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50 Part III

 Through the white mullioned windows, the moon light weakly ignited the gloomy hall deep down In Marcellus's Keep. The Guards strolled in, pulling Artemis by a chain.

Marcellus took a sip from his tea, before dismissing the knights who were drained complete of their energy. The Demigod's eyes fell on the slave that refused to bow.

"I believe you've settled enough."

Artemis didn't respond, and he found that amusing. "What is your mission child?"

She took in a deep breath. There was no need hiding it "I've ventured from earth to Sol with one significant target. With the powers my God favored me with, I will take part in the summer game and I will emerge as the new Demigod."

A wry laugh burst from deep inside his chest. When last did he laugh? When last did he have tears at his ducts after hearing an expensive joke?

"For making me laugh, child. I will pardon your rudeness. You've made my night."

"I'm not joking. I will win."

Marcellus dropped his cup on the stool close to his seat then wiped the corner of his mouth with a napkin "It will not be easy to defeat my son."

Artemis smirked, "He seemed tough, but I'm certain I'll have the option to crush Vincent."

Marcellus shook his head, "It will not be easy to defeat Darren Livingston" his statement surprised Artemis. Vincent was the strong one and not Darren.

"Whoever or whatever it is, I will conquer. Mark my words!"

Through the keyhole, a third party was eavesdropping on the discourse of the pair. What he heard amused him, and he wanted to put the information to good use.

The next day -

Vincent's hands caressed the body beside him, swirling to every inch and slight detail of her chestnut skin "You survived it. Why do you still shiver? I said I'd be gentle with my knife."

The girl was speechless. The night wasn't something she needed to recall.

"I enjoyed you, and the sweet tone of your screams. I'll call for you more often."

Those words weren't something she wanted to hear. She thought it would be their last contact, but he was keen on using her again. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she covered her face in the cushion stained with her blood.

"What is your name?"

Through her wavy voice, she spoke, "Felicia. Slave 670. F corridor."

"Felicia" Vincent disposed the other details as he got out of bed. He did his morning stretch before moving to his closet to pull out a new robe.

"I want you out of my room before I come back. And make sure there's no trace of blood or else." He didn't need to state what he'd do. She already got the message. The door clicked and the defenseless girl was deserted in the room.

Vincent ran his hand through the stubble that stretched over his scalp as he walked down the busy hallway. Guards and slaves bowed as the tyrant strutted to the dinning room for breakfast.

He took his seat on the carved oak table, then his eyes shifted to the walls covered with shimmering gold papers. The family portrait always reminded him he had a sister before him and Darren, but she died years ago. He hissed at her demise before calling for the maids.

Darren was on his way out when his eyes came across the large figure of his brother who hadn't noticed his presence. He was skeptical about breakfast, but since his brother beat him to the table, he'd leave the food for him, and come back only for lunch.

"Won't you join me to have breakfast, my beloved brother?"

Vincent poured himself a glass brimming with grape juice as the house cleaners rushed to put something on his plate and dress the table appropriately.

"Where are you hurrying to?" He glimpsed his brother who tried to sneak out a moment ago.

Darren shuddered. The penetrating look of his sibling knocked away his capacity to talk, and his little confidence and pride.

"I-i" he stammered trying to walk away again but his brother halted him as he swung the finely polished fork in his direction.

The frail wolfman squeaked as the fork missed his his face by a hairbreadth. His widened eyes turned to see the fork adhered to the wall with signs of cracks around it. "That could have killed me if he aimed properly."

"Won't you answer me, big brother?" Vincent's tone was taunting, and Darren knew best that he didn't have tome to waste on his Ferine brother. He dashed to the door, leaving his sibling's inquiry unanswered.

Vincent sniggered as he made a toast to his alternative plans, and the success rate of it.

Darren looked around the garden, and other places that belonged to his father, searching for the slave that almost picked a fight with Vincent.

He had a lot to ask concerning the conversation he had with his father. He tried to recall to the name, but all he knew was 'arm'

The sun beat down with no mercy and a Guard sat behind the slaves on his horse, whip frimly in his broad hand.

Keith and Artemis were separated. Keith alongside numerous slaves had work at the yard, while the gatekeepers drove Artemis and her group to Marcellus' coal mine.

Her skin that had been broken so many times by the whip was a gnarled map of her agony. Her hands were raw with blisters and it hurt every time she hit the pickaxe against the mineral.

Her lungs burned from the residue, her muscles throbbed, and when she finally emerged from the black pit, she could hardly recognize herself.

The shackles around her ankles and neck were heavy, and after long hours of work, the watchmen brought bread.

Bread, and only Bread were available for consumption by slaves.

Her stomach growled, and she squirmed as the hint of her starvation lied in her empty legs that wavered, her sunken eyes and the uncoordinated music of her stomach.

Her eyes glazed over as she imagined the cold bread in her mouth, good or bad, she just wanted something to eat. Her stomach has been vacant, and she understood food was necessary to recharge her magic meter.

She sat down amid the others and ate the tasteless stone of a bread. The sudden jolt of all the slaves caught her attention when they saw the bright face of the rich son of the Demigod's house. He moved towards them, minding not to touch the coal-stained tools gnawing at their bread like the savage animals they are.

He only had a sense of Superiority whenever he was around slaves, but that day he was meek. As soon as he found out about the slave with powers, he wanted to see who 'arm' was and ask many questions concerning his powers.

"Are you arm?"

"No." Artemis said as she continued to lick up the crumbs on her bare hands.

He was shaking. He wondered how strong she was and if she'd beat him up if he continued to ask.

"Y-you are the slave with powers I'm sure? I could see you perfectly from the keyhole. Please verify your claim." Desperation reverberated in his voice, and everyone's eyes went to Artemis.

'The slave with powers?' They whispered to one another, then Artemis thought it was ideal to head off to some place private with Darren to further their discussion.

She drank the water he gave her, but it wasn't enough to quench her thirst. She threw the bottle at him without appreciating him for his kind gesture "I'm not under anyone, and I'm certainly not under you" Her voice sent shivers down his spine, and she could see the fear in his turquoise eyes.

"So what exactly do you want from me?" He shifted his gaze to his feet, thinking of words to answer her question.

"Please tell me how a human got powers. It's so bizarre you have magic despite being a human, and I, a wolfman, son of Marcellus has no magical presence."

She sighed. The fact that he came looking for her meant that he didn't buy her God gifted explanation of her powers.

"Why should I tell you?"

"Please, I will fight in the God games. I don't have magic, and I have little battle skill..."

"Is that my fault? I'm not your mother, so why are you narrating your autobiography to me? Does it look like I give a fuck?"

Her rudeness was remarkable. Every time she raised a tone or sounded nonchalant to his dismay, he would erupt in anger, but in seconds he'd become calm again. He needed her help, not a fight.

"Please!" He had nothing else to say that would move her.

"Get on your knees and beg me," Artemis crossed her arms as she leaned against the carriage behind her. He did so after hesitating. The fact that no one would see aided a fast compliance to her wish. The humiliation of begging a slave would be between them, but he didn't know for how long.

"please help me."

"Hm" Artemis thought of how to utilize the prince for her potential benefit "Let's make a deal."