didn’t help you so I’d have someone to call upon for a favor. I helped you because you looked just as scared as I was.’

Kara smiled, ‘I want to help you get out of here.’

Mihara sighed, ‘No! You can’t! I want to leave and I want to be free but the risks are too high now, I don’t want you to be under suspicion and hurt.’ Mihara’s face softened, ‘Forget about me.’ he thought of Sota, ‘But could you get the other one out? Sota. Master Raiken’s old Slave?!’

‘I’ll see what I can do.’ Kara smiled, ‘For you both.’ they sat and talked for hours.

Meanwhile downstairs, Master Kane was talking to a group of guards, ‘I want you to keep Mihara awake for me until I return.’ he smiled, ‘Use any method you see fit, cut him, bruise him, whip him, beat him, whatever you like, just don’t any of you dare touch the parts of him that belong to me!’

They all bowed understanding the rules completely.

The guards changed shifts for the night and Kara reluctantly left Mihara. He knew the guard he was leaving him with was relentless and cruel but had no reason to stay any longer.

The guard smirked, ‘Your Master is pretty mad at you. He’s given me unrestricted torturing rights, to keep you awake.’ he threw a knife into the headboard near his head, ‘I hope you had a good sleep!’

After a week of practically begging to be put on the shift with Mihara, Kara was allowed, he walked up to the room and covered his ears as the guards had placed an ear piercingly high-pitched recording as loud as possible to keep Mihara awake.

They changed shift and as soon as he was sure they were out of ear shot of the noise he turned it off, much to Mihara’s delight, ‘Tha…nk…you...’ he was skinnier then before, covered in bruising and his eyes were exhausted, ‘How….long?’

‘It’s been a week since he gave the order.’ Kara explained choking down his disgust, ‘How are you?’

Mihara looked at him, barely able to focus, ‘Not good.’ Master Kane came in and Mihara curled up, shielding his head, ‘No!…Please…Master no more…!’ he started shaking.

Kara thought, ‘What has he done to you?!’

‘Kara!’ said Master Kane, ‘Why did you turn the sound off!?’

Kara thought quickly, ‘So, when I turn it back on it will hurt him more.’ Master Kane smiled, ‘He could start to get used to it if you don’t give him a break every once in a while.'

‘I never knew you were so cold and calculating, I’m impressed.’ Master Kane sat calmly on the bed causing Mihara to flinch, ‘Mihara?’ he leaned in, ‘Look at me.’

Mihara looked at him as ordered, his body shaking uncontrollably, ‘Aw! Look at you! You’re exhausted aren’t you?’ Mihara nodded, ‘I might consider letting you sleep if you promised to behave from now on.’ Mihara curled into his lap like a cat, Master Kane stroked his head, ‘There’s a good boy.’

Mihara nuzzled his shoulder, ‘Please…Master…let me sleep…I’ve learnt…my lesson…I’ll…never… disobey you…again!’

Master Kane lay back dragging him down with him, ‘Alright, just a little sleep.’ Kara was shocked to see that Master Kane was doing this. But then, he worked it out, ‘He’s only had servants and guards keep him awake and beat him, he’s trying to make himself look like the good guy come to save the day!’ he saw the way Mihara acted towards him now, ‘Don’t tell me you’re falling for it!?’

Master Kane flicked a switch on his controller to start the noise again. Kara covered his ears and fell to his knees, Mihara curled into his Master covering his ears as much as he could using his Master as a shield, Master Kane smirked getting the reaction he wanted.

Mihara curled further into him, ‘No…Master….please make it stop!’

Master Kane hugged him covering his ears, ‘Kara! Have you lost your mind!? Turn that off and GET OUT!’ he ordered. Kara turned it off and left. He heard Master Kane, ‘Sorry Mihara. I didn’t order him to do that, he acted on his own! I’m sorry.’

Mihara nuzzled into him, ‘Thank you…for stopping him…’

Master Kane smirked stroking his head, ‘Get some sleep Mihara.’ Mihara’s exhaustion caught up with him completely as he fell asleep in his Masters arms. Kara gritted his teeth and walked off.

Mihara was awoken later by warning bells, voices and running footsteps, ‘Sota has escaped!’ Mihara looked at Master Kane.

‘Master…? What’s going on?’ he saw his face, his teeth gritted together and he was shaking with rage.

‘Mihara?’ he got up, ‘Stay here and behave. Go back to sleep if you want.’ Mihara nodded and settled down, Master Kane smiled, ‘Good boy.’ he left.

Kara walked in shortly after, ‘Mihara! I’m here!’ he removed Mihara’s restraints, ‘Come on let’s go!’

‘Why?’ asked Mihara sitting up.

‘Mihara? We don’t have time for this!’ Kara explained.

Mihara’s face softened, ‘I suggest you run and get yourself an alibi. My legs too broken to run on.’

‘I’ll help you!’ replied Kara.

‘No! We’d never make it out the castle like this!’ Mihara put his hands on the open restraints and tried to lock them again but they wouldn’t, ‘You really need to get an alibi.’

‘You’re not staying here, are you?’ asked Kara.

‘Thank you for trying to help, honestly, but right now running away is not a smart move.’ he thought of something, ‘But maybe I can use this to my advantage. Ditch the key and run.’

‘Why?’ asked Kara.

‘Because I have an idea to explain all this away and help my case with Master, since we can’t lock me back up.’ he smiled, ‘Throw the key out the window.’ he did, ‘Now go get yourself an alibi!’

Kara went to the door and stopped, he turned smiling, ‘I’m happy it was just an act before and you’re still yourself.’ he left.

Mihara huffed and said to himself, ‘It wasn’t an act.’ he heard footsteps and turned away from the door looking at the restraints, ‘No! No! No! No! No!’ he grabbed one restraint, ‘Go back on.’ it fell he tried again and again, ‘No Master’s going to be so mad! He’s going to punish me! I know it!’ his movements were erratic and panicked, ‘How did this happen? How the hell did this happen?'

Master Kane stepped in from watching from the hallway, ‘Mihara!’ Mihara flinched and turned, ‘Why are you un-cuffed? Explain yourself!’

Mihara backed up against the head board, ‘Master! I swear! I don’t know! Please, believe me!’ he walked closer and Mihara offered his wrists, looking at him with tears in his eyes, ‘Help me! They won’t go back on!'

Master Kane was shocked, ‘You want them back on?’ Mihara unsure of what else to do, faked a panic attack, he started breathing erratically like he couldn’t inhale and grabbed his chest while letting the rest of his body go limp. Master Kane held him up, ‘What’s happening?!’

He failed to respond as his breathing got worse, he called for the doctor and wouldn’t let go of him. He started to calm himself gradually as he clung onto his Master.

The doctor explained, ‘He suffered a panic attack. You need to be careful with him for at least the next forty-eight hours as he could relapse or even get worse!’

‘Get worse meaning?’ asked Master Kane.

‘The attacks may become more regular, leading to a severe mental breakdown.’ he explained.

Mihara closed his eyes and pretended to sleep. Master Kane stroked his hair, ‘Good boy.’ he lay him on the bed and Mihara felt him chain him back up. He stood up, ‘I’m going to find out who set him loose and kill them.’ he left.

Mihara opened his eyes to see his wrists chained again, he sighed heavily and said to himself, ‘Great, chained up again!’

He heard the doctor behind him, ‘I knew you were faking it.’

‘How’d you know?’ asked Mihara not moving.

‘I’m a doctor, I know when someone is faking a medical emergency!’ he replied. Mihara sat up, ‘Good job on the panic attack though it was quite convincing.’

‘You didn’t tell him though. Please don’t tell Master it was fake!’ begged Mihara, ‘You don’t know what he’ll do to me!’

‘I know exactly what he’ll do to you.’ the doctor smiled, ‘Relax. I won’t tell him.’ he felt his temperature and saw his eyes, ‘He wouldn’t let you sleep would he?’ Mihara’s face told him everything he needed to know, ‘How long?’

‘A week. Apparently!’ he started shaking, ‘I actually thought I’d break. Somehow I kept it together.’

‘You didn’t though did you?’ asked the doctor, Mihara looked at him, ‘Whoever unchained you snapped you out of it.’

‘How do you know all this?’ asked Mihara.

‘I’m a doctor.’ he smiled.

Mihara asked, ‘Are you going to tell Master any of this?!’

The doctor replied, ‘No.’

‘Why? He’d reward you for this information.’ explained Mihara.

‘Yeah he would, but then he’d torture you. I don’t want that on my conscience.’ Mihara looked at him confused, he knelt down to him, ‘You don’t remember do you?’

‘Remember what?’ asked Mihara.

The doctor smiled, ‘You stopped Master from killing me once. You made him see sense.’

Mihara remembered, ‘I think I remember now. You were trying to heal his brother after he was attacked, he was angry that you were taking so long to heal him and hit you. He was going to hit you again when his rage clouded his judgement, I thought he was going to kill you and so I stepped in the way.'

‘And he hit you instead.’ the doctor held his hand, ‘He broke your nose and chipped your tooth and gave you a serious concussion, all I got was a bruise and a slight headache. I want to make that up to you and help you where I can. I tried to by telling him not to sleep with you but clearly it didn’t work.’

Mihara chuckled, ‘I have two friends now.’

The doctor smiled, ‘Don’t tell me who the other one is. I want to have plausible deniability.’

Mihara lay down, ‘I need some sleep, while he’s allowing it.’

‘I’ll try and help you out if I can.’ replied the doctor.

‘Thank you doctor.’ smiled Mihara. The doctor smiled and left, Mihara thought, ‘I have allies!’ he could barely contain his joy, ‘And they freed Sota!?’ he gained control of himself, ‘Calm down! You’re still well within Masters grasp, you’re chained to the bed and you’re still completely vulnerable. But now Sota is free I can plan my escape!’

That night, Master Kane walked in, ‘You awake?’ Mihara flickered awake.

Mihara turned, ‘Welcome back Master.’ he smiled.

Master Kane smiled, ‘You sleep well?’

‘Thanks to you Master.’ replied Mihara.

Master Kane ruffled his hair, ‘You’ve been so good lately.’ he pushed Mihara on his back, ‘I think you need a reward.’ he sucked on his neck so hard it bruised. Mihara wanted to struggle but knew it wouldn’t do any good so instead gritted his teeth and bore with his attentions.

His body responded but he felt sick to his stomach, he bit his lip until it bled to stop himself from resisting. Afterwards, Master Kane wiped the blood from his lip, ‘Did it really feel that good?’ Mihara nodded, he chuckled, ‘Well feel free to tell me next time! You’re allowed to make noise if you like it.’

Mihara rested his head on Master Kane’s shoulder, ‘I was worried I’d alert everyone in the castle if I let myself scream like I wanted.’ he nuzzled his shoulder, ‘I didn’t want to give you cause for embarrassment.’

‘Who released you from your restraints?’ asked Master Kane seemingly out of nowhere.

Mihara looked at him, ‘I don’t know. I woke up and my restraints were off.’ he gave a panicked expression, ‘You don’t think one of the guards is trying to mess with us, do you?’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Master Kane.

‘I mean like your brother did.’ explained Mihara, ‘Master I’m scared! I think someone is trying to tear a rift between us by attempting to make you think I am trying to escape again and then…….’ he forced tears to his eyes, ‘No, please Master don’t let them take me!’ he burrowed his head into Master Kane’s chest, ‘I don’t want them to take me!’

His acting was superb, Master Kane wrapped his arms around him, ‘Calm down, I’m right here. I won’t let anyone take you away from me ever again. I promise.’

Mihara trembled with disgust in his grip, ‘Calm down! You need to think about this!’

Master Kane huffed, ‘Hey, you’re really scared aren’t you?’ Mihara nodded, ‘It’s ok.’ he hugged him tighter, ‘Your Master is here.’

Mihara swallowed his disgust and rested further into him, ‘Thank you Master.’

He started stroking Mihara’s head, ‘You can sleep if you want.’

Mihara looked at him, ‘Master, I’m actually kind of hungry. Can I have something to eat, please?’

‘Sure. You haven’t eaten properly for days, so I think I’d better start you off with something mild and easily digestible.’ Master Kane called out to the hallway, ‘Bring me some food now!’

Mihara forced himself to kiss him, ‘Thank you Master.’

Master Kane brushed his hair out his face, ‘Well you asked so obediently! It would have been cruel to say no such a good boy.’

The food was brought in, it was left just out of Mihara’s reach he thought, ‘Is he going to make me beg for scraps!?’ Master Kane lengthened the chains.

‘Go on. Go eat!’ he smiled, ‘You look like you’re starving!’

Mihara hugged him, ‘Thank you Master.’ he slowly made his way to the table, fully expecting him to suddenly shorten the chains again. But instead he let him eat. He finished and returned to his Masters side, ‘Thank you for letting me eat.’ he bowed.

Master Kane ruffled his hair, ‘Good boy.’ he shortened the chains again, ‘I’m going out for a bit. You get some sleep while I’m gone.’

Mihara knew if he let him leave just like that it would seem suspicious after everything, so instead tried to follow, ‘Master, please don’t leave! I’m scared they’ll come back and try to take me away again!'

‘I’ll be interrogating all the Masters, Guards, Slaves and Servants. No one has cause to come up here, you’re fine.’ said Master Kane.

Scared he’d be found out, he begged, ‘Please! I’m scared to be alone. I’ll behave! I swear! I’ll sit quietly on the floor next to you, you can put all the restraints on me! Just don’t leave me here alone please!’

‘You really want to come with me don’t you?’ asked Master Kane.

‘I don’t feel safe unless you’re with me.’ he lied convincingly, ‘You stopped the guards from torturing me, you let me sleep, you let me eat, you let me wash. Please I only feel safe around you.’

Master Kane thought for a moment then reached into the cupboard, ‘Ok.’ he pulled out another collar with a lead attached to hand restraints, ‘You’re going to have to wear this but if you do you can come with me.’

‘Yes Master.’ he faked a smile, ‘Thank you.’ Master Kane placed the collar over his current one, he released one hand from the bed restraint.

‘Put it behind your back then.’ he said sharply, Mihara did and felt him tightly restrain his wrist behind his back. He released his other hand and Mihara immediately placed it behind his back, Master Kane smiled, ‘Good boy.’ Mihara nodded.

Mihara stayed where he was, ‘Aren’t you going to come with me?’

‘Yeah.’ he slowly stood up and grimaced the second he put some weight on his broken leg.

Master Kane sighed, ‘I guess there’s nothing else for it.’ Mihara wondered what he meant before he threw him over his shoulder, ‘Try not to squirm too much! I’d hate to drop you down the stairs.’ it felt more like a threatening order then a jesting recommendation.

Mihara kept his body tensed but limp at the same time. He let Master carry him to the throne room and sit him on a chair next to him. He watched as Master Kane wrapped the chain around a metal loop, screwed into the side of his chair and lock it with a padlock.

The whole court watched as he lifted Mihara’s head, ‘Behave yourself now.’ Mihara nodded, ‘You know how lucky you are to be down here, right?’

Mihara smiled, ‘Yes Master. Thank you again.’ Master Kane let him go and he lowered his head in submission. The whole court looked at Mihara as the latest scandal surrounding his two escape attempts had circulated and caused more then it’s share of speculation and gossip. Seeing the cuts, bruising and exhausted expression on his face only served to heighten the scandal not to mention the way he was restrained.

Master Kane started the session, ‘You have all been called here because one of you has broken my trust. When I find out who it was and you will be dealt with.’ Kara grew nervous which Master Kane homed in on, ‘You seem nervous.’

Kara bowed, ‘Forgive me. It was me!’ the entire court gasped and Mihara’s heart sank, ‘I’m sorry Master Kane, I broke your vase! I glued it back together and hid the fact I broke it for six months!’

Master Kane smirked, ‘That’s not what I called you here for!’

Kara looked up, ‘It’s not?’

‘Breaking a vase is a minimal crime against what I brought you here for.’ replied Master Kane, ‘Mihara was released without my consent and Sota was set free.’

Kara relaxed, ‘Forgive my outburst Master Kane.’

Master Kane smiled, ‘You’ve been holding onto the guilt of that one for a while, I understand. You will not be punished for that, since it was both so long ago and I have bigger things to worry about.’

‘Thank you Master Kane.’ replied Kara.

Master Kane turned to Mihara, ‘Why did you flinch?’ Mihara looked him, ‘When he started talking?’

‘Forgive me Master but I helped him fix it. I was scared if I told you, you’d hurt him. I’m sorry I kept it from you.’ Mihara replied.

Master Kane turned back to Kara, ‘That true?’

Kara nodded, ‘He helped me fix it after I begged him not to tell you.’

Master Kane chuckled, ‘You’re both so nervous over something so trivial!’

Mihara shrunk into himself, ‘I think he bought it?!’ Kara and Mihara glanced at one another while the interrogation of the others continued. Because Kara had already confessed to something he wasn’t interrogated as hard as everyone else.

Not having unearthed any leads into the case Master Kane’s suspicion pointed to an outside influence for freeing Sota and attempting to free Mihara. He ordered the woods and castle to be searched, before breaking the padlock and yanking Mihara to his feet, ‘You seem nervous.’

‘I lied to you about the vase and continued to lie to you by not telling you. I’m sorry Master please don’t be upset with me!’ Mihara begged.

Master Osamu placed his finger on his lips and shushed him, ‘Where’s the fighting spirit gone?’

‘Master?’ he asked, ‘Sorry I don’t understand.’

‘You’ve been so very obedient since I got back.’ smiled Master Kane. He smirked and handed the chain to a group of guards, ‘I have to leave for a few days. Be a good boy for the sitter ok?’

Mihara heard the guards laughing and tried to follow Master Kane, he was pulled back and restrained by the guards, ‘No, please! Don’t leave! Master!’

‘It’ll only be three days.’ Master Kane waved goodbye, ‘Be a good boy ok?’ he left.

Mihara was about to call out when he was gagged by the guards, ‘That’s enough out of you.’ Mihara looked at him, ‘Did you really think he’d forgive you just like that!?’ he started laughing.

Mihara thought, ‘What the hell?!’

‘You escaped twice! And insulted him!’ he smiled, ‘He may never fully forgive you.’ he knocked Mihara out.

Mihara woke up, un-gagged in the cells his arms still restrained tightly behind his back. He looked around and saw the Slaves daughter that asked him to dance, he forced a smile, ‘Hello again.’ he saw her minimal cuts and scrapes, ‘Are you ok?’

‘Yeah. Are you?’ she asked seeing his state.

‘I’m ok.’ he lied, ‘What’s your name? I never asked you.’

‘Sara.’ she smiled.

‘Hi Sara, I’m Mihara.’ he faked a smile, ‘How did you get those cuts?’

‘I couldn’t find mummy anywhere so I stayed at the camp thinking she’d come back for me but she didn’t, I got hurt when I tried hunting on my own. Then, the soldiers came. I hid but they found me!’

‘They didn’t hurt you did they?’ asked Mihara.

The bars were hit, ‘HEY! Stop talking! Or we’ll put the gag back in your mouth!’

‘Why have I been put in the cell with this child?!’ asked Mihara.

‘Because we wanted to. Now SHUT UP!’ he yelled leaving.

‘He’s bad tempered and scary!’ pouted Sara.

Mihara whispered, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll protect you.’

‘It’s ok. I’ll just tell Master he’s being mean to mean to me!’ Sara smiled.

‘Master?’ asked Mihara.

‘Master Kane. He’s really nice!’ Sara continued, ‘We spend six whole days together playing and talking recently, he’s really fun!’ she smiled, ‘He gave me ice cream!’

‘And by play you mean?’ asked Mihara trying to work out exactly what Master had done to her.

‘Treasure hunting in the gardens, racing, catch, card games, picking flowers and he teaches me stuff!’ she smiled with such glee, Mihara felt sick to his stomach as he saw a lot of himself in her back when he deluded himself into thinking Master was the good guy.

‘Sara. I know he seems nice but please don’t trust him.’ said Mihara.

‘Why?’ Sara asked.

‘Because he did this to me!’ that’s what Mihara to say, but he wanted to shield her innocent eyes from the truth however, the truth was his only cause to help her understand the situation, he chose to protect her, ‘I know it’s hard for you to understand because you’re so young, but nice people aren’t always being nice for nothing. Some people like Master act nice to get something off of you.’

Sara smiled and went over to him, ‘You’re funny!’ she rested on him, ‘Can I sleep on you? I’m cold.’

‘Sure.’ he smiled, ‘I’ll protect you.’ she fell asleep and he rested his head on the wall behind him, ‘I shouldn’t lie to her like that. But she’s only young!’ he looked at ceiling, ‘What the hell is Master thinking now?’

He was about to drift off into sleep when an electric shock forced him awake, he heard the guards laughing, ‘Did that hurt?’ he looked at them and they shocked him again, ‘Your Master is a smart one indeed. He gave you a shock collar! Do you like it?’

Mihara looked away, ‘It hurts!’

‘Good!’ he shocked him again, ‘It’s supposed to.’

Later Sara woke up, ‘Morning Mihara.’ she saw his eyes, ‘You look tired. Did you get any sleep?’

‘No, I didn’t sleep too well but I’m ok I promise.’ he masked everything from her.

Sara stretched, ‘I wonder when Master is coming back. I’m bored!’

Mihara was about to reply when he heard Masters voice, ‘How can you be bored?’ he appeared.

‘Master!?’ she giggled running up to the bars.

‘I gave you a playmate!’ he smiled kneeling down to her level.

‘But he’s hurt and sleepy! I don’t want to bother him.’ she looked down, ‘Besides he’s all tied up.’

Master Kane chuckled, ‘Sorry but he has a tendency to misbehave, so I have to be careful with him.’

‘Tendency to misbehave?’ asked Sara, ‘What does that mean?’

Master Kane put his hand through the bars and brushed her hair behind her ear, ‘It means he’s been acting very naughty recently. I was hoping a good girl like you could show him how to behave!’ he smiled, ‘Can you do that for me?’

Sara smiled, ‘Ok.’

Mihara felt cold, ‘What does he intend to do to this child?’

Master Kane smirked looking at Mihara, ‘Sorry Mihara I’ve been ignoring you. How are you feeling?’

Mihara acted his part well, ‘My arms hurt. And the guards are hurting me again, please Master make them stop!’

‘Oh, that’s terrible Mihara!’ he turned to the guards then back to Mihara, ‘I’ll have a word with them!’ it sounded more like a threat than anything else, Master Kane smiled, ‘Stop being so predictably dull!’

Mihara’s heart sank, ‘Does he know I’ve been faking it this whole time!? What the hell do I do now?’

Sara asked, ‘What does that mean Master?'

Master Kane turned back to Sara, ‘Nothing. Come with me.’ he opened the door, ‘I’ve had the guards hide more treasures for you to find!’ Mihara tried to follow but the lead held him back, ‘Sorry Mihara but you can’t come.’

Mihara thought, ‘What the hell?!’

Sara held Masters hand, ‘Why can’t he come?’

Master Kane smiled and ruffled her hair, ‘I told you he misbehaves a lot.’

‘What if he says he’s sorry?’ Sara went up to Mihara, ‘Can he come with us then?’

Mihara’s heart sank as he looked away, he thought, ‘She is too innocent for her own good!’

He then heard his Masters reply, ‘If he means it. Sure, he can come with us.’ Mihara looked at him shocked, ‘What do you say Mihara?’

Mihara bit his lip and bowed, ‘I’m sorry I upset you Master. Please forgive me. I won’t do it again.’ he almost had to choke the words out of his mouth, ‘Please let me come with you.’

Master smiled and unlocked the lead, he yanked him to his feet, ‘Good boy.’ he kissed him.

Sara exclaimed, ‘Gross!’

Master chuckled, ‘It’s how a Master shows their Slave they are forgiven. It’s like when I kissed your hand the other week.’ he offered his hand, ‘Come on then.’ Sara took it and happily followed him, while he pulled Mihara along. Mihara grimaced and collapsed.

Sara knelt down to him, ‘What’s wrong Mihara?’

‘His leg is broken.’ explained Master Kane.

‘What does that mean?’ asked Sara.

Mihara pulled himself together and regained his composure, ‘It means my leg is hurt very badly.’

Sara looked at Master Kane, teary eyed, ‘Can’t you fix him?’ she asked innocently.

Mihara thought, ‘Even if he could! Like he would!’

Master Kane pulled him to his feet again, ‘You can thank her for this.’ he kissed him, this time all his pain melted away. Master Kane pulled away.

Mihara put pressure on his leg but felt no pain, ‘What did you do Master?’

‘I healed you.’ he replied bluntly, Mihara’s eyes widened, ‘I healed your leg at least. Count yourself lucky, I can only do that because you’re my Slave.’

Mihara smiled, ‘Thank you Master.’

‘It wasn’t my idea.’ he huffed.

Sara hugged Master’s leg, ‘I knew you could do it!’ Mihara was shocked to see her act that way.

Mihara’s face softened, ‘Thank you too Sara.’

Sara smiled, ‘You’re welcome.’

They walked out into the gardens, Mihara saw what looked like every guard in the castle above them on the walls ready to kill him if he moved too far away from his Master.

Even though his leg wasn’t broken anymore everything else his Master had inflicted on him in the past few weeks hurt. With his arms still tied behind his back every movement was much more painful than before.

They searched for the treasures Master Kane had the guards hid for her

Master Kane smiled, ‘Sara you go hide. Mihara and I will count to twenty and come find you ok?’ she cheerfully ran off while Master Kane turned yanking Mihara to do the same, ‘You’d better be on your best behavior Mihara. If you thought the guards treated you roughly before, you’ve got another thing coming.’ he changed his tone of voice, ‘TWENTY! Ready or not here we come!’ he pulled Mihara to follow.

The way he changed so easily and readily scared Mihara more than anything. They found her and Master Kane started tickling her like a father figure. Sara delighted screams and chuckles haunted his ears, he thought, ‘I’m so sorry Sara. I was too late with my warning. He’s already got his claws in you.'

Eventually, Sara fell asleep on Mihara’s leg under a tree. Master Kane rested his head on the tree trunk, he sighed happily, ‘I can’t remember the last time you and I just relaxed outside together like this!’

‘It was the day before Kohaka ran away from Master Roga. After that, you said I wasn’t allowed outside without your supervision anymore in case someone would try and take me. But in truth you thought I’d run too!’ Mihara replied without thinking, he flinched realizing what he had done.

Master Kane smiled, ‘It feels like I haven’t heard your voice in ages.’ Mihara looked at him, ‘And I think you’re right, that was the last time.’

Mihara fought his rising resistance to speak again, he sighed and looked away, ‘Master?’ he paused briefly, ‘I just want you to know I am sorry.’

‘About what?’ asked Master Kane.

‘Everything.’ Mihara replied, ‘If I could go back I wouldn’t do it again. I wouldn’t have spoken up against your brother. I wouldn’t have left with Tarvan and I wouldn’t have run away again. I just want things to go back to the way they were. I swear I’m not just saying this.’ he looked at him, ‘I really am sorry, it’s all a mess now because of me!’

Master Kane smiled, ‘You’re being surprisingly well behaved!? Is it Sara’s influence?’

‘I’ve just had time to reflect on my actions and I realize now how stupid they were.’ replied Mihara, ‘I don’t know, maybe Sara is a good influence on me after all.’ he joked.

Master Kane chuckled, ‘She’ll make a good Slave one day.’

Mihara masked his disgust, ‘Yeah. I don’t think she’ll want to leave your side though.’

‘True enough.’ he stroked her hair, ‘I hope when she is older she’ll be fertile.’ Mihara looked at him shocked, ‘Why so surprised? She is the daughter of a Slave and a Master. Her only purpose is to bare a Master’s offspring. You understand this. You were born a Slave weren’t you?’

Mihara clenched his fists, ‘No I wasn’t.’ Master Kane looked at him shocked, ‘Before you bought me, I had only been at the Slave house for one year. Their tactics make you submissive and open to suggestion are so streamlined the effectiveness is visible within weeks.’ Mihara curled up slightly, ‘So, when you bought me and seemed to care for me, I was happy and did all I could to keep it that way.’

‘But if you can do things like this to me. I guess you’re just the same as them.’ he sighed, ‘It won’t matter how much I apologize and beg you for forgiveness, all you want is to see me in pain.’

Master Kane’s face softened as he looked away, ‘What were you before?’ Mihara looked at him shocked, ‘Before all of this. What were you?’

Mihara grew nervous remembering the slave house, ‘I’m not supposed to talk about things like that!’

Master Kane sharpened his nail and stroked it down his cheek, ‘You’re allowed and I suggest you stay that way!’

‘I was a Major General in the army and after my honorable early discharge, I decided to become the army psychiatrist.’ explained Mihara.

‘How old are you?’ asked Master Kane.

‘Thirty-five.’ he replied.

‘How are you a Major General at your age?!’ exclaimed Master Kane.

‘I left military school and went into the army when I was fifteen, I worked my way up through the ranks. Quicker than even I expected, it only took me five years, I was the youngest one ever. I held that position for six years, then I became the army psychiatrist. While I was a psychiatrist I heard stories of your kind, this was back when you’re kind had first started to appear, I thought they had snapped. My area was one of the last to crumble.’

‘And then we came, you were captured, one year in the training camp and six months with me. Brings your age to thirty-five.’ Master completed.

Mihara nodded, ‘In the training camps we were always told, that we weren’t allowed to speak about what we were before, but we have to obey our Master’s orders, I can’t talk about my past, but, I can’t refuse your order to talk about my past either. It’s a real grey area!’

‘It explains your great acting and tactical mind. Funny, I thought we killed all the human armies forces.’ explained Master Kane, ‘I wish I’d have known all of this earlier, I’d have been much stricter and a lot more careful with you.'

‘Can I ask you something? From one General to another?’ asked Mihara, Master Kane nodded, ‘What did you do with the children?’ he looked confused, ‘There were over seven billion people on this planet when you arrived on the scene and around two billion of that figure were children just like Sara. What happened to them? Where did they all go? She is the first child I’ve seen in so long.’

Master Kane smiled, ‘Well Major General Mihara, the children were sold. They were sold to new families that wanted kids without waiting nine months. Or they were sold to people who wanted cheap labor. They grew up and some that were selected for breeding failed to produce offspring.’

‘Failed to produce offspring?’ asked Mihara.

Master Kane explained coldly, ‘Not every human is compatible with a Master and so breeding fails, some Masters killed their mates believing they did it on purpose, others repurposed them and others just refuse to accept it’s not going to happen and kept trying. This of course was before we knew how to mate successfully.’

‘That doesn’t explain the lack of children!’ replied Mihara.

‘Some Masters like me developed a taste for the males that we can’t breed with since you lack the necessary organs.’ Master Kane explained, ‘But when there is a successful birth, most are kept hidden until they have matured and can then be bred from, hence no children are seen running around!’

Mihara asked, ‘What will happen to her?’

Master Kane smiled looking at her, ‘I’ll give her a room in the castle now she trusts me and when she is old enough I’ll sell her as a breeder.’

‘And if she won’t go?’ asked Mihara.

‘Slaves go where they are ordered to. She’ll be taken by force if necessary.’ said Master Kane emotionlessly, ‘But until then if it makes you feel better you can treat her like our daughter.’

Mihara said, ‘Do you even care about humans?’ Master Kane and Mihara looked at one another, ‘You have shown me kindness that has shocked me and you’ve shown me cruelty that has horrified me. You scare me and quite frankly your mood swings are giving me whiplash! So, I ask again do you care about humans at all?’

Master Kane smiled, ‘A little. How are you feeling by the way?’

‘I guess I was asking for that!’ replied Mihara sarcastically.

Master Kane chuckled, ‘I like how you talk to me with confidence now, you don’t shy away from me or say what you think I want to hear. I like it.’

Mihara answered, ‘You’ve messed with me so much recently that I don’t know what I am supposed to do anymore, but you’ll hit me anyway, no matter what I do, so, I don’t care if I say or do the wrong thing anymore.’

‘You may not want to hear this nor believe it.’ Master Kane said, ‘But I do care about you.’ Mihara scoffed, ‘I mean it. Do you really think I could spend all this time with you and not care?’

‘I don’t know, you’re not exactly human! I can’t hold you to the same standards.’ replied Mihara.

‘Let me prove it.’ said Master Kane. Mihara looked at him, Master Kane lifted his hand and Mihara flinched backing away, Sara fell to the floor waking.

Sara rubbed her head, ‘Ow! What’s the matter?’

Mihara was about to respond when Master Kane caught an arrow millimeters from Mihara’s head, he watched as Master Kane snapped it, ‘What the hell was that!?’ he jumped up to talk to the guard that fired the arrow, ‘A head shot! Really?! Are you trying to kill him?’

The guard fell to the floor, ‘I’m sorry Master Kane.’ he backed away terrified.

Mihara blocked Sara’s view as he killed the guard, ‘What’s Master doing?’

‘Talking to that man, he didn’t do his job properly and almost hurt me. People get upset when people they care about get hurt, or even almost hurt.’ Mihara smiled, he felt his wrists being un-cuffed, his arms fell to his side like lead weights.

He turned to see Master smiling, holding his restraints, ‘That’s all I was going to do! You didn’t have to flinch quite so enthusiastically.’

Mihara looked at his bruised wrists, ‘Thank you.’ his movements were very limited and painful.

Sara hugged him, ‘You can finally hug me back!’ Mihara smiled and forced himself to hug her.

‘Sara. Don’t ever grow up!’ Mihara pleaded.

Master Kane smiled, ‘Sara, I have a surprise for you today!’ he showed her to her room.

‘This is my room!?’ Sara exclaimed happily, ‘I don’t have to sleep in the cells anymore!?’ Master Kane smiled shaking his head, ‘Thank you Master!’

‘My room is just down the hall. Knock first but you can come by anytime.’ smiled Master Kane.

They left her exploring her new room, they walked past Master Kane’s room, ‘Are you putting me back in the cells?’ asked Mihara.

Master Kane looked at him, ‘I don’t know should I?’

Mihara sighed, ‘Can we please stop with the games!?’

‘Are you going to behave?’ asked Master Kane.

Mihara nodded, ‘I’m sick of trying to get away from you. Besides, I guess you’re not all that bad!’

Master Kane ruffled his hair, Mihara flinched, ‘Don’t flinch.’ he continued to ruffle his hair and pulled him into a hug, ‘I’m sorry Mihara, but you must understand, you tried to run. I couldn’t let you get away with that. I have a position to uphold.’

Mihara pushed him off, ‘Are you trying to trick me again? Or are you trying to make me the bad guy in all of this? What is wrong with you?’

Master Kane huffed, ‘You said you’d behave from now on and after what I’ve put you through, I’m inclined to believe you, so don’t do anything stupid.’

‘Anything stupid? Like if I disobey you or try run away again!’ replied Mihara.

Master Kane chuckled, ‘Like you could! I have set charges at every exit, the voltage from your shock collar will be enough to knock you out. You can do as you like as long as you obey me and stay within the boundaries I have set for you. Don’t worry there are lesser charges set nearer to the exits that will shock you gently to warn you not to go any further.’

Mihara smiled, ‘So, you’ve basically extended my cage.’

‘If you’d like. But with this, you can move freely within the castle again without my presence looming over you.’ replied Master Kane, ‘So, are you going to behave from now on?’

Mihara sighed, realizing that this was the best he was going to get, ‘Yeah. I’m sick of fighting with you and I’m tired of trying to get away, all it does is cause me pain. Congratulations you win, I give up!’

Master Kane answered, ‘Don’t sound so depressed! You gave it a good fight.’ he pinned Mihara to the wall, ‘Besides I was getting bored with hitting you. You’re far more entertaining to do this with.’ he smirked kissing him lowering one hand between his legs.

Mihara struggled as he turned his head away, ‘No…stop…!'

‘Why?’ asked Master Kane.

‘What if Sara saw us?’ asked Mihara.

Master Kane smiled, ‘Are you saying that if I take you to bed right now you’ll happily submit and obey?’

Mihara hesitated, ‘Not happily, but yeah.’ Master Kane started chuckling resting his head on Mihara’s chest, ‘What’s so funny?!’

‘Your resistance and attitude is somewhat fascinating to me.’ Master Kane answered, he looked up at him, ‘Especially in light of your situation.’

Mihara looked him dead in the eye, ‘My situation being: If I don’t do as you say, you’ll just force me to right?’ Master Kane smiled and the collar shocked him, ‘What was that for?’

‘Misbehavior.’ explained Master Kane, he showed Mihara the controller, ‘This has a range of ten thousand meters that’s roughly one side of this castle to the other. So, basically, I can shock you anytime, anywhere I want even if you stay as far away from me as you possibly can, I can still shock you. Now, get into bed or I’ll shock you again.’ he let his hands go, ‘Now Mihara.’

Mihara sighed, ‘Fine.’ he walked in and sat on the bed.

‘Good boy.’ he shut the door and walked over to him.

Master Kane pushed him down, Mihara thought, ‘He’s going to do it anyway! If I don’t fight back it’ll all be over quicker. And hurt less.’

In the morning, Mihara’s eyes flickered open. He felt Master Kane move closer and kiss the back of his head.

Master Kane smiled at him, ‘Go and get us some breakfast.’

‘You’re letting me out on my own?’ Mihara asked turning to look at him.

‘Yes. The shock collar will let you know where you can and can’t go.’ Master Kane explained. He rolled on his back, ‘Off you go.’

Mihara stood up and got dressed. He went to the kitchens and saw the chef, ‘Mihara!? It has been so long since you came down here! How have you been?’

Mihara smiled, ‘I’m ok. I guess.’

‘We heard what happened.’ he said, ‘You tried to escape!? TWICE!? What the hell were you thinking?!’

Mihara chuckled, ‘I really don’t know.’ he leaned on the ledge, ‘Can I have Master’s breakfast please?’

‘Yeah I can give you his but….’ the chef answered, ‘I’m sorry but your food privileges have been rescinded on Master Kane’s orders, I can’t let you have anything for yourself.’

‘It’s ok. I figured as much!’ he replied wincing in pain because he moved the wrong way.

‘Mihara? Has he hurt you?’ asked the chef.

Mihara looked away, ‘Yeah.’ he looked at him again, ‘But I tried to escape, he couldn’t let that slide unpunished.’

‘Mihara? You know he can’t hear you down here right?’ asked the chef.

Mihara whispered, ‘I can’t take that chance. Please give me his food before he comes to collect me!’ the collar shocked him.

‘What was that?’ asked the chef.

‘My punishment collar.’ explained Mihara, ‘Master got it for me. Please, if I take much longer he’ll shock me again!’

‘Why are you so scared?’ asked the chef.

Mihara gulped, ‘You don’t know Master like I do!’

He passed him his breakfast, ‘If you need help just ask.’

‘Don’t talk like that! If he finds out……’ he cut himself short, ‘I have to go.’ he left.

Returning to see Master Kane teaching Sara to read, ‘Mihara?!’ she ran up to him, ‘You’re back! What took you so long?!’

‘The chef wasn’t happy with the dish so he remade it!’ he lied convincingly.

‘Mihara?’ he flinched hearing Master Kane talk, ‘Come here.’ he gingerly walked over and placed it on his lap, ‘Where’s the flower?’

‘I can’t get outside to get one because of the collar.’ he lied. The collar shocked him, ‘Ow! What was that for?’

‘For lying to me.’ smiled Master Kane, ‘Twice!’

Mihara’s eyes widened, ‘Did he always know!?’ he sighed, ‘Sorry Master.’

Master Kane chuckled, ‘You’re adorable.’ Mihara knelt at the bed side and Master Kane shocked him again, ‘You know that’s wrong, Mihara.’

Mihara got up and sat next to him, Sara sat next to Mihara, ‘Don’t look so sad Mihara!’ Master Kane looked at Sara, ‘Things are going to get better.’ Mihara ruffled her hair.

‘I hope so.’ Mihara smiled and started serving breakfast. Master Kane offered him some food on his fork, ‘You must be hungry!’

Mihara nodded and was fed, ‘Thank you.’ Mihara yawned.

‘Tired?’ asked Master Kane.

‘Very.’ Mihara replied bluntly.

Master Kane went to ruffle his hair and he flinched, ‘Calm down.’ he ruffled his hair, ‘Get some sleep.’

Mihara looked at him, ‘Really?’

Master Kane sighed, ‘I have stuff to do today anyway, so you might as well get some sleep.’ he got up and took Sara’s hand, ‘Come on leave Mihara to sleep. Besides you have studying to do.’ they left.

‘He hasn’t tied me up or locked the door?!’ Mihara gritted his teeth, ‘Does he expect me to be obedient?!’ he looked out the window and saw the barrier posts, he touched his collar, ‘If I go anywhere near those posts. The shocks will knock me out.’

Mihara squeezed the window ledge, ‘I’ve been careless! I let him trap me!’ he remembered, Tarvan, Kohaka and Sota, ‘At least they’re safe!’

He heard the door open and turned scared of who it was, it was Kara. Mihara fell to the floor and calmed his breathing, ‘Thank god it’s only you!’

Kara smiled, ‘Master doesn’t suspect anything does he?’

Mihara exhaled, ‘Not that he’s let on.’

‘What has he done to you?’ asked Kara.

Mihara huffed, ‘You do not want to know trust me.’ he sat on the bed.

‘You got your restraints off? Wait? You’re not tied to the bed?’ exclaimed Kara, ‘Why aren’t you leaving?’

Mihara touched his collar, ‘I misbehave or go where I’m not allowed to, this collar produces a shock that is strong enough to knock me out.’

Kara sighed, ‘So, you’re tied down with invisible chains now.’

‘Yeah.’ he replied, ‘Even with my leg broken I should have run off with you when I had the chance.’

Kara asked, ‘Are you sure the posts will knock you out? Are you sure he wasn’t lying to you?’

Mihara rubbed his eyes, ‘I don’t know! But I am too tired to try.’

‘You’re not giving up are you?’ asked Kara.

‘No, I’m not giving up, but I am giving in.’ replied Mihara, ‘I can’t win, so I’m not going to try.’

‘Mihara?’ asked Kara.

Mihara replied, ‘If I’m going to be in pain anyway I might as well choose the thing that hurts less. I want to thank you for being so supportive but please, don’t put yourself at any more risk for my sake.’

Kara answered, ‘Mihara. Don’t do this! I can help you escape you can be free!’

‘Then what?’ asked Mihara, ‘I will have to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life, Sara will still be here forced into becoming a breeder! To be fair that won’t change even with me here.’

‘What has he done to you?’ asked Kara.

Mihara smiled, ‘He’s broken me. I want it to stop more than I want to leave! I know I can make it stop if I do as he says.’

Master Kane came in, ‘Kara! Why are you keeping him awake?’

‘Forgive me.’ he bowed, ‘I was just thanking him for earlier.’

Master Kane struck him in the face, ‘Get back to your post!’ Kara scrambled to his feet and left, Master Kane turned to Mihara, ‘You ok?’

Mihara nodded, ‘Yes Master.'

‘I thought you wanted to get some sleep?’ asked Master Kane.

‘Master, you said I can do what I want, as long as I obey you and stay within the boundaries you’ve set for me and I have. I want to play with Sara in the garden.’ explained Mihara, testing the water, ‘Will you let me do that?!’

Master Kane sighed, ‘You truly are a bothersome Slave aren’t you?’

Mihara lay on the bed, ‘I’ll take that as a no.’ he curled up.

‘Fine.’ Master Kane said, Mihara looked up, ‘Go play with Sara. She’s studying and she’s struggling a break will do her good.’

Mihara sat up, ‘You’re letting her study? I thought Slaves weren’t allowed to study.’

‘True but she is a special case. She is a Master’s daughter and she is living in a privileged household, she will learn how to read and write as well as basic math skills. Before she is taught how to be a good Slave.’ explained Master Kane.

‘A good Slave?! You mean like the training camps?’ exclaimed Mihara, Master Kane’s silence answered his question, ‘Master please!’

Master Kane shocked him with the collar, forcing him into silence, ‘Hold your tongue Mihara. Don’t forget your place again.’

Mihara bowed his head, ‘Forgive me Master.’ he said realizing he went too far and feared the repercussions.

Master Kane smiled, ‘Good boy. Now go help her with her math studies, I’m sure an ex-general like yourself can do math!’

Mihara nodded and stood up. He walked to the door without a word but stopped, ‘Shock me again if you want but please don’t do this to Sara, or at least make sure she ends up with a good person who won’t hurt her.’

‘Once she has given birth to her first baby she will be sold onto someone new to have their child, like every other human woman, how she is treated by her Masters is not your concern.’ Master Kane replied, ‘Oh and by the way.’ he shocked him again, ‘Don’t talk to me about this ever again. I’ll be more severe next time you speak out of turn.’ Mihara bowed his head.

‘Yes Master.’ Mihara walked out. He found Sara resting her head on her hands, ‘Is studying really that bad?’ he joked.

‘Mihara?!’ she exclaimed cheerfully running up to him and hugging his leg.

‘Are you ok?’ Mihara asked.

Sara sighed and let go of his leg, ‘I can’t do it! I don’t get it!’ she sat down looking at the paper, ‘I don’t even get what I don’t get!’

Mihara sat next to her, ‘Let’s have a look.’ he took the paper and got a pen, ‘Now, what are you struggling with?’

They sat together and Mihara taught her how to work out the equations and helped her understand the finer points of grammar. Master Kane watched from the doorway smiling, ‘He seems genuinely happy.’

Sara saw him, ‘Master!’ she got up and hugged his leg, ‘Where have you been all day?’

‘Here and there.’ Master Kane knelt down to her and ruffled her hair, ‘Has Mihara been teaching you?’

‘Yeah, he’s really smart!’ explained Sara happily, ‘Because of his help I finished the homework you wanted me to do. And I understand it! All of it!’

Master Kane smiled, ‘That’s fantastic!’ he looked at Mihara who looked away, he chuckled and looked again at Sara, ‘Go tell chef to prepare you a treat as a reward. Anything you want!’

‘Yes!’ she ran out elated.

Master Kane walked up to Mihara, ‘Are you ok?’

Mihara started packing the papers away, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’

‘Sara seemed happy.’ replied Master Kane.

Mihara stopped what he was doing, ‘Master. Why are you doing this?’

‘Doing what?’ asked Master Kane.

‘Getting me to teach her. If you’re just going to sell her off as a breeder why bother with all of this? I don’t understand. Why teach her at all? Why give her a room? Why treat her like you actually care for her?’ asked Mihara, ‘Why bother with any of this!?’

Master Kane shocked him, ‘Hold your tongue Mihara, it’s going to get you into trouble again. Besides, if the lamb sees the knife their meat will taste foul, it’s the same concept.’

Mihara stood up and punched him in the face knocking him to the floor, ‘What the hell is wrong with you?!’

The guards who saw this came in and restrained Mihara pushing him onto his knees as Master Kane stood up. He wiped his blood from his mouth, ‘Interesting!’

Mihara looked at him, ‘You bastard! Torture me all you want but leave Sara alone!’

Master Kane smiled, ‘Chain him to my bed, I’ll be up in a minute.'

Mihara struggled, ‘NO! LET GO OF ME!’ he was dragged away.

Master Kane smiled looking at the blood on his hand, ‘Very interesting!’

Mihara’s best efforts yielded nothing, until he felt their grip loosen and saw them hit the floor with arrows in their backs. He turned to see Kohaka and Tarvan with Sara, ‘What are you guys doing here?’

‘That’s gratitude for you?!’ exclaimed Tarvan, ‘We infiltrate the castle, integrate ourselves with the servants and find a way to help you and all we get is shouted at?!’

‘I’m sorry!’ said Mihara, ‘But, you have to leave! Take Sara back to her mother! Please!’

Kohaka chuckled, ‘Mihara don’t you get it?!’ he held up the key to his shock collar, ‘We’ve come to rescue you. Finding Sara is a bonus!’

Kara appeared and Tarvan pointed an arrow to his head, Mihara stood in the way, ‘No! Kara isn’t a threat! He helped me! Please!’

Tarvan lowered his weapon, ‘Mihara. We have to go!’ he nodded and went to follow as the collar shocked him, but it didn’t stop. Mihara fell to his knees and crumbled to the floor as the collar continued to send electricity rippling throughout his body.

Kohaka removed his collar, Kara asked, ‘How did you get that?! Master has the only key!'

Sara smiled, ‘Every lock has two keys. You can get into a lot of trouble if you only have the one key.’

‘How did you know that!?’ asked Kara.

‘Because people like to talk if you ask in the right way.’ Sara replied, ‘Mummy taught me never to trust a Master and Uncle Tarvan taught me how to use a man’s ego against them!’

Mihara’s eyes filled with tears as he felt his neck, ‘It hurts.’ his voice was croaky and was like he gargled gravel.

Tarvan and the others saw his skin was severely burnt, Kara said, ‘You need to leave. I fear Master knows you are not where you are meant to be?’

The warning bell sounded, Kohaka helped Mihara up, ‘Come on, let’s get out of here, we’ll treat your neck when we’re out.’

Mihara and the others made it to the trees thanks to Kara’s cover fire. But, then it fell silent as the cover fire stopped

Mihara stopped and others turned to look, ‘What are you doing?'

‘Kara’s stopped firing!’ said Mihara.

Tarvan grabbed his arm, ‘We should really get going then!’ they ran and eventually set up camp for the night. Kohaka treated his neck and wrapped it up.

‘You guys go on ahead without me.’ said Mihara.

Tarvan replied, ‘No Mihara! We are all escaping together this time!’

‘Master will not stop looking for me, what if he finds the campsite again like last time? What if…’ Mihara was interrupted.

‘No!’ said Sara, ‘You have to come with us!’ Mihara knelt down and placed his hands on her shoulders.

‘Sara! There is only one way this is ever going to end!’ he said, the others knew immediately what he meant, but Sara didn’t.

Tarvan replied, ‘Mihara! You can’t be serious!'

Mihara stood up and held his hand out, ‘Give me the bow! I know he is tracking us! I’m ending this tonight! One way or another. It’s me or him! I’ll try my best to make it him!’

Kohaka stood between them, ‘No Mihara! This is suicide!’

Mihara smiled, ‘Exactly.’

‘I won’t let you do this!’ yelled Kohaka

Mihara sighed, ‘Kohaka, please! This is the only way this is going to end for good. Even if I come with you and we make it as far away from here as physically possible! Master will still come after me. He won’t stop until we are all back in chains.’

‘But if you don’t succeed, you’ll be killed this time.’ said Kohaka.

Mihara smiled, ‘I’m willing to take that risk!’

Tarvan put his hand on Kohaka’s shoulder, ‘Let him be Kohaka.’ he gently pushed him aside and gave Mihara his bow, ‘One in the heart, two in the head, it’s the only proven way.’ Mihara nodded.

Sara tugged on his clothes, ‘Where are you going?’

Mihara knelt down to her level again, ‘I’m going to kill Master, so he won’t come after you anymore.’

Tarvan and Kohaka gasped, ‘You can’t tell her something like that! She’s only six!’

Mihara hugged her, ‘She understands more than we think.’

Sara hugged him back, ‘Please don’t go Mihara!’ she buried her head in his shoulder, ‘Master will hurt you again.’

Mihara smiled, ‘If I’m lucky that’s all he’ll do to me!’ he let her go, ‘Go with Kohaka and Tarvan, they will take you back to your mother.’ he fought back tears looking at her face, ‘Do me a favor.’ he gently held her shoulders, ‘Have a great life! Please will you do this for me!? Have a great, free life!’

Sara started crying quietly, she wiped her eyes and nodded, ‘I promise!’

Mihara ruffled her hair, ‘Good girl.’ he stood up and waved goodbye, ‘I hope to see you all again someday.’

Tarvan went up to him and took something off his arm, ‘Take this.’

‘What is it?’ he asked while Tarvan attached it to his arm.

‘Hidden blade. Just in case you need it.’ explained Tarvan.

‘Thank you.’ he hugged Tarvan goodbye, ‘Thank you for showing me that gratitude is the closest thing to delusion.’ he joked.

Tarvan chuckled letting him go, ‘Any time.’

Kohaka came over, ‘I think you’re mad, but if this is something you feel you have to do then I won’t stand in your way.’

Mihara nodded, ‘Thank you Kohaka.’ he hugged him, ‘Keep Tarvan on a nice short leash yeah?’

Kohaka smiled, ‘Don’t worry I will.’

Tarvan folded his arms and cleared his throat, ‘I’m standing right here you know!?’

Kohaka let Mihara go. Mihara gave them one last smile and wave before disappearing into the woods.

Mihara retraced his steps, thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing?!’ he heard Master’s search dogs and hid, ‘I need to get close to Master but, if the dogs catch me the guards will find and disarm me, then I won’t have any weapons at all and be at his mercy again!’

He managed to give the dogs and guards the slip to find Master a top his horse giving out orders, ‘If you find him, bring him back to me alive! I don’t particularly care whether or not he’s conscious.’

‘Yes sir.’ they said heading out into the woods.

Master Roga rode up and stood next to him, ‘Aren’t you wasting precious resources trying to find one runaway?!’

‘Mihara is cunning and knows these woods surprisingly well! He had help from Kara to escape this time but, he is smart. When I get him back, I’ll cut off his foot and keep him so sedated he won’t be able to think straight enough to run again.’ Master Kane replied.

‘What happened to Kara?’ asked Master Roga.

Master Kane pulled his head out his saddle bag and dropped it on the floor, ‘He is no longer a security threat!’

Mihara threw up at the sight of his friends decapitated head. Master Kane smelt the air, ‘Mihara? Is that you?’

Mihara thought, ‘Crap! He’s sense of smell is so strong he now knows I’m here!’

Master Kane chuckled, ‘Come out Mihara. Come out now and I might take it easy on you!’ Mihara fired an arrow but Master Kane caught it before it hit him, ‘Really Mihara that’s how you want to play this?!’ he dismounted, ‘Come on then!’

Mihara thought, ‘He’s too quick! The arrows have no effect whatsoever! I should have known.’ he loaded the bow, sighed and drew it as he came out in the open where Master Kane could see him.

‘There you are! How nice if you to come home Mihara?’ he noticed his neck, ‘Got a little burnt did you?’ he pulled out his shock collar, Mihara flinched at the sight of it, ‘Be a good boy, put the bow down, come back inside and put this back on.’

Mihara gulped, ‘No. I’m not going to.’

Master Kane huffed and smiled, ‘You don’t have a choice you know that right?’

Master Roga dismounted and walked over, ‘Stop talking! Just grab him!’

Master Kane slit his throat, he fell to the floor choking on his own blood, ‘There. Peace and quiet at last!’

‘Are you insane?! You killed your own man?!’ exclaimed Mihara.

‘I killed my own brother too! I never heard anyone complain about that!?’ said Master Kane.

‘You killed your brother?! Why?’ asked Mihara.

Master Kane yelled, ‘He took what was mine away from me!’ he calmed himself, ‘Sorry. I know yelling unnerves you.’

‘No, what unnerves me is being beaten and raped by you!’ clarified Mihara.

‘Mihara. Do as you’re told before I get angry.’ said Master Kane. He stepped forward and Mihara shot him, it hit him in the shoulder, Master Kane sighed and pulled it out, ‘That’s it!’ the next thing Mihara knew Master had hold of his arm, ‘You’ve done it now.’ he squeezed Mihara’s arm breaking it.

Mihara released the hidden blade and stabbed him in the throat, with the grip on his arm released he slashed the blade in and left. Master Kane held his throat and backed away, ‘Mi…ha…ra…’

Mihara watched as he bled out and died, ‘I did it? I did it!’ he turned to see twenty guards pointing arrows at his head.

‘Put your hands were we can see them!’ one yelled, Mihara did as he ordered realizing the overwhelming odds staked against him.

Another guard checked on Master Kane, ‘He’s dead.’ he saw the bloody knife Mihara had in his possession, ‘Was it you? Did you do this?’

Mihara nodded, ‘Yeah, it was me I killed him.’ there was no point denying it.

‘Restrain him!’ his knife was taken away and his hands were tied behind his back, ‘You idiot, Master Kane was the only reason we could survive out here.’

‘Let me go! I am of no value to you.’ replied Mihara, ‘Kill me or let me go.’

‘That’s not entirely true. You are of some value to us! Didn’t you know Master Kane has a father, he’ll want to know what happened to his son. And meet the one responsible.’ he answered. He took the shock collar off Master Kane’s body, ‘I know how this works. Get him inside.’ Mihara was dragged back to the cells, chained to the wall and the shock collar was put back on.

This all happened despite Mihara’s resistance, the guard passed the key to the shock collar to someone else, ‘Destroy and bury this outside the barrier posts, we won’t be needing it ever again.’ he turned back to Mihara, ‘We could only survive here because of Master Kane, you could have condemned every other human in here to death! Or worse!’ he turned to leave.

‘Ren!?’ he stopped, ‘That’s your name isn’t it?’ Ren turned to look at Mihara, ‘Please let me go!’

‘Sorry but Master Osamu will be here in two days, he’ll want to talk to you.’ Ren looked at him.

‘Ren please! Let me go!’ pleaded Mihara.

‘If I do that everyone else in this castle will be sold, killed or worse!’ Ren explained, ‘The demons and beasts will be fine but the humans like me….’ he composed himself, ‘It’s you or them! One or two hundred!’ he took the food and placed it next to Mihara, ‘Try and enjoy what little life you have left.’

‘Ren! Please! Listen to me! He will not care about you and the others! He will kill us all! You can never ever trust a Master!’ Mihara pleaded. Ren shook his head and left.

Two days later, Master Osamu entered the castle, ‘Welcome Master Osamu.’ Ren bowed.

Master Osamu struck him in the face knocking him to the floor, ‘How could you let this happen?’

Ren picked himself up, ‘Master Osamu I am sorry for your loss. We have caught the culprit, he is in the cells awaiting your judgement.’

‘At least you did one thing right.’ he left immediately to go to the cells. He saw Mihara, ‘So, it was you was it?’ Mihara looked up at him and saw him in his beast form, ‘Impressive. I didn’t think you had it in you!?’

Mihara slumped his head, ‘Just kill me already.’

‘No.’ smiled Master Osamu, ‘Now I know that it’s what you want, I won’t kill you. I’ll make sure you live. I won’t let you die of your own accord.’ he turned to a guard, ‘Tell me has he ever been lashed before?’ Mihara flinched and looked up scared.

‘Yes, My Lord.’ he bowed.

‘Good. Go and get things ready!’ Master Osamu smirked and looked at Mihara, ‘I’ll make sure you live and I’ll make sure you become my bed Slave.’

‘No! Please!’ Mihara begged, he closed his eyes and slumped his head, ‘Please! Not again!’

‘Sssshhhhh! Relax, I’m not like my son.’ he grabbed his hair and pulled his head back, forcing him to look at him, ‘Once your punishment is over, if you obey me you’ll see, I can really be quite sweet.’

‘No! Please!’ Mihara said squirming to get away.

‘Fifty lashes. That’s all.’ Master Osamu said, ‘Then I will let you heal and eat. And then you’ll be mine. I’d say that’s a pretty fair deal. After all you did kill a Master! By all rights I should torture you to death!’

Mihara tried to move but Master Osamu’s grip was far too strong, ‘Please Master Osamu! Just let me go! Tell them you killed me, you’ll never see me again I swear!’

Master Osamu let go of his hair and punched him in the stomach, Mihara coughed up some blood and slumped again, ‘No, I have decided your punishment. You should be thanking me for only giving you fifty lashes!’

Mihara composed himself, ‘Fine. If you won’t kill me. I’ll find a way to kill myself.’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Oh, I like you! But I won’t allow you to do that either. I’ll keep your hands tied, sharp objects away from you and force feed you if necessary.’

Mihara started shaking, ‘Just stop this! Please! I’m begging you! Kill me!’

‘Even if you continuously disobey me and make my life difficult, as long as you are alive, you’ll be suffering so much more.’ replied Master Osamu, ‘And that is a punishment far greater than anything I could do to you right now! You will live and you will be my new bed Slave until the day you die naturally of old age.

Mihara’s body weakened as he submitted, ‘Fine. Do whatever you want. Punish me as much as you want.’

Master Osamu picked him up and moved the chains to the ceiling, he held his chin. Mihara saw he had turned back to normal, Master Osamu kissed his cheek, Mihara flinched, ‘Fifty lashes.’ Mihara saw the whip and clenched his teeth and eyes shut.

Master Osamu moved away and stood in front of him as he was lashed. Mihara refused to break until the count rose to twenty-six, he looked at him as tears filled in his eyes, ‘Stop!’ the lashes continued, blood dripped from his wounds as he cried, ‘Please!’

Master Osamu held his hand up and the lashes stopped, ‘You really do give the most interesting reactions.’ he held his chin, ‘Are you feeling sorry for killing my son already?’

Mihara looked at him, ‘No.’ Master Osamu was taken back, ‘I will….never feel sorry…..for killing him.’

‘Why?’ asked Master Osamu, ‘Why did you kill him? And why don’t you feel sorry about it?

Mihara composed himself as he explained, ‘I killed him because he wouldn’t let me go…. because he wouldn’t stop hurting me…. because he wouldn’t stop raping me…. because he wouldn’t stop ruining my life! Just…. like you are doing now! I don’t feel sorry for killing him…. because I am happy…. that I will never ever…. have to deal with him…. ever again…. I’m glad he’s dead and I’m happy…. that I am the who killed him.’

‘You crazy bastard!’ Master Osamu smiled and started laughing, ‘You are insane! If you had answered yes and apologized, I would have stopped your punishment here.’

Mihara smiled, ‘No, you wouldn’t…. Master Kane…. he liked to use that trick on me all the time…. he tried to make me think…. that for even one second…. there was a decent person inside of him…. then he’d hurt me…. all over again! I am not falling for it again!’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘You brought this on yourself.’ he backed away, ‘By my count that was twenty-eight. Continue.’ Mihara felt the whip lash his back again.

Mihara gritted his teeth and tried to bear with it but it was no use, the pain was too much and he passed out. When he awoke three hours later he was still chained and saw Master Osamu sitting watching him.

‘Awake are you?’ he asked, Mihara could barely focus on him, ‘You passed out at number forty-five, which means you need five more lashes to complete your punishment.’

Mihara raised his head more, ‘Get on with it…then.’ Master Osamu nodded and he felt the lashes hit his back.

Master Osamu stood up and grabbed his hair yanking his head back, ‘Good boy. That’s it. Your punishment is over now.’ he went to kiss him but Mihara moved his head.

Mihara said, ‘Don’t…kiss me.’

‘You don’t like kisses?’ Master Osamu asked.

‘I don’t like…being……raped…’ Mihara replied.

Master Osamu smirked, ‘Then, you’re not going to enjoy the rest of your life very much.’

The doctor came down and bowed, ‘Master Osamu, you called for me.’ he saw Mihara but pretty much ignored him.

‘This is Mihara. He’ll be my bed Slave from now on. He needs his wounds seeing to and his pain numbed. He needs a full exam make sure he’s healthy.’ Master Osamu explained.

‘Of course.’ he bowed, ‘I am sorry about the loss of your son, the servants have prepared his body for burial. They are awaiting further instruction.’

‘Better go give it to them then.’ he ruffled Mihara’s hair, ‘Good boy, I’ll see you later tonight.’

They watched as he left, the doctor went up to him, ‘What the hell is going on here?’

‘I escaped again…but came back to kill…Master…..and was caught…again...’ Mihara explained.

‘You escaped and came back? What the fuck is wrong with you!?!?’ he exclaimed, ‘You have escaped three times! And three times! You have come back!?’

Mihara looked at him, ‘He would….never have stopped…looking for me……I had to end it!’

‘So, you were the one to kill Master!?’ he said shocked.

Mihara nodded, ‘For all the good…it did me….’

‘You need to be careful around Master Osamu, we don’t know anything about him for all we know he could be worse than his son!’ he explained.

Mihara nodded and sighed, ‘Please…just…make the pain…stop…’ he nodded and administered pain relief.

‘There you should start to feel better in a moment.’ he bandaged him up.

Mihara started to breathe easier and fell asleep still chained to the ceiling. Master Osamu came back and saw him asleep, ‘I have never seen a human sleep so soundly while chained up.’

The doctor explained, ‘I think he’s just exhausted.’

Master Osamu took the chains off him and hugged him to hold him up, ‘He’s so light. Didn’t my son feed him?’

‘Yeah, but he was mad at him, so I think he was trying to starve him a little to make a point.’ he explained.

‘Such dark circles under his eyes, was he not allowed to sleep?’ Master Osamu asked.

‘Master Kane tortured him with sleep deprivation. Why are you asking me all these questions?’ he asked.

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Because I’m interested in what he has been through so I know what not to waste my time with, because if he hasn’t broken now by those techniques. I need to use a much stronger stimulus to make him obey.’ he left carrying him.

Master Osamu placed him on his bed and chained his leg to the bed post, Mihara felt the pain and woke up, he saw Master Osamu above him and sat up backing away, ‘No, please!’ the chain on his ankle pulled, he looked at his ankle and saw it was chained to the bed, ‘No!’ he started struggling trying to break free, ‘I’m not going through this again!'

‘Relax.’ said Master Osamu, ‘I’m not going to do anything straight away.’ he lay across the bed causing Mihara to flinch and curl up, Master Osamu placed his hands behind his head and looked directly at Mihara, ‘Are you going to stay like that the whole time?’

‘Yes, because I don’t know what you’re going to do.’ Mihara answered.

Master Osamu smirked, ‘I’m going to pin you down and have my wicked way with you whenever, wherever and however I damn well please! If you obey you’ll be rewarded, if you don’t you’ll be punished.’

Mihara asked, ‘Then, what are you waiting for?’

‘I don’t know really.’ he replied turning his head to look at the ceiling, ‘Maybe for you to heal, maybe for you to let your guard down or maybe I’m just not in the mood right now.’

‘You’re messing with me aren’t you?’ asked Mihara. Master Osamu looked at him, ‘Stop! Just do it already stop torturing me like this!’

‘Ok.’ Master Osamu sat up and moved closer to Mihara who flinched, ‘You say that but do you have any idea how much you smell of fear right now!?’

‘What am I supposed to feel?!’ Mihara answered.

Master Osamu replied, ‘You’re honest at least. As far as I know you haven’t lied to me once!’

Mihara asked, ‘Is there any point?’ Master Osamu smiled, ‘Exactly.’ he cleared his throat, ‘So, what should I call you?’

‘Why are you asking?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara sighed, ‘Because you have made it very clear you are not going to let me go and you are not going to let me die, so at the very least, give me something to call you.’

Master Osamu smirked, ‘Master is fine.’ Mihara nodded, ‘How’s your back?’

Mihara was shocked to be asked, ‘It hurts.’

Mihara flinched as Master Osamu touched the shock collar, ‘Does this thing come off?’ Mihara was even more astonished.

‘Ren, one of the human guards had the key destroyed and buried outside the fence posts.’ Mihara explained.

‘Fence posts?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘Master Kane set up posts, near the exits and the surrounding grounds. If I get too close to them it shocks me.’ Mihara explained.

‘Why would he do that?’ Master Osamu asked.

Mihara explained, ‘So, he could mess with me. He said he didn’t want me chained up anymore so he gave me a cage instead.’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Do you want to leave this cage? I could get new keys made and take the collar off you know.’

Mihara held the chain attached to his ankle, ‘And instead I’ll never get this off!’

‘No, I’ll take that off in time too.’ said Master Osamu.

‘Why would you do that?’ asked Mihara. He flinched and backed away as Master Osamu got closer.

Master Osamu explained, ‘Because even if you make it out this castle and into the woods, I will find you eventually. I know your scent.’ he held up the controller to his collar, ‘What’s this thing do?’

Mihara swallowed hard, ‘That controls the shock collar too.’

Master Osamu looked at it, sitting back, ‘My son really was a bastard wasn’t he?’

‘Do you want me to answer honestly?’ asked Mihara. Master Osamu nodded, ‘He was a monster, I hated him. I hated him so much I killed him. I know he was your son, so go ahead hit me for speaking out against him! But it’s true I hated that son of a bitch with every fiber of my being!’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘I can see why he liked you so much!’

‘You’re not going to hit me?’ asked Mihara.

‘For doing what I ordered you to?’ asked Master Osamu, ‘Are you an idiot?!’

Mihara replied curling up as much as he could, ‘Your son would have!’

‘He really messed you up, huh? So, how does it work then?’ he asked.

Mihara answered, ‘No idea.’

‘That the truth?’ Master Osamu asked, looking at him, Mihara nodded.

‘I haven’t lied to you once since we’ve met.’ Mihara replied watching as he examined the controller, he pressed a button and the collar shocked him.

Master Osamu jumped, ‘Sorry! I didn’t mean that!’

Mihara said, ‘Don’t do that! Don’t play dumb and act kind so I’ll start to trust you, I’m not going to trust you ever! So, just get on with whatever you have planned.’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Do you remember what I said in the cell?’

Mihara thought back, ‘Once your punishment is over, if you obey me you’ll see, I can really be quite sweet.’ he nodded.

‘If you continue to act like this I will be forced to punish you again. I don’t like your attitude, change it or I’ll change it for you.’ Master Osamu threatened.

Fearing what he’d do Mihara replied, ‘I’m sorry Master. Forgive me!’

‘Good boy.’ Master Osamu smiled. He stood up, ‘I’m going out for a bit. Get some rest.’ Mihara nodded looking away. Master Osamu leaned on the bed, ‘Aren’t you forgetting something?’ he pointed to his cheek and Mihara kissed it, ‘That’s better.’ he left.

Mihara exhaled and relaxed his body, ‘What the hell!? What the hell do I do now?’ he looked at the chain attached to his ankle, ‘How could I have let myself get into this mess!? I have no idea what he is thinking!’ he curled up and lay down, ‘I’m scared of what he’s going to do to me!’

Master Osamu was reading the user manual for the shock collar, ‘So, it’s meant for dogs huh?’

‘Yes, Master.’ replied a guard, ‘But it was modified by Master Kane so it would suit his purpose.’

Master Osamu red on, ‘No wonder he tried to get away, but I’m surprised he managed to with this collar round his neck.’ he looked at the guard, ‘I want Mihara’s complete and updated file within the next couple of days.’ the guard bowed and Master Osamu left.

Mihara fell asleep and woke up to see Master Osamu watching him, he flinched and backed away only to be held back by the chain. Master Osamu smiled, ‘Should I have waited outside for you to wake up and then walked in?!’

Mihara shook his head, ‘It’s fine. Do what you want.’ Master Osamu stood up, Mihara shielded his head with his arms and tensed his muscles.

‘You say that and yet you flinch!’ Master Osamu took the chain off his ankle, ‘Come with me.’ Mihara uncurled himself and looked at him confused, ‘What’s the matter? Didn’t my son ever take you out for walks?’ Mihara shook his head, he offered out his hand, ‘Come on.’ Mihara shuffled towards him and took his hand. He helped him up.

‘Thank you Master.’ he replied refusing to look at him. He expected him to chain his hands together but no, he just walked off, ‘Ok?’ Mihara swallowed his fear and followed him. They went outside, Mihara saw the post and stopped.

Master Osamu turned, ‘What’s the matter?’

‘The post.’ Mihara explained, ‘If I go any closer the shock collar will activate.’

Master Osamu pulled it out the ground, ‘Is that what these things are?’ he walked up to Mihara who backed away.

‘No, please!’ he fell back and cowered waiting for the shock. It didn’t happen, he turned to look.

Master Osamu stepped away, ‘Sorry.’ he put it back in the ground and walked up to him, he offered out his hand, ‘Come on.’ Mihara uncurled and looked at him, ‘Take my hand.’

Mihara’s trembling hand took his. Master Osamu pulled him to his feet. He regained his composure, ‘I urm….thank you….Master….’ he blushed and turned away to hide it as he thought, ‘Why the hell am I blushing?! Stop it!’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘GUARDS!’ Mihara flinched.

‘Why is he calling the guards?! What have I done now?!’ Mihara thought.

They appeared and bowed, ‘Those posts. Move them further away.’ Master Osamu ordered.

‘Master Kane commanded them to be this close.’ one said.

Master Osamu struck him in the face knocking him to the floor, Mihara flinched again, ‘And I command it to be otherwise.’ the other guard bowed again.

‘I’ll see to it immediately, Master Osamu.’ he said leaving, moving the posts further out.

Master Osamu turned to Mihara, ‘There you go. Feel better?’

Mihara started to breathe easier, ‘Yes. Thank you Master.’ his body trembled as Master Osamu put his arm round him pulling him along. Mihara looked up at him, ‘What the hell is he doing?’ he trembled even more.

‘Are you cold Mihara?’ Master Osamu asked, he put his jacket over Mihara’s shoulders, ‘You’re trembling.’

Mihara replied, ‘No, I’m not cold. It’s…urm…I’m kinda….scared…’

‘Scared? Of what?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘Please don’t take this the wrong way and get angry at me. But urm…’ Mihara continued, ‘I’m scared of you. I’m scared of what you are going to do.’

Master Osamu started laughing, ‘You are so cute!’ Mihara looked at him, ‘It’s ok. You’re allowed to be scared, I get it! I mean seriously the first time we met, I had you lashed! Any human would be scared after that.’ he put his arm round Mihara, seeming to take care not to touch his lash marks and pulled him in, ‘Relax. You’re being obedient, so I have no need to punish you.’

Mihara didn’t know whether to stay still, push him off or hug him back, he had no idea what he was supposed to do. Master Osamu picked up on his anxiety and huffed, ‘It’s ok. I’m not expecting you to hug me back or anything.’ he let go and walked off, ‘Come on, the fresh air will do you good.'

Mihara followed, returning to his side, ‘I can’t get any kind of read off this guy! This all seems genuine to me! Like he actually cares! Either that or he is just that good at acting.’

Master Osamu stopped and sighed, ‘You really don’t remember, do you?’ Mihara stopped and looked at him, ‘I wanted to buy you from the training camp, but my son beat me to the highest bid. We met briefly. But I suppose you were forced to meet all the bidders and can’t remember one specific encounter.’

‘I think….’ he cast his mind back, ‘I think I do remember you. You were in your beast form though, you changed out of it because you saw how scared I was.’

‘That’s right! You remember that?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara nodded, ‘Things like that, I can barely remember any of it. I was so focused on surviving I just did what I had to do.’ Master Osamu started walking again so Mihara followed.

‘I’ve waited for the day my son would get bored of you so I could buy you off him. But he never did get bored of you.’ Master Osamu chuckled, ‘To think you’d kill him! What a result!?’

‘Master? Can I ask you something without you getting mad?’ asked Mihara. He nodded, ‘Did you love your son?’

‘As much as expected of me but no, I wasn’t overly fond of him! I wasn’t too fond of his mother either, but we had a family name to protect and continue, a family of convenience if you will. When she died I was left with him. Then, I heard someone had killed him, so it felt only natural to take the spoils of war away from him. Meaning you.’ Master Osamu replied, ‘Not that you killing him was a good thing, but it made things easier for me!’

‘If you weren’t fond of him why’d you punish me for killing him at all?’ asked Mihara.

‘I couldn’t let you get away with it could I?’ Master Osamu exclaimed, ‘I have a reputation to uphold! I gave you the minimum punishment that was expected of me to give!’

Mihara looked down and away, ‘Of course. Sorry I wasn’t thinking.’ Master Osamu sighed.

‘Were you always this submissive?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘No….Master Kane….he….made me….like this….he’d act nice….so I’d trust him and then….he’d hurt me for fun.’ explained Mihara, ‘Not that I’m comparing the two of you!’

‘So, it seems that my son really messed you up!’ Master Osamu smiled, ‘I’ll have to fix that so you suit my tastes.’

‘So, what are your weird tastes?’ Mihara asked without thinking, Master Osamu stopped in his tracks and Mihara flinched stopping too, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t mean to ask you that?! Please don’t be upset!’

Master Osamu put his hand on Mihara’s shoulder and felt him jump, ‘I’m not, I just really didn’t see that coming! I never thought you’d be so forward!’ he walked off in front, ‘I prefer my bed Slaves to want to be there.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Mihara.

‘I want my bed Slaves, to want to be my bed Slave.’ Master Osamu replied, ‘I want them to want to be with me. I suppose, I like confidence in some respects but submission in others.’ he turned and looked at Mihara, ‘I will teach you, don’t worry.’ he gestured, ‘Come on.’ he walked off.

‘What the hell?! Does he expect me to like him?!’ thought Mihara. He followed him back inside to the bedroom door. Master Osamu opened it for him and gestured for him to go in, which he did. He jumped hearing the door shut.

‘Calm down.’ he placed his hands on Mihara’s shoulders causing him to flinch, ‘I’m into making love not raping. I won’t touch you like that, not until you want me to.’

Mihara asked scared of the answer, ‘What if I never want you to?’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘You’d be the first one ever and my ego would get a serious bruising.’ he kissed the back of his head, ‘Let’s make a deal, one year, if after one year you still don’t want me to, I will let you go free.’

Mihara nodded, ‘If that’s what you want.’

‘I am sorry about your back Mihara. If you’d let me kiss you I could heal it for you, you’d still scar but you’d no longer feel any pain, not to mention your broken arm.’ Mihara walked away and turned.

‘I’m fine really.’ Mihara refused to look up as he stood against the wall.

Master Osamu answered, ‘You seem to be in quite a lot of pain!’ he stepped forward and Mihara flinched back, ‘What are you so scared of?’

‘Please, just leave me alone.’ Mihara replied.

‘You hungry?’ asked Master Osamu. Mihara looked at him, ‘The doctor told me my son has been starving you recently.’ he stepped out of the way of the door, ‘Go on. Go to the kitchen and get yourself something to eat.’

Mihara slowly walked past him but stopped and turned at the door, ‘You’re serious aren’t you?’

‘Of course, I am.’ he smiled, ‘Go on.’

Mihara bowed, ‘Thank you Master.’

Master Osamu chuckled slightly, ‘Go before all the best food is gone!’

Mihara went down and saw the chef, ‘Mihara?! You’re back?’

‘Hey chef!’ he smiled.

‘Still got the shock collar though I see!’ he stated.

Mihara touched it, ‘Yeah but Master Osamu doesn’t seem too keen on using it.’

‘What is he like?’ asked the chef.

‘He’s……different…..’ answered Mihara.

‘Good different?’ he asked.

‘Just different.’ replied Mihara.

‘We heard he punished you and we heard how, are you ok?’ he asked.

Mihara replied, ‘Yeah. I’m ok.’

‘You seem more like yourself than the last time I saw you.’ he replied.

Mihara smiled, ‘Have my food privileges been restored?’

The chef checked the records, ‘Yes, they have! By order of Master Osamu.’

‘So, what? Nothing but rice porridge and water?’ asked Mihara.

‘No according to this, full access granted.’ he put the chart down, ‘You can have whatever the hell you like!’

‘Seriously?!’ asked Mihara, ‘He restored my food privileges completely!?’ the chef nodded. He remembered what he said to him:

‘Once your punishment is over, if you obey me you’ll see, I can really be quite sweet.’ ‘I’m into making love not raping. I won’t touch you like that, not until you want me to.’ ‘Go before all the best food is gone!’

Mihara blushed, the chef smiled, ‘I know that look! You like him don’t you?’

‘No! No!’ Mihara blushed even more, ‘Don’t say that! I don’t know anything about him!’

‘Ok. But the blushing tells a different story!’ the chef teased, ‘I’ll get you your favorite.’ he left, returning shortly with food.

Mihara sat and ate constantly fearing Master Osamu would appear and take it away from him, but he didn’t. Mihara went back to chef to drop off the plate, ‘Thanks chef.’ he hovered attracting chef’s attention again, ‘Can you see if my travel privileges have been restored too?’

The chef checked, ‘Yes they have! You can go anywhere within the castle. Lucky you!’

Mihara smiled, ‘Thanks.’ he went to the garden and sat under the tree he sat under with Sara, he smiled remembering her smiling face.

‘Good day?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara jumped and backed away, ‘Master? I’m sorry, was I meant to come back to the bedroom? I’m sorry, I just wanted to come out here.’

‘Calm down I’m not mad!’ he replied.

‘The chef said you restored my travel and food privileges.’ Mihara bowed low, ‘Thank you Master.’

Master Osamu sat next to him, ‘There’s no need to bow so low. I was only putting right what my son ruined.’ he lay back as Mihara sat up, ‘Come. Lie with me.’ Mihara lay on his back and grimaced in pain, ‘You’re in pain. Why won’t you let me heal you?’

Mihara answered, ‘Why won’t you rape me like any other Master would do?’

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘You really do give the most interesting responses.’

Mihara sat up, ‘Sorry, I can’t lie down it hurts too much.’

‘Lie on your stomach and on me.’ he said, Mihara’s eyes widened, ‘Scared?’

‘Of course, I’m scared!’ replied Mihara.

‘Do it anyway.’ Master Osamu answered holding his arm out. Mihara lay on his side resting his head gently on Master Osamu’s shoulder, ‘You’re very timid aren’t you?’ Mihara felt him push him onto himself, ‘That’s better.’

Mihara said, ‘At least like this my back doesn’t hurt as much.’

‘Let me heal you.’ said Master Osamu, ‘Please.’

Mihara blushed and muscles tensed, ‘So, you’re not going to order me or force me if I say no?’

‘No.’ smiled Master Osamu.

Mihara sighed but refused to move, ‘Ok.’ Master Osamu looked at him, ‘Please, heal me.’

Master Osamu and Mihara sat up. Master Osamu gently held his chin and Mihara flinched, closing his eyes, ‘You’re flinching because I’m going to kiss you?’ said Master Osamu.

Mihara opened his eyes, ‘I’m sorry.’

‘Don’t apologize. You haven’t done anything wrong. I’m going to try again, I will heal all of your injuries.’ he replied, ‘Now let’s try that again.’ he moved closer, Mihara refused to let himself move this time. Instead, he felt Master Osamu’s lips gently embrace his own, he felt the pain melt away and the kiss grow in intensity as he was pulled into a hug.

Master Osamu pulled away and backed up, ‘My apologies.’ he touched his lips, ‘I didn’t mean to be quite so affectionate.’

Mihara replied, ‘It’s ok.’ he sat back, ‘I’m just a Slave it’s fine. You’re a Master you can do what you want.’

Master Osamu violently pinned Mihara to the floor in his true beast form, ‘Don’t put yourself down like that! Don’t you dare! The next time I hear you put yourself down in any way, I will punish you, do you understand!?’

‘Yes, I’m sorry.’ Mihara squirmed slightly, ‘I swear I won’t do that again, so, please calm down!’

Master Osamu rested his head on Mihara’s chest, still pinning his wrists down, ‘How can you get such a rise out of me?’ he changed back and looked at him, ‘How do you do that?’

‘I don’t know I swear!’ Mihara pleaded squirming, failing to get away, ‘Please, let me go. I promise I won’t make you angry again!’

Master Osamu looked at his hands like he didn’t realize what he’d done, he let Mihara go. Mihara backed up against the tree almost cowering, ‘Don’t cower. Please!’ he held his hand out.

Mihara forced himself to take a calming breath and moved closer to him and sat down, ‘If you could just tell me what you are thinking. It might help.’

‘I’m thinking I want you to feel more relaxed around me. And I don’t understand how and why you’re not. I know my son messed with you like this before, but I told you that I am not like that!’ said Master Osamu.

Mihara yelled, ‘How do I know that?!’ he realized just who he shouted at, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. Please forgive me.’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘You’re too submissive. You don’t even know what to do with yourself.’ he brushed his fingers through his hair, ‘But you’re right you don’t know that. Ok, I’m going to give you a set of rules to follow. You follow them and I praise you, if you break them, you will be punished.'

‘Ok.’ Mihara answered, ‘Actually that helps.’

‘One: you can go anywhere you want within this castle as long as we always meet to eat our meals together. Two: you can talk to whoever you want about whatever you want as long as it’s not about escaping. Three: we share a bed together, still I promise I won’t touch you until you want me to. Four: you continue to never lie to me. Five: you always tell me when you’re scared because I can’t always tell. And six: you do what I say, when I say it.’ Master Osamu explained, ‘Have I made myself clear?’

Mihara nodded, ‘Always eat together, hold my tongue, always sleep together, be honest and obey.’

‘In a nutshell yes.’ Master Osamu smiled, ‘Do you feel more relaxed now you know how to avoid being punished?’ Mihara nodded, ‘Good.’ he lay back again, ‘Oh and one more thing, don’t you dare let anyone other than me touch you!’

Mihara blushed, ‘Ok.’

‘Come on, lie on me like before.’ ordered Master Osamu.

Mihara did but strangely it felt different this time, as if, it felt right now. Mihara thought, ‘He’s so different from Master Kane! He seems nicer.’ his body relaxed on its own, ‘He feels warmer.’ he fell asleep.

He woke up to see a picnic waiting for him, ‘You finally awake?’

Mihara sat up, ‘Yeah, sorry. I haven’t been sleeping to well recently. I didn’t mean to sleep on you like that.’

‘Relax. I enjoyed it. I like that you felt safe enough around me to sleep like that.’ Master Osamu smiled, ‘I had food brought out for us. I hope you’re hungry.’

‘Starving.’ smiled Mihara picking up a strawberry. Master Osamu chuckled, ‘What?’

‘I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you smile.’ Mihara blushed and looked away, ‘You have a great smile.’

Mihara tried to change the subject, ‘Tell me about yourself. Help me get used to you.’

‘Interesting.’ Master Osamu smirked, ‘Well, I’m two thousand years old this spring, both my parents are dead, I had two sons which are both dead as you know, no wife anymore or other kids. I like riding, hunting and theatre.’

Mihara looked shocked, ‘You’re two thousand years old!?’

Master Osamu nodded, ‘That’s not a problem is it?’

‘No, not at all. I just……’ Mihara studied his face in amazement, ‘I have to say you really don’t look it!’ replied Mihara. Master Osamu kissed his cheek, ‘What was that for?’

‘I wanted to tear your clothes off and have my way with you after hearing you say that. But since I promised I wouldn’t that’s all I could do.’ he replied.

Mihara blushed, ‘One year! Just stay by his side for one year without things getting complicated and you’re free! Just avoid complicating this anymore than it already is!’ the fear of being betrayed sunk in, ‘I just hope he doesn’t change his mind.’

‘So, what about you?’ asked Master Osamu. Mihara looked at him, ‘Tell me about you.’

‘I’m not allowed to talk about what I was before I was a Slave.’ Mihara replied looking away.

Master Osamu answered, ‘You aren’t allowed to disobey a Masters orders either.’

‘Your son did the same thing.’ Mihara sighed, ‘Well, I left military school and went into the army when I was fifteen, I worked my way up through the ranks. I was the youngest Major General ever. I held that position for six years then I became the army psychiatrist. And then your kind came, I was captured, one year in the training camp and eight months with Master Kane and now you.’

‘No wife, kids or girlfriends?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘No, neither. My career choice didn’t leave much space for that kind of thing!’ Mihara replied, ‘Not that any woman expressed an interest! At least not to me!’

Master Osamu asked, ‘Are you into girls?’ Mihara choked on his drink, ‘Embarrassed?’

‘Of course, I am.’ Mihara replied, ‘But, yeah. I’m not actually into guys. I was bought and forced, I had hoped I’d be used for manual labor but I was picked out as one of the pretty ones, my feelings didn’t matter.’

‘And what about now?’ asked Master Osamu, ‘How do you feel now?’

‘I have always said: As long as it is two consenting adults it doesn’t matter what they are doing.’ he said, ‘Back then of course, I had no idea how bad manipulation and abuse could make you think you were consenting, when in actual fact you’re disgusted at being used the way you are!’

‘I’m beginning to understand a little more about why you are the way you are.’ Master Osamu explained, ‘He didn’t just mess with you, he broke you.’ Mihara sighed, ‘I’ll just have to rebuild you!’

Mihara looked at him, ‘What do you mean?’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘I’ll teach you what it means to be in a consenting relationship.’

‘You seem very sure that I’ll consent.’ replied Mihara, ‘What you going to toy with me, putting me on the brink until I beg you for it!?’

‘Is that something my son did?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara remembered the hut the first time he ran away, ‘Yeah.’ he remembered a time before that, ‘It is not something I like to talk about.’

‘Well don’t worry.’ said Master Osamu, ‘I am not going to use you like that.’ he smirked, ‘Unless you want me to.’

Mihara blushed, ‘Were you always this forward?’

‘No. I’m just trying to help you relax.’ Master Osamu explained.

Mihara followed him to the council chambers and watched as he masterfully dealt with all the politics surrounding his son’s death. Later, Master Osamu stood up, ‘It’s getting late, you should all be going to bed.’ they bowed and left, ‘You too Mihara.’ he flinched, ‘Don’t worry it’s just sleeping. Come on.’

Mihara nodded and followed him to the bedroom. He saw the bed and jumped as the door shut, ‘Master can I just pop to the loo quickly?’ he asked wanting to run away.

‘Of course, you can, but you’re lying, I can tell.’ Master Osamu answered, ‘It’s ok. I understand. Go, clear your head, but no sleeping anywhere else but here.’

Mihara nodded and went out onto a balcony, ‘Calm down, he said he won’t do anything! But Master Kane said that once too and remember how that turned out!’ he looked down, ‘I could jump. A fall from this height might be enough to kill me.’ the collar shocked him.

‘I thought I made it clear, I wouldn’t allow you to die of your own accord!’ said Master Osamu.

‘I swear I wasn’t……’ Mihara was stopped.

Master Osamu let his eyes glow red, ‘I can read your thoughts Mihara. Seeming as this is the first time you’ve lied to me.’ the collar shocked him again, ‘Two shocks is enough punishment.’ he held his hand out, ‘Let’s go back to bed.’

‘You’re not mad at me?’ asked Mihara.

‘Once your punishment is over there is no point in continuing to be mad at you.’ Master Osamu explained. He gestured for him to follow, ‘Come on.’ Mihara followed without a word.

They got back and Master Osamu got into the bed but Mihara stayed away, ‘Are you going to stand there all night?’ Mihara nervously rubbed his arm and got in next to him, ‘Are you going to sleep sitting up?’ Mihara lay down, ‘What’s the matter?’

‘I thought you said you could read my thoughts.’ said Mihara, ‘So, why are you asking?’

‘Because your thoughts are running a mile a minute!’ replied Master Osamu.

Mihara exhaled, ‘I’m just……’ he touched the collar, ‘I’m sorry.’

‘I didn’t know you were serious about killing yourself.’ said Master Osamu.

‘Of course, I was serious! Who’d joke about something like that?’ Mihara curled up.

Master Osamu lay down and held his chin, ‘If I catch you thinking about suicide again, I’ll make you regret it.’

Mihara nodded, ‘Yes. I’m sorry.’ Master Osamu let his chin go and settled down.

‘Get some sleep.’ he said.

Mihara thought, ‘Sleep!? Sleep?! How am I supposed to sleep with you lying so close to me!? I’ll just turn round….’ he blushed, ‘No, that’s even scarier than sleeping facing him!’

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘Would you control your thoughts?!’ Mihara flinched and blushed more, ‘I have an idea.’ Master Osamu turned to face the other way, ‘Better?’

Mihara faced the other way too, so they were back to back, ‘Yeah……thank you…..’ he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

Morning broke and Mihara woke up alone, ‘Master?’ he got up as he walked in, ‘M….morning Master?’

‘How’s your neck? Is it burnt?!’ asked Master Osamu, ‘Do I need to call the doctor?’

‘It’s fine. You didn’t shock me for long so it’s alright.’ answered Mihara.

Master Osamu held his chin and tilted his head back to examine his neck, ‘You already had burns from previous usage, so I want to ensure you’re alright.’

Mihara took his hand and took it off his chin, ‘I’m fine, I’ve had worse.’

‘That’s not the point.’ answered Master Osamu.

‘I know.’ Mihara replied, ‘Master, can we just go have breakfast?’

‘Sure.’ he walked off, ‘Come on.’ Master Osamu went to the kitchens.

‘Master, this is the servant entrance, the dining room is over there.’ Mihara explained.

Master Osamu smiled, ‘I want to meet all my new staff members!’ he walked in and Mihara followed, all the staff bowed scared to see a Master in their midst, ‘It’s quite alright, please carry on as normal.’

The chef went up to him, ‘Master Osamu, how nice of you to pay us a visit, I hope there’s not a problem with your meals.’

‘No, they are delicious thank you. I just came to meet my new staff members.’ Master Osamu explained, ‘How long have you worked here?’

‘Two years.’ he smiled.

‘You know Mihara correct?’ he asked, the chef nodded, ‘Do you know the specifics about his escapes?’ Mihara’s body went cold.

‘I’m afraid not, no one does. Master Kane never told us!’ he replied.

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Thank you for your co-operation.’ he left and Mihara followed. The head of security came over and bowed.

‘Here are the documents you asked for.’ he said handing him a file. Mihara was curious but held his tongue.

‘Thank you.’ he took and read it while continuing to walk, he whistled, ‘WOW! You are quite the Houdini aren’t you Mihara? Three escapes! But two were not for very long!’ he continued reading and asked, ‘Who was Kara?’

Mihara stopped briefly but calmed himself continuing to follow him, ‘He was a friend. Master Kane killed him because he helped me escape.’

Master Osamu pinned him to a wall, ‘Are there anymore?’ Mihara’s heart sank, ‘Anymore friends that might help you to escape?’

‘No! Most of the other guards and Slaves aren’t human so don’t care what happens to me and the ones that are human are more focused on surviving than helping me.’ Mihara replied, but he wasn’t released he struggled slightly, ‘Please I’m not lying to you.’

‘The doctor? What about him?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘No. He wouldn’t! He’s healed and helped me but never to escape. He was loyal to Master Kane and now he’s loyal to you.’ Mihara answered, ‘Kara was the only one and he’s dead!’

Master Osamu let him go, ‘Who killed Master Roga?’

‘Master Kane, he slit his throat. I saw him do it.’ Mihara replied.

Master Osamu started walking again so Mihara followed him, ‘Who killed Master Raiken my other son?’

‘Again. Master Kane.’ replied Mihara.

‘Everything you’re stating matches the crime scene perfectly.’ he read on, ‘Tarvan. Kohaka. Sara. Sota. Raka. You sure do know a lot of people!’ Mihara stopped.

‘Please Master!’ Master Osamu stopped and turned as Mihara went to his knees, ‘Please leave them out of this. I beg you!’

Master Osamu answered reading on, ‘My son has built quite the profile on you. He put you through hell! You gave yourself up on more than one occasion to save others. How very noble of you! Or very foolish? You even came back to kill him so the others would be safe from him hunting them down, like you told me. I thought it was strange so I pulled your file.'

Mihara looked at him, ‘Please, leave them alone!’

‘What if I don’t? What if I continue to hunt them down and drag them back here?’ Master Osamu replied.

Mihara answered, ‘If you promise not to go after them, you can have me. You can have me the way you want me. I’ll do whatever you want me to. I’ll be your obedient bed Slave.’

‘Interesting!’ Master Osamu said, ‘What if I agree to this, have my way with you but in secret continue to hunt and kill them?’

Mihara explained, ‘If I never find out, I’ll assume you’re holding up your end of the deal and continue to be your obedient Slave.’

Master Osamu knelt down to him, ‘I’m not going to hunt them. Not because you offered yourself to me. Not because you don’t want me to but because I think it’ll be a waste of time, money and resources!’

Mihara exhaled in relief, ‘Thank you Master.’

‘You are so cute!’ Master Osamu chuckled, ‘I’ve never had a Slave beg me for something quite so enthusiastically before.’ he stood up and offered his hand, ‘Come on, up you come.’ Mihara took his hand and was pulled into a hug, ‘Don’t worry, I won’t hunt them and I won’t force myself on you. Like I said I’m into making love not raping!’

Mihara hugged him, he felt Master Osamu flinch, ‘What’s wrong?’ he asked backing up slightly retracting his arms.

‘It’s just that…. you’ve never hugged me before.’ Master Osamu pulled him in again, ‘I like it, do it again.’ Mihara hugged him gently, scared to hug harder. Master Osamu pushed him off softly, ‘Let’s go then.’ he walked off.

Throughout the whole meal Master Osamu’s eyes barely strayed from Mihara’s file. Mihara cleared his throat, ‘Master? Is it ok if I excuse myself for a moment?’

‘Yes, sure.’ he smiled.

Unbeknownst to him several guards followed him, the first he knew about it was when he was struck in the face.

‘What the hell is so special about you?! Two Masters?!’ he kicked him again.

‘HOW?! How is he not killing you for what you did!?’ the other guards joined in, ‘Are you just THAT good in bed?! Huh!?’ Mihara curled up and shielded his head as a barrage of punches and kicks struck him.

He thought, ‘Master!’ seconds after that thought crossed his mind the hits stopped, he heard seven people collapse and an eighth choking, he looked up to see Master Osamu transformed holding him up by his throat. His teeth and claws both razor sharp and eyes burning with what can only be described as unyielding rage.

‘How dare you lay your filthy hands on my property!?’ he snapped his neck and threw him away. He didn’t look at Mihara as he asked, ‘Are you ok?’

Mihara sat up and grimaced, ‘I’ll be fine.’ Master Osamu’s eyes narrowed as he gritted his teeth at the sight of Mihara in pain. Master Osamu turned back not needing his true power anymore.

Master Osamu pinned the only other conscious one to the wall by his throat, ‘Mihara is my property now. I will kill anyone who hurts or tries to hurt him!’ he snapped his neck too, he was about to pick the other one up to do the same when Mihara grabbed his arm.

‘Master, please! Stop!’ replied Mihara.

‘They hurt you! I will never forgive them!’ answered Master Osamu pinning the other guard by his throat to the wall.

Seeing he wasn’t listening he thought, ‘How do I stop him?’ he stood in front of him and kissed him, he let the guard go and pushed Mihara against the wall kissing him more. Mihara grew fearful, being pinned down by a Master was nothing new to him but it terrified him all the same, especially after all his previous experience.

Master Osamu pulled away and caught his breath, ‘Fine. Have it your way.’ he let Mihara go and called down the hallway, ‘GUARDS!?’

Mihara took a deep breath and held his wrists as several appeared, ‘His grip is insane! If he ever decides to use his strength against me I’m screwed!’

‘Take the dead and burn them. Take the living and cast them out, I never want to see them again, to return is on pain of death.’ Master Osamu looked at Mihara, ‘As for you.’ Mihara looked up at him as he grabbed Mihara’s arm and pulled him to follow, ‘Come with me.’

Mihara thought, ‘What is he doing? Where is he taking me? What is he going to do to me? Should I talk to him? Should I grovel? What is going on? I don’t understand!’ Master Osamu’s grip on his arm was so strong, Mihara was scared he’d break his arm if he resisted.

Master Osamu exhaled and said to himself, ‘Damn it! It’s no use!’ he stopped and held Mihara to the wall, ‘Listen here Mihara, when I said not to let anyone else touch you! I also meant not to let them hurt you either! If I have to watch over you 24/7 I will!’

Mihara was nervous and scared but looked Master Osamu in the eye, ‘I’m sorry Master. I swear I won’t let something like this happen again! Please don’t be mad at me!’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘I’m not mad!’ he walked off pulling Mihara along.

Mihara thought, ‘You are mad! It’s clear as the nose on my face! Why won’t he tell me where he’s taking me?!’

Master Osamu stopped outside the doctors door and knocked, the doctor opened the door, ‘Master Osamu? Is something the matter?’

‘The guards beat up Mihara, I need you to check him over. I need to know the extent of his injuries so I can heal him.’ said Master Osamu.

The doctor welcomed them in and examined Mihara, ‘A few bruises and scrapes but nothing overly concerning.’

Master Osamu asked, ‘Is he going to be alright?’

‘He’ll be just fine, you can heal him if you want or I can administer a long-lasting pain relief.’ he explained.

Master Osamu sighed in relief, ‘I was worried they really hurt him. It’s fine, I don’t think I can heal such minor injuries, give him pain relief. It’s all we can do!’ the doctor nodded and did. Master Osamu stood up, ‘Let’s go Mihara.’

Mihara followed, happy that he was no longer being dragged, he stopped outside a bathroom, ‘Why are we stopping here?’

‘You left breakfast to go to the toilet, didn’t you?’ asked Master Osamu. Mihara nodded and went in, he came out to see Master Osamu waiting for him, he was worried as to why he was sticking so close but even more scared to ask.

So, instead he obediently and without question followed Master Osamu back to breakfast and then to the throne room. Master Osamu barely left his side for a minute, wherever Mihara went Master Osamu was never far behind, they went to dinner, all the muttering and discussion about Mihara had died down as they entered. Silence fell as Master Osamu pulled Mihara’s chair out for him.

Mihara sat, ‘Thank you Master.’ he replied submissively. He served Master Osamu, refilling his drink and getting the food he wanted as he had done previously for Master Kane.

‘Why are you doing this?’ asked Master Osamu. Mihara looked at him, ‘I have other servants for this kind of thing.'

‘Sorry, I just always served Master Kane at dinner.’ replied Mihara, ‘If you don’t want that, then tell me what it is you want.’

Master Osamu held his hand, ‘You’re hurt. If anything, I should be the one serving you.’ Mihara blushed, ‘You should take note Mihara.’ he pulled his chair closer, ‘You are currently being courted.’

‘Noted.’ answered Mihara blushing taking his hand back and looking away.

They got back to the room and Mihara sat on the bed, he felt Master Osamu get in behind him, he plucked up the courage to speak, ‘Master? Can I ask you something?’

Master Osamu nodded, ‘Sure.’

Mihara turned, ‘Why have you been following me everywhere today?’

‘I didn’t know the guards would rebel like that, I fear there are more guards like that in this castle and that if I’m not with you to protect you, that they will hurt you again.’ Master Osamu explained, ‘I never want you to be hurt again.’

‘Master?’ Mihara blushed, he lay down, ‘Can I lie on you? Like last night?’

Master Osamu smiled and lay down, ‘Sure.’ Mihara snuggled up to him.

‘Thank you Master.’ said Mihara.

Four months later, Mihara woke up with Master Osamu’s arms wrapped around him, he blushed remembering all the times he woke up like that with Master Kane and tried to get up, only to feel his arms grip him tighter.

‘You’re not going anywhere just yet.’ Master Osamu said.

Mihara nodded and tensed his body blushing, ‘Whatever you want.’

‘You scared?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘No. Not scared more like….worried….’ he said.

Master Osamu replied, ‘About?’

Mihara blushed even more, ‘Nothing. Forget I said anything!’

Master Osamu smirked, ‘I understand now.’ he hugged him closer, ‘But an embarrassed Slave is not to my taste. So, I won’t let you go until all the embarrassment is gone.’

Mihara’s thoughts raced but he forced himself to calm. Master Osamu let him go, Mihara got up and turned back to him, ‘What do you want for breakfast?’

‘Whatever you’re having.’ he smiled, ‘I am going to let you go on your own today, but don’t be embarrassed to call out for me.’

Mihara blushed, ‘I don’t see why I’d need to do such a thing!’

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘So you didn’t think ‘Master!’ when you were attacked a while back?’

Mihara’s entire body blushed, ‘I’m going!’ he ran out.

‘Mihara truly is adorable! He is certainly worth keeping.’ smirked Master Osamu

Mihara went to the kitchens, ‘Hey chef!’

‘Morning Mihara.’ answered chef, ‘How’s Master Osamu?’

 

‘It’s ok. I guess.’ he sighed and leaned on the ledge.

 

Chef asked, ‘Is something wrong?’

 

Mihara answered, ‘I just fear……I fear that….’ he stopped himself.

‘What Mihara?’ asked chef, ‘What has you so worried?’

‘That…he’s playing me…..like Master Kane used to.’ he replied.

‘Why don’t you talk to him about it?’ asked chef.

Mihara was startled, ‘No! I can’t!’

Chef asked, ‘Why?’

‘Because!’ Mihara started shaking, ‘I’m……terrified….of what…he’ll do if….’

‘He won’t hurt you.’ chef said.

Mihara answered, ‘I don’t know that!? What if the guards beating me up four months ago was his idea?’

‘Have them beat you up so he can kill them?’ asked chef, ‘Sounds a little far-fetched to me!’

‘It’s not! I have been thinking about this over and over and it makes sense to me! Masters are insane, they have no regard for a Slaves life! All they understand or want to understand is how to get what they want and to hell with the consequences.’ Mihara said, ‘I am terrified! He said if after a year we still haven’t connected he’ll let me go, but I’m worried he’ll force me!’

‘So, in the four months you’ve been sharing the same bed, you haven’t…..’ he clicked his tongue, ‘You know?’

Mihara blushed, ‘No. We haven’t! But that’s not the point!’

‘Look he has had four months where he could have made a move for you, but he hasn’t!’ the chef answered, ‘I think you are making this out to be worse than it is. Just talk to him.’

‘Are you insane!? I’ve only survived this long with him because I’ve kept my head down.’ Mihara explained, ‘Besides Master Kane kept the act going much longer than this. No, I can’t talk to him, he’ll snap! I want to avoid that for as long as possible!’

Chef answered, ‘Talking to him is the only advise I can give you. That or find a way to make him keep his hands off you until the year is up! Then just walk out of here.’

‘I know he said he’d let me go but what if he doesn’t!’ Mihara replied, ‘What if after the year is up he’ll just rape me like Master Kane did?!’ he held his wrist, ‘He’s pinned me before, there’s no way I can fight him off or stop him.’

Chef sighed, ‘Well? All I can say to that is wait and see.’

‘Wait and see? He sleeps next to me every night! We spend almost the entire day together!’ Mihara answered, ‘This morning I woke up and he’d cuddled up to me in my sleep! When I tried to get up he pulled me back.’

‘Isn’t that reassuring?’ asked chef.

‘No!’ Mihara exclaimed, ‘Master Kane used to do that too!’ he shook his head, ‘We’ve gotten off topic, I came down here to get breakfast for two.’

Chef chuckled ‘Ok. Ok! I can take the hint! I am taking my nose out your business!’ he got some food for them both, ‘But you clearly need to talk to someone, I think you’re best talking to him!’

‘Thanks, but that’s just not going to do any good!’ he left returning to the bedroom.

Master Osamu asked, ‘What took so long?’

‘Sorry Master, chef and I are good friends, we were just talking!’ Mihara replied putting the tray on the side, his eyes widened as he asked, ‘Am I not allowed to do that?!

‘It’s ok, you can have friends.’ Master Osamu answered, Mihara sat next to him and placed the food between them, ‘Mind telling me what you were talking about?’ Mihara froze and Master Osamu sighed, ‘It’s ok, you don’t have to tell me.’

Mihara breathed easy, ‘Thank you Master.’

‘Well you seemed worried.’ Master Osamu replied, ‘What are we waiting for? Let’s eat!’ he smiled lightening the mood in an instant.

After, Master Osamu stood up, Mihara curled into himself and shrunk, ‘You can go wherever you want today. I have to run some errands.’

Mihara looked at him, ‘Yes Master. Thank you.’ he lowered his head again. He thought, ‘No, you can’t talk to a Master! He’ll only get mad and beat you!’

‘Why have you become so overly submissive?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara breathing became erratic as he panicked, ‘I’m sorry. Please….!’

Master Osamu backed away, ‘What did I do to make you so scared?’

Mihara backed up against the head board and brought his knees to his chest, ‘I’m sorry, please, don’t be angry at me!’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘Ok. I’m going to go. I’ll leave you alone today.’ he left without a word and walked down the hall gritting his teeth, ‘What the hell happened?!’ he went to the kitchen and pushed the chef against the wall in his true form, ‘WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND MIHARA?!’

The chef replied, ‘Mihara thinks you told the guards to beat him up so that you could save him and be the hero!’

‘What!?! That’s moronic! Why would he think that?!’ yelled Master Osamu.

‘Because of Master Kane.’ he answered.

Master Osamu relieved the pressure slightly, ‘Keep talking.’

‘Master Kane was vicious and brutal towards Mihara. He would have the guards beat and torture him so that when he came back and stopped it he seemed like the hero that saved the day.’ the chef continued, ‘He was the master of duplicity and he’d torture Mihara with it. He is terrified you are the same. He’s worried you’re pretending to be a nice guy so you can mess with him. He told me about the deal you made with him, the one where if he lasts a year without falling for you, you’ll let him go. He is scared that after a year is up instead of letting him go, you’ll lockhim up and rape him.’

‘But that’s not right.’ he replied transforming back, ‘I am not like that I say what I mean. Why doesn’t he trust me?’

The chef answered, ‘It’s not that he doesn’t trust you it’s that he has been betrayed and let down so often. That he isn’t capable of trusting anyone anymore.’ Master Osamu let him go completely, ‘I told him to talk to you, but the thought of doing that terrified him even more!’

‘Tell me. What do I have to do?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘I don’t know.’ said the chef.

Master Osamu went back to the bedroom but stopped at the door hearing him whimpering, ‘What is he doing?’ he peered round the corner to see he had buried his head into the pillow, ‘What the hell is he doing?’

Mihara sat up and wiped his tears away, ‘Stop crying.’ he failed to compose himself, ‘For fuck sake pull your shit together!’

‘Is he talking to himself?’ Master Osamu’s eyes widened as he saw Mihara’s saddened expression.

Mihara composed himself and went to the mirror and sighed sitting on the chair, ‘Crying isn’t going to solve anything!’ he rested his head on his hands, ‘What is wrong with me?’ he closed his eyes and put his head on the desk.

Master Osamu knocked on the door, ‘Mihara? Are you in here?’

Mihara wiped the tear stains off his face and started tidying the dishes from breakfast, avoiding showing his face, fearing repercussions, ‘Welcome back Master, that was quick! I’ll be out of your way in a moment, I’m just collecting the dishes.’

Master Osamu hugged him from behind, ‘Why do you look so sad when you think no one can see you?’

Mihara blushed and pushed him off, ‘I can’t stand here chatting all day.’ he went to leave when Master Osamu appeared at the door.

‘I forbid you to leave this room without answering my question.’ replied Master Osamu.

Mihara put the tray down, ‘Fine! Have it your way! Because no matter how much better than your son you pretend to be, you’re just the same cruel, vindictive, manipulative monster he was!’

‘I am nothing like my son!’ he yelled.

Mihara yelled, ‘HOW DO I KNOW THAT?!’ Mihara pulled back, ‘Why does your kind like to mess with me in particular? What is it about me? Why does every Master I have had the misfortune to meet want to cage me?! WHAT DID I EVER DO?!’ he started crying as he fell to his knees, ‘I should have stayed away. I shouldn’t have come back to kill him. I should have fled the country. If I hadn’t cared about protecting Tarvan and the others I wouldn’t be in this mess!’Master Osamu sat next to him, ‘What mess?’

‘Like you don’t know!’ Mihara pouted, ‘Master? Can I ask you something?’ he wiped his tears away and Master Osamu nodded, ‘If I asked you to let me go, would you do it?’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘I will fulfill any request of yours. Except that one.’

‘So, if after the year is over and we haven’t done anything. You still won’t allow me to leave?’ Mihara asked. Master Osamu’s eyes widened with shock.

He composed himself before he spoke, ‘Mihara, I will then.’ he sighed, ‘Is that what’s been bothering you recently?’ Mihara nodded, ‘I am never going to rape you. I’m not into the whole dominance and submission.’ he put his hands behind him and rested on them, ‘I like to see my partners quivering in intense pleasure not searing pain.’

Mihara blushed and looked away, ‘You always say the weirdest things?’

‘What do you see when you look at the front gates?’ Master Osamu asked, Mihara looked at him, ‘The guards told me you’ve been going there pretty often recently. Are you just people watching? Or is there something else going on?’

‘Do you remember you read my file Master Kane drew up?’ Mihara explained and Master Osamu nodded, ‘Beyond those gates I see them happily living together. Tarvan playing his flute, everyone singing and dancing. I see Kohaka fall even deeper in love with Tarvan. I see Raka bossing the hunters about like he always does.’ Mihara chuckled at the thought, ‘I see Sota learning how to survive and laughing for the first time in years! And I see Sara smiling, playing and enjoying her life!’

‘Are you enjoying your life?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara looked at him, ‘No.’ he turned away, ‘I haven’t enjoyed my life for a long time. The time I was in the camp with the other runaway Slaves, was the happiest I’d felt in years!’

Master Osamu asked, ‘Why wouldn’t you just tell me all this before?’

‘I told you I wanted to kill myself. You caught me thinking about throwing myself from the balcony. I gave you plenty of reasons to come talk to me.’ Mihara answered, ‘The reason I look sad when I think people can’t see me is because I know even if they do see, nothing happens. So, I might as well do it by myself!’

‘What did my son do to you?’ asked Master Osamu.

 

‘Tortured me. You name it he either did it or threatened to do it!’ Mihara explained, ‘I was his Slave for six months no it would be seven now come to think of it. The first two months were rough but he grew so much softer, he’d warn me instead of smacking me and seemed to genuinely care for me. He kept the act going for four whole months when Tarvan picked me up and I left.’

 

Mihara continued, ‘After I gave myself up on his promise to leave them alone, I realized how manipulative he was. The trip back was a nightmare, he’d rape me at every opportunity, I barely had chance for food and water not that he gave me any. We got back and he got worse. I decided I’d push him so that he’d throw me in the cells.’

 

‘To get away from him?’ asked Master Osamu.

 

‘No. So, I could free everyone else.’ replied Mihara, ‘I had stolen keys to their shackles and cell doors, we made it out minus Sota. I went back to get him and did. But then I broke my leg and Master Kane found me, lashed me and dragged me back again. He’d caught both Sota and Sara, at the time I was only aware of Sota. Kara got Sota out so began planning my escape again, even though my leg was broken. I thought I was the only one left, when I saw Sara.’

‘Sara’s the little girl?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara nodded, ‘Knowing she was here I put my plans on hold and tried to protect her as much as possible. She was more clued up than I thought she was and made Master Kane heal my leg!’ he chuckled, ‘She was incredible! Then, Master Kane explained how she was going to be sold as a breeder, I snapped and punched him in the face. He ordered guards to chain me to the bed again, but before they did they were killed by Tarvan and Kohaka who’d come back for me and Sara.’

‘You all got out with help from Kara, which is what the report says and then you came back to kill him so they’d be safe like you said.’ Master Osamu completed.

Mihara answered, ‘And then, the guards caught me, brought me back and here I am, still a Slave but with a different Master! Is it any wonder I want to kill myself?’

‘Not all Masters are bad.’ Master Osamu stated.

‘To a human they are!’ Mihara replied, ‘I am terrified of you and you can’t even see why.’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘I can see why, I just don’t want to think about it.’

Mihara asked, ‘Why?’

‘Because that feels the same as admitting defeat.’ Master Osamu explained, ‘If after the year we still haven’t done anything and you really want to leave I will let you go, but not a day before.’

Mihara nodded, ‘Master? Am I allowed to leave this room now? I need to take the plates away.’ just then another went passed.

Master Osamu called out to him, ‘Take these plates back to the kitchens for me.’

‘Of course, Master.’ he bowed and took them away.

Mihara sighed, ‘Now what?’

‘I want to take you for a walk.’ answered Master Osamu.

Mihara touched his collar, ‘But all we can do is a lap of the castle grounds.’

‘And that’s a problem, because?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara curled up bringing his knees to his chest, ‘I am sick of being stuck in this castle and I am sick of having such a tight boundary.’

‘I’m sorry the locksmith couldn’t make new keys but he’s still working on fixing the one that were broken, my son used outside contractors, which we can no longer find, to make them so we haven’t got and can’t get the plans. I know it just seems like a bunch of excuses! But I promise I’m trying to get this collar off you.’ Master Osamu replied then thought of something, ‘What if I had the boundary posts moved further out?’

Mihara uncurled and looked at him, ‘You’d do that?’

‘Of course!’ Master Osamu smiled, ‘We can have a picnic if you want.’

‘I’d sooner go hunting but I guess that’s not really an option is it?’ asked Mihara.

‘Hunting? You hunt!?’ Master Osamu exclaimed. He could see Mihara’s body relax as he talked.

‘I had to when I was in the camp with the runaways, I got pretty good at it. I’m great at fishing, I didn’t expect to get so good but I really started to enjoy it.’ Mihara smiled then stopped himself, ‘Sorry the nearest river is miles away! Forget I mentioned anything.’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘GUARDS!?’ Mihara flinched scared of why he was calling for them, several appeared, ‘I want you to move the posts down by the river leave enough room for Mihara to fish.’

Mihara gasped, ‘You mean you’ll really let me go fishing!?’ Master Osamu saw the light in his eyes for the first time since he met him.

‘Yeah, I want to see if you’re as good as me!’ he challenged. Mihara unthinkingly hugged him smiling almost giggling.

When he realized he blushed and backed away, ‘Sorry I don’t know why I did that?!’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘You can do it again if you want.’

Mihara brushed his hair behind his ear, ‘I’m ok.’

Master Osamu looked at the guards, ‘I want this done now.’ they bowed and left as Master Osamu helped Mihara up, ‘Let’s go.’

Mihara happily followed him, Master Osamu smiled, ‘So, this was all it took to make him open up!’ he watched as the posts were moved away and Mihara’s eyes showed his excitement, ‘He’s so excited! At least I now know it’s not time or space he needs. It’s distraction.’

They got to the river and Master Osamu pointed out the posts to Mihara so he could see where he could and couldn’t go. Master Osamu set up a rod with bait. But Mihara grabbed a stick.

‘Mihara, what are you doing?’ he asked.

‘Can I have a knife to sharpen the end?’ Mihara asked, ‘I promise I’m not going to kill myself with it!’ he didn’t look convinced, ‘So, even with fifty guards and yourself around me, you’re still worried I’m going to do something stupid!?’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘I want to take you at your word but it’s hard to get the balcony incident out my head.’

‘All I want to do is sharpen a stick!’ replied Mihara.

‘You’re going to fish with a sharpened stick?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara huffed, ‘And you think you catch anything with that thing!?’ he mocked.

Master Osamu was shocked Mihara was so confident around him now, whereas back at the castle he was so submissive, ‘You’ve got some cheek!?’

Mihara chuckled, ‘Are you going to let me have a knife?’ Master Osamu nodded to a guard and Mihara was given one he sharpened it to a point and passed the knife back.

He took his shoes off, ‘What are you doing?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘You can feel the water better bare foot.’ he went in up to his knees. Master Osamu watched as he caught fish after fish.

Mihara had already caught three by the time he had caught one. Master Osamu grabbed a stick and removed his shoes, ‘I’m joining you!’

Mihara smiled, ‘Sore loser!’ he taught Master Osamu how to fish like that, they headed back with twenty fish, ‘We’re going to be eating fish for a while!’

‘It’s alright. I like fish!’ smiled Master Osamu.

As the castle appeared in the distance, Mihara’s good mood diminished. He fell back into submission as the doors closed behind him. Master Osamu couldn’t help but notice.

‘How about we do that every week?!’ Master Osamu suggested.

Mihara’s eyes lit up again, ‘Really?’

‘Yeah.’ smiled Master Osamu, ‘It was fun.’

Mihara couldn’t hide his glee as he hugged him enthusiastically, ‘Thank you Master!’ Master Osamu hugged him back.

‘No problem.’ he smiled hugging him closer, ‘Any time.’ he let Mihara go, ‘Go have a bath and get some clean dry clothes on! I’m not having you get sick.’

‘Ok.’ Mihara replied walking off.

Master Osamu thought, ‘To think something so simple could work so well!’ he smiled, ‘Mihara is so cute!’

Four days later, Master Osamu and Mihara were walking to dinner when Mihara heard a Master hitting his Slave for giving birth to a daughter.

‘What am I supposed to do with a girl?! I need a son!?’ he kicked her.

Mihara clenched his teeth and fists, he thought, ‘Don’t do it!’ he heard her scream and stepped in the way, ‘Stop it!’

The Master struck him to the floor, ‘How dare you interfere!?’ he kicked him in the ribs, ‘You’re nothing more than a Slave!’

Master Osamu pushed him off and stood in-between them in his true form, ‘He is my Slave, I handle his discipline, not you!’

Mihara was scared, ‘My discipline?! No! You idiot! Why’d you do something like that?! Even though he’s not like Master Kane in many ways he’d definitely be the same as him in a situation like this!’

‘I am taking your Slave and your newborn off you too! For gross misconduct!’ he yelled, ‘Now get out of my sight!’ the other Master left in a rush, he went up to the woman, ‘Are you ok?’

‘Yes.’ he helped her up, ‘Thank you Master Osamu.’ he passed her to the guards.

‘See to it that she is tended to by the doctor and get her new-born from the nursery, they are moving rooms tonight.’ they nodded and took her. Master Osamu went up to Mihara, who was still on the floor, he slapped him and his claws cut him slightly, he folded his arms, ‘Care to explain what the hell you were playing at?’

Mihara barely moved as blood fell from his cut, ‘I’m sorry Master. Please don’t be angry with me.’

Master Osamu replied, ‘I’m not angry at you. I’m furious with you!’ Mihara closed his eyes and hung his head low in fear, ‘What were you thinking?’ Mihara took a calming breath.

‘Please! I just wanted to help her. I know how much a beating like that hurts!’ he was shaking, ‘And I know she had a daughter which is not what a Master wants! But, it’s not her fault, she didn’t ask to be used as a breeder! She didn’t ask to have a girl that would only anger her Master! She didn’t ask for any of this!’ Mihara explained clenching his fists, ‘She’s innocent!’

‘Do you have any idea what could have happened if I didn’t step in when I did?’ asked Master Osamu obviously irritated.

‘Please! Forgive me. I swear, I won’t do anything like that ever again!’ Mihara pleaded.

Master Osamu started tapping his foot, ‘What am I going to do with you?’ Mihara’s body went cold, then, the collar shocked him, ‘You know I have to punish you to discourage this kind of behavior!’ he grabbed his arm and pulled him up, forcing eye contact, ‘I really want to lock you away right now.’

His grip hurt as he struggled, ‘Please! Don’t! I’ve learnt my lesson, I swear! I won’t cause you anymore trouble.’ Master Osamu held him up by his shirt and Mihara grabbed his hands that were gripping his shirt, ‘I’m sorry. I’m really sorry Master! Please calm down!’ he tried avoiding eye contact as his Master’s piercing gaze made him shudder. Mihara grimaced in pain as he was forcibly pinned to the wall.

Master Osamu softened his grip, ‘Are you ok?’ all his anger turned to unease.

Mihara held his side, ‘No.’ his breathing worsened, ‘It hurts!’

‘Where? Your side?’ asked Master Osamu genuinely concerned. Mihara crumbled slightly, ‘Mihara?’

‘I think……he broke……my ribs……!’ Mihara explained.

‘WHAT?!’ Master Osamu exclaimed. He examined him.

‘That bastard has broken three of Mihara’s ribs!’ Master Osamu thought gritting his teeth. He gently held Mihara’s chin, ‘I am going to heal you, but, this doesn’t mean you’re forgiven!’ Mihara’s eyes widened as he kissed him.

Mihara felt Master Osamu’s tongue invade his mouth as he was pushed back against the wall again, his pain faded away and Master Osamu moved away, Mihara caught his breath, ‘Thank you Master!’

Master Osamu scowled at Mihara, ‘I am still mad at you Mihara. All you had to do was walk away but instead you interfered and got hurt!’

‘I’m sorry I did that!’ Mihara lowered his head again, ‘I’ll be obedient from now on. Please forgive me! I hate it when you’re mad at me.’

‘What if I don’t want to forgive you?’ Master Osamu asked bluntly, Mihara flinched, ‘What will you do about it?’

Mihara started shaking, ‘I will do whatever it takes to stop you being mad at me! But, please!’ he bowed with his head to the floor, ‘Please, don’t hurt me! I’ll listen to you from now on I will, I’ll be everything you expect of me, so please don’t punish me.’

Master Osamu’s eyes widened as he stepped back shocked, he wasn’t expecting this reaction, his heart sank to the pit of his stomach seeing him like this, ‘Mihara?’ he calmed himself seeing Mihara flinch at the mention of his name, he knelt down, ‘Please don’t be scared of me.’ Mihara looked at him, ‘I don’t want you to fear me.’ Master Osamu continued, ‘Please, don’t fear me.’ he offered his hand.

Mihara swallowed his fear as his trembling hand took hold of Master Osamu’s strong steady hand, ‘I truly am sorry Master!’

‘It’s ok Mihara.’ he pulled him into a hug, ‘I’m sorry I hit you.’ he wiped the blood from his cheek, ‘I didn’t mean to scratch you.’

‘No, I’m sorry Master! I’m sorry I made you mad at me!’ replied Mihara trembling, ‘I swear, I won’t do it again.’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘And today was such a good day too!’ he stood up, ‘You go to dinner. I’ll be there shortly!’

Mihara stood up and grabbed his arm, ‘Please! I’m….I’m…scared….to be alone….right now…’

‘That Master won’t be back.’ Master Osamu explained.

Mihara grip increased, ‘Please Master!’

Master Osamu thought, ‘One day he can’t stand being touched by me and then the next he’s clinging to me like this? Just how badly did my son mess him up?

‘Ok.’ replied Master Osamu, ‘Let’s go together.’ he led him into the dining room and sat. Mihara sat remaining as still and as submissive as possible. Master Osamu was visibly irritated.

Mihara thought, ‘He’s still mad at me!? What do I do? How do I make this better?’ he glanced over briefly to look at Master Osamu but quickly turned back, ‘He’s definitely still mad at me!’ he became even more nervous which irritated Master Osamu more.

Master Osamu thought, ‘Why the hell is he acting so nervous?! I’ve told him time and time again, once his punishment is over that’s it! What’s wrong with him?’ he remembered how he clung to him begging not to be left alone, ‘What the hell happened? He was clinging to me earlier and now….’ he picked up his drink and saw Mihara flinch at his movements, ‘Why is he flinching!?’

They finished dinner and Mihara quietly followed Master Osamu back to bed, they both got in bed and Mihara curled up looking the other way trembling, almost as if he was expecting and fearing he’d do something to him.

Master Osamu silently sighed and lay back to back, ‘Goodnight Mihara.’

Mihara was shocked to hear him say that and stopped trembling, ‘G…Goodnight Master…’ he lay awake all-night scared Master Osamu would do something and Master Osamu lay awake all-night wondering why Mihara wasn’t sleeping.

Morning broke and Mihara got up, ‘I’ll get you your breakfast.’ he left so quickly Master Osamu barely had time to sit up to protest.

Master Osamu huffed, ‘He couldn’t wait to get away from me huh? He’ll try his best to avoid me all day.’ he looked at the chain attached to the foot of the bed he had used once before, ‘Should I let him?’ he remembered seeing his bruising from being restrained before and closed his eyes, ‘I have no idea what to do?’ he opened his eyes, ‘I’m so unsure. I’m not used to being unsure!’

Mihara got breakfast keeping conversation short and went back. He stopped at the door and took a breath, ‘Here Master.’ he placed it on his lap and opened the curtains, ‘I’m going to help the cleaning staff today. I hope that’s ok?’ he picked up all the laundry and avoided staying still. He was about to leave, ‘I’ll see you later Master.’

‘STOP! That’s an ORDER!’ Master Osamu ordered. Mihara froze, ‘You remember my rules?’

Mihara went cold, ‘We always eat our meals together.’ he whimpered.

‘Don’t disobey me, Mihara.’ Master Osamu said forcing Mihara to stay. Mihara knelt on the floor at his bedside, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ Mihara flinched. Master Osamu moved over and patted on the bed, ‘Come here.’

He had masterfully shackled him with words alone, Mihara knelt on the furthest possible edge failing to gain some distance as Master Osamu pulled him in, ‘You can’t eat if you’re that far away.’ he felt Mihara tense up.

They ate together though Mihara barely had a thing, Mihara smiled, ‘I’ll take the plates and laundry out now Master.’

‘No, you won’t!’ Master Osamu ordered and Mihara froze, ‘You’re going to get changed because we are going out.’

Mihara was shocked, ‘Out?!’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘We’re going to have a camping weekend, just the two of us!’

‘What?!’ asked Mihara, ‘But I thought….?’

‘You thought what?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara nervously stroked and squeezed his arm, ‘I thought you were furious with me still and…..’ he couldn’t complete his sentence.

‘You feared I was going to hurt you again.’ Master Osamu said, he sighed, ‘That’s why I want us to be alone for a while, because when it’s just the two of us we seem to get along just fine!’ he held his chin forcing him gently to look at him, ‘Would you like to go camping with me?’

Mihara relaxed and smiled, ‘Yes, I’d like that very much!’

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘Where’d all that fear go?’

Mihara chuckled slightly, ‘Don’t ask me!’ he looked Master Osamu straight in the eye, ‘Do you even know how to set up a campsite?’

‘You cheeky little runt!’ exclaimed Master Osamu, ‘I’ll have you know I spend half my life in campsites!’

Mihara asked bluntly, ‘But how many of them have you set up?’ Master Osamu blushed realizing the number was zero, he had always had servants to do that stuff for him, he was rendered speechless.

He sat back and folded his arms, ‘I’m not on trial here?’ Mihara started laughing, ‘It’s nice to hear you laughing! I don’t like it when you’re quiet!’

Mihara asked, ‘Are you sure it’s going to be ok for you to be away from the castle for that long?! I know your work here is important!’

‘Yeah, but somethings are even more important.’ answered Master Osamu.

They left and started setting up their campsite, Mihara chuckled, ‘What?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘We’ll be here until sunset if you don’t get a grip!’ mocked Mihara.

Master Osamu exclaimed, ‘Oi! Watch it! I’m not that bad!’ the tent collapsed before him and Mihara stifled his laugh, ‘It’s meant to do that!’

Mihara walked over and helped, ‘No, it’s not! Come here.’ Mihara fixed it and smiled, ‘Right then, I will go hunting while you gather firewood!’

‘Are you giving me an order?!’ asked Master Osamu, he folded his arms, ‘Where’d you get the nerve?!’

Mihara asked, ‘Did you bring any weapons or do I have to make some to catch our dinner?’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘Fine. I’ll let you catch dinner! But you have to promise to be careful!’

‘Now will you answer my question?!’ exclaimed Mihara.

Master Osamu opened a chest and pulled out a bow and some arrows, ‘Do you know how to use this sort of thing?’

‘Load. Aim and shoot!’ replied Mihara.

‘You’re getting an attitude Mihara.’ said Master Osamu.

Mihara answered, ‘You can stop me if it bothers you!’

Master Osamu replied, ‘No, I like the confidence you have.’ he held his chin, ‘I really want to kiss you right now.’ Mihara blushed, ‘Is that all it takes to destroy your new-found confidence?’

‘No.’ he answered unsure of what to do next. Master Osamu chuckled and Mihara grew nervous, ‘Ok maybe.’

Master Osamu let Mihara go, ‘I won’t do it. I can tell you don’t want me to.’ he went to get firewood and Mihara grabbed his arm pulling him into a kiss.

He pulled away, ‘Don’t get any funny ideas, that was just…urm….a thank you……’

Master Osamu asked, ‘A thank you? For what?’

Mihara explained, ‘Bringing me camping. Letting me out the castle. Being so nice. Being so understanding. Not hitting me. Master’s aren’t normally like that.’

‘I….’ Master Osamu blushed, ‘I’m going to get the firewood!’ he left.

Mihara blushed realizing what he had done, ‘Did I really just kiss him?! I have to stop letting myself get swept away like this, if I let it happen again, I might lose my last chance at freedom.’ he caught four fish and headed back to camp after descaling and gutting them.

He watched as Master Osamu failed to start a campfire, he chuckled shaking his head as he walked over, ‘Let me show you.’ he created a spark them blow on it to trigger the spread.

Master Osamu whistled, ‘That’s impressive! You know your stuff I’ll give you that!’ Master Osamu complimented.

‘You’ll be surprised what humans can learn when we have to.’ explained Mihara.

‘Humans! The great adaptors!’ Master Osamu proclaimed, they laughed.

Mihara put sticks through the fish and placed them near the fire to cook, ‘I caught two each, I hope you’re hungry.’

‘Starving.’ smiled Master Osamu.

‘What are you smiling at?’ Mihara asked.

Master Osamu explained, ‘You’re so calm and confident out here. It’s nice. Why aren’t you like that in the castle?’

Mihara explained, ‘Master Kane made that castle my prison there isn’t really a single room that he didn’t hit, intimidate or rape me in.’ Mihara’s face darkened, ‘I can’t think of a single good memory.’ he sighed, ‘Even my good memories are tainted.’

‘I’m sorry.’ replied Master Osamu, Mihara looked at him shocked, ‘I’m sorry he did that to you. After the year is up. If you choose me I’d like to take you away to my castle.’ Mihara looked away, ‘Don’t worry I won’t force you to leave. Naturally, all the servants will come too. The castle will be abandoned until a suitable new owner is found, or we could use it as a summer get away.’

‘You’ve put a lot of thought into it.’ replied Mihara, ‘What will you do if I don’t accept and demand to leave after the year is up?’

‘Let you leave and nurse my bruised ego.’ answered Master Osamu. He lay back looking at the sky, ‘I sincerely hope you choose to stay with me, even if we never connect on a romantic level.’ Mihara eyes widened, ‘I just like spending time with you.’

Mihara looked away and blushed, ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘You blush a lot!’ Mihara blushed even more, Master Osamu sighed, ‘Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone!’ Master Osamu put his jacket over him, ‘You look a little cold.’

Mihara pulled it over him more, ‘Thank you.’

They ate and talked for hours until Mihara yawned, ‘You tired?’

Mihara nodded, ‘It’s been a long day.’

Master Osamu opened the tent flap for him, ‘Go get some sleep then.’

‘There’s not much room in there.’ answered Mihara.

‘Don’t worry, I’ll be sleeping out here.’ said Master Osamu.

Mihara protested, ‘That’s not fair! You helped set all this up just as much as I did!’ he grabbed his hand, ‘Needs must.’ he pulled him in and zipped up the entrance. Master Osamu lay on his side as Mihara did the same facing the same way, ‘See if we sleep like this we’re sure to fit.’

‘Are you sure you’re ok with lying so close to me?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘I’ll be fine.’ he replied settling down. Master Osamu wrapped his arm round his waist and entangled their legs.

‘If you’re uncomfortable you can push me away.’ Master Osamu replied hearing his heart rate increase drastically, ‘I won’t be offended.’

Mihara felt warm and smiled, ‘It’s quite alright.’ he settled, ‘At least this way I won’t be cold.’ he fell asleep.

In the morning, Mihara woke with Master Osamu’s arms still tightly wrapped around him, he blushed remembering last night, ‘Why’d I let him sleep with me like this?! This is so embarrassing!’ he tried to move but was pulled in.

‘And where do you think you’re going?’ smiled Master Osamu.

‘You’re awake?’ asked Mihara.

Master Osamu opened his eyes, ‘I’ve been awake for hours, I just didn’t want to wake you. You looked so peaceful.’

‘We have to get up some time.’ replied Mihara.

‘I know.’ Master Osamu answered, ‘Just ten more minutes.’ his grip increased, ‘Please.’

Mihara chuckled, ‘I don’t really have a choice do I?’

Master Osamu smiled and huffed, ‘No. Not really!’

Eventually, he let go and Mihara foraged for roots and berries for breakfast.

Mihara returned with a bucket full, ‘We did bring food with us you know?!’ exclaimed Master Osamu.

‘These are to complement our main dishes.’ Mihara explained smiling.

They had the perfect day, Master Osamu smiled, ‘I’ll go hunt dinner if you go gather firewood.’

Mihara answered, ‘I don’t mind hunting.’

‘You hunted last night. It’s my turn.’ smiled Master Osamu.

Mihara nodded and went to collect firewood while doing so the same piece of wood was picked up by two different people, Mihara looked up to see who it was, he was shocked to see Tarvan.

Tarvan smiled, ‘Mihara?!’ he hugged him, ‘What have you been doing all this time?’

Mihara hugged him back, ‘Tarvan!? What are you doing here?’

‘There’s more food and resources around these parts!’ exclaimed Tarvan, ‘Plus, we wanted to stay in the area so you could find us. And besides we heard the news, I can’t believe you killed Master Kane!’

Mihara remembered Master Osamu, ‘Tarvan you have to leave now!’

‘Why?’ asked Tarvan, he noticed the collar, ‘What happened? Why’d you have that collar on again?’

‘A lot has happened! I’m sorry but you can’t be here! If he finds you out here….’ before he could finish Master Osamu appeared with rabbits.

‘Mihara? Who’s your friend?’ he asked.

Mihara went cold turning, ‘No one! We just met!’

Master Osamu studied the man with Mihara and smiled, ‘Red hair, muscular build, dark skin. You must be the ex-slave Tarvan.’

Tarvan stepped back, ‘Crap!’ he dropped the firewood, ‘You’re a Master!’ he grabbed hold of Mihara’s arm, ‘Mihara! Come on we have to run!’

Master Osamu held Mihara’s other arm, pulled him close and away from Tarvan, ‘No, he stays with me.’ his eyes narrowed, ‘Leave while I’ll still let you.’

Tarvan stepped back, ‘Mihara? What is going on?’

Mihara explained briefly, ‘This is Master Osamu, he’s my new Master. And he’s Master Kane’s father, he came to bury his son and took me as his new Slave. I’ll be fine, I promise. Please go!’ Tarvan nodded and ran off.

Master Osamu’s grip on Mihara’s arm increased, ‘You lied to me.’ Mihara flinched, ‘You swore you’d never lie to me!’

‘I’m sorry Master. I just didn’t want you to hurt him! I feared if I told you who he was you’d capture him.’ replied Mihara, struggling as Master Osamu’s grip increased, ‘Please! Let go! You’re hurting me!’ he couldn’t break free, ‘Master, please!’

Master Osamu increased his grip and pulled him in, ‘Feel lucky I couldn’t get your collar off.’ Mihara looked at him confused as he let him go, Mihara backed up rubbing his now bruised arm, ‘Because I know you can’t walk beyond the posts is the only reason I let you go. Without that collar you hate so much you’d be tied up right now!’

Mihara looked away scared, ‘Are you mad at me again?’

‘A little.’ answered Master Osamu, he saw Mihara tense up, ‘But relax, I am not going to punish you.’

‘Why?’ asked Mihara.

Master Osamu explained, ‘Because I want you only to have good memories with me. I’ve been failing at that dream so far.’

Mihara replied, ‘You’re a Master and I’m your Slave, are happy memories really achievable?’

‘Come on. We’re going.’ replied Master Osamu.

‘What? I thought you said we’d be out here until tomorrow?’ answered Mihara.

Master Osamu placed his hands on his shoulders and sighed, ‘I’m sorry, I just really need to get you back. I’m scared if we stay out here, you’ll run away again.’

‘Master?’ he pushed him off, ‘I’m not going to run away. You said it yourself, I can’t run away because of the collar! The shocks will knock me out!’

‘Mihara. We are going back to the castle.’ Master Osamu said, ‘Now!’ he yelled, he calmed his voice as he continued, ‘And if I have to drag you there, I will!’ Mihara flinched, ‘What’ll it be Mihara?’

Mihara sighed and submitted, ‘Ok.’ he offered his hand, ‘I’ll go back with you.’

Master Osamu replied, ‘Smart move.’ he grabbed his arm and took him back to the castle.

The whole way back Mihara could tell Master Osamu was getting more and more irritated and feared the repercussions, he stayed as quiet and submissive as possible, Master Osamu’s grip didn’t let up for a second. They got back and the gates slammed shut behind them.

Master Osamu said hiding his eyes with his hair, ‘I’m sorry Mihara.’ his grip increased.

‘Master?! Let go of me!’ he was pulled away, ‘Master!? Stop! Please!’ several guards grabbed Mihara and restrained him at Master Osamu’s order, ‘Master what are you doing?’

‘I’m sorry Mihara. I have to do this!’ replied Master Osamu.

‘Have to do what?’ asked Mihara, he didn’t have to wonder long as the blacksmith came out with a branding iron, ‘Master! NO!’ he started struggling violently, ‘No please! Master don’t!’ he couldn’t break free, ‘Master! Please I’m begging you!’

‘I’m sorry Mihara I wanted this to be easy and gentle, but seeing Tarvan has forced my hand, I cannot run the risk of you escaping from me!’ explained Master Osamu, ‘If I brand you, even if you escape, the second you’re caught you will be recognized as my Slave and brought back to me. It’s for your safety too, no other Master will dare lay a finger on you after seeing my mark.’ Mihara was cut out of his top.

Mihara struggled even more as the branding iron was getting hotter, ‘Master! Please! Don’t do this! It won’t change anything! I can’t leave because of the collar right? I’ll keep the collar on, I’ll obediently do as you say, I swear on my life! Just please! Don’t do this!’ tears filled his eyes as fear grew.

The blacksmith said, ‘It’s ready do you want to proceed?’

‘MASTER PLEASE!’ Mihara cried in hysterics.

Master Osamu closed his eyes and turned away, ‘I’m sorry Mihara.’ Mihara’s heart sank and started struggling more as the blacksmith came closer.

‘NO! GET AWAY FROM ME!’ Mihara yelled. He felt the heat coming off the branding iron and tensed every muscle waiting for the burn when he heard Master Osamu calling it off.

‘Stop!’ Master Osamu said, the blacksmith stepped back.

Mihara looked at him, ‘Please tell me he’s come to his senses!’

‘Branding the front is pointless. Brand his lower back.’ Mihara’s body went cold hearing those words.

Mihara begged, ‘Master please!’

Master Osamu replied, ‘It’ll only hurt for a few seconds Mihara. I’ll make sure of that.’

Mihara managed to get free, but was wrestled to the floor, ‘NO! GET OFF ME!’ Master Osamu grabbed him and pinned him to the wall.

‘Calm down Mihara!’ said Master Osamu.

‘Calm down!? Calm down! You’re seriously telling me to calm down when you want to burn a symbol onto my skin!’ replied Mihara. He struggled but his Master’s grip wouldn’t loosen, tears formed in his eyes as fear overwhelmed his senses, ‘Please! Don’t brand me!’ he couldn’t hold back his fearful tears any longer, ‘Please!’

‘I have had no sign of a commitment from you, you always talk about leaving after the year is up. I don’t ever want to let you go! I want to keep you. It took seeing how you acted with Tarvan for me to see it!’ Master Osamu answered, ‘I’m sorry Mihara.’ he hugged him, ‘I’m sorry.’

Mihara struggled to get away, ‘No! Let me go! I’m not going to let you do this to me!’

Master Osamu said, ‘I’m not going to.’

Mihara immediately thought he was lying, ‘You can’t trick me like that!’

‘I’m not tricking you.’ he let go and Mihara backed away, he grabbed the branding iron, Mihara put his back to the wall and cowered, but he cooled it in a bucket of water, Mihara calmed, ‘I am not going to do it. I’m sorry I lost my head!’ he stepped towards him and Mihara whimpered, trembling, ‘I am so sorry.’

Mihara answered, ‘You stay away from me!’ with guards and Master Osamu in the room and even more guards at the exit he had no escape route. Words were all he had.

Master Osamu looked at him and sighed, ‘Oh no! You’re shaking!’ he stepped back, ‘Everyone step back, give him some room.’ everyone backed away, but this didn’t help to sooth Mihara’s anxiety in the slightest, ‘Please Mihara. I won’t try anything like this again. Just come here.’

Mihara refused to move, ‘No.’ he fell to the floor, ‘I’m not letting you touch me ever again.’

Master Osamu’s eyes burnt red, ‘Mihara, I changed my mind because I realized I didn’t want to hurt you like that, but I can change my mind again, just as easily. The beasts way of thinking isn’t always rational! Help me to calm down. Please!’

Mihara thought, ‘If I stay here he might change his mind again and brand me, if I run he’ll catch me and definitely brand me, but if I go over to him, I might get out of this!’ he shakily stepped away from the wall, ‘Ok.’ he walked over.

Master Osamu pulled him in the final few steps, ‘Good boy.’ Master Osamu hugged Mihara, ‘I’m sorry you must have been scared.’ Mihara was trembling, ‘Everyone leave and take the branding iron with you.’ the blacksmith picked it up and Mihara backed up against the wall again trembling, ‘It’s ok Mihara.’ Mihara looked at him, ‘No one’s going to hurt you. I won’t let them.’ he walked up to him and hugged him again.

Mihara said, ‘Master, please don’t ever do that to me again.’

Master Osamu let go and stroked his face causing Mihara to whimper in both fear and disgust, ‘What’s the matter?’

Mihara pleaded, ‘Please don’t touch me.’

Master Osamu stepped back in shock, ‘Mihara? I’m ok now. I’ve calmed down.’

‘But I’ve not!’ explained Mihara, ‘You tried to brand me! What difference would doing that to me, make to my decision to leave!? Apart from cementing it!’

‘I called it off didn’t I?’ asked Master Osamu, ‘I know that doesn’t make it right! But that has to count for something!’

Mihara yelled, ‘WHY?’ Master Osamu backed away, ‘Master? I really don’t want to be around you right now. Promise me you’ll let me be alone for a while.’

Master Osamu sighed closing his eyes, ‘As long as you stay within the castle walls I will permit it.’ he looked at him, ‘But make no mistake, you go where you’re not allowed, severe penalties will await you.’

Mihara sighed, ‘Story of my life!’ he left without another word.

Master Osamu punched a hole through the wall, ‘DAMN IT!’

Mihara went to the garden and climbed the tree. He sat as high as possible to see over the wall, he looked out and sighed, ‘Why won’t he just let me go? Why does every Master want to cage me? What did I ever do?’ he remembered something Master Kane once told him, ‘Something about you inspires violence, like you invite your own beating.’ Mihara lay back on the branch, ‘What did he mean? I’m pretty sure I was begging him to stop not to give me more!’ he remembered something Master Osamu said, ‘How can you get such a rise out of me?’ Mihara sighed, ‘How the hell would I know?’

Ren walked out and called up to him, ‘Hey Mihara!?’ Mihara looked down, ‘Can I come up?’ Mihara nodded.

Mihara looked out to the horizon again as he climbed up, ‘Did Master Osamu order you to guard me!?’

‘No, he doesn’t know I’m here.’ Ren said, he sat, ‘I heard what happened.’

‘About what a lot has happened to me since you forced me to return.’ replied Mihara.

Ren answered, ‘I mean about Master Osamu branding you. He didn’t did he?’

Mihara shook his head, ‘He changed his mind.’ Mihara explained, ‘If you’re here to talk me into forgiving him then you can just get lost!’

‘No, I’m not.’ replied Ren, ‘I just wanted to say, that I am really sorry.’ Mihara looked at him, ‘I was trying to protect the others and so I threw you to the biggest wolf in the woods instead.’

Mihara chuckled, ‘It’s alright. I’ve made the self-preservation choice more than once.’ his face darkened, ‘If I hadn’t made those choices I may have never been in this mess to start with.’

‘That must be why you never make the self-preservation choice again you regret making it.’ Ren sighed, ‘How are you still so nice and forgiving?’ asked Ren, ‘If I’d gone through what you have I’d be so messed up!’

‘I am messed up.’ replied Mihara looking back to the horizon, ‘But if he keeps his promise like I hope he will, in seven months he’ll let me leave.’

Ren asked, ‘And if he doesn’t?’

Mihara sighed, ‘I’ll leave here one way or another! If he doesn’t let me go I won’t stay under his thumb like I did with Master Kane.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Ren.

‘If he refuses to let me go, then, I’ll leave here in a wooden overcoat.’ said Mihara.

Ren exclaimed, ‘You mean suicide?!’

Mihara held his mouth shut and whispered, ‘Don’t talk so loud! If he hears I’m in so much trouble!’

Ren pushed him off about to respond when Mihara started falling out the tree, he hit every branch on the way down and hit the floor with a thud, he landed on his front, Ren yelled, ‘Mihara!? Are you ok?’ he started climbing down seeing he was non-responsive, ‘Hang on I’m coming!’ he got to him as he woke up. Mihara grimaced and tried to get up, he failed and fell again, ‘No! Mihara stay down! I’ll go get Master Osamu to help.’

‘NO!’ exclaimed Mihara grabbing his shirt, ‘Anyone but him!’

‘I’m sorry Mihara, I can’t keep this from him.’ he left to find Master Osamu, he thought, ‘Why doesn’t he want Master Osamu?’ he found him, ‘Excuse me….Master Osamu…..? It’s…..Mihara…’

Master Osamu pinned him to the wall, ‘What’s happened to Mihara?’

‘He fell out the tree.’ whimpered Ren, he was dropped and Master Osamu ran to the tree.

He wasn’t there, Ren who had just got up was knocked to the floor, ‘WHERE IS HE?!’

Ren sat up, ‘That’s where I left him? I swear!’

‘The doctor!’ Master Osamu ran towards his office, ‘MIHARA!?’ he saw the doctor treating his wounds, ‘Mihara, what the hell happened?’

Mihara shrunk into himself but grimaced in pain, ‘Mihara? I told you, your ribs are broken. You need to take it easy!’

Master Osamu repeated, ‘Mihara, what the hell happened?’

‘I fell out a tree.’ explained Mihara.

‘And what exactly were you doing up a tree?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara refused to look at him, ‘I was looking at the horizon.’

‘Why?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘Because I wanted to!’ exclaimed Mihara, doing that hurt him, he calmed his voice, ‘Because I wanted to and no one could stop me.’ his ribs hurt again.

‘Mihara you need to calm down.’ the doctor took his arm, ‘The bleeding has stopped.’

‘BLEEDING!?’ Master Osamu exclaimed, ‘Tell me everything! Right now!’

The doctor explained, ‘Along with some cuts and bruises, he has several broken ribs, a concussion, a broken leg and broken arm. Everything else seems ok.’

‘Get out the way! I’ll heal him.’ said Master Osamu walking over.

Mihara used his unbroken arm and leg to keep him away, ‘No!’

Master Osamu stepped back, ‘What?’

‘I said. No.’ replied Mihara.

‘Excuse me?!’ asked Master Osamu, ‘I’m going to heal you. You won’t feel pain anymore.’

Mihara looked at him, ‘I don’t want you to heal me.’

‘Why?’ Master Osamu asked, ‘Mihara! You’re not making sense!’

‘Please Master! Leave me alone! Please!’ pleaded Mihara, ‘Please Master!’

Master Osamu stepped back, ‘So, you’d rather be in pain then have me touch you!?’ Mihara’s lack of reaction told him all he needed to know, ‘FINE!’ he left abruptly.

The doctor turned to Mihara, ‘You should have let him heal you, you’re going to be in agony and you’re going to find it next to impossible to walk around.’

‘I know that. I just really, really don’t want him touching me right now!’ he looked at him, ‘I know it seems stupid, I mean, he’s not even the one who inflicted these wounds!’

The doctor sighed, ‘Mihara. I know this is a strange situation to find yourself in. But, can’t you try and make the best of it?’

‘I’m sick of trying to make the best of this! Because the best of this, is a living hell!’ Mihara said through his tears, ‘We had a perfect day together and then Tarvan showed up and then, he threatens to brand me and now this!’ he wiped his tears, ‘I just want to be free. I’m sick of this! I’m sick of being scared all the time, I’m sick of watching everything I say and do and I’m sick of being a Slave!’

‘Mihara. You were Master Kane’s Slave and now you are Master Osamu’s Slave, you are never going to be free ever again. Do not make things harder for yourself and just accept it!’ said the doctor realizing Master Osamu was listening.

Mihara caught on quick and sighed, ‘You’re right. Can I have some pain relief? So, I can go apologize to Master and ask him to heal me.’ he looked to the floor, ‘I may have to do a little groveling and I’d rather not be in agony.’

‘It’ll be fine. He seems like quite a kind Master. You landed on your feet with him!’ replied the doctor.

Mihara smiled, ‘Yeah, when he’s not threatening to brand me!’

The doctor passed him a crutch, ‘To help you walk.’

Mihara took it, ‘Thank you.’ he hobbled out and saw Master Osamu down the hall walking away. He called out, ‘Master!’ he tried to follow but fell.

Master Osamu caught him, ‘Easy!’

‘How’d you get over to me so fast?’ asked Mihara.

‘I’m fast!’ replied Master Osamu, ‘Are you ok?’

Mihara regained his footing using Master Osamu for support, ‘I’m sorry Master, please I didn’t mean what I said, please if it’s not too late, will you heal me?’

Master Osamu held his chin and tilted his head back, ‘Of course it’s not too late.’ he kissed him, healing his wounds, ‘How’d you feel now?’

Mihara smiled, ‘Sleepy.’

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘It’s because of the pain relief, now you have no pain it’s just making you dozy.’ Mihara leaned on him.

‘I want to go to bed.’ said Mihara, he fell asleep resting on Master Osamu.

Master Osamu chuckled shaking his head, ‘You have displayed the full range of human emotion in the past 24hours. No wonder you’re tired.’ he picked him up, ‘Come on you!’

The doctor came out as he was about to leave, ‘Master Osamu?’ he turned back, ‘Please look after him.’

Master Osamu nuzzled Mihara in his sleep, ‘That’s all I want to do.’ he left and placed him gently on the bed, his eyes burnt red. He snapped himself out of it, ‘Stop it! He’s fine, he’s safe.’ he couldn’t suppress the urge to lie with him, ‘How do you manage to get such a rise out of me?!’ he saw him curl up in his sleep, ‘You’re not even awake!’

Mihara cuddled up to him in his sleep and babbled, ‘M….Master….’

Master Osamu blushed, ‘Damn it!’ he looked at his face, ‘Hurry up and love me.’ he hugged him, ‘It’s really hard being this close to you and not having my way with you.’

A few hours later, Mihara woke up to see him lying on Master Osamu, he got up abruptly, ‘Sorry I didn’t know I was lying on you!’ he grabbed his head, ‘My head feels so foggy!’

‘It will for a little while.’ smiled Master Osamu, ‘Tell me. How do you feel about me now?’

Mihara looked away, ‘I’m still a little scared.’

‘I’m not going to do that to you ever again Mihara I swear!’ Master Osamu explained.

Mihara held his arm, ‘It’s not just today. I’m scared of you. Almost, all the time.’ he looked at him, ‘I have spent all this time with you and yet I don’t feel like I know you at all! I don’t know how to read your moods so I have no idea how to act around you, I don’t know what you expect from me. I don’t know what food you like! I don’t even know your full name!’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘You don’t need to read my moods, so act however you want to act.’

‘But what if how I want to act annoys you!? I don’t want to make you angry at me.’ Mihara replied.

‘Mihara? Ok, I promise if I don’t like the way you are acting, I will warn you before punishing you and all I expect from you is that you give me a chance. I know I didn’t handle seeing you with Tarvan well, quite frankly, it was a disaster. But, I’ve moved past my jealousy.’

‘JEALOUSY?!’ Mihara exclaimed, ‘Is that what that was?’

‘Yeah. I thought you knew that.’ said Master Osamu.

‘NO!’ Mihara replied.

Master Osamu explained, ‘I was jealous that you were so relaxed and natural with him and I got even more jealous knowing you may never be like that with me, then he touched you and I lost it!’

Mihara put his head in his hands, ‘Are you serious?!’ he looked at him, ‘Even if there was something between me and him, which there isn’t! He has a lover!’

‘You think I overreacted! And you’re right I did a little bit!’ answered Master Osamu.

‘A LITTLE BIT!’ Mihara exclaimed.

‘Ok, I overreacted a lot!’ replied Master Osamu.

Mihara sighed, ‘At least you can admit when you’re wrong. And I suppose you did stop before you actually branded me.’

‘I am so sorry I scared you like that. I’ll have the branding iron destroyed.’ replied Master Osamu, ‘Oh and by the way, my full name is Osamu Yoshikio.’

Mihara smiled, ‘Mihara Kura.’ Master Osamu smiled.

‘Nice name.’ Master Osamu held his hand, he flinched slightly, ‘You’re still flinching, but you’re allowing me to touch you again.’

Mihara gripped his hand, ‘I’m willing to give you a chance but if I decide otherwise, please don’t lock me away and force me to be with you.’

Master Osamu sighed and played with Mihara’s hand, ‘I’ll sincerely try not to.’

Mihara grew nervous, ‘Please tell me you’re joking!’

Master Osamu looked at him, ‘I wish I was.’

‘Ok?’ replied Mihara pushing his hand off.

‘I want to explain something to you and I don’t want you to freak out.’ said Master Osamu. Mihara nodded, ‘My species has another side, you see it as a physical change. But, it happens inside my head too, possessive animalistic characteristics can bubble up to the surface without the physical change, that’s why I did what I did.’

Mihara asked, ‘So, you’re not always in control of yourself?’

‘Not all the time no, so when I do, things like that can happen.’ answered Master Osamu.

‘Is there any way to stop it?’ asked Mihara.

‘Only one.’ answered Master Osamu.

Mihara asked, ‘What is it?’

Master Osamu explained without a glimmer of embarrassment, ‘Have sex with me.’

‘What?’ asked Mihara stunned.

‘If you have sex with me the possessive animal side of me will be numbed.’ replied Master Osamu.

Mihara moved away slightly feeling very nervous, ‘Ok?’

‘Like I said I’m into making love not raping.’ Master Osamu replied, ‘So, until you decide anything just try not to do anything that’ll set me off.’

‘Like what?’ asked Mihara.

‘Breaking the rules, I set for you.’ replied Master Osamu.

Mihara asked, ‘Is there anything else I can do? Cover myself in your scent? Would it help if you had me on a lead or something?’

‘I don’t want to restrain you with a collar and lead, you’re not a dog! But, the scent thing might not be a bad idea.’ Master Osamu answered, ‘Would you be ok with that?’

‘Yeah.’ replied Mihara, ‘It’s a better option than any other one we have.’

‘So, are you saying that obeying my rules isn’t an option?’ Master Osamu asked.

Mihara grew nervous, ‘No! That’s not what I meant! I swear, that’s not what I meant!’

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘I know that’s not what you meant. I was joking.’

Mihara sighed calming down, ‘Please don’t do that.’

‘Sorry.’ Master Osamu smiled.

Mihara picked his shirt from the wardrobe and put it on, ‘This enough?’

Master Osamu got up and smelt him, ‘No.’

‘What if I had a bath to wash away all the other scents and put your clothes on to cover me in your scent?’ asked Mihara.

‘You’ve put an awful lot of thought into this haven’t you?’ asked Master Osamu.

Mihara answered, ‘Anything I can do to prevent being branded and/or lashed. Trust me, I will do.’

‘You’re so cute!’ replied Master Osamu, ‘Yeah. Do that and I’ll leave you some clothes on the bed.’ he got up and put a chair outside the door, ‘I’ll wait out here for you.’ Mihara looked surprised, ‘What?’

‘You’re going to wait outside?’ asked Mihara.

Master Osamu replied, ‘Of course, what possible use will I be to you in here?’ he thought of something, ‘My son didn’t…..?’ Mihara’s violent blushing told him everything he needed to know, he cleared his throat, ‘Well I am certainly not going to do anything like that!’ he gently stroked Mihara’s arm, ‘I’m no peeping tom.’ he walked away removing his shirt, ‘This shirt was fresh on today but it should have absorbed most of my scent by now.’ he smelt it and nodded.

As he removed his trousers Mihara turned away, ‘There’s plenty of scent on these.’ he picked out a new outfit and noticed Mihara looking away, he smiled and put some trousers on. He went over to him shirtless, ‘Mihara?’ Mihara turned but turned back seeing him shirtless, ‘It’s alright, I’m not going to do anything.’ he turned Mihara’s head back to him, ‘Are you ok?’

‘Yeah.’ Mihara whimpered, trembling slightly.

Master Osamu let go and stepped back, ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Sorry, it’s just….every time before when I was in the same room as Master Kane and he was dressed like that, it usually meant only one thing.’ replied Mihara.

Master Osamu sighed, ‘You must have so many horrible memories.’

Mihara replied, ‘And then some.’

‘Go have your bath.’ he walked away and put a shirt on, ‘When you’re done. Come out.’ he left shutting the door behind him.

Mihara sighed relaxing, ‘Ok!’ he ran the bath for himself and got undressed, he saw his reflection in the mirror, ‘WOW! I hadn’t realized I had gotten so many scars!’ he looked at his back and fought back tears, ‘So many!’ he sighed and got in the bath, ‘I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised! Master Kane did hit me a lot over the past few months.’ he looked at his wrists, ‘I’ve lost so much weight. I didn’t even notice!’

He remembered the few times Master Osamu hit him, ‘Just a few more months and I’ll never have to worry about that again.’ he remembered all the times Master Osamu surprised him with kindness, ‘Not that I really do worry about it with him!’ he shook his head, ‘Stop it! If you let yourself get swept away in this, you’ll be trapped forever!’

Mihara dunked his head under the water to wash his hair and just stayed under, ‘It’s so peaceful like this!’ he sat up and inhaled. He looked around, ‘Is Master really going to stay out and wait for me?’

Mihara wrapped a towel round himself and saw the clothes Master Osamu left out for him, he put them on and stepped out, ‘I saw this coming.’ Master Osamu looked over and saw him wearing his clothes that were far too big for him, he stifled a laugh, ‘You don’t have to laugh!’

Master Osamu went back in and got a belt, ‘Let’s see if this’ll work.’ it was a failure, ‘You may need to wear your own trousers.’ Mihara chuckled, ‘What?’

He held the sleeves that fell passed his arms, ‘I feel like I’m a little kid playing dress up!’ he started laughing.

Master Osamu smiled, ‘You’re laughing again! I really like your laugh.’

Mihara blushed, ‘I’ll wear the top but we’re going to have to rethink the trousers.’

Master Osamu answered, ‘I have a tailor that can adjust it to fit you. If you’re willing. I promise I will regularly scent mark them so my scent won’t fade and I won’t lose it!’ Mihara nodded, ‘Ok.’ he called for his tailor and the clothes were amended to suit his stature.

Mihara turned to Master Osamu, ‘So, how do I look?’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Great.’ he gestured to his tailor to get out and he left quickly, ‘Mihara, come here.’

‘Why?’ asked Mihara.

‘Just do as I say.’ ordered Master Osamu, Mihara walked over to him and was pulled into a hug, ‘You smell too much of the tailor.’ he nuzzled his shoulder, scent marking it again. He did the other side too and smelt him again, ‘That’s done it! You only smell of me now.’

Mihara started to breathe easier again, ‘Is that all?’

Master Osamu put his head in his hand, ‘Oh no! I’ve scared you again haven’t I?’

‘Just a little.’ joked Mihara.

Master Osamu sighed, ‘Do you remember rule number five?’

Mihara thought back, ‘Five: you always tell me when you’re scared because I can’t always tell.’ he sighed sitting on the bed, ‘Sorry I keep breaking that rule!’

‘It’s ok.’ replied Master Osamu, Mihara looked at him as he sat next to him, ‘Can I kiss you?’ Mihara nodded and their lips gently caressed.

For the next two months, they gradually grew closer and closer. They went camping every week however now the perimeter was guarded but Mihara was happy to be out the castle for a little bit.

Master Osamu and Mihara came back from a camping weekend and had the dinner they caught.

Master Osamu put his arm round him but instead of flinching or batting him away Mihara gave no reaction whatsoever. He smiled, laughed and talked with everyone at the table, like it was the most natural thing to do.

Physical contact didn’t scare him so much anymore, instead Mihara seemed to enjoy Master Osamu’s company now. Every night over the past month Master Osamu always poured Mihara a drink.

Master Osamu thought, ‘Why isn’t it working? He must be feeling it! He’s been taking it for over a month now!’ he thought of something, ‘He’s not taking care of it himself is he? How? We share a room and everything! Do I need to up the dose!?’

They went to bed and Mihara got into bed first, Master Osamu got in next to him, ‘Mihara?’ he turned to him, ‘Would you be offended if I asked for a goodnight kiss?’

‘No.’ smiled Mihara. Master Osamu kissed him and Mihara kissed back.

Master Osamu backed away, ‘You kissed me back?! You’ve never done that before!’ he moved in close again, ‘I like it.’ he kissed him again, as it grew in intensity Master Osamu pushed Mihara onto his back, but instead of pushing him off, Mihara continued the kiss.

Master Osamu slipped his hand in his top, but Mihara still didn’t flinch or try to stop him, his hand slipped in his trousers and between his legs. Mihara finally flinched and sat up, ‘Sorry.’ he sighed heavily, ‘I can’t.’

Master Osamu sat back, ‘No, I’m sorry. I got too excited and got ahead of myself!’

Mihara looked at him, ‘You’re not mad?’

‘Of course not!’ replied Master Osamu, ‘I am the one in the wrong here! Ok? Not you! I stupidly and selfishly pushed your boundaries! I’m sorry. Please, don’t ever feel like you have to grin and bear it! If I am doing something you don’t like just say so!’

Mihara answered, ‘I’m sorry.’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘I’ll sleep somewhere else tonight, give you some space.’ he stood up and went to leave.

Mihara called out, ‘Master!? I don’t mind!’

‘I don’t want you to hate me.’ explained Master Osamu, ‘I’m worried if I stay here with you tonight, I will do something that will make you hate me.’ he left.

Mihara sighed and looked away, ‘I said I don’t mind.’

Three days later, Mihara and Master Osamu were arguing about Mihara leaving in just a few months’ time, ‘Master! You said if I choose to leave, you’ll let me! Now you’re getting agitated because the day is getting close! Why won’t you just let me go like you promised?!’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘If only my son hadn’t outbid me for you. You and I would be happy right now.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Mihara.

‘I would have made you mine, I would have restored your rights and shown you what it means to be loved.’ Master Osamu explained.

Mihara replied, ‘What?’

Master Osamu stoked his face, ‘I would have asked you to marry me!’ Mihara blushed, ‘I would have made you my lover and my husband.’

Mihara answered, ‘I don’t know how to answer that!’

‘If you decide to stay with me, that’s my intension.’ explained Master Osamu.

Mihara asked, ‘And then what? What will happen to me?’

‘You would be allowed to voice your opinions, you would be allowed to refuse a Master, you would be free.’ explained Master Osamu.

‘No, Master I wouldn’t.’ replied Mihara, ‘I’d be your husband and therefore your captive. A captive isn’t free! Yes, I could speak my mind and do what I want but every night or whenever you want it, I’d have to spread my legs for you!’

Master Osamu stepped back, ‘It wouldn’t be like that!’

‘Master, stop trying to convince me I’m better off with you!’ exclaimed Mihara, ‘All you’re doing is making me want to leave all the more!’

Master Osamu pinned him to the bed, Mihara’s heart rate increased dramatically, ‘You’re talking about escaping again. You know what that does to me!’

Mihara squirmed trying to get away, ‘Master! I’m sorry! Let me go, please!’

His grip increased, ‘Stop moving!’ he yelled. Mihara froze and whimpered.

Mihara looked at him, ‘Master, please calm down! You’re hurting and scaring me!’

Master Osamu couldn’t look at him, ‘Mihara, I don’t want to let you go yet.’ he sighed and let him go.

Mihara got up and went up to him, ‘Master? Please.’ he looked at him, ‘Let me leave like you promised.’ he sighed and looked down, ‘Please don’t be like Master Kane!’

‘Mihara.’ he clenched his fists, ‘Fine.’ he walked away and shut the door.

‘Master?’ he heard the door lock. He tried to open it, ‘Master! What are you doing? Let me out of here!’

‘I’m sorry Mihara.’ replied Master Osamu, ‘But I really don’t want to let you go.’

‘Master, please don’t do this!’ Mihara banged on the door, he heard retreating footsteps, ‘MASTER!?’ he got no reply and leaned against the door, ‘What the hell?’

He went to the window but he couldn’t fit he started looking round the room for something to help him open the door, but all the cupboards, drawers and boxes were empty. He thought, ‘Did Master plan this!? All his clothes are missing! Everything is gone!’

He looked everywhere but it was all stripped out. He tried breaking the door down with the furniture but it was to brittle to be of any use, he sat amongst the wreckage and sighed, ‘I don’t even know why I am bothering to break out of this room, I still have the fucking collar on!’

Mihara looked out the window and saw the guards bringing the posts closer to the castle again, his head slumped, ‘I should have been subtler. I should have asked how the manufacturing of the key for my collar was coming along. And enquired about a trip. I should have eased into it. I should have bloody known!’ he looked out the window again, ‘Why the hell did you do this!?’

Master Osamu saw him at window and jumped up scaring him, Mihara fell back into the room, ‘Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.’ he saw the mess he made, ‘You tried breaking out?’

Mihara answered getting up, ‘Yeah. Tried being the operative word.’

‘I’m sure you’ve noticed but I’ve had the posts brought in again.’ Master Osamu replied.

Mihara nodded and looked at him, ‘Why?’

‘Like I said I’m not ready to let you go just yet!’ Master Osamu explained.

‘So, you lied to me!’ replied Mihara, ‘You promised you’d let me go and now………!’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘I know you’re angry and I don’t blame you but give it time…..’

Mihara interrupted him, ‘TIME!? Time! I gave it a whole twelve months’ worth of time!’ Mihara turned his back on him, ‘Just leave me alone!’

Master Osamu asked, ‘Are you hungry? I can bring some food up for you.’

‘Don’t act like you care!’ Mihara picked up a broken piece of wood and threw it at Master Osamu, the window blocked it from hitting him, ‘I don’t want anything from you!’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘You’re too emotional to talk to right now. I’ll try again later when you’ve calmed down.’

‘Calmed down!?’ exclaimed Mihara, ‘I wouldn’t even be like this if you’d hadn’t locked me in this room! I mean seriously?! Do you even hear yourself!? You are trying to make me the bad guy here I am not falling for it!’

‘Mihara, if you ever wish to leave this room again, I suggest you change your attitude.’ Master Osamu warned.

Mihara huffed, ‘There it is.’ he shook his head, sighed and bowed, ‘As you command Master.’ he said sarcastically.

Master Osamu was shocked but left him.

Mihara sat in the corner of the room, Master Osamu’s words whirling round in his head, ‘Mihara, if you ever want to get out of this room again, I suggest you change your attitude.’ Mihara sighed, ‘He’s just the same as Master Kane.’ he remembered all the camping trips and fun they had together, ‘No. He is a million times worse!’ he buried his head in his lap, curled up further and started crying.

Later, that day Master Osamu knocked on the door, ‘Mihara?’

Mihara sighed, ‘What do you want?’

‘You haven’t eaten all day.’ stated Master Osamu.

Mihara replied, ‘So what?! Are you going to let me out of here so I can have something to eat?’ there was no response, ‘What? Do you want an apology for earlier? Because you’re not getting one!’

‘An apology wouldn’t hurt, but since you’re unwilling.’ Master Osamu answered, ‘Stay in there and starve. See if I care!’

Mihara huffed, ‘Now you show me the real you! I knew it was all just an act! I am glad I didn’t allow myself to be fooled again.’

‘You are being moved to my castle tomorrow, I have found a way we can travel while keeping your collar on.’ Master Osamu ordered, ‘I will expect you to be on your best behavior!’

Mihara stood up and kicked the door, ‘And if I’m not. I will expect you to do your worst!’

Master Osamu banged on the door expecting Mihara’s heartbeat and thoughts to race but no they both remained as steady as a rock, ‘Where did you get this attitude from?’

‘What do you expect?!’ Mihara answered, ‘The year is up and I chose to leave! I am not your Slave anymore! I have got nothing to lose now! So, go ahead! DO YOUR WORST! OSAMU!’

Master Osamu stepped back in shock, ‘What the hell is going on?! I have never seen this side of him before!?’

Master Osamu smirked, ‘Oh no Mihara! You have everything to lose. You have your food privileges, your travel rights and your overall freedom. I suggest you reconsider your course of action before it gets you in trouble.’

Mihara stood his ground until he heard Master Osamu leave and finally his legs gave way and he fell to the floor and exhaled.

Mihara took calming breaths, ‘Come on. Pull yourself together. Stand your ground. Don’t let him win.’ night fell and Mihara looked at the bed, ‘I am not sleeping here anymore!’ he pulled his pillow off and slept on the floor.

In the morning, Master Osamu came in to see Mihara sleeping on the floor, he looked at the bed and back to him, ‘He took a pillow but nothing else? Is this a futile form of protest?’ he went to wake him when Mihara opened his eyes but refused to look at him.

‘Don’t you dare touch me!’ he warned sitting up, ‘I’m going to ask one more time. Will you let me go!?’

‘No.’ replied Master Osamu.

Mihara sighed, ‘Are you going to tie me up?’

‘No.’ repeated Master Osamu.

‘But you’re going to force me to stay with you aren’t you?’ asked Mihara.

‘Yes.’ answered Master Osamu.

Mihara sighed, ‘Is there any point in trying to escape?’

Master Osamu grabbed his shirt and pinned him to the wall, ‘Say that word again and I’ll….’

Mihara interrupted, ‘Punish me?! Go ahead! Do your worst because now I know you won’t let me go I am never going to stop trying to escape from you.’

Master Osamu gritted his teeth, ‘Escape. Stop saying that word!’

‘ESCAPE! ESCAPE! ESCAPE!’ Mihara yelled.

Master Osamu struck him with the back of his hand knocking him to the floor, ‘I warned you.’

Mihara composed himself and stood up, ‘Feel better now?’

‘Mihara. I don’t want to have to do that to you ever again.’ Master Osamu answered.

‘And I don’t want to be a Slave ever again!’ Mihara said, ‘I guess we’ll both be bitterly disappointed.’

Master Osamu asked, ‘Where’s all of this come from?’

‘From being lied to and betrayed by the one person I actually thought might keep their promise! It’s my fault really, I shouldn’t have been so bloody gullible!’ replied Mihara, ‘I should have thrown myself from that balcony!’

Master Osamu sighed and nodded to some guards, who came in and restrained him, ‘I’ve changed my mind.’ a guard passed him the collar with hands restraints Master Kane once used, ‘I am going to tie you up.’ he put the collar on and despite his strong resistance the guards tied his hands up too.

‘I was right, you are just as bad as your son!’ answered Mihara.

Master Osamu gritted his teeth, ‘Gag him.’ before Mihara could respond he was gagged, ‘We are going to my castle now, if you try anything, I will make sure you regret it!’

Master Osamu heard his muffled words, ‘Do your worst!’

The doctor came in, ‘You wanted to see me Master Osamu.’ he saw the situation but held his tongue.

‘Yes.’ Master Osamu said, ‘Can you give Mihara a shot of something to help him relax? He’s being irrational!’

The doctor bowed, ‘Of course. I’ll be right back.’ he left.

Master Osamu held Mihara’s chin, ‘If you’d just calmed down and obeyed me. There wouldn’t be a problem.’

Mihara launched himself at him, headbutting him and kicking him in the groin. Mihara was thrown to the floor and held there. Master Osamu recovered and knelt down to him, ‘You just bought yourself twenty lashes when we get to my castle. I sincerely hope you thought it was worth it?’

Mihara muffled, ‘I hate you.’

Master Osamu got up seeing the doctor, ‘Up the dose! I want him unconscious!’

Mihara looked at the doctor, his eyes screamed, ‘Help me!’

The doctor composed himself, ‘This will feel like a little scratch! But it’ll help you sleep.’ he begrudgingly injected him. He mouthed, ‘I’m so sorry.’ Mihara started to feel dozy and passed out shortly after, ‘He will be out for a little over an hour, he may experience a mild headache and some thirst. So, please look after him.’

‘Thank you.’ Master Osamu replied.

Mihara was picked up carelessly and dragged out, everyone followed and prepared to leave, when the doctor called out, ‘Master Osamu?!’ he turned back, ‘I thought you said you wanted to look after him?’

‘I am.’ replied Master Osamu.

‘Master Osamu, forgive me, but he does not look like he’s being very well looked after to me!’ said the doctor.

Master Osamu threatened, ‘Speak out again and I’ll cut out your tongue!’ he left.

The doctor sighed, ‘Poor Mihara.’ he went back to his office to pack up to leave.

Master Osamu got in and saw Mihara laying on the seat opposite asleep, he smiled and watched him sleeping as they moved on.

Mihara came to on the way, Master Osamu smiled, ‘You’ve finally awoken.’ Mihara looked around and realized where he was, ‘I think it’ll be at least another hour.’ Mihara realized he was still restrained and gagged. Master Osamu turned his head to the side, ‘If you promise to behave I’ll take the gag off you.’

Mihara thought, ‘It’s the lesser of the two evils!’ he nodded and Master Osamu removed his gag, he stretched his jaw muscles as he sat up, he stopped and looked over, ‘Thank you Master.’

‘No fighting spirit this time!?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘If I do you’ll put the gag back on.’ replied Mihara, he made direct eye contact, ‘I am sorry about headbutting and kicking you. I was just angry.’

Master Osamu huffed, ‘You’ve certainly changed your tune.’

Mihara answered, ‘I know but it’s true I am sorry. Now I’ve had chance to calm down, I’ve reflected on my actions and I’m sorry.’ Mihara sighed, ‘But you’re still going to lash me aren’t you?’

Master Osamu replied, ‘Whether you’re sorry or not, you hit a Master in front of witnesses. I am sorry but you know as well as I do, I cannot allow that to go unpunished.’

‘I understand.’ replied Mihara, he looked out the window, ‘Great! More scars!’

Master Osamu said nothing and they completed the journey in silence. Master Osamu stepped out and tugged on Mihara’s lead, ‘Come on Mihara.’ he stepped out and saw the posts were set close to the inner walls.

‘You brought the posts with us?’ asked Mihara.

‘Yeah, we wouldn’t want you getting any funny ideas.’ Master Osamu yanked him in, ‘Now, would we?’ Mihara gave no reply, Master Osamu led him inside.

Several guards were standing by with cattle prods and Master Osamu showed him the controller for his collar, ‘Don’t try anything stupid!’ he removed his restraints and chained his hands above his head, ‘Ok now, everyone else leave.’ they did, one guard passed him the whip.

Mihara grew scared, ‘You’re going to do it?’

‘Yeah.’ stated Master Osamu, ‘Got a problem with that?’

‘With his strength it’s going to hurt so much more!’ Mihara sighed heavily, ‘Just get on with it!’

Master Osamu went behind him and Mihara closed his eyes, ‘Twenty lashes.’ there wasn’t another word, he felt the whip lash his back it hurt worse than last time. As he suspected with a strong person behind them, the lashes hurt more.

Mihara whimpered trying to stifle his cries of pain, but as the lashes continued his resistance failed and he cried out. He stopped and Mihara tried to catch his breath through the pain, ‘I’m not removing the pain for you either at least not right now!’

Mihara’s body relaxed and the chains held him up, ‘I’m sick…of all….of this! Just…let me….die!’

Master Osamu grabbed his hair and yanked his head back, ‘That’s what you said to me the first time we met too!’ he smiled, ‘Nothing to say?’ Master Osamu let him go, ‘Twenty-four hours. I will heal you in twenty-four hours.’

‘Why bother?’ replied Mihara finally catching his breath, ‘Just leave me alone!’

Master Osamu stepped away, ‘As you wish. I’ll have the doctor patch you up in the meantime.’

Mihara watched as he left and only now did he let his face show his pain and sorrow, ‘Everything is so messed up right now! How the hell am I supposed to deal with this!?’ tears fell, ‘How could I have let myself get into this mess in the first place!?’

Mihara remembered all the times Master Osamu told him, ‘I’m into making love not raping.’  ‘After the year is up. If you choose me I’d like to take you away to my castle.’  ‘Don’t worry I won’t force you to leave.’  Mihara hung his head and sighed, ‘Lying bastard!’

Master Osamu came back in with the doctor, ‘Patch him up, but no pain relief.’ he ordered.

The doctor turned to him, ‘I’ll need some fresh water to clean the wounds.’ Master Osamu left and he went up to Mihara, ‘I wish I could let you go, but even if I did you’d still have your collar on. I’m so sorry Mihara.’

Mihara looked at him, ‘It’s ok, but can you give me pain relief when he’s not looking?’

The doctor smiled and injected him, ‘No problem.’ he hid the needle as Master Osamu came in, ‘Ah, thank you.’ he took the bowl and treated Mihara, ‘I’ll change the dressing later on tonight and in the morning.’ he left.

‘I’m a strong believer that a Master should punish his own Slave. The only reason I didn’t do it when we first met was because I wanted you to be my Slave afterwards.’ Master Osamu replied, ‘I meant what I said to you back then. I can really be quite sweet! All you have to do to is agree to be mine.’

Mihara looked at him, ‘You said you don’t like beating and raping, but because I don’t want to be with you and starting to fight back, you’re doing just that! Even though we haven’t done anything I bet you’re thinking about it!’

Master Osamu pulled him in close, ‘Of course I am! I want to be with you. And if you’re not willing you’re right I’ll have to do it by force. I need to deal with council business, so go get some sleep, you must be tired from everything that’s been going on recently.’

‘You going to leave me chained up like this?’ asked Mihara.

‘You slept like that before.’ said Master Osamu refusing to turn round.

Mihara sighed, ‘Fine be a jerk.’

Master Osamu turned and walked over, Mihara closed his eyes preparing for the worst when without another word his hands were released, he looked at Master Osamu, ‘I want you to remember this moment. How it could have gone but didn’t.’

Mihara nodded and was left, he smiled and huffed, ‘Guess I should explore, I have nothing else to do all day!’

Mihara grew sick of exploring his new surrounding he went to see the doctor, looking for an answer that had been troubling him for some time, ‘Mihara?! Are you ok? Has Master Osamu hurt you again?’

‘No.’ Mihara replied, ‘No he hasn’t. He doesn’t really know I’m here and I’d like to keep it that way. I just really wanted to be with a friend right now.’

‘So, what’s on your mind?’ asked the doctor.

Mihara sighed, ‘You don’t happen to know if the key for my collar has been made do you? Or if it’s possible to turn off the barrier posts? Or if he even asked for a key to be made?’

The doctor was about to respond when they heard Master Osamu yelling.

‘MIHARA?!’ Mihara flinched, ‘WHERE ARE YOU?!’ Master Osamu ran passed the door then reappeared, ‘There you are!’

‘What’s wrong Master?’ asked Mihara.

‘I told you to sleep.’ said Master Osamu.

Mihara sighed looking down and away, ‘It hurts to lie down.’

‘It’s time for dinner.’ Master Osamu replied, ‘Come on.’ he followed.

‘Master?!’ he turned back to him, ‘You’re not mad at me are you?’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘No. Like I’ve always said, once your punishment is over I don’t see why I should be mad at you!’ he chuckled, ‘But I have to say your kick really hurt!’

Mihara scratched the back of his head blushing, ‘Yeah…..sorry about that.’

‘It’s ok. You accepted your punishment for that.’ he realized what he was doing, ‘Are you trying to rally support from me?’

‘Is it working?’ joked Mihara.

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘Mihara, come here.’ Mihara nervously went over to him and Master Osamu hugged him, ‘I will never do anything to hurt you without reason. Understand?’ Mihara nodded. Master Osamu touched his back and Mihara whined in pain, ‘Sorry. Do you want me to heal you?’

Mihara looked away, ‘You said I’d have to wait twenty-four hours for you to heal me.’

Master Osamu held his chin and forced him to look at him, ‘I am your Master, if I decide to do so, I can do whatever I want. Including changing my mind about your discipline.’

‘Discipline? That’s why I hate Masters. Such a horrible thing to do is considered discipline or a punishment.’ Mihara smiled at him, ‘Master, please heal me.’

‘Good boy.’ smiled Master Osamu. He kissed him, healing his wounds, he pulled away, ‘Come on, time for dinner.’ he walked off and Mihara followed.

Mihara was on edge all meal fearing what would happen after they went to bed, Master Osamu had already abducted and lashed him today. He planned on drinking to an excess hoping it would numb him, so whatever Master Osamu was planning to do, he wouldn’t feel it as much.

He went to pour his forth glass of wine when Master Osamu took it off him, ‘I think you’ve had enough.’ he put a plate of food and some water in front of him, ‘You haven’t eaten all day and a drunken idiot is not to my taste.’

Mihara nodded defeated, ‘Sorry Master.’ he forced himself to eat.

The doctor thought, ‘He really has a lot on his mind doesn’t he?’ he continued eating, ‘I feel so sorry for him! But there is nothing I can do!’

After the meal was over and everyone had left, Master Osamu stood up, ‘Come on Mihara. It is time for bed.’ Mihara shrunk into himself and gave no response, ‘Mihara?’

Mihara took a breath and stood up, ‘Yeah. I’m coming.’

Master Osamu walked away, ‘Come with me.’ Mihara reluctantly followed him, he opened the bedroom door and gestured, ‘In you go.’ Mihara didn’t move, ‘Mihara, this is your room.’ he stepped passed him and opened the door opposite, ‘This is mine!’

‘You mean? We’re not sleeping together?’ asked Mihara.

‘Not at first no.’ Master Osamu explained, ‘I understand you need time to get used to this new environment and I know how much you wish for my absence not company tonight.’

Mihara calmed immediately, ‘Thank you Master. That’s very considerate of you.’

Master Osamu asked, ‘But I do ask for a goodnight kiss.’

‘Fair deal.’ smiled Mihara, ‘As long as it’s just a kiss. Nothing more.’ Master Osamu kissed him he stepped through.

‘Oh, and one more thing.’ said Master Osamu, Mihara turned, ‘I want to lock you in.’

‘Why?’ asked Mihara.

Master Osamu explained, ‘I know you can’t run but I am worried you’ll try and kill yourself.’

‘I wondered why you had guards posted in almost every room and corridor.’ Mihara sighed, ‘Ok.’ he stepped in, ‘Go ahead.’ he watched as Master Osamu shut the door and heard him lock it.

‘Goodnight Mihara Kura.’ Master Osamu said through the door.

Mihara blushed, ‘Goodnight Osamu Yoshikio.’ Master Osamu smiled and left.

One month later, after breakfast. Mihara was exploring and saw another Slave, he had red hair green eyes. Mihara smiled, ‘Hey!?’ he went up to him, ‘You have no idea how happy I am to see someone just like me!’

‘I’m nothing like you.’ he answered.

‘What?’ Mihara asked.

He huffed, ‘You think we are the same!? What the hell is wrong with you!? We may both be Slaves but unlike you I want to be here!’ he looked Mihara up and down in disgust, ‘How the hell did someone like you get to be Master Osamu’s Slave? HOW?!’ he pushed him knocking him against the wall and he fell to the floor.

‘What the hell is wrong with you?!’ asked Mihara.

The other Slave wrapped his hands around his throat and squeezed, ‘You’re what’s wrong with me!?’ he squeezed harder, ‘What is Master Osamu thinking!? To allow someone like you to even breathe the same air! You’re such a low-level Slave! How?’

Mihara knocked him off and punched him in the face repeatedly, breaking his nose, ‘There is no class among Slaves!’ Mihara punched him again and again until some guards pulled him off.

Both of them were taken to Master Osamu. The other Slaves Master went up to his Slaves unconscious body, ‘What the hell happened? Who would punch a bed Slave in the face!?’

The guards threw Mihara to his knees before Master Osamu, ‘We found this one on top of him.’ they showed his knuckles, ‘He was punching him.’

The other Master went up to Mihara about to hit him when Master Osamu got up, ‘Enough!’ the other Master stopped, ‘He is my Slave! His discipline is my responsibility!’ the other Master lowered his head and backed away, Master Osamu looked at Mihara, ‘Go to your room.’

‘Master! Please it’s not what you think!’ Mihara explained before Master Osamu struck him in the face.

‘Mihara! Don’t make me anymore irritated.’ answered Master Osamu. Mihara nodded, he turned to the guards and gave them the key, ‘Make sure he gets there and stays there!’ they nodded and took him away.

Master Osamu struck the other Master in the face, ‘Never come near my Slave again! Now hurry up and heal your Slave, I want to question him.’ he did and he woke up.

‘Master!?’ he hugged him, ‘Keep that scum away from me!’

Master Osamu clenched his fists, ‘That scum happens to belong to me.’ he looked at him, ‘So, I suggest you change your tune.’

He bowed, ‘I’m sorry Master Osamu. I didn’t mean it like that……it’s just he…he attacked me!’

‘Mihara does not attack without good reason. He would only do something like this if it would benefit him. This would not benefit him at all, this gives me reason to hurt him, which he doesn’t want.’ he pinned him to the wall by his throat, ‘Now tell me what really happened.’ ordered Master Osamu.

Meanwhile, Mihara was pushed into his room and locked in. Mihara sighed and kicked the door, ‘He’s not listening to me! Why would he? I’m nothing more than his Slave!’ Mihara sighed heavily, ‘What’s that other Slave telling him?! He’s probably making it out worse than it is. Master’s definitely going to be mad at me!’

A few hours later he heard the door unlock and saw Master Osamu walk in, ‘Master!?’ he backed away, ‘I know this looks bad and I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I swear to you, it’s not how it seems!’ his back hit the wall, ‘Please! Let me explain!’

Master Osamu pulled him into a hug, ‘You were only defending yourself. I understand. That Slave confessed everything.’

Mihara calmed, ‘You’re not mad?’

Master Osamu stroked his bruised face, ‘No and I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have hit you.’ he smiled, ‘So, you were defending yourself and my honor were you?’

Mihara blushed and turned away, ‘No! I was trying to stop him from strangling me!’

‘You didn’t hit him until he offended me!’ explained Master Osamu, ‘It’s amazing how honest a human can be when threatened by someone like me.’ he smiled, ‘All humans but you. You surprise me! Even under threat you are surprisingly stern.’

Mihara sighed, ‘I don’t think so.’ he looked at him, ‘I am almost certain I am full contradictions and give every expected reaction to threats!’

Master Osamu held his chin and looked at his neck, ‘That bastard! He bruised your neck.’ he saw the bruise he gave him too, ‘I’m sorry about hitting you, I swear I won’t act on emotion without facts ever again. And I’m going to make amends.’ he kissed him but the bruise wouldn’t heal. Master Osamu sighed, ‘I guess it’s too minor to be healed that way.’

‘Too minor!?’ exclaimed Mihara, ‘Speak for yourself! It really hurt you know!?’ he gently touched his face, ‘It still does!’

‘Sorry.’ replied Master Osamu, ‘I should have given you a chance to talk back there. Forgive me?’

Mihara shrugged his shoulders, ‘Not got much choice have I?’ he smiled, ‘After all you control how much food and rest I get.’ he joked.

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘I control more than that.’

Mihara chuckled, ‘It’s funny because it’s true.’

‘Do you want some pain relief?’ asked Master Osamu, Mihara shook his head, ‘Do you want me to leave you alone?’ Mihara shook his head.

‘Whenever I’m alone I either get attacked or accused of doing something I didn’t! And then you get mad at me, I get scared of you and a vicious cycle repeats!’ replied Mihara.

‘You’re still scared of me? Even after all this time?’ Master Osamu asked.

Mihara looked at him, ‘Are you really that surprised?!’

‘If you’re that scared of me, why do you want to stay with me?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘Because if I’m with you. No one can whisper in your ear, poisoning your mind against me and no one can hurt me.’ Mihara answered stepping back, ‘Other than you.’ he retained eye contact, ‘But I sense hurting me without reason is not your style.’

‘No, it’s not.’ replied Master Osamu, ‘Well time for lunch, what do you fancy?’

‘Anything is fine.’ answered Mihara. They spent the day together, Mihara thought, ‘He has expressed his position on sleeping with me, I don’t want him to do it but I really don’t want him to do it by force!’ as night fell Master Osamu walked him to his door.

‘Goodnight.’ Master Osamu said.

Mihara grabbed his shirt sleeve, ‘I may regret this but…..’ he kissed him, ‘No time like the present.’

‘Seriously?!’ exclaimed Master Osamu.

Mihara looked at him, ‘What? You not in the mood?’

‘No! That’s not it. I’m just surprised!’ Master Osamu replied, ‘I never thought you’d be the one to make the first move!?’

‘I know. I’m a little surprised myself.’ said Mihara.

Master Osamu kissed him, ‘Are you sure you want to go through with this?’

Mihara nodded, ‘Like you said: if I obey you I’ll see, you can really be quite sweet. I’m sick of fighting you and I’m sick of being scared of you. And the obvious way to stop both is to do this.’

Master Osamu smiled and brushed his hair behind his ear, ‘I’ll be as gentle as possible.’ Mihara nodded as the door was shut and he was lowered onto the bed with a kiss. Master Osamu gave him a love bite on his shoulder while his hand slipped between his legs and Mihara flinched, ‘You’re not ok with this are you?’

‘I’m fine.’ said Mihara and Master Osamu raised one eyebrow, ‘Ok, maybe I’m not fine. But I need to be, you are not going to wait patiently and play nice forever. I’d rather do this now while you’re willing to be gentle and get used to it before you change your mind and try doing it by force out of frustration.’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘I’d never do it to you by force, I’m sorry I said it earlier, I’m going to stop.’

Mihara shook his head, ‘I’m fine.’ he kissed him, ‘I can handle it.’

Master Osamu took his top off, ‘Are you sure?’

Mihara gulped seeing his sculpted torso, ‘No idea, but I guess I’m going to find out!’

‘Not tonight.’ Master Osamu replied, he put the covers over him, ‘You really don’t want to do this, I can tell.’ he put his top back on, ‘Stop forcing yourself and stop trying to act tough, I know you better than that.’ he got up to leave when Mihara grabbed his sleeve.

‘I can handle sleeping in the same room as you.’ said Mihara.

Master Osamu pinned him to the bed, ‘But I can’t. Over the last six months I found it very hard not to touch you. And now we’ve come this far if I stay I won’t be able to stop.’ Mihara nodded and Master Osamu left locking the door.

Mihara sighed smiling, ‘He’s still the same as always.’ he curled up and touched where he touched, ‘It feels strange.’ he looked at the door, ‘I should have told him to stay.’ he shook his head, ‘What are you thinking?! Stop it!’

Morning broke and Mihara woke up to the sound of his door unlocking, he sat up as Master Osamu opened it.

‘Morning Mi…..’ Master Osamu stopped and looked away blushing seeing Mihara in a state of undress and he saw the love bite he gave him the night before.

‘What’s wrong?’ asked Mihara.

Master Osamu explained, ‘Your shirt.’ Mihara looked down, he hadn’t realized that in his sleep his shirt fell off. He blushed and dressed himself.

‘Sorry.’ he got out of bed, ‘Better?’

Master Osamu looked at him and smiled, ‘Much.’ he walked off, ‘Come on.’ they went to breakfast.

The doctor smiled seeing them seemingly getting along but thought, ‘Mihara seems happy for now, but who knows how long it’ll last?!’

Master Osamu poured something into Mihara’s drink from his hip flask without his knowledge as he had done before and gave it to Mihara he watched him drink it, ‘Now I have upped the dose he’ll be unable to deal with it himself.’

Later that day, Ren went to see Master Osamu and Mihara in the throne room. He bowed, ‘Master Osamu, there are several slavers at the gates. They are demanding to speak to you.’

‘What about?’ asked Master Osamu.

‘They believe that Mihara is their legal property and have come to collect.’ replied Ren.

Mihara started shaking, ‘No! If they take me! I’ll be sold! Then who knows who I’ll end up with!’

Master Osamu answered, ‘That’s preposterous!’ he stood up, ‘Mihara stay close to me!’

Mihara stood up, ‘Master? You’re not going to let them take me are you?’

‘No.’ replied Master Osamu, ‘I am not going to let anyone take you away from me.’ Master Osamu clenched his fists, ‘You belong to me! You’re mine!’ he relaxed his hand and walked off, ‘Come on.’

They met with the slavers as they bowed, ‘Master Osamu, it’s a pleasure to meet you.’ they stood straight, ‘We’re sorry it’s not under better circumstances.’

Master Osamu pushed Mihara behind him slightly, ‘Yes, I understand you are questioning my legal claim to my Slave, Mihara.’

‘Yes, we have quite a number of Masters willing to pay a high price for him, it’s seems his knack for escape and fiery personality has attracted attention, and they want a Slave with some fight left so they can have the pleasure of breaking him in.’ he smiled, ‘Who knew that’s what buyers wanted.’

‘Plus, there is a rumor that he had a hand in Master Kane’s death so we would like to question Mihara about it.’ another replied looking at Mihara. Mihara went cold and stepped back, ‘And if he has he will be punished accordingly before being sold on, so in a way he’s lucky his value has gone up so much, otherwise we would just have killed him.’

Master Osamu answered, ‘There’s absolutely no need to question him about it, I can answer the question for you. The rumor is true. Mihara is the one who killed my son Master Kane. But I can assure you he has been punished for that.’

‘Forgive us Master Osamu, but the punishment for killing a Master can only be determined by the slavers if the slave owner is unavailable to pass judgement.’ he answered.

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Then let me clear this up for you! I am his Master now and I decided since he was suicidal it was a better punishment to make him live as my new bed Slave, after a lashing of course.’

The slaver said, ‘Master Osamu, we respect your position however you have no legal claim to your son’s old Slave. Therefore, we will take custody of him, however, feel free to place a bid.’

‘I have no need to place a bid. He is mine!’ replied Master Osamu, ‘After my son’s death I claimed ownership of his property which includes, his house, his land and Mihara. I am his father and only living relative, so legally all he owned now belongs to me!’ the slavers tried to speak again when Master Osamu continued, ‘I am a Master, my rank is far above your own. I can assure you we waited the customary six months before I bedded him!’

The slavers looked at Mihara, ‘Is this true?’

Mihara grew nervous but nodded, ‘Six months after Master Kane’s death, Master Osamu bedded me.’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Mihara show them proof. Show them your shoulder.’ Mihara nodded and showed them, ‘As you can see I regularly bed him, as is my right as his Master.’ Master Osamu pulled him in to face him and showed them his back, ‘As you can see his lesson was well taught.’

The slavers answered, ‘Has the relevant paperwork been signed and dated?’

‘Of course.’ he smiled, ‘Now. If I say the matter is closed and he is my property then the matter is closed and he is my property.’ he gestured to the door, ‘Please.’

The slavers knew better than to argue with a Master so left. Mihara gave a sigh of relief and he fell to the floor, ‘You lied to the slavers for me! Thank you Master.’

‘I told you, I am not going to allow anyone to take you from me.’ replied Master Osamu, he stepped back and looked down to him, ‘Not even you!’ Mihara looked up at him, ‘I know you still think about killing yourself!’ Mihara was shocked he knew about it, ‘I am happy that you have chosen to stop fighting with me, but I am angry you still have those thoughts.’

‘Master, I…..’ Mihara was stopped.

‘Don’t!’ Mihara flinched, ‘Just don’t Mihara!’ replied Master Osamu, ‘And get off the floor.’ Mihara stood up and flinched as he dressed him, ‘Now come on. I still have things to do today.’ he walked off and Mihara followed.

Mihara looked at him, ‘I know you’re mad at me. But, it’s not like I want to be like this!’ he stopped and Master Osamu turned, ‘I don’t want to be suicidal! Which is why I stopped fighting you! Us fighting was making me miserable! Us getting along makes it easier, and yes, I do still think about killing myself sometimes. But, does that mean I’m going to?’

Master Osamu transformed, ‘Mihara. One more word and I swear you’ll regret it!’ warned Master Osamu. Mihara sighed stepping back, he nodded, ‘Good boy!’ he changed back and walked off, ‘Come on.’

Mihara followed and sat in silence, he looked down and away from Master Osamu. Mihara could tell he was annoyed so stayed silent and still. He was focused so hard on being silent and still he didn’t notice everyone else had left and Master Osamu was calling him.

Master Osamu touched his shoulder and snapped him out of it, ‘Mihara, are you ok?’ Mihara nodded smiling, ‘Why aren’t you talk…?’ he realized, ‘Oh I ordered you not to talk.’ he blushed and scratched the back of his head, ‘I didn’t mean indefinitely.’

Mihara answered, ‘Other people get involved and the cycle repeats.’

‘I’m sorry, I just hate you talking about your life like it doesn’t matter!’ replied Master Osamu, ‘It does matter!’

Mihara rested his head on his shoulder, ‘You protected me from being taken by the slavers.’ he nuzzled his shoulder slightly, ‘It’s hard to be mad at you after that.’

Master Osamu tilted his head to touch Mihara’s, ‘I will help you to stop having these thoughts, I will do everything I can to fix you.’ Mihara smiled.

‘As long as you don’t brand me I’m alright!’ he chuckled. Master Osamu chuckled.

‘Do you want to eat?’ Master Osamu asked.

‘No.’ replied Mihara.

‘Do you want to sleep?’ Master Osamu asked.

Mihara said, ‘No, but I wouldn’t mind going to bed.’ Master Osamu gasped and Mihara looked him in the eye, ‘And I wouldn’t mind not going alone.’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Mihara? Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?’

Mihara blushed, ‘Yeah, is that ok?’

Master Osamu brushed his hair behind his ear, ‘It’s always ok.’ Master Osamu hugged him tight, ‘Are you sure you want to do this, because I don’t think I can stop this time.’

Mihara kissed him, ‘You won’t have to. You said you want your Slaves to want to be there. I want to be there.’ Master Osamu looked shocked, ‘It’s been over a year now, I know this hasn’t been the easiest of relationships but I want to see if I can make it easier.’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘You better come to my room then.’ Mihara looked at him, ‘I’ll try and make it so it doesn’t hurt.’

Mihara took his hand and led him to the door, ‘I don’t mind if it hurts a little.’

Master Osamu threw him over his shoulder, ‘You’ve done it now!’ he walked to his room and dropped him on the bed, he locked the door before returning. He pinned and kissed Mihara passionately.

Master Osamu ripped Mihara’s shirt open, Mihara didn’t even see him undress, Master Osamu’s hand slipped between his legs. Mihara gave a sharp breath, Master Osamu smirked, ‘You’re reacting already?!’

Mihara blushed, ‘What do you expect?’

Master Osamu kissed him, ‘You’re adorable!’ he licked up his chest as his hand started moving while his other hand kept Mihara pinned. Mihara couldn’t hold back his voice and his entire body started yearning for more, ‘Your body is very honest.’ Mihara was on the brink when Master Osamu suddenly stopped, ‘Look at me, Mihara.’ Mihara knew this was nothing short of an absolute order, ‘I need to prepare the back too, so you need to stay still. I’m going to let go of your wrists but keep them where they are.’

‘I’ll try….’ he answered.

‘Good boy.’ he smirked and started preparing the back immediately Mihara moved his hands, only to be pinned again, ‘What did I just say?’

‘Sorry…..I’ve never….been able….to do that!’ Mihara replied through bated breath.

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘Do you want to be tied down?’ Mihara shook his head, ‘Then, behave.’  he tried again but the same thing happened again, ‘You’re disobeying orders Mihara.’ Mihara looked at him, ‘We’ll try once more then I’ll tie you down.’ it happened again and Master Osamu pinned him again, ‘What am I meant to do with you?’ he tied Mihara’s wrists together and tied it off to the bed post.

Master Osamu continued and Mihara started squirming with pleasure, ‘Pl…ease…..Mas…ter…..!’ he struggled against his restraints, ‘Untie me….please….!’

Master Osamu smirked and teased him, ‘Not until morning.’ Mihara’s voice rang out again he stopped before Mihara finished, he pulled his fingers out, ‘Relax Mihara.’ as he entered, Mihara inhaled sharply with shock, ‘This will only hurt a little.’ he started thrusting and Mihara seemed to melt.

‘This feels different from when I was with Master Kane!’ his body was no longer under his control, ‘I can’t stop trembling!’

Master Osamu didn’t let up until the early hours of the morning. Mihara lay exhausted, ‘Are you ok?’ asked Master Osamu, Mihara could barely muster a nod, Master Osamu untied his hands and pulled the covers over him, ‘Get some sleep.’ he nodded and rested.

Over the next five days he found himself spending more and more time in Master Osamu’s bedroom than anywhere else. But instead of hating it he was happy as though he was in a dream state.

Three weeks later, Mihara woke up after another session with Master Osamu when he heard him talking to someone, ‘Yes, well I need more!’  ‘Look! I don’t care what you have to do or where you have to go!’  ‘Of course, it works! What do you think we’ve been doing in here?! Mihara can’t control himself around it!’  ‘He is finally being obedient nothing is going to screw this up!’

Mihara sat up, ‘Master?’ he slammed the door in the guards face, ‘Who were you talking to?’

Master Osamu smiled and pinned him, ‘Is that what you really want to do with your morning?’ he kissed him. Mihara’s resistance crumbled quickly as he submitted himself. Master Osamu stroked his wrists, ‘I told you not to struggle, now look at you.’ he kissed his bruised wrist, ‘This is going to take ages to heal!’ he looked Mihara in the eye, ‘But I’ll let you make it up to me.’ he kissed him while his hands got to work.

He woke up a couple hours later alone, he sat up and held his head, ‘My head really hurts!’ he remembered what he’d heard earlier, ‘Yes, well I need more!’ ‘Mihara can’t control himself around it!’ he thought, ‘What was he talking about?’

Mihara got up and went to the door that was locked, ‘What?’ he banged on the door, ‘Master!?’

Ren answered, ‘Master Osamu has had to go out. He’s ordered for you to be locked in here until he returns, because he didn’t want you to hurt yourself.’ Mihara sighed.

Mihara sighed, ‘He still thinks that huh? When will he be back?’ asked Mihara.

‘Later, he didn’t say when.’ replied Ren, he couldn’t keep himself from telling him, ‘Mihara! I’m sorry but I have to say something! He’s been drugging you?!’

‘What?’ asked Mihara.

‘He’s been drugging you!’ repeated Ren, ‘He’s been drugging you to decrease your resistance and  increase your sex drive!’

‘No! He wouldn’t! And besides why now?’ asked Mihara, ‘Why wouldn’t he have done it from the start?’

‘Remember the training house! They used drugs all the time!’ Ren clenched his fists, ‘He is far more calculating and dangerous than Master Kane ever was! He is only doing it now because you’ve been with him for so long, he thinks you trust him more now, so he can get the drugs in you without your resistance. Open your eyes! See what he is doing to you! Please don’t take this warning lightly!’

Mihara smiled, ‘Fine, I won’t eat or drink anything unless I’ve personally seen it prepared.’

Ren relaxed, ‘I’m sorry Mihara. I’m the one who put you in this mess! If I’d known what he’d do to you I’d have never done it!’

‘It’s alright Ren.’ Mihara answered. He heard footsteps and Ren greeting Master Osamu.

The door unlocked, ‘Hey Mihara!? Were you a good boy while I was away?!’

Mihara huffed, ‘As good as to be expected!’

Master Osamu ruffled his hair, ‘Come on.’ Mihara followed, through suspicious eyes Mihara watched him conduct his business as per usual and saw nothing to raise the alarm until the evening, when he poured Mihara his evening drink.

Mihara noticed he poured it from a hip flask and not the table jugs, he thought, ‘How could I have not noticed that before?’

Master Osamu smiled and offered it to him, Mihara smiled accepting it but didn’t take a single sip, he noticed Master Osamu’s annoyance he wasn’t drinking. At every encouragement he refused or laughed it off.

Over the next two days, now knowing it was drugged Mihara was very careful with what he ate and drank much to Master Osamu’s dismay. Master Osamu did everything but force him to drink to get the drug in his system but it was no use.

At night, Master Osamu’s touch repulsed him, now that the drugs had started to wear off, Mihara’s hatred of being pinned down by a Master returned.

That night, he pushed Master Osamu off him, ‘No! Please! Stop!’

‘What’s wrong Mihara?’ he played the innocent act well, but now Mihara knew the truth he could see passed his best efforts.

Mihara moved away, ‘I’m not really in the mood.’

‘Mihara? Are you ok?’ asked Master Osamu, ‘Are you sick? I can get you something to drink.’

Mihara thought, ‘Again with the drink?!’ he got up, ‘I just need some fresh air.’

Master Osamu gritted his teeth as he left, ‘I need to get the drugs back in his system and quickly!’

Mihara looked out the courtside window, ‘Deep breaths. Don’t let him force the drugs on you.’ he inhaled the crisp night air, ‘And plan your escape carefully.’

He went back in and settled down to sleep, ‘Sorry Master.’ he curled up, ‘I think I might be coming down with something, can we please not do anything tonight?’

Master Osamu wrapped his arms around him and nuzzled the back of his shoulder, ‘Are you sure you don’t want something to drink? Or I could call the doctor for you?’

‘I’ll see him tomorrow.’ answered Mihara, ‘Please come with me.’ Mihara played his part well.

‘Of course.’ smiled Master Osamu.

Mihara was disgusted that he was being held by such a man but managed to pass his trembling off as being cold.

Once Mihara was asleep Master Osamu left and went to see the doctor, ‘I need your assistance.’

‘Of course, that’s what I am here for.’ replied the doctor.

Master Osamu placed a bottle on the table, ‘Tomorrow Mihara and I will come to see you. Make something up and get him to drink this. The whole thing. With such a high concentration it’ll take effect quickly I’m sure.’

The doctor replied, ‘It would be unethical to do such a thing!’

‘Unethical?!’ exclaimed Master Osamu, ‘You find a way to make him drink this or find yourself another employer!’ he left. With such a heavy threat the doctor agonized over what to do all night, doctors weren’t in demand anymore and he was lucky to have the position he had.

In the morning, Mihara woke up with Master Osamu’s arm wrapped round him. Mihara turned in his grip, ‘Master? Can you let go of me now? I want to see the doctor before breakfast.’ Master Osamu let him go and followed.

Mihara knocked on the doctors door, ‘Mihara? Master Osamu?’ he acted as though last night hadn’t happened, he sat Mihara down, ‘Well then, what brings you here so early?’

Mihara was about to speak when Master Osamu did, ‘Mihara’s not been feeling well. He’s been out of sorts so to speak. Probably nothing a little tonic wine won’t cure!’ clearly angling for hi to drug Mihara now.

‘I’d like to examine you.’ he said ignoring Master Osamu and directed all of his focus to Mihara, he checked everything and agonized over whether or not to give him the bottle. He smiled, ‘Your Master is right.’ he handed Mihara the bottle Master Osamu gave him the other night, ‘Drink this it will settle everything down.’

Mihara could tell something was wrong, he looked at the doctor who gently shook his head. He smiled and went to drink it, he faked a dizzy spell and dropped it on the floor smashing it, ‘Oh my god! I am so sorry!’ said Mihara, he grabbed his head, ‘Sorry I just went dizzy.’

The doctor pulled out a real bottle of tonic wine, ‘Don’t worry, I have another right here.’ his demeanor told Mihara that this bottle was safe and he drank it. He cleared away the broken glass.

Master Osamu placed his hand on Mihara’s shoulder, ‘Go to breakfast, I want to have a quick word with the doctor.’ Mihara felt uneasy but left. Master Osamu pinned the doctor to the wall, ‘What am I supposed to do now?!’

The doctor struggled, ‘He dropped it, what do you expect me to do about that?’

Master Osamu let him go, ‘I need to get the drug back in his system before it completely wears off!’ he left.

The doctor smiled, ‘You’re not getting any help from me!’

Master Osamu went to breakfast to see Mihara waiting for him, ‘Is everything ok with the doctor?’

‘Yeah.’ lied Master Osamu gently stroking his face, Mihara masked his disgust perfectly and they had their meal.

With both Ren’s and the doctors warning, not to mention Master Osamu suspicious behavior Mihara was more and more convinced he was being drugged, ‘Master?!’ asked Mihara looking at him, ‘I was wondering, can I explore the castle a little bit on my own today?’ he wanted to avoid being anywhere near Master Osamu right now.

Master Osamu seemed annoyed but smiled, ‘Sure. Just remember lunch at one.’

Mihara smiled and nodded before leaving, he wondered the castle grounds and saw the posts, he thought, ‘I should have known it wouldn’t be as simple as just walking out!’

Mihara explored until he found a crawl space, it was full of cobwebs and had clearly not been used in years, he followed it down and found himself in the sewage system under the castle, ‘Where the hell am I?’ he saw daylight shining from an entrance.

He walked out and looked around to see the castle off in the distance, he held his neck to see if the shock collar was attached and it was, ‘I made it out the castle?!’ he looked around, picked a direction and ran.

‘I have no idea where I am?! I don’t know these woods! But I am not wasting this opportunity!’ he ran until he came upon a village, ‘I have to avoid people, they might be on Master Osamu’s side or worse they’ll capture and sell me!’ he ran for hours and began to tire, ‘I can’t do this forever! I need to get somewhere safe!’ he thought about Tarvan and the others, ‘No I can’t put them at risk again!’

He used the skills Tarvan had taught him to find food and water, before continuing. It started to get dark, ‘Master Osamu definitely knows I’ve run by now. I can’t afford to rest!’ he ran throughout the night but exhaustion caught up with him, ‘I need to rest!’

Mihara found a cave and went in, ‘This is as good a place as any.’ he settled down, ‘That bastard! He was drugging me all along!’ he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

When he woke up he tried to move his arms but they were tied behind his back, ‘What?!’ Mihara struggled, ‘No! No! Not now! Please!’

He felt something press against his back, ‘Stop moving!’

Mihara froze, ‘Please let me go!’

Ren appeared, ‘You found him?!’

Mihara saw Ren and realized he was caught, the other guard said, ‘Yeah, he was just lying here! He’d clearly gone to sleep! Master Osamu will be happy.’

Mihara started crying, ‘No! Please let me go!’ he started struggling. He heard them fighting and then saw the other one fall to the floor bloody. He felt Ren cut him loose.

Mihara got up and backed away, ‘What are you doing?’

Ren gave him the dagger, ‘I’m letting you go!’

Mihara stepped back, ‘Really?’

‘Yes. Leave your jacket here! I’ll create fake tracks going the opposite direction!’ said Ren, Mihara did, ‘Now go before someone comes!’

Mihara hugged him, ‘Thank you.’

Ren hugged him back, ‘Don’t get caught!’

Mihara cautiously made his escape, meanwhile after giving him a head start, Ren raised the alarm as it would be expected of him, ‘I found his jacket!’

Master Osamu picked it up and smelt it, ‘Definitely his!’ he saw the other guards body, ‘He’s like a wild animal.’ he smirked, ‘This is going to be fun indeed.’

Ren drew his attention to the fake tracks before he could sniff out Mihara’s scent. But unfortunately, he didn’t fall for them and followed the scent trail.

Master Osamu saw Mihara off in the distance and appeared in front of him, he was shocked and fell into the ditch. He looked up, ‘Master?’

‘You ran away and don’t even think about lying to me.’ said Master Osamu, he pulled out his restraints, ‘Do the smart thing Mihara and come quietly.’

Mihara didn’t move, ‘Master, please! No!’

Master Osamu sighed, ‘If I have to come in that ditch to get you, your punishment will be even more severe!’ Mihara’s body grew cold and he started shaking, now he was seen by Master Osamu and caught so obviously there was no-where left to run. He climbed out the ditch and sat at his feet, ‘Put your hands behind your back Mihara.’

Mihara sighed, ‘No!’ he pulled the dagger out from under his sleeve and stabbed him in the leg.

Master Osamu screamed falling to his knees as Mihara ran off, he thought, ‘I actually stabbed him!?’ he was wrestled to the ground by another guard and then another appeared.

‘We’ve got him?!’ he yelled out and soon enough Mihara was surrounded.

Master Osamu limped over and threw his restraints to the guard, ‘Make sure to put them on good and tight! I’m not having him escape again.’ he turned to another guard, ‘Tie his legs up too, we’ll carry him back.’ he knelt down and grabbed Mihara’s chin forcing him to look at him, ‘I’ll make sure you regret running from me!’

‘All I’ll regret is that I was caught!’ Mihara snapped back.

‘We’ll see.’ smirked Master Osamu, ‘Of all the tortures you told me my son put you through, there is one that I have always fantasized about doing.’ he kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear, ‘Can you guess which one I mean?’

Mihara started shaking and struggling more violently than before, but with his arms and legs so tightly restrained there was nothing he could do, ‘No! Let me go!’

Master Osamu chuckled and blindfolded him, ‘Don’t worry.’ he gagged him as well, ‘I’ll make sure to take good care of that body of yours. You’ll be begging for me to help you soon enough.’ Mihara whimpered as he was taken back, he tried but failed to release himself from the restraints.

Mihara thought, ‘Crap! What do I do? How do I get out of this?’ the guard handed him over to Master Osamu and he was taken upstairs, he was dropped on a bed, he panicked and tried to get away.

‘Calm down Mihara.’ said Master Osamu climbing on top, Mihara flinched feeling his hand slip into his trousers, ‘We’re going to enjoy a nice long night together.’ he untied but restrained his legs with a spreader and cut him out of his clothes, ‘Well, you won’t be needing these for a while.’ he threw his clothes away and leaned in close, ‘Do you want the gag off?’

Mihara thought, ‘If I can talk. I might be able to talk my way out of this!’ he nodded and it was taken out, ‘Master!? Please, don’t do this!’

Master Osamu smirked, ‘Lashing you only lasts so long, let’s see how long you learn your lesson for this time with a stronger stimulus.’ Mihara felt something hit his side, his body trembled as he realized it was the riding crop, ‘Ah! So, you know this game?!’ he hit Mihara again but in the face this time, he chuckled, ‘That’s good!’ he spun him onto his knees and smacked his behind repeatedly.

Mihara’s entire body trembled as he cried out, ‘Stop! Please!’

Master Osamu reached round, slipping his hand between his legs and huffed, ‘How can you ask me to stop when you’re this excited? You’re far more perverted than I thought!’ his hand teased his voice to cry out as his body was brought to the brink.

Mihara squirmed to get free, ‘Master? No, wait!’ Master Osamu’s hand continued his torture, ‘No, don’t! Please!’ his Masters hand forced his body to respond.

‘I hope you enjoyed your rest because now I’ve got you back I’m going to keep you awake all night.’ he licked his neck.

Mihara was scared, he’d never seen this side of Master Osamu before, ‘Master…? Ah! Please…stop!’ his moans grew louder as his Master teased his body to the brink then denied him satisfaction over and over again.

‘Do you want release?’ he asked removing the blindfold.

Mihara through tears replied, ‘Yes! Please….Master…..! Please!’ Master Osamu’s hand resumed his torturous play with Mihara and then stopped again, ‘No! Pl…ease…Master…!’

‘But, we’re just getting to the fun part!’ he thrust into him. Mihara’s entire body trembled, ‘Unless you start behaving yourself, you are never going to get the satisfaction you’re craving!’

This went on all night and into the next day, Master Osamu stroked the whip across his raw marks and bruises, causing Mihara’s body to shiver in both pain and fear, ‘You poor thing. Do you want this to stop?’

Exhausted both physically and mentally, Mihara’s body was completely broken by his masterful torturous play, Mihara nodded, ‘Master…please…stop this…I’m sorry…I ran…away…forgive me….please!’ he pleaded.

Master Osamu smirked, ‘Well that’s certainly a good start.’ he thrust into him again and the collar shocked him.

‘Please….Master…stop……please…!’ he begged.

Three hours later, Master Osamu pulled out and stroked his face causing him to flinch, ‘Are you going to behave yourself from now on?’

‘I will...... I promise……I’ll…do…whatever you…want please…! I’ve…learnt…my lesson…I swear…just please…stop!’ pleaded Mihara.

Mihara gasped as Master Osamu seemed to ignore his pleas and continue his torture, ‘No.…please…. stop! No more!’ Mihara’s body was at its absolute limit, ‘I can’t take…..it anymore!’

‘It’s ok Mihara.’ he kissed him, ‘Go ahead.’ his movements quickened and he let Mihara release and sat up to admire his work, he brushed his hair back, he saw that now all the whip marks had started to bruise and huffed, ‘This can easily happen again, so next time you think about doing something stupid, remember this moment!’

Mihara was released from his torture, Master Osamu watched as he struggled to catch his breath, he touched his shoulder, Mihara flinched, ‘No! Please…no more……Master…I beg of you…’ Master Osamu smiled, ‘I’m…sorry, I…won’t…disobey you…ever again!’ answered Mihara, ‘Please…I swear…!’

‘Ok.’ he put some covers over him, ‘I’ll see you tonight.’

Mihara trembled, ‘I feel like my whole body is going to collapse!’ he closed his eyes in extreme fatigue and resigned himself to sleep.

Master Osamu woke him up a few hours later, Mihara flinched but failed to back away as his restraints including the leg spreader was still on, let alone his high level of pain, ‘Stay still.’ Mihara’s body obeyed him without thinking.

Mihara whimpered in pain from both the restraints and Master Osamu’s attentions, ‘Master? Please, untie me.’

‘I can’t do that.’ said Master Osamu, ‘At least not for a while.’

‘Why?’ asked Mihara.

‘Because I don’t trust you.’ Master Osamu replied, ‘If you behave yourself, I’ll untie you within three days.’

Mihara asked, ‘Can I have some water please Master?’

Master Osamu’s face softened and he smiled, ‘Of course!’ he helped Mihara sit up even though he was in agony he did it, he gently helped him drink.

Mihara briefly feared that the water was drugged but he was so thirsty, he didn’t care, Master Osamu lay him back down. Mihara’s unrest was easy to see.

‘Don’t worry.’ Master Osamu said, ‘I’m not going to sleep with you until tonight.’

Mihara tried to appeal to his heart, ‘Please, it hurts!’ he looked at him, ‘At least let me do aftercare.’

‘You’ll be fine.’ Master Osamu replied, ‘I’ll take care of it for you.’

Mihara started squirming trying to get away, ‘I can do it myself Master, if you’d just untie one hand.’

Master Osamu climbed on top of him and Mihara sunk into the bed, ‘I told you I’m not untying you!’ he smiled, ‘You asked quite politely for aftercare. I am willing to heed your request because your punishment is still waiting for you.’

‘What?!’ Mihara asked, ‘Last night, that wasn’t it?’

‘No.’ Master Osamu smiled, ‘That was your punishment for stabbing me in the leg.’

‘Your punishment for running away is yet to come and before you ask no, it isn’t what I’m going to do to you tonight! What I’m going to do to you tonight is punishment for killing the guard in the cave.’ explained Master Osamu.

Mihara thought, ‘I can’t really tell him that it was Ren who killed him, if I did he’d kill him, then I’ve lost my ally!’ Mihara’s eyes filled with tears, ‘I should have killed myself in that ditch!’

Master Osamu’s face darkened as he slapped him, ‘For that remark alone. No aftercare.’ he got up, ‘I will be back in six hours, get some rest you’ll need it!’ he smiled and left.

As Mihara heard the door lock he buried his head in the pillow and screamed hysterically crying.

‘Sounds like I struck a nerve!’ thought Master Osamu, ‘But he will insist on misbehaving!’ he went to see the blacksmith preparing the branding iron, ‘This time don’t stop. I will have him brought to you. I want you to brand the lower left side of his stomach near his hip and brand the lower right side of his back.’

He was about to leave when the blacksmith asked, ‘What did this guy do to you anyway?’

Master Osamu turned, ‘He disobeyed my direct orders.’ he left and spoke to the architect, ‘So, there is no where he could have gotten out?’

‘Correct.’ he replied.

Master Osamu struck him in the face, ‘Well he got out somehow! Find it! And block it off!’ he left. He spent the whole day assessing and reinforcing security. He returned to see Mihara asleep with tear stains on his face.Master Osamu knelt at his bedside, ‘I’m sorry to be so rough with you, but you ran from me.’ he stroked his hair, ‘I can’t allow that.’

Mihara woke up and flinched, ‘No!’ he started panicking, ‘Please! Not again! No! I swear I’ll be good!’ Master Osamu put his finger on his lips and shushed him. Mihara whimpered into silence as his body trembled a tear rolled down his cheek.

‘Mihara.’ he wiped the tear away, ‘Don’t be so scared! By tomorrow night all your punishments will be over.’ he rolled Mihara onto his back and kissed him while his hand teased him.

‘Please, don’t!’ begged Mihara, ‘I’ll do anything you want, just please don’t!’

Master Osamu smirked, ‘Anything you say?’ he thrust into him, Mihara’s voice spilled out his mouth in agony, ‘But this is what I want! This is what I’ve always wanted!’ Mihara caught his breath as tears filled his eyes, Master Osamu’s hand tortured between his legs teasing him as his thrusts became more forceful.

Mihara unable to catch his breath, excruciating moans broken up by juddering breaths were all he could muster as Master Osamu’s thrusts continued to grow in intensity.

‘Master….Please….! Stop…..’ begged Mihara. Mihara passed out as his thrusts started again.

In the morning, he woke up alone, his legs were no longer restrained though one was chained to the bed, he noticed he had been washed and dressed but his arms were still tightly restrained behind his back.

He sat up although it hurt as his door opened, Master Osamu smiled, ‘Final punishment Mihara!’ he shrunk into himself fearing what it was, ‘Don’t worry so much it’s not a lashing this time. They prove painful but ineffective!’ several guards appeared, ‘They are going to take you where you need to go and then bring you back here for treatment.’

‘Treatment?’ Mihara thought, ‘What the hell is he going to do to me?’

Master Osamu placed his hand gently round Mihara’s neck pushing him back and pinning him softly to the headboard, he flinched not knowing what was going to happen next but Master Osamu kissed him.

Mihara was taken away and restrained so tightly he couldn’t move. Mihara feared even more now what was going to happen.

His arms were forced to full stretch, chained to the wall, floor and ceiling. His legs tightly bound together and chained to the floor. He saw the branding iron and started panicking, ‘No! Not this again!’ he yelled, ‘MASTER PLEASE NO!’ his best attempts at struggling yielded nothing.

The blacksmith sighed, ‘Forgive me for this.’ he branded the lower left side of his stomach.

Mihara’s screams were heard throughout the castle, Master Osamu took a deep breath in not wanting to hear his screams. He exhaled as the scream stopped, ‘That’s one.’

The blacksmith checked Mihara was still awake which he was, ‘I’m so sorry Mihara, but he’s ordered two.’

Mihara’s eyes widened, ‘No, please.’ the first burn had knocked his resistance right out of him as he struggled to remain conscious. The blacksmith went behind him and branded the lower right side of his back.

Again, his scream could be heard in all corners of the castle, Ren gritted his teeth and looked away from where the screams were coming from and the doctor clenched his eyes shut.

The unconscious Mihara was carried back to Master Osamu who chained his ankle back up but left his arms unrestrained. He kissed him healing his burns and erasing his pain, ‘You took it like a man.’ he stroked his head, ‘Well done.’ he cleaned him up and changed his trousers, leaving him topless to wake up on his own.

When he did he noticed Master Osamu had healed him and looked at his brand, he touched it, ‘He actually did it!?’ his chain was long enough to move round the room so he checked the brand on his back in the mirror, he touched that one too, ‘That crazy bastard actually branded me!’

Master Osamu came in, ‘You’re up!?’ he smiled as though the past three days hadn’t happened.

Mihara backed away from him terrified of what he’d do to him next, ‘Just stay away from me!’

‘Oh, come now! Surely it’s not that bad! I healed it and erased the pain for you! I could have left it to fester and let infection make you delirious, a little gratitude wouldn’t go a miss!’ said Master Osamu.

‘A wise man once said: Gratitude is the closest thing to delusion.’ replied Mihara.

Master Osamu’s eyes narrowed, ‘I have to say you wear the brand rather well.’

Mihara pleaded, ‘Please leave me alone!’

Food and water was brought in, ‘When we first started doing this we said we’d always eat together.’ he sat down, ‘Come on. I gave you a long chain for a reason.’

The promise of food proved too tempting to pass up and he slowly got closer, he eventually sat opposite and started eating. Although uneasy and jumpy Master Osamu smiled that he had Mihara eating with him again.

‘Mihara?’ he asked, Mihara flinched, ‘I’m going to be away today for a couple of hours. Will you be alright on your own?’ he acted like he normally does which scared Mihara more. Mihara nodded in silence, ‘Good boy.’ he stood up and Mihara shrunk into himself, ‘I will call for you later, behave and do as I say and you can have the night off.’

Mihara looked up at him, ‘What do you mean?’

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Behave and find out.’ he left locking the door. Mihara’s mind was left reeling with questions but he was happy to be left alone.

Later, he heard the door unlock and backed away fearing who it would be. It was Ren, he couldn’t help but notice his brand immediately. He forced himself to remain professional, ‘Master Osamu is requesting your presence.’ Ren walked in and more guards came into view, Ren unchained Mihara’s ankle and gave him a top to wear, ‘Let’s go Mihara.’ he gestured for him to walk out and he did.

Mihara was led to the throne room and sat in front of some slavers and next to his Master, ‘Now then we’re here because Master Osamu has informed us you were forcibly taken from this castle recently, he has explained how this happened, however, we want to know who they were, where they were taking you and how many were there? Do you understand?’

Mihara remembered what Master Osamu had said to him earlier, ‘I will call for you later, behave and do as I say and you can have the night off.’

Mihara nodded, ‘Yes.’ he proceeded to answer the questions, ‘I don’t know who they were, they didn’t tell me. Nor did they tell me where they were taking me but I fear they had planned to sell me from the way they were talking.’ he showed them his brand, ‘But when they saw this they left me in a ditch realizing no one would pay for a branded Slave, I didn’t know which way to go so I waited, that’s when Master found me and brought me back here. There were three in total, I’m sorry they had masks on, I never saw their faces.’

‘Were they male? Female? Height? Skin color? Anything you can remember would be useful!’ one said.

Mihara answered, ‘All male. About my height two of them were slightly taller. White. One of them spoke with an accent, I couldn’t tell you what though.’

‘Going back to your brand.’ another one said, ‘Why did your Master brand you?’

Mihara took a breath and looked down, ‘I’m sorry Master I have to tell them. In truth, I asked him to do it.’ he lied, even Master Osamu was shocked, ‘After your last visit I was scared someone would take me away from him and I understand that a brand means you can’t be sold on to anyone. I didn’t want anyone to take me. So, I expressed my fears to him, Master suggested a brand and I agreed, he healed me straight after!’

The slavers looked at Master Osamu, ‘Is this true?’

Master Osamu answered, ‘Entirely. His fear of being taken away from me was keeping him up at night, so I suggested it and he agreed. The blacksmith did it upon my instruction and safety standards were maintained throughout.’

‘Back to you Mihara, is there anything else you can tell us?’ asked a slaver.

Mihara shook his head, ‘No, I’m sorry I wish I could! I just hope you catch them before they take someone else!’

‘That’ll be all.’ they gestured for him to leave which he did.

The slaver looked at Master Osamu, ‘Your Slave is very well behaved. I am impressed with what you’ve done with him in such a short amount of time! Mihara was always a rebellious one, even when we put him on regular sedatives.’

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘That has not been my experience. I read the file my son made about his escapes. After I thought that all he needed was some proper training and as you can see my training has started to bare-fruit.’

‘Is he sedated?’ asked another slaver.

‘Not at all. I simply made it as clear as possible to him that if he behaved he’d be rewarded and if not he’d be punished.’ Master Osamu said plainly, ‘And my punishments are always severe enough to discourage any reoffence.’

‘We were skeptical about leaving Mihara with you, I’ll admit but I am happy to see our fears were groundless! You have done wonderfully with him.’ he smiled and got up, Master Osamu showed them to the door and went to see Mihara.

Mihara was chained back in the bedroom as Master Osamu came in he backed away, ‘Master?’ he didn’t look happy so Mihara backed away, ‘Why are you looking at me like that?’ just before he ran out of chain Master Osamu pulled him in.

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘You did good.’ he hugged him, ‘You were so well behaved.’ he kissed his forehead, ‘I’m going to give you the reward you worked so hard for.’ he went to the door, ‘You can have the night off.’ food and water was brought in, ‘Is water ok? Your food privileges are still in-tact, so let me know if you want something else.’

Mihara sighed heavily, ‘I’m ok with water. Thank you.’

Master Osamu smiled and turned to the Slave serving his dinner, ‘Get him anything he wants, he’s earned it.’ Mihara couldn’t breathe easy until he left and the door was shut.

Mihara looked at the food, ‘I bet everything here is drugged and anything I order will be drugged.’ he sighed.

‘Is something the matter?’ the Slave asked.

‘No.’ he drank the water, ‘He’ll probably report everything I say and do. I’ll have to eat it, I don’t want to see what’ll happen to me if I don’t!’ he sat, ‘Would you like to join me? It feels weird being served.’

He bowed, ‘Thank you but I’m content.’ Mihara ate and drank everything, ‘Will there be anything else?’ Mihara shook his head, ‘I’ll take my leave then.’ he cleared everything away and left locking the door.

Mihara heard Master Osamu through the door, ‘He ate it all?! Even though he knows it’s drugged?!’ he huffed, ‘Well that certainly was unexpected! Hopefully he’s finally learnt his lesson and is going to submit! I don’t want to have to keep punishing him.’ Mihara waited until it went silent and threw up in the bathroom.

Mihara tried to calm his breathing as he wiped his mouth, ‘That crazy bastard! He’s got to be stupid if he thinks I’m going to stay his bitch!’ he remembered his face, ‘At the start I thought he’d be easy to run from but clearly I was wrong! He has gained far more control of me than Master Kane ever did and he did it flawlessly.’ he removed his top and looked at his back, ‘I’m so scarred, I wish I could go back to when I first escaped from Master Kane. Knowing what I do now, I’d never have let myself been captured again!’

He went to the door and looked through the keyhole and confirmed his fear that as well as being locked in he was also guarded. He lay on the bed, ‘He’s never going to let me have another opportunity to run.’ he sighed heavily, ‘He’s smarter than Master Kane and can think logically most of the time, if I provoke him like I did with Master Kane, it’ll be of no benefit to me.’

Mihara woke up and saw Master Osamu watching him, ‘You threw up last night?’

Mihara smiled and sat up, ‘Sorry. I was so hungry because you’ve had me on punishment for the past couple of days so I ate too fast and it made me ill.’ he lied convincingly, ‘I’m sorry Master.’

‘Do you feel like some porridge?’ Master Osamu asked softly, Mihara nodded, ‘I’ll be back shortly.’

‘If I don’t think of something quick! I’m going to be drugged and raped again.’ he clenched his fist tightly, ‘Master?!’ Mihara asked, he turned, ‘Can I come with you? Please.’ Master Osamu’s eyes widened, ‘I am sick of these four walls. Please! I swear, I’ll stay by your side the whole time. I just want to get out of this room for a little bit. I’ll obediently stay by your side and do whatever you tell me to.’ Master Osamu pulled out some long chain handcuffs.

‘If I see something I don’t like.’ Mihara nodded and put his arms behind his back, ‘What are you doing?’

‘You mean you’re not tying them behind my back?’ asked Mihara putting his hands by his side.

‘You can’t eat like that.’ Master Osamu put one on his wrist, ‘Come here.’ Mihara got up and was cuffed to him, ‘This way, you’re restrained but still free to move.’

Mihara smiled and forced himself to hug him, ‘Thank you Master.’ Master Osamu stroked the back of his head.

‘Come on, let me unchain your leg or we’re not going anywhere.’ he pushed him off and unchained his ankle. Mihara grabbed the chain and wrapped it round Master Osamu’s neck.

Mihara managed to strangle him long enough so that he passed out. Mihara wasn’t sure he was dead but he wasn’t about to stick around to find out, he got the key and uncuffed himself. He ran out the room into Ren, ‘Ren!? Thank god it’s you! Please! You have to help me!’

Ren saw Master Osamu on the floor, he looked back at Mihara , ‘What the hell have you done?’

‘Please help me!’ pleaded Mihara, ‘I have to leave!’

‘He is not going to let you go. He is going to come after you.’ replied Ren.

Mihara realized he was right, ‘Ren do you have a knife?’ Ren looked at him, ‘I have to kill him.’

‘No! Mihara, you can’t kill him. The castle will fall without a Master! Everyone will be sold off or killed!’ replied Ren.

Mihara said, ‘Then kill me.’ Ren stepped back, ‘If I can’t run and can’t kill him, killing myself is the only option left!’

Ren shut the door, ‘No one will know about this until he wakes up. That’ll buy you some time.’

Mihara sighed, ‘Give me a knife so if I get caught….’ he did, ‘Bring me a horse! Where the sewer lets out!’ Ren nodded and Mihara ran. He made it out and saw Ren with a horse, ‘Did anyone see you?!’

‘No.’ said Ren.

‘Good.’ Mihara pointed down the passage, ‘First left, third right, directly up through the door at the end!’ he mounted, ‘Thank you.’ he cantered off.

He rode through the night and found himself back at Master Kane’s castle, he looked around and went to the river where he last saw Tarvan, he sighed, ‘I don’t know why I bothered to come here, it’s not like Tarvan’s still going to be here, besides I don’t want to put them in danger by being with me when Master Osamu eventually catches up to me!’

He left the horse grazing and drinking and searched on foot for somewhere to bed down when he saw someone injured on the ground.

He ran across and saw he was bleeding heavily, having nothing else to use, he used his top to stop the bleeding, the man was unconscious and he heard rustling, so he called out, ‘Help! Somebody help!’ a few moments later he heard someone coming.

‘I found him!’ he recognized the voice, it was Kohaka’s. After a brief reunion they turned their attention back to the casualty. Several more appeared and tended to the man’s wounds, Kohaka said while treating the man, ‘Tarvan told us you had a new Master.’ he looked at his brand briefly, ‘He do that?’

Mihara replied, ‘Yeah.’ the man was safe to travel, Mihara stood up, ‘I have a horse, we’ll put him on the back and take him away.’ Kohaka watched him walk away and saw the full extent of his scarring in the moonlight.

Mihara returned with the horse and helped him onto it. Kohaka hugged Mihara, ‘I’m so happy you’re back!’ he hugged him back.

‘Sorry it took me so long!’ smiled Mihara.

Kohaka took his jacket off and placed it over him, ‘You must be freezing!’

Mihara smiled, ‘I can only stay one night. Master is looking for me. I don’t want you guys to be in danger because of me again!’

‘Sara will be so happy to see you.’ smiled Kohaka.

‘No! She can’t see me!’ replied Mihara, ‘I don’t want her to know any of this! She’s too young!’

Kohaka smiled, ‘Says the one who talked about killing someone in front of her!’ Mihara chuckled he fell to his knees as exhaustion hit him, ‘Are you ok?’

‘Yeah.’ Mihara smiled, ‘I’m just exhausted.’ Kohaka helped him back to camp and went into his tent to see Tarvan.

Tarvan took Mihara off Kohaka and helped him settle down, he was shocked to see him and horrified to see his brand. He looked at Kohaka as Mihara succumbed to his fatigue and fell asleep almost immediately.

Tarvan asked, ‘Where the hell did you find him?!’

‘He found Pika injured by the river! He had a horse!’ explained Kohaka, ‘He ran away from his new Master, he said he’s leaving in the morning.’

Tarvan sighed and looked at him, ‘What have you been through Mihara?’

During the night Mihara woke up and jumped up, he couldn’t calm down until he saw his surroundings, he took deep breaths, Tarvan woke up, ‘Bad dreams?’ he got up.

‘Tarvan?’ Mihara smiled and hugged him, ‘I’m so happy to see you!’

‘The feelings mutual.’ replied Tarvan, ‘Where the hell have you been? After I saw you I went to the castle to try and get you out but it was abandoned!’

‘Master Osamu took me to his castle.’ his eyes filled with tears, ‘That bastard drugged me, lashed me and raped me!’ he crumbled, ‘I can’t stay here much longer, he’s still looking for me!’ he started trembling, ‘I’m sorry I shouldn’t have come here!’

Tarvan hugged him, ‘No! With us is exactly where you should be!’ the jacket Kohaka gave him fell off his shoulders and Tarvan could see all his scars, ‘We’ll all go tomorrow.’

Mihara replied looking at him, ‘No! You and the others are safe here!’

‘Not anymore!’ explained Tarvan, ‘I have heard a new Master is getting the castle near us, we have to leave anyway!’ Tarvan wiped the tears off his face, ‘Please, stay with us! Let us protect you! You sacrificed yourself for us so many times! Sota hasn’t shut up about you.’

‘Sota’s here?!’ exclaimed Mihara smiling.

Tarvan nodded, ‘And Sara’s mother is dying for an opportunity to thank you for helping Sara.’

Mihara shook his head, ‘I can’t. If I stay still too long he’s going to find me!’ he sighed, ‘This is exactly the kind of situation I tried to avoid with Master Kane. I can’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again! If I stay and he finds me in this camp, you’re all in danger. If I run and he finds me, I just kill myself, the story ends and no one else I care about gets hurt.’

‘Mihara! Don’t talk like that! There are always options and suicide is never one of them!’ Tarvan yelled, ‘We can cross the border! He can’t follow you there!’

‘HE WILL!’ Mihara yelled back, ‘HE HAS FAR MORE POWER AND INFLUENCE THEN MASTER KANE EVER DID!’ Mihara calmed himself, ‘Running alone or killing myself, those are my only two options now! Even if I run, I still have his brand on me! If I am captured by the wrong people, I will end up being sent back to him anyway! Not to mention my shock collar!’ he started crying as he scared himself with thoughts that his collar had a tracker in it, ‘I’m scared Tarvan! I’m so scared!’

Tarvan hugged him, ‘Please let me help you.’ Mihara cried on his shoulder, ‘It’s going to be ok.’

‘I can’t stay here. I want to.’ Mihara clung to Tarvan, ‘I really want to but, I fear him finding me and I fear even more, him finding this campsite!’ he pushed Tarvan off, ‘After I go, leave this area. You have to protect everyone! Take my horse, sell it, keep it, eat it! Whatever! Just get out of here!’

‘Mihara?’ Tarvan sighed.

‘Please can I have some clothes, so I can cover up the brand?’ asked Mihara, Tarvan gave him some and he immediately got dressed, ‘I’ll leave now, before sun rise.’

Tarvan said, ‘Wait a second.’ he packed up some supplies, ‘You’ll need these.’ he handed him a bow and some arrows, ‘Don’t waste them!’

Mihara smiled and nodded, ‘Thank you.’ he hugged him, ‘And I’m sorry. I wish things were different!’ he was about to leave when he turned back and smiled, ‘Just so you know Master Raiken and Master Roga are both dead, I am sure Sota and Kohaka will be happy to hear it!’

‘YOU KILLED THREE MASTERS!?’ Tarvan exclaimed.

‘I wish!’ Mihara chuckled, ‘Master Kane killed the both of them. I only killed him!’

‘ONLY! It’s still impressive.’ Tarvan smiled. Mihara waved goodbye and left.

Meanwhile, Master Osamu was riding out to find him, ‘Why can’t I catch his scent anywhere?’

‘Master Osamu.’ the guards bowed, ‘Sorry, we have searched, there are no tracks or traces of Mihara to be found.’

‘THAT BASTARD!?’ Master Osamu gritted his teeth, ‘When you find him! Beat him to within an inch of his life! And then give him to me!’ he rode off and Ren destroyed the horse tracks left by Mihara.

Master Osamu searched for hours, but gave up and returned to the castle, Master Osamu started pacing the floor, ‘How? How the hell did he escape?’ he stopped and started laughing, ‘Why that little…..? He had help!’ he punched a wall down, ‘WHO?!’ he looked at the guards that were out with him, ‘WHO HELPED MIHARA ESCAPE!?’ no one spoke up and he grew angrier, ‘FINE! WE’LL DO THIS THE HARD WAY!’

Back with Mihara, he went deep into the woods and to the top of a hill, he sighed and looked around, he smiled, ‘No sign of human or beast settlement.’ he sat on a rock, ‘I’ll rest for a while then start making a camp.’ he looked around again, ‘It’s so quiet!’ he curled into himself, ‘I’m all alone now.’ he rested his head on his knees, ‘I never liked being alone!’

Three weeks later, while hunting he was attacked by an animal. It’s horn had pierced through his stomach. Mihara lifted his shirt but quickly covered it again and applied pressure to the wound as he heard rustling.

Mihara thought, ‘Human, beast or animal! No matter who or what it is, being found in a weakened state like this isn’t good!’ he forced himself to stand through the pain, ‘If I make it back to camp, I can hide and treat this!’ his vision started going blurry and he started to stumble, ‘No! Don’t pass out!’

He fell to the floor, just before he lost consciousness he saw a woman come up to him, ‘You poor man!’ was the last thing he heard.

Mihara woke up to the sound of rain, he saw a canopy over him preventing him from getting soaked, he turned his head to the side hearing voices. He saw the woman again with two men and a young girl.

‘He’s branded!?’ exclaimed one of the men, ‘And you want to take him with us!?’

‘He’s wounded, he’s not dangerous, he’s a runaway just like us!’ she explained.

‘How do you know that?!’ he asked.

The woman put her hands on her hips, ‘Why else would a Slave be out here all alone?’

As they continued arguing the little girl went over to Mihara, she felt his fever, ‘You’re going to be ok.’ Mihara smiled.

The other man yelled, ‘Kim! Get away from him!’

Kim smiled, ‘He’s not dangerous.’ she moved out the way, ‘See, he’s smiling!’

He put his head in his hand, ‘Just because he’s smiling doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous!’

Mihara spoke up, ‘Please! Can you help me back to my camp? It’s just over that ridge behind the rock with the symbol on it.’

‘What?’ exclaimed the woman, ‘There are more of you?!’

Mihara shook his head, ‘Just me. You can help yourselves to my catch.’ he looked around, ‘Where are they?’ he sat up and felt instant regret as pain rippled through his body.

The woman found four dead rabbits tied together, ‘Is this it?’ Mihara smiled and nodded before passing out again. She turned to the two men, ‘Come on. Help me!’ she went to pick him up.

Her husband stopped her, ‘No Yuki! You shouldn’t lift in your condition.’ he touched her stomach, ‘I don’t want anything to happen to you or the little one.’ he kissed her passionately.

His younger brother exclaimed, ‘Oh, for the love of……….! Can you keep it PG and stop lip wrestling! Your daughter’s right there!’ he picked Mihara up onto his back, ‘Over the ridge he said.’ he walked off followed by the others.

They found his camp and were shocked he had so much stuff. He placed him on the bed, ‘He has sheets and pillows?! How the hell did he get all this stuff!?’

‘He probably stole it!’ he said.

‘From where!?’ asked Yuki, ‘We are not anywhere near a castle or any kind of settlement!’ she looked at Mihara, ‘He’s skinny!’ she stroked his face and he woke up, he felt her hand on his face, he batted her hand away and flinched backing away.

‘No! Please!’ he saw it wasn’t a Master and calmed his breathing, ‘Sorry.’

‘It’s ok, we’ve all been there!’ she replied, ‘I’m Yuki. That’s my daughter Kim, my husband Maka and his little brother Riki.’

‘I’m Mihara.’ he sat straight although it hurt, ‘You should get as far away from me as possible!’

‘Why?’ asked Riki.

‘Because my Master is a relentless bastard who’ll stop at nothing to have me back, including killing the people around me! I don’t want anyone else to get hurt or killed because of me!’ Mihara explained.

Kim climbed on the bed and hugged him, ‘You don’t have to be lonely.’

Mihara was shocked that such a little kid saw right through to his heart, he smiled as he wrapped his arm around, ‘You’re too preceptive for your age! Just like Sara!’ he pushed her off, ‘I know a place you can go and be safe.’ he looked at Yuki and Maka, ‘Four days hike south west of here, follow the river, there is a runaway camp it’s run by a man called Tarvan and his lover Kohaka.’ he looked at the woman, ‘Tell them Mihara sent you, they’ll look after you there. They will keep you safe!’

‘If this is true and it’s safe. Why aren’t you going there?!’ asked Riki.

‘You remember me saying that my Master is looking for me right? I don’t want him to find that camp and put everyone there in danger! They have women and children there. I am not putting them at risk because I don’t want to be alone!’

Maka replied, ‘Can you show us the way?’ Mihara looked at him, ‘Our sense of direction is rubbish, we’ve been on the run for only three days and we’ve been going around in circles ever since, luckily enough when we were captured, we were captured together and we managed somehow to escape together.’

‘So, you never had a Master?’ asked Mihara.

Maka explained, ‘We all had the same Master, he liked to keep families together and watch as he tested family bonds. He threatened to kill my daughter if I didn’t fight my brother, for nothing more than his own amusement! How do we know you’re not tricking us?’

‘How do I know you’re not tricking me?’ Mihara sighed, they all said silent and Mihara smiled, ‘I guess eventually someone has to start trusting someone.’

Yuki smiled, ‘Well I trust you.’

‘I’ll take you there. But, I’m going to need a few hours at least to recover.’ he pulled out some medicinal herbs, ‘Could one of you boil this into a tea for me? It’s to reduce swelling and the chance of infection.’ Yuki nodded and took it from him, Mihara smiled, ‘Kim, could you go and help your mother for a second?’ she nodded and left.

Maka and Riki came closer as he revealed his wound, ‘That looks nasty!’

Mihara sighed and pulled out a needle with thread, Riki exclaimed, ‘Oh please! Tell me you’re not going to stitch yourself up right now, with that!?’

Mihara looked at him, ‘Why the hell do you think I sent Kim away?! I don’t want her to see something like this!’

Maka took it off him, ‘I’ll do it, I have limited medical army training. But it’s still technically medical training!’

‘Me too!’ smiled Mihara saluting, ‘Major General Mihara Kura.’

Maka smiled and saluted back, ‘Captain Maka Jiroko.’ while stitching he said, ‘Sorry but I can’t help but notice.’ he looked at Mihara’s brand, ‘Your Master must have been very possessive!?’

Mihara sighed and nodded, ‘Yeah, the bastard branded me after I escaped the time before last!’

Riki exclaimed, ‘You escaped before!?’ Mihara nodded, ‘How!? We barely got out once!’

‘Come to think of it. I’ve escaped from both my Masters multiple times!’ said Mihara.

Maka exclaimed, ‘You’ve had two different Masters! But I thought that only happened to the women because they can be bred from! I’ve never heard of it happening to a man?!’

Mihara joked, ‘Well I can assure you, I wasn’t bred from!’ he lay back more, ‘Master Kane was my first Master, I escaped from him three times and after the third time, I killed him and that’s when his father Master Osamu made me his Slave.’

‘Wait! Hold on! So, you’re saying, that you killed your Master?!’ exclaimed Riki.

Mihara smiled, ‘That a problem?’

‘How’d you manage to do it?!’ asked Riki, ‘You’re small and skinny!’

‘After my third escape from Master Kane, I stabbed him in the neck.’ explained Mihara emotionlessly.

‘Third escape!’ exclaimed Yuki returning with Kim.

Mihara sighed, ‘First, I escaped and met Tarvan, then, I helped the captive Slaves to escape, next I was rescued by Tarvan and Kohaka, then, I returned to kill Master Kane, which I did.’

‘You returned to him?’ asked Yuki.

‘Yes, to kill him!’ said Mihara, ‘I was trying to avoid the situation that am currently stuck in! I had to kill Master Kane so my friends and I could be safe from him coming after us!’ Mihara sighed, ‘But, I am stuck in that exact situation with Master Osamu that I was trying to avoid with Master Kane.’

‘What happened after that? Were you sold?’ asked Maka.

‘After I killed him the castle guards dragged me back and told his father what I did! Master Osamu forced me to go to his castle after a while I stumbled upon the escape route through the sewer system but I was caught quick enough, then he branded me so I planned my escape better and got out again. I strangled him. I wasn’t strong enough to do it until he died but I managed to get him to pass out and managed to get out with a horse thanks to my friend. This was a month and a bit ago!’

Maka tied off the last stitch, ‘There you go. I can’t say it’s not going to scar, but at least you won’t bleed to death.’

Mihara smiled, ‘You all look hungry. How about a fix us some food huh?’ he got up but stumbled.

Maka helped him back on the bed, ‘No, you are going to rest.’ he turned to Yuki and Riki, ‘We will make you something to eat.’ he turned back, ‘You caught some rabbits right?’ he smiled, ‘Yuki makes a pretty mean rabbit stew!’

‘I thought you said you guys couldn’t hunt very well?!’ asked Mihara.

Riki explained, ‘We can’t. But our Master could and he ordered Yuki to make it. He liked it so much he let us all try it! We hadn’t seen her in months it was a kind of sick power play.’

Mihara drifted in and out of consciousness, ‘I really need to sleep.’

Yuki smiled and pulled the covers over him, ‘Then get some sleep.’ she stroked his forehead, ‘You look like you’ve been through a lot.’ he fell asleep.

Riki sighed, ‘Master Osamu bought us and ordered us to find him. We’ve found him! We should report it!’

Maka answered, ‘Mihara knows of a safe place we can go. A place not even Master Osamu knows about! We can actually be free instead of cowering beneath the whip!’

Riki replied, ‘Master Osamu will take care of us! He promised and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life afraid of a Master, that is angry at me, finding me! Master Osamu can ensure Yuki gives birth safely, that we never have to serve another Master in bed ever again and he can ensure we will always have food, water and shelter! Isn’t that a better life for your daughter than being constantly on the run!?’

‘We can have food, water, shelter and more!’ Yuki said, ‘Mihara wasn’t lying, everything he has said and done has been to protect us! I’m going with Mihara.’

Riki looked at Maka, ‘I’m going too. And Kim is coming with us!’

Riki huffed, ‘Are you serious!?’ Riki stepped back, ‘Master Osamu will kill us if we don’t help!’

‘How will he find out?’ asked Maka.

‘He’ll be pretty suspicious when we don’t report back.’ answered Riki.

Yuki sighed, ‘He’s right Maka.’

Maka stood up, ‘I can’t believe we are even having this discussion! We found him purely by chance and purely by chance he knows a safe place. A place away from any and every Masters rule!’

Mihara threw a dagger in Riki’s shoulder and held another to Yuki’s throat, ‘You’ll be surprised what people talk about when they think you can’t hear them!’

Maka put his hands up, ‘Ok. Ok. Mihara, please don’t hurt her. You’re not that kind of person.’

‘I HAVE BEEN ALONE FOR MONTHS!’ Mihara yelled, ‘You have no idea what kind of person I am! What kind of person I’ve become! YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!’

Maka fought back tears, ‘No, please! She’s my wife, she’s Kim’s mother and she’s pregnant! Please don’t hurt her.’

‘Go back to my Master and tell him exactly where I am.’ said Mihara.

‘What?’ asked Riki.

‘Tell my Master exactly where I am. Tell my Master that I am wounded. And tell my Master I’m sick of running and hiding.’ said Mihara, ‘And for the love of god, don’t let on that I know you were sent by him. Tell him you had to leave Kim, Yuki and Riki to keep up the pretense and you left promising to return with bandages.’

Maka asked, ‘Why would you want him to know where you are? What are you going to do?’

Mihara looked at him, ‘I’m going to kill him.’ he let Yuki go, she ran to Maka who checked her for cuts, but there were none.

‘You’ll still help us!’ exclaimed Riki.

Mihara looked at Kim then at Yuki’s stomach, ‘Kids shouldn’t be in this world. Yuki and Kim will go to the river and be protected by Riki while Maka tells Master Osamu.’

‘Mihara why would you help us?’ asked Maka, ‘After we planned to betray you like that?!’

‘Because you didn’t plan it. You merely agreed to it to keep you and your family safe.’ replied Mihara, he sat up and grimaced in pain, ‘Now go. I want to have the element of surprise and kill him quickly as he arrives.’

‘Do you really think you’ll be able to kill him?!’ asked Riki.

‘I killed his son.’ stated Mihara, ‘How hard can it be?’

‘Mihara? He is not going to let you kill him, he’s going to take you back by force!’ Yuki said, ‘You can’t fight him! You can’t beat him!’

Mihara replied, ‘Can everyone stop telling me what I can’t do?’ he looked at Maka, ‘I have already killed one Master and escaped from another! Do not underestimate me!’

Maka nodded and left to tell Master Osamu where to find him while Mihara set traps. Riki, Yuki and Kim went to the river. Mihara instructed them to follow the river up until they found Tarvan and the others.

Mihara knew they’d stick close to the river and always had someone posted near it. He waited for his Master to come and claim him, he wasn’t sure what he’d do but didn’t care anymore.

He watched as Master Osamu and several guards led by Maka entered his camp and heard the traps go off. He saw Maka being dragged out by Master Osamu and thrown to the floor.

He heard Master Osamu, ‘WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!’

‘I don’t know I swear that’s where I left him!’ Maka backed up and Mihara shot an arrow hitting Master Osamu in his shoulder. Master Osamu turned only to have another arrow fired into his chest, he fell to his knees bleeding.

Mihara went to get another arrow when he realized he was out, ‘Crap!’

He snuck round behind Master Osamu, handing Maka a note on how to find his family. Believing he had gone unnoticed he prepared to stab Master Osamu, his shock collar forced him to his knees.

Master Osamu smirked, ‘Did you really think you could kill me that easily?’ Mihara got up and ran but guards appeared from everywhere turning the posts on. Mihara had no-where left to run. Master Osamu pulled the arrow out his chest, ‘You very nearly hit my heart!’ Master Osamu shocked Mihara until he fell back to his knees, ‘Shame you couldn’t kill me! It’s bad news for you.’ Master Osamu knelt down to Mihara, ‘Where do you get the nerve?’ he shocked him again, ‘I wonder how long it’ll take for you to pass out?’

Ren yelled, ‘Master please stop! You’re killing him!’ Master Osamu did stop and Mihara looked over, through his blurred vision he saw Ren bloody and bruised, being restrained.

Master Osamu stood up smiling, ‘No Ren. I’m not killing him.’ he stabbed him through his heart with the arrow Mihara fired at him, ‘I’m killing you.’ Ren’s body fell near Mihara’s.

Mihara sat up against a tree, ‘Why’d you…….do that?!’

‘He helped you escape of course!’ Master Osamu smiled, he shocked him again and started counting slowly, ‘1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.’ the shock stopped, ‘Is it starting to wear you down a little?’

Mihara’s body was trembling, ‘Please……stop……!’

‘Not just yet.’ Master Osamu shocked him again, ‘1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20.’ he stopped it again, ‘I can smell the burnt flesh.’ he tilted his head up, ‘And there’s blood too!’ he smirked, ‘Now I see why my son gave you a collar. It’s so easy to subdue you!’

Ren coughed, Mihara called out, ‘Ren?!’

‘Still alive I see?’ smirked Master Osamu.

Mihara crawled over to him only to have his hand stamped on by Master Osamu, ‘Uh. Uh. Uh. No touching Mihara.’

‘Master….please….help him….please….’ begged Mihara.

Master Osamu chuckled, ‘I don’t think you’ve ever given me such a cute response before.’

‘Do whatever….you want….to me….just….help him….’ replied Mihara.

Master Osamu smiled, ‘Why should I?’ he crushed his hand breaking it. Mihara cried out and the pressure eased.

Mihara trembled, ‘Please!’

‘So, you strangle me, knocking me out, you run away from me, you hide from me for months and one of the first things you say to me isn’t I’m sorry! But you actually ask a favor of me!’ Master Osamu kicked him, ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’

Mihara pulled himself together and forced himself to his feet, ‘If that’s how you want it.’ he drank something and looked at him, ‘I have hidden the antidote to this somewhere on this mountain, help him and then let him go or you will never find it and I’ll die right here and now.’

Master Osamu stepped back, ‘What the hell have you done?!’

Mihara started coughing blood, ‘Poisoned myself.’ he smiled.

Master Osamu gritted his teeth, ‘You’ve turned into quite the little chess player haven’t you?’ he reluctantly healed Ren, ‘Now where’s the antidote?!’

‘Not until……you….let him….go…..’ answered Mihara.

‘Fine!’ Master Osamu picked him up and pushed him away. Mihara pulled it out his shirt and took it, his breathing calmed.

‘Now what?’ asked Mihara.

‘Now you obediently come back with me. If you show me how you escaped, I will show you leniency!’ replied Master Osamu.

‘You’ll never know how I escaped.’ replied Mihara.

‘In truth I was lying. Ren already showed me everything, he doesn’t do too well under torture. Unlike you!’ Master Osamu smirked, ‘I’m going to enjoy having you back in my bed.’

Mihara answered, ‘I am not going back in your bed ever again.’

‘You seem very sure of that.’ smirked Master Osamu.

Mihara smiled as blood fell from Master Osamu’s nose, ‘Oh I am.’ Master Osamu put his hand to his nose and saw the blood, he looked back at Mihara, ‘The arrow in your back was laced with poison too. I knew it wouldn’t be enough to kill you.’ he smiled, ‘And as for the collar.’ he turned to Ren who turned the posts off and smashed it, before running away again, ‘It all went according to plan.’ Mihara ran off as the guards tended to Master Osamu.

‘What are you fools doing?! CATCH HIM!’ Master Osamu yelled as he lay there dying.

Mihara and Ren had caught up with Maka, ‘Come on. We need to find the others!’ said Mihara.

‘How’d you get away from him?’ asked Maka.

‘That isn’t important now!’ replied Mihara refusing to stop. They heard Yuki screaming and found her in labor, ‘You’re in labor?! Now! Are you kidding me!?’

Yuki looked at him, ‘Because it’s my god damn due date!’

Mihara brushed his hair back, ‘Ren, please tell me you have weapons!’

Ren shook his head, ‘Sorry, we’re on our own here!’ Mihara felt as though the walls were closing in on him, unsure whether or not his Master was still alive, scared of what he’ll face being caught and conflicted between self-preservation and helping her he started hyperventilating.

Riki sighed, ‘Mihara. Run!’ Mihara looked at him, ‘You’ve sacrificed yourself for others enough.’ he smiled, ‘We’ll be fine and we’ll catch up after she’s given birth I promise.’

Mihara calmed his breathing, ‘No. You won’t! If I leave you here, Master will capture you. I couldn’t live with myself knowing I chickened out!’

Maka sighed, ‘It’s not chickening out. We have all suffered under a Master’s oppression in one form or another and from what I’ve seen Master Osamu is one of the bad ones! It’s not wrong of you to want to run.’

Mihara shook his head, ‘I will not allow anyone else to die for me! I refuse!’ he turned to Yuki, ‘We need to get you out of sight, I’ll lead them away, giving you a fighting chance.’ he helped them off trail and into the forest. He exhaled, ‘I hope you have a healthy baby and find your way to Tarvan’s camp.’ he stood up and ran off.

They heard the guards chasing him. Maka held Yuki’s hand and hugged her kissing her forehead as she whimpered, ‘It’ll be ok, just breathe.’ he whispered softly. She stifled her cries fearing discovery.

Meanwhile, Mihara was out of breath clambering up a rocky embankment, a bloody wound in his shoulder from an arrow and scratches all over his body from running away. He stopped as his breathing got worse, ‘Damn it! There’s no end to this!’

He heard the guards, ‘What do you mean you lost him?!’  ‘Find him!’  ‘I found a blood trail!’  ‘We must have hit him with an arrow.’  ‘He won’t get far wounded.’  ‘Spread out and search.’

Mihara thought, ‘It’s just a matter of time until they find me.’ he looked up at the sky, ‘At least I got to see the clear blue sky one last time.’ his vison started to blur as he drifted out of consciousness he smiled remembering Tarvan, Kohaka, Sara, Kara, Ren and all the others. The last thing he could consciously determine was that someone picked him up.

Two days later, he woke up in a tent. Barely able to focus he feared who’s tent it was and tried to get up, only to fall alerting the tent owner to him being awake.

Sara went up to him, ‘Mihara?! Get back into bed!’ she held him up and placed him back in bed.

Mihara tried to focus his vision, ‘Sara!?’ behind her he saw Tarvan and much to his surprise, he saw Ren and Maka, ‘Where? What? How?’ he couldn’t focus on anything.

Kim appeared, ‘It’s ok Mihara. We can all talk later.’

‘Kim?!’ Mihara refused to sit down, ‘How?’

Tarvan went over to him, ‘Girls go out and play.’ they reluctantly left. Tarvan said, ‘Mihara, you need to rest, you’re safe I swear to you! This is not a trick or a dream, you’re back with us and you’re safe!’

‘Tarvan?!’ Mihara clutched hold of his top as he failed to stand again. He smiled, ‘It’s you! It’s really you!’ he hugged him, ‘I’m so happy to see you!’

Tarvan hugged him back, ‘Get some more sleep Mihara.’ he didn’t notice Mihara had fallen asleep already, he placed him back on the bed but fell, to avoid waking him again he put his hands out as Kohaka came in.

Kohaka crossed his arms, ‘You lusty dog!’ Tarvan got up.

‘It’s not what you think I swear!’ said Tarvan.

Kohaka started laughing, ‘You’re so easy to mess with!’ he kissed him.

A few hours later, Kohaka looked at Mihara, ‘Is he going to be ok?’

‘I hope so.’ smiled Yuki walking in holding her new born son, ‘Mihara Jr. is dying to meet him!’

Maka stroked his son’s head and kissed his wife, ‘Are you sure you’re ok being up so soon?’

‘Yeah, it’s better to keep moving!’ said Yuki, ‘Besides the second I gave birth we had to run anyway!’

Tarvan smiled and looked at the baby, ‘I haven’t seen a baby in years!’ the baby started laughing as he made faces.

‘Would you like to hold him?’ asked Yuki.

Tarvan blushed, ‘I’m kinda too scared in case I drop him!’

Yuki chuckled and forced him to hold him, ‘See you’re a natural!’ Kohaka came over and made faces making the baby laugh again.

Mihara sat up, ‘What’s that noise?’ he looked over, ‘Tarvan? How the hell did you end up with a kid?’ he held his head, ‘WOW! That’s a bad headache!’

Yuki took her son back and went over to Mihara, ‘Mihara.’ he looked at her, ‘I want you to meet Mihara.’ she passed him over and Mihara’s mouth automatically sank to a smile.

‘You named him after me?’ he looked at Yuki, ‘Thank you!’

‘How are you feeling?’ she asked.

‘Better knowing you got out of this alive!’ smiled Mihara, he looked at Tarvan, ‘What happened?’

Tarvan sighed, ‘Sorry. Master Osamu is still alive.’ the light fell from his eyes and the color drained from his face, he passed Yuki her son back.

‘I better go!’ Mihara stood up only to fall again.

‘No. You’re not leaving us again! Every time you leave you almost die or get captured!’ yelled Kohaka, ‘You are staying here with us! Even if I have to force you!’

Mihara started chuckling, ‘When did you get so bossy and dominant?’

Kohaka blushed and backed up, ‘Shut up!’

Tarvan said, ‘He is right though Mihara. You don’t have to be alone anymore!’

‘You don’t have to be on the run with me for the rest of your lives!’ replied Mihara.

Tarvan smiled, ‘I said he was alive, I never said he was conscious!’ Mihara looked at him shocked, ‘He is in an irreversible coma, the poison hasn’t killed him but it has eliminated him as a threat!’

Mihara asked, ‘So, he can’t come after me!?’

‘Or order anyone else too!’ stated Kohaka.

Tarvan smiled, ‘You’re free!’

Mihara didn’t know how to feel, he started crying but laughing, trembling but steady, he looked at everyone, ‘I can stay…..without……risk….?’ Kohaka nodded, Mihara’s body relaxed and he started laughing, ‘I’m free? I’m finally free?’

Four days later Mihara could finally assess his wounds, he saw his arms and legs were bandaged up, he touched his neck expecting to feel the collar but it wasn’t there.

Kohaka came in with food, ‘Here you go.’ he saw Mihara frantically feeling his neck, ‘Oh right!’ he showed him the collar, ‘Tarvan still had the spare key.’ Mihara took it off him, ‘You had some pretty nasty burns, sorry but it’s going to leave a scar! There was no avoiding it! But you can wear bandages if you want to keep it covered.’

Mihara smiled, ‘Kohaka, can we destroy this collar?’

Kohaka smiled, ‘Sure thing. Once you’re better!’

A week later Mihara had recovered enough to walk around unaided, although wobbly he refused to be a burden and walked alone. He saw Sara and Kim playing together, Maka and Yuki caring for their son, Riki helping to make weapons, Tarvan and Kohaka organizing the next supply collection, he smiled as Ren settled in as head of security.

He sat on the ridge overlooking the whole camp, ‘I can actually stay here!’ a woman that joined the camp recently looked up at him. She blushed as he looked at her, she looked away he smiled and chuckled to himself, ‘She’s been looking at me a lot?!’

The hunting party returned he went down to help prepare the kill when he slipped only to be caught by the woman from earlier, he regained his footing and blushed, ‘That’s embarrassing.’

‘Slipping or being saved by a woman?’ she asked.

Mihara chuckled and scratched the back of his head, ‘Both.’ he smiled, ‘You’re Victoria right?’ she nodded, ‘Thank you.’ he kissed her hand.

Victoria blushed, ‘No problem.’

Mihara wanted to talk to her more but he hadn’t a clue what to say, so he escorted her back to the main camp, they parted ways and Kohaka elbowed him, ‘You sly fox! She’s a beauty!’

Mihara blushed, ‘What?! No! We were just talking!’

‘You’re allowed to breed you know!?’ replied Kohaka.

Mihara blushed even more, ‘I’m not interested in breeding! Besides, I don’t think she’s even interested!’

Kohaka raised one eyebrow, ‘She’s been watching you since you parted ways, she’s always following you and she’s always asking us how you are! Trust me, she’s interested!’ he smiled, ‘Let me pay you back for talking me into asking Tarvan out and go ask her out!’

Mihara sighed, ‘Alright, but if she breaks my heart I’m blaming you!’ he joked. He stood up and went over to her, ‘Victoria?’ he blushed, ‘Would you like to have dinner with me?’ she blushed, ‘What I mean is……would you like to sit with me while we eat?’

Victoria chuckled, ‘You’re so cute!’ she looked at him, ‘I guess I need to be more direct.’ she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him, slipping her tongue into his mouth.

Mihara remembered how both Master Kane and Master Osamu did that and backed away abruptly, his breathing quickened, ‘Sorry…..but…..I…..’ he started shaking, ‘I….have to go….’ everyone who saw it wasn’t entirely sure what the problem was.

All except Kohaka of course. He found Mihara fishing in the river and joined him, ‘You ok?’

‘Yeah. I’m fine.’ he couldn’t catch anything.

‘You used to be the best at this!’ Kohaka stated, ‘To have you take such a steep decline must mean something is going on.’

Mihara sighed, ‘Just bad memories that’s all!’

Kohaka nodded, ‘I understand and I’m sure she will too if you talk to her.’

Mihara threw his spear in the water out of frustration, ‘It was stupid of me to ask her out!’

‘Calm down it’s not that bad!’ replied Kohaka.

‘YES IT IS!’ Mihara yelled. He started crying, ‘Even holding hands with someone forces those memories back, I can’t touch anyone or anything without fear of being raped again!’

Kohaka sighed, ‘I suppose it’s worse for you than it was for me. My Master was mean to me right from the start but both of yours pretended to care before showing their true colors! It’s no wonder you have trust issues and horrific memories!’

Mihara sighed, ‘It’s not just that, I feel like everyone is a potential threat! Even you!’ Kohaka was shocked, ‘I should have stayed alone.’ he walked off and sat on the bank.

‘Mihara?’ Kohaka sat with him, ‘Tell me. What would you being alone achieve?’

Mihara explained, ‘Victoria can have a lover that she can actually love! This camp would have one less mouth to feed! And you wouldn’t have to waste your time right now on this pep talk!’

Kohaka sighed, ‘I didn’t hear a single benefit to you in that list.’

‘I don’t matter!’ said Mihara.

‘Don’t say that! You do!’ yelled Kohaka, ‘Kim, Riki, Yuki, Maka and their newborn wouldn’t have even known about us unless you told them, they wouldn’t have made it here if you hadn’t been the bait! I wouldn’t be with Tarvan! Sota would probably be dead! Sara would be forced into becoming a breeder! And almost everyone here would be back with their Masters!’

Mihara sighed, ‘This camp wouldn’t have been discovered if not for me! Sara and Sota would have worked something out so would Yuki and the others, and as for you, I think if you didn’t make the first move, Tarvan would have!’

Victoria smacked him round the back of his head, ‘What the hell is wrong with you!?’ he turned, ‘Do you lack self-worth that much!?’ she grabbed his shirt, ‘Listen to me! Even if you think you’re worthless! You are not worthless to everyone in that camp! You matter to them! You matter to me!’

Mihara smiled, ‘Victoria?’ he pushed her hands off, ‘Thank you for talking some sense into me in the only way I understand.’ he kissed her cheek, ‘But I think you should find yourself someone more suitable.’

Victoria pushed and pinned him to the ground, ‘You’re the most suitable person here!’ she smiled, ‘If I have to wait for you. Then I have to wait for you!’ she let him up, ‘We can take things slow, you’re not the only one here with psychological damage! We can work on it all together.’

Mihara asked, ‘By any chance were you a therapist before the Masters took over?!’

‘How’d you guess?!’ joked Victoria, ‘I actually specialized in sexual abuse counselling. I have helped several people here work through their issues caused by Masters abuse. So, I will help you too.’

Mihara smiled, ‘Thank you.’

Victoria joked, ‘You say that now, just wait until you see my bill!’ she chuckled and stood up, ‘I’m going to go back and help with dinner.’

Kohaka whistled, ‘You’ve got a serious woman there!’ he reached into his pocket, ‘Anyway.’ he pulled out his collar, ‘Do you still want to destroy it?’

Mihara nodded taking it off him. He held it tight, ‘This thing kept me prisoner for over a year!’ he threw it in the river and it smashed against the rocks, ‘No more!’

Tarvan’s group carried on as they always did helping both old and new runaways, Victoria counselled the worst affected members, Sara and Kim grew up together, they became as close as sisters. Maka and his wife Yuki raised Mihara Jr. free from the chains of captivity.

Tarvan and Kohaka grew ever closer, while Sota and Riki fell for one another. Partnerships appeared all over the camp as ex-slaves grew to realize their safety and freedom wasn’t as fleeting as they first feared.

With the biggest players like Master Roga, Raiken, Kane and Osamu out of action the Masters started losing the grip they held over humanity.

Now the Masters influence had diminished more and more Slaves ran away successfully and Tarvan’s group of runaways grew bigger and bigger.

Two years later, Mihara and Victoria finally managed to express their true feelings for one another, the human race took back control of the human race.

Eventually they refused to accept the Master’s rule any longer and raised up in revolt. It took only one year with sneaky tactics, like attacking from within and using the Master’s defenses against them.

Mihara’s battle knowledge and tactics proved so effective their race was driven out and humans took back their rightful place in the world.

As the sun set on the first day of peace in over ten years, Mihara and Victoria sat together as did many other couples. Free from all Master’s rule humanity breathed easy.

Victoria asked, ‘What do we do now?’

Mihara inhaled deeply and exhaled as relief washed over him, ‘Whatever we want, it’s over.’

THE END


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