Predatory Marriage — Chapter 303. Isha (3)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Slavers created an educational center to train slaves who were to be sold to the nobility. The slave tamers taught them the etiquette for speaking, for eating, among many other things.
Of course, they did not do so gently. It took a human as fierce as a beast to tame a Kurkan, and physical correction was very common.
“Kurkans enjoy this,” said a tamer, tapping a whip against the palm of his hand. “Don’t worry. You’ll learn quickly.”
The tamer could not have been more pleased with their progress. The Kurkan children huddled in the corner and shivered.
Slowly, Isha stepped forward and sank down onto his knees. The whip lashed at his back, and blood gushed from the torn skin.
Though he gritted his teeth to keep silent, a moan finally escaped him, but the punishment did not end even when he began to cringe under the lash. It only ended when the tamer had administered the proscribed number of lashes, no more, no less.
After the last one, the tamer kicked him over, and Isha looked up at him with an expressionless face, his golden eyes glowing fiercely. The tamer clicked his tongue.
“You’ll have to behave better if you don’t want more of the same tomorrow,” he said, and turned away, slamming the iron door shut behind him. The other Kurkan children quickly gathered around Isha.
“Are you all right?”
But they scattered as the iron door swung open again to admit a different tamer.
Isha limped to the end of the line as the tamer handed out small loaves of bread and bottles of water. To ravenous Kurkan children, it looked like food enough only for birds, but meals were always irregular. If they were given too much food, there was a chance that they would rebel.
The trainer paused in front of Isha, who was silently enduring the agony of his flayed back.
“You’re going to starve,” he said. It seemed the tamer who had whipped him had left orders that he should not be fed, to break his will. It had a logic. But Isha’s face remained unchanged and the tamer scowled. “Damn you, if it wasn’t for your price, I would break your neck.”
He turned to look at the other children.
“Don’t give this one any food!” He ordered. “Anyone who does, goes in the hole.”
When he finally left, Isha slumped down on the ground, resting his back against the cold stone wall to cool the pain. As he tried to endure it, someone approached.
The child tore off half his load of bread and held it out. Isha stared at him, uncomprehending.
“Eat it,” said the boy.
In this place, bread was as precious as gold. Isha couldn’t believe the child would share something so valuable. When Isha remained silent, the boy spoke again.
“You need to eat for your wounds to heal.”
Isha accepted the bread and devoured it, wiping the crumbs from his mouth and then licking them from his fingers.
He was brief, but not flippant, and the other boy’s eyes widened at his gentle tone.
“My name’s Mel,” he said, holding out a hand with a smile. “What’s yours?”
“Isha,” he replied, taking the hand.
It was said in Kurkan that even in hell, flowers bloom.
It wasn’t wrong. Even in a place of such misery, they could still find things to laugh about. There were even fleeting moments of happiness.
Mel liked to talk, and he was almost always with Ishakan.
“You’re so handsome. Anywhere you’d go, you get compliments about it,” he complained, turning to measure his height against Isha with his hand. “And you’re tall, too.”
Kurkans were much taller than humans, but their bodies did not fully mature until their coming of age ceremony. They were beings created by sorcery, so they could not grow on their own. Of course, neither boy had had their ceremony. – Posted only on NovelUtopia
“I’m the smallest Kurkan here,” Mel said sulkily. “It must be because I’m from a cat lineage.”