Chapter Three Part One
Ragnar didn’t waste any energy yelling. Under the circumstances, his calmness would terrify his slave far worse than any display of anger. He’d know it was being saved until he was off guard. For his failure the young fool deserved a full measure of anticipatory terror before the hammer fell. Ragnar was almost tempted to wait until he knew it was only months before he would move on again. Then he could punish the young fool for the rest of his stay in Haventon instead of just killing him quickly and painlessly as he usually disposed of his slaves. A whimper indicated the psychic had heard that thought.
“Oh, don’t worry, George. While it would be just punishment for your failure, I’m not that cruel,” he said. “Your punishment, when it comes, will be far milder than you deserve. Now tell me more of how you failed. Who is this hunter and how did she get so close to me?”
“H-her name is Anna Davies, Master,” he said, “And I don’t know how she got so close. Her mind wasn’t easy to read. But she hasn’t been a hunter long. She hasnâ€™t been a hunter long, but her mind was still quite difficult to read. It was strange. I think it had to do with me working night shift.”
Ragnar frowned at that. Something about it didn’t ring true. “Show me!” he ordered. George opened his mind obediently; then, shrieked until he could no longer scream as Ragnar rifled through his mind with the usual lack of care. As far as Ragnar could tell, his slave was telling him everything; yet, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was hiding something. He pushed harder, making George whimper more. There was no sign of anything hidden. Ragnar finished his scan and pulled back. “Well,” he said expectantly.
George could barely speak after all that screaming but he managed to croak, “T-thank you for not destroying my mind, Master.”
Ragnar smirked to himself at the genuine gratitude in his slave’s mind. “You’re welcome and feel more gratitude.. I may not need to punish you so much after all. I think the girl is just a novice who made a mistake. A little more care may be needed when you bring me home prey, but this wasn’t entirely your fault.” He stroked the boy’s head. “The carelessness still needs punishing, but there’s no need to torture you with anticipation.”
“Wait here. I need to talk to Caroline before I deal with you. You won’t be able to find another victim for me until we’re sure it’s safe, so I’m going to have to spare her my attentions for a while. You are going to stand in for her until she’s recovered somewhat. Only, unlike her, I’ll make sure it hurts you exquisitely. I’ll enjoy your pleas tonight, slave, but don’t worry for now I need you alive.”
Before speaking with Caroline, Ragnar went upstairs and scoured his cupboards for the ingredients to make a meal for her. If he was going to keep her longer than anticipated before letting her fade away, he could not allow her to continue her quiet refusal to eat. As he cooked up a mix of tinned stewing steak and vegetables, Ragnar thought some more about that hunter girl he’d seen in George’s mind. She must be a member of that wretched Order. Perhaps he could use her. The Order had to be destroyed, along with the wealth of information it had on his kind before it was too late. He’d think about it once he’d spoken to Caroline and dealt with George. Meal prepared, he went back down and pushed open the door to the small former storeroom where he kept his victims.
“Master?” The pale blonde runaway George had found for him nearly two months ago looked up at him. She stared at the food then looked away. “I’m not hungry.”
“Good evening, Caroline,” he said gently. “This is for you. It’s just canned stuff I’m afraid. I’ll make sure George cooks for you tomorrow.” He hesitated. “I’ve noticed you haven’t been eating. It won’t do. You need food to replace the blood I’ve been taking.”
“What’s the point? You’re going to kill me anyway,” she said in a soft dead tone.
“Yes, but I need you to last a while longer, my dear. So, if you don’t eat up I’ll have to force you. You really won’t like that at all.” He put the plate on the bedside table and pushed the spoon into her hand. “You want to please me, don’t you?” Of course she did. He picked his prey from George’s offerings for their tractability.
Caroline looked at him; then, nodded. “I’ll live as long as you need me to, Master.”
“Good girl,” he murmured. “You’ll be pleased to know you’ve got a few nights off from my feeding to recover.”
“I heard, Master,” she said. “The door was open a crack, thank you.” She frowned slightly. “Why are you so mean to him?”
“He’s a wretch who agreed to betray his own kind and serve me to save his own skin,” he said contemptuously.
â€œYou’re nicer to me,â€ she said. “Don’t I serve you?”
“You’ve got no choice in your situation. He could have chosen to refuse and die. Many of my potential slaves do. Them, I respect. The ones who give in are pathetic weak-willed wretches.”
“I see.â€ It was clear that she didn’t.
He chuckled softly and ruffled her hair. “He tricked you into coming here. It’s his fault that you’re going die. Do you really care what I do to him?”
Caroline looked thoughtful for a second before nodding. “Yes, I do.”
“Ah.” Ragnar smiled. “That’s what makes you better than him. He doesn’t care about anything but his own skin.” He rose to his feet. “Now you eat up. I’m going to deal with him.”
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