I ran.

Tears were streaming down my face, my legs ached, my heart pounded, but still I ran.

Behind me, growls sounded close. Danto, Yoko, and Caika never gave up on their prey, especially when Komlak rarely let them out. They loved the chase, loved the fear that radiated off me as I dodged trees and boulders so I didn get ripped apart.

Komlak was my mistress, cruel as they came, hard to please. I was bought by her a year ago from my last slave master who couldn control me. Komlak, it seemed, thought she could. I knew I should not be testing her, not after seeing her reaction to a boy accidentally stepping on her dress, but I couldn help myself. She made me mad.

I tripped over a root and gasped as I fell forward, scraping my hands and knees on sticks and stones. The three bloodhounds caught up and drooled, looming over me with their teeth bared. I whimpered, more scared of these mutts than I was of Komlak herself.

Yoko went for my leg when I tried to get up, making a scream rip from my throat. The bone was crushed under the dogs powerful jaws. Danto caught a hold of my right arm, crushing the bones in my forearm while Caika wrapped her teeth around my throat. I was prepared to die, if only to be free from this cruel world.

Almost as soon as Caika began to squeeze, she disappeared, along with the other two. I heard yelps and whimpers, but didn wait to see why. Standing, I hobbled along, my bad leg dragging behind me as I held my broken arm against my chest. Behind me, I heard the dogs fighting someone else. I silently thanked them and disappeared into the night.

I made it to a hidden cottage that hasn been used in years, biting back my cries of pain. Stumbling inside, I was able to make it to the moth eaten couch to collapse. I gasped into the dark, pain everywhere in my body, it seemed. I passed out a moment later.

When I woke the next morning, I felt my broken arm wrapped up in something heavy and my leg being worked on. Immediately, I sat up and pushed away. Only to cry out in pain.

”Sit still, ” said a male voice.

I looked to where I heard it and blinked. Vibrant green eyes stared at me with unending interest, dark brown hair flopped in his face, his soft smile was filled with white teeth.

I still feared him.

I tried to pull my leg away from him, afraid of the price I would have to pay for his services.

”If you keep trying to get away from me, you
e going to hurt yourself more, ” he said, raising his brows.

I shook my head, unable to speak, unable to do anything, the fear making me paralyzed.

The male tilted his head to one side, studying me. ”Im not going to hurt you. Im trying to help. ”

Again, I shook my head. There was something about him I didn like, didn trust.

Behind me, the door slammed open, making jump up and try to run and hide, however my leg prevented that.

”Einnig! ” Another male voice shouted.

Before I could get much farther into the house, arms lifted me up, held me close. I struggled, fighting to get away. ”Did you have to come in here like that, Kesar? ”

I writhed in the males arms and fell out, hitting the ground hard. I cried out. Someone cursed.

When I opened my eyes, identical faces looked down at me, the difference being one was boyish and one was more carved to fit a man.

I scrambled back, afraid of them both. ”Woah! ” said the one with the boyish face. ”Settle down! ”

The other male glared at him, then turned to me with a soft expression. ”How about you let me put you back on the couch and I can take my brother out to give you some time alone? Does that sound alright to you? ”

I blinked at him, whimpered, and shook my head.

”Would you like us to leave now? ”

I moved back a little more. This male was not as scary as the other, something about him made me want to hold onto him and beg him to keep me safe. However, I didn know if I could trust him. I shook my head, but made a motion with my hands to show I wanted a bath.

”Einnig, go start some hot water. ”

”But I saw her first! ”

”Einnig, if you want to help then youll do as I say. ”

Einnig, the one with the boyish face who I woke up to, grumbled then left. I relaxed a little, but stared cautiously at the male still sitting before me. He however got up and went to a table not far away, grabbing some cloth and tape. Coming back he reached for my leg slowly, watching me for any reaction to tell him if I refuse. I didn move, but watched him in return. He gently picked it up, set it on his lap, and began to wrap it.

”My name is Kesar. What is your name? ”

I blinked at him, never having been asked that question before.

He paused his task and rose a brow. ”Do you have one? ”

I shrugged.

I didn know if it was the pain, the adrenaline finally being drained from my body, or what, but I thought I saw his eye color flicker from brown to amber.

”What does other people call you? ” he asks.

I open my mouth, then shut it, not wanting to talk.

Before he can question me further, Einnig came back, crouching beside Kesar and looking at me with a smile. ”Theres a nice hot bath waiting for you. Ready? ”

I just stared at him.

Kesar finished my leg and set it down. ”One of us will have to carry you, so you don fall or break anything else. ” He sighed. ”I have to go get some supplies, but Einnig can help you with anything you need. ”

He watched me, waiting for an answer, but how do I explain the feeling I got from his brother? I didn want to make either mad, yet, I did t even know why they were helping me.

Kesar softened his gaze even more. ”Don worry. No one will find you here. ”

Finally, I nodded my head slowly.

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