Chapter 7: Dramatic effect

“Here, master.” Lenia kneeled with her arms raised, the mask held forward, towards her master.

Aleks stood over her looking down at her. He unwrapped the cloth around his face, slowly, and let it drop to floor. The glint of the gold mask caught his eye and he inspected the object of his desire, admiring its beauty.

His fingers lightly caressed the contours of the peerless treasure, until they rested on the edges and he pulled the mask to himself, holding it up close to his mouth and whispered, “It’s good to see you again old friend.”

Lenia, hearing his words, wondered about the connection between the two. Her master had explained to her the story behind the mask, but to her it didn’t look like anything in particular l, just a gold mask. However she dared not question her master, if he said it was special, then that was that.

Holding it carefully, Aleks placed the treasure on his face and breathed in deeply. “The mask is finally where it belongs, we are done here Lenia, grab what you can carry and then follow.”

Aleks turned, his cloak kicked up some dust. He felt whole, as if embraced by a long estranged friend. Lenia grabbed as many coin pouches as she could carry and then rushed to keep up with her master’s purposeful strides. The two left the former Don’s hideout littered with the corpses of the recently deceased as well as the husk of the man formerly known as Roderan.

“Let’s get you cleaned up, we have a play to attend.” Lenia could only follow in confusion, her master still an enigma to her.

With the money they obtained from looting the vault, finding a suitable inn for her master to stay in would be a simple matter. She was happy that they wouldn’t have to stay in the sewers anymore. It was absolutely disgusting and she couldn’t bear the shame, not for herself, but for Aleks.

It was still late at night when they stepped out of the base of the former Don Jefe. Aleks watched the night from eyes beneath a mask and ushered Lenia on with haste. There was still time before the play would start and they would need to be presentable.

Even late at night, the theatre would never close because many denizens of the city had only just begun their sordid pleasures. In the dark of night, many desires were fulfilled within the sleepless city. Those desires ranged from pleasure to pain, and almost everything in between.

Lenia kept pace with her master without saying a word. There were still patrols to be evaded after all, at least until they arrived at their destination. Aleks was leading her to what was affectionately called, ‘The Red Light District’. That wasn’t its official title but those who frequented the area had named it this way. It was a charming place where one might be seduced by their darkest of pleasures.

The ‘Red Light District’ was technically a part of the Commercial District but many considered it to be its own area. While the rest of the city slept, this district of pleasure was only just awakening. The district rested on the eastern side of the Verr River which ran through the center of the city and branched off in various directions throughout. At night, it was lit by a thousand lanterns of a variety of shades of color and many walked the district streets moving from one establishment to another. Some even walked the streets in masks, although none wore one as luxurious as the mask on Aleks. However, walking the streets covered in blood would pose an issue, so Aleks chose an inn along the River road at the entrance to the district.

No questions were asked by the Inn staff, questions were dangerous and people covered in blood usually doubly so. Lenia paid the fee to use their facilities and they were ushered into one of the more luxurious rooms within the inn.

Anything could be asked for and acquired by the Inn staff and Aleks requested that dresses be brought to their room so that Lenia could choose a suitable one.

His voice became gruff and irritable, speaking to such a lowly being was a strain to his patience, but communication was essential, even if it was with a lesser being, “You are to bring the finest of dresses, suitable for her beauty, is that clear?”

“Yess’r, I know just the place! Only the finest o’dresses for the lovely lady, ya have m’word!” He too ignored the bloodstained clothing Lenia wore but he did not leave immediately, instead he stood there, as if he were waiting for something from Aleks.

“Ah, I suppose you want this.” Aleks placed a few gold coins in the staff member’s hand.

The man smiled at Aleks and bowed, “Thank ya milord!” and then went on his way.

“Hmph, these Humans and their greed, it’s sickening. I suppose there’s not much difference between races, they are all filled with greed.” Aleks stared at the door after the porter had left and spoke to himself.

Lenia felt uncomfortable standing there in her dirty clothes, she hoped her master was not displeased with her. She wasn’t happy that he had to see such a disgusting side of her and she nervously moved from side to side.

“The bath should already be prepared for you, remove your clothes and clean yourself.” Lenia hesitated at his words and for some strange reason, she felt embarrassed to show her naked body to her master.

She couldn’t explain the feeling well since this was her first time feeling as such. Why am I nervous? I should not feel embarrassed, I don’t understand, she thought to herself innocently. She would kill another if her master ordered it, without hesitation, and yet there was a certain innocence to her that she could not fully understand.

This was her first time feeling shy and after removing her clothes, she crossed her arms across her body as if to cover herself from her master’s sight. Aleks had not yet turned to look at her and she felt her cheeks burn up in anticipation of his eyes on her naked form. When her master did turn, there was no obvious change in his demeanor and she only felt more foolish by her emotions.

“Lenia, you do not have to hide your body from me. Down to the last curve, to the smallest detail, I have formed and shaped your body. There is none who know you better than I.” His words did not relieve her discomfort, but she did shyly remove her arms and hands and brought them to her side.

With her emotions in turmoil, she wondered what he thought about her as he watched her attentively. She could see nothing, for his face was covered by the mask and his voice was as devoid of emotion as it always was.

“Good, now clean your body and freshen up. The dresses should be here by the time you are done. You do not require makeup or perfume, your natural beauty is already beyond the realm of mortals.” Aleks said as he marveled at his creation.

Lenia felt her cheeks become even rosier at her master’s compliment. She was happy that, at the least, he found her beautiful. Without wasting any more time, she entered the bathroom and closed the door.

Some time past as she lay in the tub, soaking in the warm water and looking over her own body. She had only been alive for a short time and she was still unfamiliar with her form.

Lenia lifted her legs out of the water and ran her hands over her smooth skin, using the soap provided to clean herself. Her mind drifted to her master who was always in her thoughts and she thought of her feelings when he looked at her. It made her body feel hot, especially between her legs. This was a strange feeling to her, but she thought it was not an unpleasant one.

She continued to run her hands down her body, admiring her curves, especially her round and firm breasts. While walking through the city she had observed other women’s chests and compared them with her own and she felt that her chest was much firmer and more well formed than any she had seen. Her breasts were firm and yet, soft and supple. She was amazed by how they felt in her hands and the way her nipples became hard as she caressed them.

What is happening to me? Those thoughts stopped her in her tracks and she gently slapped her face, bringing herself back to reality. It was difficult for her to maintain focus with these thoughts and she tried desperately to get herself back on track. Alright, let’s hurry and finish. Aleks is waiting for me.

With her thoughts once again on the mission, she quickly hurried and finished bathing, drying herself with a towel and then wrapping her body in it. It took a considerable amount of time for her to dry her hair and she eventually settled with wrapping her hair in a towel as well. It was surprising to her that she had the knowledge to clean herself properly. She supposed that some semblance of common knowledge had already been planted within her at her creation.

After wrapping her body and hair in towels, she exited the bathroom and found Aleks sitting on the bed, waiting for her.

“You finished quickly, the dresses have not arrived yet. Come, sit next to me.” He beckoned to her and she sat down next to him unsure of how she should act or what she should say.

It frustrated her that she sometimes became so tongue-tied whenever she spoke with him and she hoped that she would eventually get past this. Otherwise, how could she ever become closer to him? This was something which troubled her greatly. She wanted nothing more than her master to notice her, but she felt she was only falling further and further away.

“You have done well Lenia, I am proud of you. You have followed all of my instructions perfectly. So, listen well, once we arrive at the theatre, you are to do nothing until I say so. Do not act on your own no matter how much you may wish to, do you understand?”

“Of course master, I will do as you say!” Her heart swelled with his words and she vowed in her heart to follow his command.

Aleks observed Lenia from beneath his mask and was pleased by her enthusiasm although he would never show it, even if he wasn’t wearing the mask.

Lenia fidgeted under his scrutiny and found herself relieved by a sudden knock on the door.

“Porter ‘ere, I brought the dresses for ya.” Aleks stood and walked to the door, opening it to allow the porter to enter. He was pushing a mobile rack which was filled with many beautiful hanging dresses. When he entered the room and saw Lenia wrapped in towels, he almost tripped over his own feet and gulped.

Under Aleks’s scrutiny, he quickly looked away and coughed, “I ‘ope they meet ya needs sir! Just take whichever suits ya and the cost will be deducted from ya stay here when yer check out.” The porter’s drawl was beginning to grate on Aleks’ nerves but he remained silent.

Aleks threw the porter another gold coin and the porter left satisfied.

“Lenia, you may choose the dress that best suits you.” Aleks moved to Lenia’s side giving her a gentle push towards the rack of dresses.

She approached the rack slowly, perusing the choices. Her objective was to choose the dress she felt would be the most pleasing to her master. This was difficult because she didn’t know her master well enough to decide. What color would he like? Style? Hmm… Would he like something more revealing or would that be too sultry for him? Perhaps something more modest or in between? Lenia found herself quite conflicted. When he had seen her naked body he barely even reacted so would wearing something more seductive even matter to him?

In the end, she chose a purple dress to match her master’s robe, one she felt fully showed off her assets. It was a low cut dress that displayed her slender neck and ample bosom. Satisfied, she quickly put the dress on and spun around laughing as she looked at herself in a full sized bronze mirror.

Her master observed her quietly, “It seems you have chosen a dress that pleases you.”

Lenia happily giggled like a young girl, “Yes, I err- think this dress suits me well! What do you think master?” She waited expectantly for his words.

“You look beautiful.” Her mouth curved into a wondrous smile at his compliment and she twirled again, laughing at her good fortune.

Aleks watched her as if he were watching a child pleased at receiving a new toy, “Now that you are ready, let us depart.”

Lenia could barely contain her joy and nodded towards Aleks, practically skipping to follow him. She giggled again and grabbed his arm without thinking and pushed her body against him. He only looked at her momentarily but didn’t say anything. She had been scared for a moment when she realized what she did, but since he didn’t express any distaste towards her, she happily clung onto him as they walked.

Aleks left his room with Lenia clinging to his arm and walked down the stairs leading towards the entrance of the Hotel. He could feel the eyes of every man and woman in the establishment on them. He cared not for their wandering eyes as the men stared at Lenia lustfully and the women with jealousy in their hearts. They made a peculiar sight, Aleks in his mask and luxurious robe, and Lenia with her ethereal beauty.

They left the Hotel with eyes from everyone upon them and strolled through the busy district streets. The stares continued as people looked on in shock. It suited Aleks just fine for it aided him in remaining inconspicuous for their eyes were not on him but on Lenia. Aleks remained almost entirely unnoticed by the stares of the people and if anyone asked, they would not even be able to describe him.

Sounds from a plethora of sources surrounded them as they walked the brightly lit River Road in the center of the Red Light District. Its streets filled with a diverse and varied populace. Along the street, women of the night called out to every passerby hoping for new clients, or old. The women were of every race imaginable, all except for the angelic races whose pride would never let them stoop so low.

Courtesans littered the city streets accompanying wealthy clients who wished to remain anonymous and so hid behind elaborate clothing and masks. Vendors hawked their wares from every corner as Beast kind, Demons, and other races crowded the narrow roads and alleys. Thugs with clubs and other blunt weapons mostly kept the peace, occasionally breaking up a brawl or throwing an unlucky, and most likely poor individual, out of the district.

None barred Aleks’s way as most had been stopped in their tracks the moment they laid eyes on Lenia’s unparalleled beauty. She had wandered the city streets alone before, but then she had been filthy and in rags, and now she was clad in finery and jewels.

Lenia hardly even noticed the looks she received. She paid no mind to the unwanted attention and stares. Her mind was currently blissful as she held onto her dear beloved master, enjoying the warmth of his body as she clung to him.

Their destination was the large theatre within the district which was the domain of Don Gregorio, one of the leaders of the underworld within the city. While Don Jefe, until recently, had run the remainder of the Commercial District, Don Gregorio had control over the red light district. The two made their money in different ways and so, on the surface, it seemed that they were not truly in competition with each other. However, in reality, they were bitter rivals and they barely could tolerate one another.

A long line stretched out of the theatre, those were mostly the rabble that could only hope they would gain entrance to the theatre, but Aleks was not one of the rabble. He strolled straight up to the entrance and addressed the guards who were standing outside. They were there to ensure no riff raff gained entrance and only those who could pay the proper fees would be allowed entry.

“Oy, look at these ‘ere two celebrities!” One of the guards hit another man standing next to him and the two of them eyed Aleks up and down. Their eyes went wide once they noticed Lenia and they chuckled to each other as they ogled her chest.

“Well, well, don’t we hav’a fine looking piece of ass right ‘ere” The two men approached Lenia, their eyes blinded by lust.

“Oy mate, twould be in your best interest to let us fine gents hav’a go at this ‘ere beauty. I reckon you wouldn’t want ta hav’a issue.”

One of the men his arm on Lenia’s shoulder and smiled wickedly at her. She had strapped a dagger to her leg at the Hotel and was about to reach for it when she was stopped by Aleks.

“We are here by invitation, it would not be wise for you to keep Don Gregorio waiting.” At the mention of their boss’s name, they hesitated.

“You say yer ‘ere by invitation eh? If yer lying, we’ll have yer head. What’s ya name?” They didn’t look pleased but the man that had put his hand on Lenia removed it.

“Tell him that Aleksandros is here.”

The two men looked at each other and one went into the theatre and after a few minutes returned with another man.

“Forgive the holdup Sir Aleksandros, Don Gregorio is waiting for you within, I hope our men weren’t disrespectful?” A portly man with a sly grin on his face addressed Aleks in a friendly tone.

“No matter. Let’s not waste any more time on pleasantries.” Aleks showed no emotion which baffled the man, but he nodded his head and continued to grin.

“Of course! Of course! Come, follow me!” The portly man led Aleks and Lenia into the theatre which was packed with people. The lights were on low and it was difficult to make out anyone’s appearance within.

Scantily clad women made their way up and down the aisles offering drinks, food, or other services to the customers within. Some of the women had tails which stuck out from their clearly visible behinds and others were adorned with horns on their heads. There was as great a variety of women within the establishment as those that were without.

Many of the clientele wore masks just as Aleks did. They were most likely of the nobility or rich merchants and other prolific citizens of the city who wished to remain disguised. They had reputations to uphold and it wouldn’t do for the church to become aware of their nightly endeavors. Of course, there were most likely many of the clergy within also wishing to remain just as discreet as the rest.

Aleks and Lenia were lead down the aisle, straight to the front of the theatre. An entire row was reserved for just one person and his guests. That person being the Don himself who only allowed a very select few to ever be near him. His guards stood near at all times to ensure his safety. Aleks noticed that above were box seats where the most important guests would be seated and it seemed that in attendance this night, were the other Dons. Aleks knew that they were here to meet about the recent disturbances within the city, all of which had been caused by Aleks himself.

“Aleksandros!! Hahahaha, good to see you!” Don Gregorio greeted Aleks with false enthusiasm and ushered him into a seat near him.

All of the Don’s of the city wore rather flamboyant clothing with bright colors you couldn’t miss from a mile away. It was as if they felt the need to announce themselves to the world through their clothing.

“Oh, who is this beauty with you? I didn’t know such a woman existed in this city! I didn’t know you had such exquisite tastes Aleksandros” Gregorio leered at Lenia as he spoke with Aleks.

“Enough with the pleasantries Don Gregorio, I am not here to socialize.” His mouth twitched a bit when Aleks spoke, but the false smile soon returned on his face.

“Of course. I see you have the mask, then is the deed done?” He was no longer smiling and a sinister look crossed his face.

“Don Jefe is dead and now I expect you to fulfill the rest of our deal.” Aleks went straight to the point, not wishing to engage in frivolous banter.

“Haha, don’t worry, I will fulfill the rest of our deal. Why not enjoy the show first? It is about to begin.”

Aleks glanced once more towards Don Gregorio and beneath his mask, he wore a knowing smirk for he knew exactly what he meant by ‘show’.

These foolish Humans and their twisted games.

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