The failure still vexed her. The villain had eluded her again. Even though she all but had him trapped in the end. But the girl was not lost, this time. For once, his efforts had failed. But that had not been her success.
In the end, Das Ria’s only success had been to save one of the officers who saved the girl. She prayed it made up for her failure.
Her master had brought her to this place and departed immediately, and thanks to the nature of his mysterious ability, she had no idea where exactly she was. Without a command from him, she had no choice but to sit on her heels on this hardwood floor, staring at the bare walls and await his return.
No, that was wrong. She chided herself for having fallen into the falsehood of the slave-stone’s world yet again. She had choices. Her master had taught her so.
He forbade her call him master and taught her mantras and meditations to fight the evil thing the villains had buried in her head. He rescued her from that life in order to live the better life he offered. She must obey his wishes. Although the fact of the slave stone made his wishes orders, it remained true that his goal was to free her from his orders, and the truth of it showed in the way he handled her. He had given her an order to seek to recover her ability to wish her own wishes and to learn what they are. And he had given her the right to consider what she could do to improve herself when she was waiting for him.
She was still learning this new role, and it was vexing. Sinking into passive service was far easier. Her old masters had made her that way, once they decided her potential was insufficient to the unknown task for which they purchased her. But she had no choice but to change, now that her new master had rescued her from them and commanded her differently.
So she chose. She would use the tools her new master was teaching her. She meditated for a time to calm her heart, and escalated from that into a thought mantra of focus. She sought within herself to learn those special places she had not known about, before. Her mother had only taught her to sense outside herself, but her master had now given her the means to sense within.
Her target was the Yashin that her master called Adhen, the origin gate. That was the first one he had taught her. She found it, within her pelvis, embracing the warmth of the immaterial world that it led into. Becoming fully attuned to this gate would grant her many advantages, but the greatest of those was finer control over her metabolism.
And her reproductive system. Remembering that fact derailed her meditation a bit. As the most powerful male in her life, her master naturally drew her Alwarzi eyes away from more important matters. Her womb craved his power, his strength, his offspring… she chided herself and stopped that line of thought cold with the mantra of self-control.
Your birth culture has become behind you. You are no longer Alwarzi. You are no longer of they who treat their family as possessions and scratch for every minor advantage without shame.
That is what her master told her.
From this day forward, you are Jhisari.
It was a strange word, but it stood for an attractive ideal. In the Alwarzi world, her family had sold her. Before that awful day, she’d had friends, Osril girls who weren’t obsessed with acquisition or power. They enjoyed pleasant things and had fun together and crushed on attractive guys or fun guys or whatever kind of guys they happened to prefer at the time. It wasn’t the cold world of her family. And while it wasn’t the world the master offered, the Jhisari tribe that he gave her was a world that held that same warmth she missed.
She restarted her focus, and re-entered the gate, firmly reminding herself as she did it that, if she again focused on her reproductive system, she should consider the pleasant things it produced, the love and family that arose from that center. She should follow the Jhisari way to see from the gate’s perspective, and view how it led to all things her master desired for her.
After she had practiced embracing the gate and became better connected to the body associated with it, she rose and began her exercises while maintaining that connection. Eventually she would be able to maintain all eight gates like this, and once she could do that, her master hoped she would be able to conquer the Adhen , the awareness gate within her head, and thus regain her freedom.
Even though this master’s wish was that she free herself from him, he was a master she would gladly keep. She had once thought that the love that Osril girls chattered about was nonsense, however lovely it sounded, but she was beginning to wonder if love was what she felt for Master.
She completed her stretching exercises and proceeded to her sword. Drawing it brought to mind the strange woman who called herself a police officer of Earth, yet knew how to fight with flux like an offworlder. The middle-aged woman had deflected Ria’s sword with her bare hand. Was that a skill that her master could teach?
While she was going through her sword exercises a third time, and had maintained her control of her Osen throughout, the master finally returned.
He looked angry, and that look brought instant terror to her heart, but he simply watched her exercise to the end, then said, “Rest, Little One. You have done well.”
Her heart found calm immediately in those gentle but firm words. What solace, to learn that his anger wasn’t for her. It never was, but she couldn’t help it. Above all, she feared to disappoint him.
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