”Well, what is this thing…its so small. Is it a dwarf? ” Master Leifae Arkson asked.

”No, master, I believe it is a child. ”

”What needs do I have for a child? ” Master Leifae Arkson said, annoyed.

”Servants learn best from a young age, Master. ”

”You don say? Well, at least you got it for cheap. ” Master Leifae chuckled. Then he turns to Yuqin, ”you did get it for cheap, correct? ”

”50 shillings, master. ”

”50 SHILLINGS?!? ” the master yells. ” You bought this little nothingness for 50 shillings?!? ” He was irate.

”Yes, master. I saw it as a great investment. ”

”Investment?? ” Master Leifae Arkson is panting back and forth. ” All those other slave you brought me cost me less the 3 shillings each and you bought this one for 50? ” He went on and on.

”Ill leave you to retire in your room, master. I shall take the little one to start his training right away. ”

I kept wondering why they kept addressing me as ”him ” when Im clearly a little girl, but during this time only boys wore trousers and Ive gotten one on since the day mother and I left London.

Yuqin showed me around the ship. How it was layered from wealthy to poor, based on the floor that you were on. He told me I would be sharing quarters with a few other thralls and how we are supposed to wear certain clothing, so we could be differentiated apart from the rest of the thralls on the ship.

I kept thinking about my mother and how she would come and sneak me out of this place. I just need to wait until nighttime.

After dinner, which was corn and potato soup with bread, we all left for our quarters to retire for the night.

I quickly jumped into bed to wait for everyone to sleep, so mother could sneak in, but before I knew it, I too fell asleep with everyone else.

I woke up to my mothers voice. It was still dark and the other thralls were still snoring.

”Mother? ” I mumbled.

”Shh, my sweet love. You don want to wake the others. I will speak and you will listen. Understood? ”

I nod my head, yes.

”I will be watching you from afar. I will always be with you but there are too many eyes watching you now. I can idle by every night, but just know Im always here. Do you understand me? ”

I nod.

”Now, this new master will take us to where we need to go. We have to find safety, away from the plague. Away from people who will use you and abuse you. I will keep you safe, where we are going. I promise. I love you, my sweet love. ”

”I love you too, mother. ”

”I hear voices. ” the night guard said outside our room and quickly opened our door. Mother jumped out of the window, just in time. The three thralls jump awake by the sudden invasion.

The guards ran up to the window and studied the outside for intruders. ”I swear I heard voices. ” one of the guards said.

”You
e probably tired and hearing things. Lets hurry it up so we can catch a snooze. ”

After they left the room and the others went back to bed, I ran up to the window and looked. There was only one way up that wound took mother a long time to get to the deck or the other way, straight down into the cold sea waters. I hope my mother is okay.

I tossed and turned all night. Dreamed about tall pine trees and bright yellow eyes glaring at me. I saw a man, unsheathing a dagger and stabbing me. I woke up in a cold sweat trying to catch my breath.

Night after night, the same dream came to render me deprived of sleep. Mother hasn visited in a few days. I wonder if she is still on the ship.

Yuqin barged in through the door. ”Bathing time. Follow me. ”

We all followed Yuqin into a room full of men and women, naked and sponge bathing with buckets of suddy water.

”In here, everyone is equal. You shall learn the ways of the Thralls and act accordingly. Now bath. I will come back for you four, in a half hour. ”

I take off my clothes and immediately start to wash off. Yuqin grabbed a hold of my wrist and covered my little body with a towel.

”On second thought, I will come back for you three in an hour. ” He takes me out of the bathing room by the wrist and is still covered in just a towel.

”You are NOT a boy. Why didn you say anything to me? This changes everything. ”

He brought me to his quarters, ”Here is where you will bathe from now on and you can keep this quarter for yourself. I will find another. We will have to figure out a brand new agenda for you. You can not utilize that bathing room with the other thralls. Men are cruel to little girls, but can care less about old fat women. I will figure something out for you tomorrow. For now, stay out of sight. Do you understand? ”

I nod as I am reminded of my mothers voice ringing in my ear, ”do you understand? ”

After my bath mother came by. She knocked on my door and I let her in the room. We laughed quietly and talked all night about all the amazing things we are seeing. She sang to me and for the first time in a week, I slept soundly.

I woke up to the beautiful sunshine beaming through the window. Mother was gone, but she left her scent of sweet spring lavender behind on my new bed.

*

Yuqin eventually gave me the tasks of laundering Master Leifae Arksons clothing and cleaning quarters. Master Leifae Arkson was a tall man full of muscles. He and his men would travel canals of the land to the west, and explore new land there. As an explorer he had failed numerous times at finding new inhabitable lands for the King. He was the nephew of King Exoderus III, and next in line to earn the throne. However, he needed to find new land to earn his place and title before he turned 40 years of age, otherwise, by law he would be banished. He is now 33, not married and always planning the next adventure away from the throne.

For the next six years, I worked behind closed corridors with no one but Yuqin and my mother to keep me company every now and then.

My flower bloomed and I bled for the first time. Luckily, my mother kept me informed of this and when it came, I was prepared. I am now 16 and my breasts are coming in. Most women are married by 13, but not I. I always knew my life was different from everyone else.

One night, as I was cleaning out Master Leifae Arksons quarters, he jolted through the door and walked into his quarters angrily. I tried to grab what I could and leave, but he was pacing back and forth, talking to himself.

”You
e 39! You are going nowhere with your life. No new discoveries. No woman wedded. No children nor kins. You are worthless. YEA, thats what they say about you Leifae Arkson. YOU ARE NOTHING!! Well, I will show you nothing!! Banish. Banish me they say!! Well, I never wanted that stupid throne aways. Banished. How dare they. Those people sitting on their royal arses, never leaving their place, yet they tell me Ive made no new discovery for them. Well, you can just go ** yourself with you tiny little… ”

He finally notices me. My eyes glued to the floor.

”Oi. I know you, right? ”

I nod.

”Don you know how to speak when spoken to? ”

I drop the laundry in my hands and fall to my knees, bowing for forgiveness.

”Fecking Thrall doesn even want to talk to me. ” he said to himself. He reached down for my collar and pulled me up to look at my face.

”Being a smartass, eh. Lets see how smart you are after this. ” He pushes me towards his window and pushes my upper body out of the window.

”Still being a smartass, I see. You think you
e so much better than me, little boy? ”

My body is dangling out the window, ready to fall into the sea as soon as he releases me. Just then I heard my mother scream and all the light in Master Leifae Arksons quarters blew out. Darkness was upon us.

”What was that? ” The master pulled me back in and I saw my mother. The room grows cold as the temperature quickly drops

She stood in the corner, ” How dare you put your hands on my child! You will feel my wrath! ” Mother floated to Master Leifae Arkson and placed her hands on his throat.

He drops onto his knees and begins to tugs at his neck. Mother inserts her face into his face.

For the first time ever, everything came into play. Mother has been dead since London.

She had caught the bubonic plague, so to keep me safe she locked herself in her quarters. I picked a bunch of lavender flowers and placed them on her door, to disguise the smell.

It was then that she had died. She led me all this way to save me.

”Mother! Please stop! ” I yelled. Mother turned to face me.

”My sweet love, he will use you. He will cause you pain. ”

”Mother, please. If you kill him, I will be in a really bad place. Who knows what they will do to me. ”

Mother released master Leifae Arksons throat. ”So be it. Destiny must shape you. ”

I start to cry. ”Mother, youve been dead this whole time? Why didn you tell me? ”

”My sweet sweet love. I didn need to tell you because youve always known. You had to stop the denial to believe. You have always had the special abilities to see the ones who have passed and a glimpse of the future. You knew I was dying, and brought me flowers. You saw the doctor who died from the plague in the corridors of London. ” She floated towards me.

”Love, since your eyes are now opened youve chosen your destiny, I can no longer lead your way. I love you and I will always be watching you. Goodbye, my sweet love. ”

My mothers soul dissipates in thin air and I cry, wailing my pain away with her.

Yuqin comes crashing through the door. ”Master!! What has she done to you? ”

Master Leifae Arkson is coughing and trying to regain his strength. ”She? Is a girl, she? ”

”That is what I said, Master. Are you alright. Did she do something to you? ”

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